As we walked down the corridor for our evening rounds, we talked about our significant others and how special they were to us. We had to do something to pass the time during the graveyard shift at the psychiatric hospital. I told my coworker Catherine that my girlfriend is the most amazing person and supported everything I did. Catherine was so jealous of that. She said the only thing that her boyfriend supported was a bottle of scotch. I felt sorry for her, because she loves him dearly, but lacks a sense of empathy.Which was no surprise considering that most men lack empathy, they always think that men have to be strong and independent. As we proceeded, I continued to give her relationship advice, as much as I can.
We turned down the next corridor and heard a loud crash, like a plate of glasses all falling at once. We picked up the pace to see what was happening. As we approached the end of the hallway, Emily, a patient of mine ran out of her room, looked at us, and continued to run. The patient was in for attempting self harm and was doing quite well, or least we thought. Emily stop! Said my Catherine with an authoritative voice. At that point Emily headed for the stairs. As we passed her room we noticed a custodian unconscious on the floor and the card swipe was missing. We have to get her before she hurts someone or herself, I said. You take the next floor up and I will take the next on down. I will call to lock the place down, yelled Catherine as she leaped up the stairs.
As I approached floor three hundred, it was incredibly quiet to have someone that was escaping. The lights were dim, but just bright enough to reflect off of the freshly waxed vct floor. I checked room by room looking for Emily, repeating to myself that everything is ok. I had not long graduated from university and this was my first job. At the end of the hall there was an orderly comforting child, I asked him if anyone else had been down here, but he answered with no. Where could she be? I asked myself. Then Catherine called, get up here fast! I found her! I immediately hit the stairs to get up to the five hundred wing. Upon getting up there, I saw that Emily was at a standoff with the orderlies. Emily is my responsibility, since I am her psychologist. I have to talk her down. Emily, I said gracefully as I approached. Let’s talk about this. You know I am your friend, and I wish you know harm. Now tell me what is wrong.
Emily then shouted at me, saying that what isn’t wrong? I am cooped up in this hospital all day and everyday with you people constantly asking me what my problem is. I am sick and tired of being treated like a freak. Emily, nobody here thinks you are a freak, we just want to help you get better so that you can go back to living your life. You are lying, Emily shouted. You are all lying! Moving closer to Emily, I kept the conversation going so that she would focus more on me than the orderlies around her. Then one of the orderies tried to make a move, which I had to stop. They were wanting to restrain her and sedate her, while I am trying to talk her down. It is very important that Emily trusts me. I finally get within arms reach of Emily, Catherine still watching and mouthing “what are you doing”! I ask Emily to sit down on the floor with me so that we can at least hold hands and talk. Emily, tell me what is on your mind. What are you feeling at this moment? I am feeling angry and sad, said Emily with tears running down her cheeks. I feel like I will never be normal again, and I am ready to give up. I was knocked back by her statements because I feel that I had let her down. Emily, you should not give up, you are making amazing progress, I told her assuringly. I can understand that you feel like you are not making any progress, but you are on the verge of a breakthrough. How about you come to me to your room and let’s talk about this more in private. Emily agreed.
After a couple of hours with Emily, I was able to get her calmed back down and to sleep. When I walked out into the corridor, there was Catherine waiting for me. Elaine, how did you get her to sleep without medication? She asked with amazement. Catherine, I simply just talked to her like she was a person, not a patient. Some of Emily’s issues is that she doesn’t feel like she is getting affection. By reassuring her that she is not a freak and that I care about her well-being, it gave her a sense of comfort. She will need to have more frequent sessions and for longer time spans. What happened in her life, that caused her to end up here? Asked Catherine. Emily’s story is in short, one of destruction. She was abused as a child by her mother, and as a result Emily became angry and started showing signs of depression. The problem is that nobody cared enough to get her help. What happened? Catherine asked with teary eyes. Catherine, Emily attempted to take her own life. That is why she has scars on her wrists and neck. She was at high risk when she was admitted, but has come a long way since then. So this all goes back to back to the fact that her mother abused instead of loving her daughter? Asked Catherine. Yes, sometimes the events that happen while we are children shape our future. That is why she is here, she is here for our help, and that is what she is going to get. Now let’s finish making our rounds and go home.