Aliens, Computer Chips and WiFi

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“I have been WiFi’d,” she told me with a straight face. 

I waited a minute, not sure what kind of followup question this revelation required. Sometimes it’s best just to sit there and say nothing and let the situation play out as it will.

“I think the FBI is behind it, of course, but it could be somebody else. I don’t know. All I know is that they have WiFi’d these animals into my brain.”

She pronounced it “Wee-Fied”, which for some reason sounded so extremely silly to my geeky brain that I almost laughed out loud. Of course, I maintained decorum. I am a trained professional, people. 

“I see them. Sometimes they touch me. I don’t think you can see them, because, you know, the Creator doesn’t want just anybody to be able to do this!”

I knew where I stood at that point. No doubt at all. 

Delusions are funny things.

I think that they have changed some over the years I’ve been in practice, influenced by external events, the economy or the general social fabric I guess. 

Used to be, people had the old run of the mill thoughts that they were loved by famous people, that the government was watching them (we certainly have to take that one off the books now, don’t we?!) or that they had been abducted by aliens. In 1947, that made perfect sense, since every weird and wonderful wacko on the streets of Roswell, New Mexico, was wearing a tin foil hat and preparing us for the imminent invasion that never came. 

More recently, the delusions seem to have morphed with the times, involving implanted computer chips, WiFi, cell phone towers and control by flying government drones. 

There are still the timeless delusions that one is the lover of a famous movie star, that one is rich beyond all imagining, or that one is Jesus Christ. I always worried about that last one. What if Jesus decided to come back as a mental health patient and he revealed Himself to me and I didn’t believe Him? Meredith Gould, if you are reading this post, can you weigh in on this one for me? I’m not entirely kidding here…

Now, I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, lest those of you who are often angered by my writing get even more so after this post. 

Mental illness is not funny. It’s real. It injures and harms people. It impairs their ability to live, to work and to love. Freud was right about that, among other things

However, I would not be able to do this hard work, this very draining, very emotionally gut-wrenching work, if were not for my love of my patients and the little things they say to me each day, the things they teach me, the things they do (consciously or not) that make me laugh. 

Sometimes, psychiatric symptoms are terribly serious and very severe.

Sometimes they are, in spite of the gravity of the situation and the illness being examined, simply amusing. 

I take my vocational calling very seriously.

I am learning to take myself less so.

 

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9 thoughts on “Aliens, Computer Chips and WiFi

  1. Of course I’m reading! Was that a test…of paranoia? Moving right along. Relative to Jesus the Christ, there are delusions and then there’s Jesus.

    My personal favorite in the delusions department is Milton Rokeach’s famous case study, The Three Christs of Ypsilanti. To study delusions and identity, he gathered three psychiatric patients (nice number!) who each thought they were Jesus the Christ and studied their interactions over the two years the crypto-Christs lived together. I like the 2010 Slate article by Vaughan Bell titled, “Jesus, Jesus, Jesus.”

    And then, there’s Jesus. Have a personal encounter and, well, it’ll rock your world. Here, I’m not talking about “personal” as in the evangelical jargon, “I have a personal relationship with Christ.” I’m talking about Jesus Himself showing up in an indisputable way. And that’s all I’m going to say about that!

    Last but not least, a more serious answer to your conjecture about what would happen if Jesus showed up as a mental patient and you didn’t believe it was Him? In his teachings, Jesus implores us to remove barriers to the Other, to feed the hungry, shelter the homeless, heal the sick and bind up the brokenhearted. That teaching is one foundation of Christian life: to see Christ in everyone, including those who give us the creeps or giggles. It’s the foundation of Christian hospitality, charity, generosity, and compassion. The mental patient is worthy of compassion and care, both of which you do deeply and well so no worries on the eternal salvation front for you, Greg!

  2. Greg,

    Christ will return visibly with a loud command. 1Thessalonians 4:16. There are other scriptures of course. BUT it COULD be that you have an angel visit you! We should always be open for angels unaware! Hebrews 13:2. If that is the case, you have no worries…your bedside manner appears to be impeccable!

    Sorry…had to address that one! :)

    M

  3. Many people wore tin foil hats at that time, even in Southern California, or especially Southern California.Tin foil replaced the beanie for a while. I live near Roswell. Just remember that the Air Force made the press release about the alien spaceship crash in Roswell. In spite of that, most aliens seem to speak Spanish or Chinese.

  4. I enjoyed this post very much Greg, mainly because of your sense of humor. I don’t think there’s anything wrong with finding humor in some of the things our patients say or do. I remember a long time ago when a patient’s family member called his CT scan a SCAT BRAIN . I thought I was going to die right there!! I held it together though. Never a dull moment!!

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