Apparently, therapists and psychiatrists also go online, and even these professionals can’t resist throwing their anecdotes into the fray for upvotes.
Below are highlights from several incredible AskReddit threads asking mental health workers to share stories from their patients. Most of the responses are from two threads that ask psychiatrists or psychologists to share “the most profound and insightful comments” they’ve heard in the line of work.
Many of them also made clear that they had changed enough details to keep anyone from identifying patients. Enjoy, and hopefully you don’t realize yours is the psychologist who goes by the username Dr. PonerBenis.
1. Especial-K turned a client’s most devastating memory into the most cathartic, hysterical moment. Almost completely on accident.
I met with a woman whose fiancee died a few weeks prior to our first appointment. As you might expect, She was absolutely devastated. More so, because, as it turned out he had suffered a massive aneurism and died while they were having sex.
On top of that, he had just proposed to her after over a decade of courtship. As she told me her story, described the taste of his vomit in her mouth, how helpless she felt, how guilty she felt for his death, her inability to save him, and the crystalline clarity of it all frozen in a one terrifying tableau, I found myself wondering what kind of man he had been.
She felt so guilty about it all…because in her mind she had killed him. I asked her about him…she said he had been a biker, and she, his “biker babe.”
In her eyes he had been larger than life, a gentle giant who wore his heart on his sleeve…a man who always tried to live in the moment…Now I was a young therapist then, and not a particularly skilled one at that…but in that moment, thinking about the juxtaposition of her own memory of that night and the kind of guy her fiancée had been, I felt a great sense of discord.
I said, “knowing your fiancée, can you think of any other way he would have wanted to have died?” She looked at me for a moment, shocked I think (so was I actually), and bursted out into gales of laughter. I mean gales…perhaps a bit hysterical at first but when she finally stopped there was a twinkle in her eyes. She said, “After he proposed I told him I was going to fuck his brains out.”
2. One psychologist explained the most astounding condition he ever treated.
The 8-year-old who thought he was a screwdriver — and spent all day every day twirling.
Icecreammachine had an amusing diagnosis—
This condition is called “being eight years old”.
3. Stumpedtown even has an image to share with the world.
Psychiatric nurse practitioner here. I have an excellent one, a drawing a patient with schizophrenia gave me one day –
edit: i’m very glad so many of you appreciate this.
2nd: thanks for the gold, anonymous redditor. 🙂
3rd: scanned it in for those who would like a higher quality look – you can see he drew it on the back of a superman logo coloring sheet, and the masking tape from hanging it on a window facing outward:
4. One mental health worker has a beautiful story of friendship and candy.
I’ve told this story before but it had a huge impact on my outlook of life.
I used to work at a group home for adults with mental disabilities. One woman in particular was just a genuine angel. Always positive, outgoing, friendly, hard-working, and just absolutely a pleasure to be around.
One time we were at the store and these two teenage boys started laughing at her and whispering loudly about the retard. I was getting furious but she just turned to me and asked if I wanted a bag of skittles.
When we left the store I mentioned how well she handled herself. She just looked over at me and grinned and said: “I could see you getting mad. I thought maybe skittles would make you feel better.” She’s got a far better grasp of how to live than I ever will.
EDIT: Thanks for the gold kind stranger! I declined the offer of the skittles. She worked very hard for a tiny paycheck each month but it made the gesture that much more thoughtful.
5. Noeledmundsbeard shared a patient’s perhaps perceptive perspective.
I was interviewing a bi-polar patient. I asked him how he would describe himself: “an altruistic lover of truth and beauty”. I then asked him how others would describe him: “bit of a cunt probably”.
6. As to the most profound thing he or she had ever heard from someone with a mental illness, yougotafriend responded, tragically:
I’m a recovery specialist, and one time my client said..
“I guess I missed the transition from when the ground was lava and imaginary friends became schizophrenia”
That broke my heart.
7. UnidentifiableReason explained a teenager’s interesting take on inspiration.
“It doesn’t take talent to practice.”
Therapist here, I was working with a defiant teenager and sports was his only outlet.
He had big dreams of being in a professional league but knew he was horrible at it. I thought his statement was really inspiring. I think about it often when trying new things.
8. A mental health worker called phatzdomino posted something funny overheard in the hallways.
“She forgot to bring my headphones and I’m the one who’s crazy!”
Yelled by a psych ward patient at the end of visiting hours. His wife brought him an iPod and forgot the headphones.
Everyone laughed – patients, visitors, staff. The goodbyes that night were a little less sad for a change.
9. Frannyglasss should have used her real name, because this comment is a very appealing reason to go see her.
Been in the field for a few years now…people diagnosed with mental illness are some of the most brilliant and misunderstood individuals in our society. I have seen profound moments of insight, from people who self-harm, describing the way they feel like a sponge and absorb the world’s pain, to straight up geniuses who just couldn’t find socially acceptable ways to contribute to the world.
Many of them are bursting at the seams with incredibly complex world views, creative expression, and truly original perspectives, but often lack the ability or support to thrive.
It’s a real shame we don’t have more respect for our ‘mentally ill’ fellow humans. I am convinced they hold keys that could radically impact our societies for the better.
Edit: I often feel like I am walking on sacred ground when working with my clients. They know and feel and see so much more than I ever have. I feel so grateful to be able to learn from them.
10. JaeVentura972 had a patient give what amounts to a blameless, backhanded compliment.
“I like you Jace, I don’t care what my voices say about you,” said by a client with schizoaffective disorder.
11. And one client’s insightful comments to Vump about “Lord of the Rings” led to a learning moment.
One of my clients had paranoid schizophrenia and he was recovering from yet another in a long string of hospitalizations due to a significant psychotic episode.
We were sitting together quietly, and there was a lull in the conversation. He suddenly looked up, and said “Hey… you know Lord of the Rings? Did you ever think that those books might actually be prophecy?”
I said “No, I don’t think they are. They are really interesting and enjoyable, but they are just made-up stories. Professor Tolkien even said so himself.”
He seemed to mull over this for a few moments and said “Yeah, you’re probably right. Sometimes I wonder about things like that, but I have paranoid schizophrenia.”
Often times we talk about an individual’s “reality testing”, which describes an individual’s ability to reconcile their inner beliefs with their outer experience.
People with poor reality testing (due to psychosis, for example) will often have distorted beliefs about the rest of the world… it was great to see a moment of real clarity and self-awareness through this guy’s frequent fog of struggle.
He’s a pretty talented musician too, and that seemed to give him a great deal of relief.
And here’s a bonus, from the aforementioned username Dr. PonerBenis, explaining what psychologists and psychiatrists are really writing in their notebooks.
Psychiatrist here! normally people will just be jotting notes about what the patient says so they can remember it later in the conversation, after the visit, or at the next visit.
I’m actually not but this is what people do when they take notes.
Your psychologist or psychiatrist would certainly apologize if you saw your story on here, but take heart that his or hers was in the right place. Your story could help others. Plus, think of all the upvotes.
This story was first published by our friends at Someecards.