Let us begin with an anecdote detailing my very first encounter with schizophrenia that took place during my childhood.
Before entering into the K-12 education system, my days were spent almost exclusively with my grandmother. She was a supervisor at Colonial Community Services, an organization established during the 80 's to support individuals living with mental illnesses or cognitive disabilites. Since my grandmother spent the majority of her days travelling back and forth between Colonial Homes, I ended up spending a great deal of my childhood with her—at work.
I distinctly remember enjoying my interactions with the clients at the Colonial Homes; in fact, I spent so much time there I was practically a resident myself. There was one man in particular who I was very fond of because he was remarkable storyteller. He routinely asked me if I remembered the “snow lobsters”, and I politely responded by telling him everything: their habitats, average lifespan, predators and prey. Even at the time, I knew these snow-dwellers were entirely make-believe; but he listened so attentively, and would even chime in with supplemental 'facts ' if ever I was lost for words. In my mind, it was like we were playing a game together.
My grandmother eventually told me that he was ill (he had s...
... middle of paper ...
...coffee talk session with butterlies in my stomach.
In the meantime, my recreational one-on-one 's were proceeding very well. I demonstrated an ability to set aside any preconceived notions about mental illness, and attend to each person as an individual with their own unique set of circumstances. I fully acknowedge their condition, but maintined respect for their dignity. Gradually, after a little patience and perserverance, I established a rapport with the patients and the unit staff: creating a network of mutual respect. The Nova Scotia Hospital was a tremendous learning experience; I learned about the people on the unit, psychiatric treatment and care plans, and about the role that I aspire to fufill one day, as a physician.
I recently started attending coffee talk without butterfies. Eventually, I didn 't feel like needed any authority—because I had confidence.
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