My mom used to be an advocate for children with mental disabilities.
She had been assigned a new family that month, and they seemed pretty normal. Both parents checked out, and the kid was about 10 years old. He had a moderate case of Autism and Schizophrenia.
The family also had a dog for the kid to play with. When the dog died, the parents decided to let the kid keep playing with it. No- they didn’t stuff it. The kid played with the dead dog for a couple weeks before my mom realized what was going on. The kid would even sleep with the dog at night.
I’m in grad school now for psychology and counseling. One of my professors told the story of a former client who was severely depressed, but had no suicidal ideation. His brother and father both committed suicide and he refused to do that to his family. However, he constantly imagined killing his wife. They had a happy marriage, never fought, etc. She was so compassionate and comforting, knowing his mental state. But he couldn’t stop thinking about killing her. My professor made him talk through the act of killing her..closing his eyes and describe every detail and he said the guy just broke down and sobbed uncontrollably. He felt so horrible..he knew it was so wrong and truly didn’t want to hurt her, but he couldn’t stop his thoughts. He was diagnosed (along with 3 or 4 other disorders) with OCD because he was obsessed with the thought of killing his wife. This story sticks with me since I always thought of OCD as people who are obsessed with certain actions, etc..not thoughts or ideas.
I’m not a psychologist but my friend is. She told me about a patient of hers who was HIV positive and a paranoid schizophrenic. He thought that the nurses who worked at the hospital he was in were trying to kill him, so he would frequently bite his tongue, and spit HIV positive blood into their faces/mouths. When they had to come into contact with him, they were required to wear full masks and gloves.
A very sweet, mostly blind teenager who was going through his first psychotic break and had a love of martial arts (Taekwondo, if I remember correctly) Like…Was really, really, really good at it. He couldn’t see and would practice kicks, and at one point, accidentally kicked one of the reinforced shatter-proof windows in the quiet room (think padded room without the padding). Turns out they were shatter-resistant – He destroyed it with that kick.
Why those particular details? Because he would practice his kicks EVERYWHERE, was mostly blind, and the one time he flipped up to practice one and I was walking around the corner, it came literal centimeters from my face, and I FELT the impact of it against the air, like a physical force bashing into my face. Sweetest kid in the world, he would have been horrified if it had connected, because things would have broken. A lot of things. He also grabbed my arm once in a suddenly firm grasp and asked if I wanted to do taekwondo with him.
Clinical psychologist here. I used to work in a prison and did a parole evaluation for a inmate that was a high ranking gang member in a national gang. By his account he was the highest ranking in the state. In fact he was placed in that prison to hold his “people” accountable and keep the peace. He had a long violent record and was, in my opinion, a genuine psychopath.
Part of the eval is discussing the crime and assessing remorse and whatnot. He was so clinical in his description of how he tortured and left this guy to die over an unpaid debt. “Live by the sword, die by the sword” was his phraseology for the act. Like it was nothing.
He was also very nonchalant about his ability to “take care of his business” while inside. I believed him. He had only spend 18 months of his last 15 years outside of prison. (1/2)
My recommendation was not to parole him. There were various factors that I gave and in the end the parole board went with my recommendation.
So the part that actually scared me (this was my first parole eval) was this guys ability to affect the world outside. He could have sent someone to my house if he wanted to. I had no doubt about that. More experienced psychologists told me not to worry about it. That he knew the score and wouldn’t take it personally. I had a hard to buying it.
I was running a long term offender group a few months later and he was part of it. After the first group I pulled him aside and asked if we were good. He smiled at me and told me not to worry. I did my job and he didn’t blame me for writing what I did because it was true. He went on to be a really insightful and active group member. (2/2)
Not a psychologist but I used to work in a psych ward as security.
We had this huge guy with schizophrenia detained in 1s, which is the ward for those who have been legally determined to be unfit and are not allowed to leave.
When I say huge, I mean he was like 6’5, gigantic muscles and he used to be an MMA fighter. Real nice guy when medicated but when in psychosis, he was not someone you’d want to go toe to toe with. We would sometimes have to call police to help us deal with him. One officer would arrive, take a look at him and go “nope” and call for backup.
So one day I was guarding the entrance to 1s. He was doing fairly okay so he wasn’t confined to his room and was allowed to walk around the supervised communal space. (1/3)
He puts down his magazine, goes into his room and then walks out naked. Dude walks up to me, stands about an inch away and looks down at me. I mean way down, as I’m only 5’3.
He tells me he’s leaving
I asked if he would like some shoes or a gown. He says no, he’s leaving and I better step aside
So I did. You better believe I stepped the [email protected]#k aside and let him walk out.
I followed him at a safe distance through the psych ward (where everyone basically pinned themselves against the wall to get away) and out into the parking lot while on the call with the cops. I can’t leave the grounds so once he was off hospital property, I could only inform the police to which way he was running..which was down into a heavily populated downtown core.
Not even 15 min later, he comes back and walks back into the lobby of the ward and asks for me. He wants shoes after all. Not a robe, but shoes. So I bring him shoes to prevent him from getting violent and off he goes again as I repeat the process, following him to the edge of the grounds and calling the cops
Cops bring him back and put him into his secure room. However, once he is in there, they are not allowed to restrain past a certain point. So the whole security team assembles, which is me and about 5 men. They decide I’m to hold a leg as I’m small and legs are easier to restrain. So we go into the room in a triangle formation with me as the last to enter. He must have missed when I came in the door, because he started screaming that I was a shapeshifter and freaking out. (2/3)
It took us about 30 minutes of restraining him before he was medicated enough to calm down
Fast forward maybe two years later. I’m no longer security or live in the town, but I went for a metal show. I joked to friends that I was worried someone I had dealt with in the hospital might recognize me and have bad memories.
