Friday, August 9, 2013

Family Medicine: The Man in the Closet

"My dad used to lock me in the closet for hours at a time.  He would let me out to abuse me.  It was horrible.  I felt so afraid and alone.  I didn't understand sexual abuse at the time, but I knew what he was doing to me was wrong."  A patient told me this story one day when I asked about her childhood.  She had a long list of diagnoses and medications and specialists and hospitalizations.  I wanted to hear the background that delivered such levels of medical interventions.

She continued, "I used to have out of body experiences, flying through the closet door and around the house.  I don't know how it happened, but it was real.  I eventually was able to do it while he was abusing me.  I told my mom about flying around and ended up in the psych ward in the hospital.  They said it was schizophrenia.
I got a lot of pills and hospitalizations.  My sister was abused, too.  She got the schizophrenia, too, and pills and doctors."

"One day when I was locked in the closet, I noticed I didn't feel afraid.  I was calm. There was light in the closet and a man.  I didn't feel nervous about this man.  I decided that he must be Jesus.  He was kind.  I didn't cry anymore.  I even looked forward to being locked in the closet to be with the man..  He seemed to care.  He never harmed me.  He gave me peace."

She asked me to write about the Man in the Closet.

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