Schizophrenia and the Voices

Work has been so crazy lately! I know that sounds kind of funny considering where I work but it really has been extremely crazy lately. Its been super busy with the census growing each day along with staff calling in sick every day. We are always short-staffed. They also keep moving the units around. Every day I come in the units have moved to a different floor or hallway. Its a lot to keep up with. Because of this I have been having to work on the Detox/ Rehab unit a lot and I miss working with my unit with the psychotic patients. That is where my heart truly lies.  My heart reaches out to them because they are so confused and saddened by their condition. Today I’ll tell you about 2 patients that we have right now, both of whom suffer with Schizophrenia.

The first one is James who is an older man in his 50’s with dark black hair and dark facial hair that covers most of his face. He was actually with us over a year ago and was committed to the State hospital for a year. James has severe Paranoid Schizophrenia. When we drove him to the hospital a year ago he got out of the car and began running up a hill into the trees. It took multiple staff members to talk him down the steep hill. As the State hospital is run by the government after a year they needed an open bed and out went James onto the streets. Not too long after he ended back onto our doorstep. When I first saw him again this time around I was told that he was being very cooperative and pleasant. He was sleeping on his bed completely naked when I first saw him which is not completely unusual for people with psychosis. For some reason they love to be naked. Anyways later in the night James woke up, walked up to the nurses station (thankfully with clothes on). I was sitting in a chair eating some popcorn and he looked at me and began accusing me of stealing items from his suitcase. His suitcase was sitting right next to me, completely closed but in his mind I had already gone through it and stolen his few prized possessions. I proceeded to calmly tell him that I hadn’t stolen anything but he didn’t believe me. He began telling me how ugly I was and that my nose was 10 miles long and how I was a creep. He would say, ” Why are you looking at me you creep?” I would respond, ” because you are talking to me.” this only made him more upset. He would say, ” Turn around! Don’t look at me!” Eventually I just moved out of his view so that I would stop triggering him. Another co-worker talked to him and calmed him down. Even later when he would see me with disgust on his face he would look at me and say, ” Trash!” Its crazy how it literally doesn’t bother me in the least. I’m interested to see how he will react to me when I go back to work tomorrow. He could easily have already forgotten and could be super nice to me or not..That’s the excitement of it all. Never knowing.

This next patient scared the daylights out of me when I first met him. His name is Wyler. A 6’3″ 220 pound white male who appears to be agitated all of the time. He also suffers from internal stimuli and is found talking to himself (or to the voices) a great deal of the time. He is constantly pacing the halls and knowing that the reason he is with us is because he randomly attacked a man on the street scares me. He attacked the man because he was defending his wife and 3 kids that do not exist. Wyler is 22 years old and has no such family. This is where the voices can become extremely dangerous. The first day I met him, I took him outside to the courtyard to smoke and he began howling like a coyote. Needless to say I was a little concerned about what he was going to do next or what he was capable of so I called for my co-worker to come out to stay with me. Wyler also speaks in an Australian accent all of the time. He has never lived nor ever even visited Australia. He also claims to be a cowboy and his attire is extremely convincing. He wears a cowboy hat and cowboy boots and sunglasses every single day and night. That’s right, he sleeps in his hat, boots and sunglasses every night. He said that he is worried that if he takes his boots off little creatures will crawl inside and eat his boots. He once tied his bed sheet around his neck like a cape and when asked why he did that he said it was to carry his small girlfriend so that he can take her everywhere with him. As time went by I learned that Wyler would never hurt me or anyone else. He was actually a very kind person and interesting to talk to. I don’t know what’s going to happen to him, if he’ll get committed or be let back out. I guess well see.

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