“We oft think a person mad if they’ve voices in their head. Never stopping to consider it could be whispers of the dead!” – Chainsaw

Just about everyone would like to speak with the deceased. To connect with lost loved ones or find some reassurance there is something “after.” Psychics, spiritualist, clairvoyants and con artists claim this ability, but there is no concrete proof they are successful and we call it entertainment. But when the average person claims they are hearing voices we call them insane. Such is the case of this week’s tale.

April 11th 2013 – Case file- 09821-641 ((comp claim)) Tull, Vivian/// Age – 27/ Marital status, single/ Occupation, administrative assistant. Pre-diagnosis: patient experiences auditory hallucinations — possible schizophrenic delusions /// Attending physician: Dr. Oliver Zentner, Psychiatrist.

Vivian had never been to see a “shrink” before and was a bit apprehensive. Dr. Zentner was an older man with a pleasant voice and soon set her mind at ease. She told him she had come at the request of her employer. Her job wasn’t in jeopardy, they were just concerned for her well-being. With an understanding smile and a nod, Zentner began the session in his usual manner asking, “Now, how can I help you?”

She’d been hearing voices. When did this start? It was several months ago. You hear these voices… in your mind? No… they’re usually in the room with me. There’s more than one? Oh yes there are a few. Are they the same voices each time? Yes. Do you recognize any of them? No, but I’ve grown familiar with them. What do these “voices” say? They just talk…but usually in the past tense. Have you ever talked back? Oh yes, all the time. Do they ask you to do things to yourself or others? No… they seem quite kind. And you live alone… is that correct? Yes. Do you ever feel lonely? Sometimes…

When the session ended Zentner sent her off with a prescription for some antidepressants and a request for her to return the following week.

The next several appointments were more of the same- she talked, he listened and inquired. She seemed to be opening up and Zentner was happy with her progress… until she told him she could see one of the voice’s owners.

When have you seen them? It’s “him” and only at night. In your home? Just my home. Where in the home? In the bedroom. Does “he” touch or threaten you? No… he’s little more than a shadow in the corner… he cries. Cries? Yes, I’ve tried to console him but he’s terribly upset… I think he may need professional… maybe psychiatric help… I mentioned your name.

A chill ran down Zentner’s spine. This poor woman was pulling him into her fabricated delusion. Making excuses, he ended the session early. Prescribing something to help her sleep, he sent her on her way. He wanted a second opinion; he did not want to become a statistic, but most of all he wanted to save this woman before she went over the brink. He contacted a colleague, a younger therapist with more aggressive treatment methods, and asked if he would take her. He told his receptionist to cancel Miss Tull’s future appointments and gave her the referral. He needn’t have bothered – she was waiting in the reception area when he arrived the next morning.

She canceled future visits and denied the referral. Now if she could speak to him for a moment. The doctor was reluctant, but agreed.

She thanked him; just having someone to talk to and more importantly hearing herself had done her wonders. She understood what the voices were and more importantly how responding to them could bring questiona for her sanity. So she had asked the voices to wait till they were alone to speak. She asked if it was okay that she had referred a patient to him. Shocked, Zentner said that was fine and she departed.

Shaken by the woman’s mental state Zentner sat down, picked up the phone and… there was a soft sobbing. Slowly he looked to where a small shadowed figure was hunched in the corner. Clearing his throat he did the only thing a man in his position could do, “Now, how can I help you?”

I welcome almost all questions and comments via FOCUS, or E-mail me directly at [email protected]. Hope to hear from you, until then try and stay focused. See ya!