Psychologists Talk About The ‘Red Flag’ Patients Who Truly Terrified Them.
I was introduced to the ward and the men that were in the unit. One of the young men in particular looked so familiar. But I didn’t want to ask colleagues because there can be issues if you know your patients personally (I thought I might have known him from school).
Weeks and months went by. I tried to just get on with doing my job, but this young man… I was so certain I knew him. I couldn’t get it out of my head.
I could have looked into his records, but I tried to make a point of not reading too much into patients’ personal histories because it can cloud your judgement.
But finally, I couldn’t bear it anymore. So I went and read his reason for admission. His crime: gauging out his mother’s eyes. It was him.
The guy I had read about before I started. My heart felt like it had stopped in my chest. I wanted to faint.
I was now petrified of him. I knew all the gory details of this guy’s crime. I knew his diagnosis. I knew everything. I was so scared every time I saw him that I could only smile and ask him feebly how his day was.
But, surprisingly, I’m no longer afraid of him. He’s a wonderful patient and he thoroughly enjoys the music therapy sessions we do weekly. He has responded beautifully, and he kind of taught me an important lesson that we all ought to remember.
Mental illness is not always a death sentence. People can change, they can improve. Sometimes they just need help from someone who’s not too afraid to be compassionate.