Dr. Bryan was in his mid-forties. He looked younger than his age. He had a cheerful attitude and positive energy. He was expecting Peel when she arrived in his office. Dr. Mason had emailed him her reports and he had already had a brief patient profile study.
“Miss Peel I was waiting for you, Dr. Mason has told me about you!”
She looked at her watch it was sharp 12 PM contemplating why he would be waiting.
“I hear you are a magazine writer tell me more about you!”
“Tell me more about you” his words echoed in her ears bringing back memories of Logan. She cleared her throat swallowing as she replied,
“I have been hallucinating lately.”
He smiled, his eyes filled with empathy.
“Let me escort you to your session.” He got up from his chair guiding her out his office room towards the hallway.
Peel observed there were doctor rooms across the hallway. She read as she walked, Dr. Simon, psychiatrist, doctorate of medicine, Dr. Georgina, senior consultant, Dr. Matthew psychologist, MD internal medicine. They walked up to a door that had a white board on it saying “session room”.
“Good afternoon everyone!” Dr. Bryan walked in with a warm smile as he continued,
“We have a new guest with us today!”
Peel walked in behind him. It was a big room with eight people sitting in a circle. Dr. Bryan took an empty seat beside a woman in her fifties and Peel sat beside him and a dark skinned man in his early twenties.
“Okay you all know how this goes but it is all new for our new guest so Sean why don’t you begin first?”
A man in his mid-forties rose up as he began his story, “Hi! I am Sean Nolan and I used to be a teacher. My life was like any other man. I had a beautiful loving wife, two kids that we had named Tom and Jerry due to much of their regards to the cartoon.
Everyone was listening to him as he spoke, non-interrupting and with content in their eyes. He continued, “I loved them very much. My wife was my high school sweetheart and we had been married for twelve years. She was kind, generous and surely the most beautiful woman I have ever met. Every day I went off to work dropping our kids to school as she stayed home doing the chores. When I got home I mostly saw her in the kitchen preparing our meals. The last thing I remember was I was certain there was a man who stopped by our house every day when I was out for work. He would sleep with my wife, tell her how much she deserved and what a disgrace I was for her. That she deserved better and the entire universe. I had installed cameras all over the place without them knowing and every time I checked it there was absolutely nothing. My wife only left the house for grocery shopping. I even started following her but she would interact with no one apart from the vendors. I started thinking her lover was someone from the shop and they were careful of not attracting any attention of the passersby. Slowly I found myself entrapped in a vicious cycle of doubt and distrust until finally I confronted her. She denied the allegations saying I was being ridiculous. Her words pushed me more into believing that she had now found someone better and that better was a man on the street. The man I had failed to yet discover but a man I would find and slaughter for ruining our safe heaven, for stealing my darling. I remember putting my hand around her neck throttling her. She was gasping for air, screaming my name in disbelieve. I had never laid my hands on her before but that night I was tempted to know who that man was and why she chose him over me. I groped her hair smacking her on the kitchen table. The kids came out from the noise. They watched me as I took the dining chair up in the air before I flung it onto her left leg. I kept smashing her with the wood until her flesh slit open and her bone was clearly visible. I was content that she could no longer exchange their secret words of affection. She lay all night bleeding on the floor as my kids sat beside her crying. I sat down blank. It was like a wild force instigating me to act on an impulse and then when it was gone my body felt drained, my mind froze. I was satisfied.”
Everyone in the room remained quiet. There was a long silence that screamed louder than his words. A cloud of apprehension circled around.
“Please continue Sean!” Dr. Bryan’s face was calm.
“I was arrested for my act of violence and as the interrogations preceded they found out I was suffering from schizophrenia. I have been on medications and counselling sessions for eight years and I feel much better now. My wife’s leg had to be amputated. We are not together anymore and she stays with my children. She has forgiven me, my children are being educated on schizophrenia. I wish things were different but sadly they aren’t and they never will be. I am still grateful to have found hope. The incident had left me depressed, I had lost everything but things are improving. I have a flower shop now and I send her flowers every month with a letter.”
“Thank you Sean for sharing your story with us. Always remember whatever had happened was because your mind had tricked you into believing in things that were nonexistent. You are a brave man for wanting to be a better person, for taking the responsibility of your actions, for trying to fix things.”
Everyone in the room applauded him.
“Please sit down Sean, Carla you are up next!”
For the rest of the afternoon, Peel was astounded with stories everyone in the room shared about their experience with schizophrenia. There were all kinds of stories, about believing their thoughts being controlled by aliens who communicated through broadcasts. Compilations of having an imaginary character in their lives that only they saw and heard. There were also stories about deluding about having sexual partners they had never even interacted with. Joshua an engineering student believed everyone at his university was conspiring against him. He had even left university believing the teachers were stealing his ideas and building projects. Another girl Amber, believed she was descendant of the snakes. She had stopped walking and would always crawl eating muds, insects and raw eggs. Her body was massively emaciated and all her bones were visible through her skin. She ended up losing twenty kilograms due to the poor diet.
At the end of every story Dr. Bryan would call them brave for not giving up on themselves. He was constantly motivating each and every single on of them. He talked about god, science, hope, fate and believe.
When the session ended Dr. Bryan called in Peel to his office. He elaborated on what these sessions were about and sole purpose of it. It was all intended to motivate and make individuals understand the length of situations that could possibly occur due to schizophrenia and that it was all okay and it is possible to live a normal life. The cognitive behavioral therapy aimed to help the schizophrenic patients improve their social skills and seeded in positive thoughts in their minds.
All Peel could contemplate was the potential threat she possessed if left untreated and the probability of her condition deteriorating without the sessions and medications. An overwhelming emotional whirlpool of thoughts whirled at the back of her mind. The impending dangers and the realization that she was different and nothing was ever going to be the same again.