Lo and behold, there is MMA fighter taking shots at the bar. Now I know that he shouldn’t be drinking with his meds but hey, it’s been two years and I don’t know anything about his current health status so whatever. I still tried to avoid him in case he remembered my shape shifting.
At one point our lines to the bar coincided, and I ended up standing next to him. He looked up at me, looked down and then looked back up and stared. Hard. I could tell he recognized me but I could also tell that he was trying to figure out from where. The entire night I could see him lingering around me, staring with this befuddled expression on his face
I was a tad scared (3/3)
I’m a therapist, but not a psychologist if that matters. I used to work in a facility for kids and adolescents with pretty intense behavioral issues. Even when a client was aggressive, I was usually able to de-escalate them and I generally didn’t feel unsafe. In fact, most of the time I was concerned about their safety during outbursts.
With one exception…I had a client that was pretty strong and prone to intense tantrums. This client was acting in a way that was unsafe (had a plan to seriously hurt another resident I think?) so I had to put them on restriction (within staff eyesight at all times). Their response was to run up to me and attempt to choke me. Luckily the staff got there in time and prevented this kid from seriously hurting me. On another occasion, this same client also took apart their curtain rod in their bedroom and swung it at my head (I dodged in time). Oddly enough, this client and I had a pretty good relationship the other 99% of the time and I generally enjoyed working with them.
Once when I was a medical student I was asked to see a patient in the psychiatric unit of the emergency room. I walked in with my short white coat and clipboard and asked the guy what brought him in today and what was wrong. He looked me dead in the eyes with foamy saliva dribbling from the corner of his mouth and a strange smell in the air and said “the devil told me to kill you and kill myself.” He was sweaty and his eyes were bloodshot and his wifebeater had dark red/brown stains on it. The door was behind him and I wasn’t sure I could make it there before something bad happened. No idea if he had a weapon on him. I was afraid of calling loudly for help, I was in a quiet corner of the ER and I felt like I would have had to yell to get attention and I didn’t want to startle him. I stayed there for a half-hour and asked him more questions. Slipped out when he started to look sleepy.
Not a psych but my dad is a retired forensic one. He’s got far too many stories but his first-ever murder case decades ago as a noob was a rough one.
It involved a guy who kept asking this girl out, she made it clear numerous times that she wasn’t interested, but the guy wasn’t having it and just kept harassing her. Finally, one day he followed her home where he stabbed her parents and the family dog to death.
I don’t really want to hear about any of his other cases.
Clinical psychologist in training here. I’ve never been afraid, but my friend had a client once who made her extremely uncomfortable. Without revealing any information that could break confidentiality, I will say that he had issues with masturbating too much (and not doing much else), and at one point asked my friend if they could watch porn together in the next session so he could show her what he does… At another time, he talked about his masturbation habits while touching his [email protected]#k through his pants a bit – totally inappropriate behavior, obviously. This client had lots of other issues, but when these things came up, her supervisor took her off the case because it wasn’t suitable for training and my friend didn’t feel safe.
Not a psychologist, but saw a breakdown in my ex that scared me senseless.
He had just started meds and the meds reacted HORRIBLY with him for whatever reason. He mostly had hallucinations, but sometimes he’d black out and do activities and not remember them. He would call me screaming at 3 AM and he didn’t remember a SECOND of it. Any of it. He had hallucinations before, but they got increasingly dangerous with these meds.
In particular, I think of one instance. While on the phone during an episode, he said, “I boiled some water.” I asked why, as it was 3 AM, and he replied eerily calmly “they told me I have to stick my hand in here.”
It was absolutely terrifying. I finally begged him to go to the hospital that following morning to ask for a medication change and he begrudgingly obliged.
While he was there, he started throwing up blood and had to get his stomach pumped. Turns out, in one of his black outs, he swallowed his entire bottle of medication.
Very sweet, but very non verbal 13 year old boy would masturbate, constantly. Constantly. Pants down, penis out, masturbating, all day, all night, in front of everyone and anyone. He had elephantiasis of his penis and part of one of his legs, so these events were not only disturbing and inappropriate, there was literally a practical problem with him taking his 1.5 foot long penis out of his pants – it seriously took 2 people to pack it back in, and then he would drop his pants and take it out all over again.
Not a psychologist, but I was a deputy in training with another guy when I was a corrections officer in county jail. We both got assigned to the psych ward and got trained at the same time. One inmate was absolutely crazy. He looked like a smaller version of Charles Manson and was never allowed out of his cell unsupervised because he would instantly attack inmates and corrections officers. I was doing my count with my fellow officer when he stopped both of us and asked if my partner wanted to die. My partner said “no” Then the inmate steps up to the glass and says “Its my birthday and the president is gonna help me kill you. Don’t come near me again” After that we continued our count and thought nothing of it. As the night continues we have another count and the inmate first see me again and asks if I have his birthday present. I say no and then my partner walks by “WHAT THE [email protected]#K!!!” the inmate screams and starts kicking and punching the metal door. I have never been more scared. This was a 6 inch steel door with shatter proof glass and this guy was one hip turn away from knocking this thing down. You could almost see the door bend off the hinges with each punch. Guy was maybe 5’3-5’5 and rail thin but was moving this door as if he was the hulk. My partner went to get more officers and once he leaves the inmate’s view, he stops immediately. looks at me, gets a blanket and goes to sleep. Fell right asleep with bloody hands from punching the steel door and was triggered only when he saw my partner. Funny thing was, that was our first night and that officer had never interacted with him before. How fast that went from zero to Mr Hyde was insane.
Then the guy that would stick pens up his pee hole. That was intresting.