A young woman brought her brother in for psychiatric evaluation. She told me he had been acting strangely and gave me her written account of what had been going on. She was a bit compulsive in the way she documented things and, you can tell, was not primarily English-speaking. Still, if you can be patient enough to read through this, you will get an interesting insight into this man’s mental illness and the trouble it caused his family.
When the sister said she was comfortable that they were all safe with him at home, we discharged them with information on how to get him some psychiatric help.
Here is a re-creation of the “log” she kept and shared with me:
Log – JC (I am not using his real initials) – Summary
One Page Summary – August 2016
Weight: 150 lbs.
Education: BA degree Nuclear and Computer Engineering from UC Berkley in 20–
Career: Started working for S——— in 2016
Lives with: Wife, 4-year-old son, mom-in-law
Medications: none. Currently refuses to see any doctors.
Drugs or Alcohol uses: none. No history of drug or alcohol abuse
When he was working at a computer chip company, he said to the family that his boss taps his phone, knows where is was going, someone is watching and needs to close the blinds and install security cameras. Family had talked to him and lay out all the reasons why his boss would not do such thing. He was convinced at first. Family asked him to quit and he quitted, and stayed home with baby son and mom-in-law for about 2 years. He seemed fine most of the time but every few months, he will bring up issue of being watched and his phone being tapped.
Started telling family that his in-laws are hurting-poisoning him and irritated that rich people controlling everyone and buying everyone’s mind, so everyone is scared to speak up. We talked to him but he cannot be convinced. He has these strong feelings about one week and increased to couple of times per week. He then said that it is his wife, B, who is hurting and poisoning.
July – August 2016
J has symptoms of bipolar disorder which includes: daily extreme mood changes, strong feelings of irritability and anger, avoid friends and social activities, decline sleep, having delusional thoughts, persecutory paranoia, episodes of hypomania daily and mania almost every other day. He refuses that there is anything wrong with him and everyone including doctors are all against him. He said he does not have paranoia because he is not that type of people. He now strongly feels that his wife is harming him, including poisoning him, throwing stuff to his head. He yells at her almost daily for hurting him and threatens to hurt her and the son if they try to hurt him.
6/6/2016 Sunday 12 PM
He held down P (the son) to put alcohol on his scraped knee. He insist that there are microwave length that controls all this. We argued very loud and he accused me of killing people, accused B of using atomic bombs and army trucks.
7/15/2016 Friday 10 PM
He took a picture of his scraped knee and insisted that it was serious, badly swollen, internal, microwave laser tissue penetration. Need to report to Obama. Everything is bought and everyone else is scared to say anything, everything is cover up including doctors. Everyone needs to be educated to a high-level and accessible. I don’t want to live a scared life like you all. You are all brainwashed.
7/16/2016 Saturday 8 AM
He posted on Facebook “Imagine life in a country that is constantly at war, surveillance, and creates artificial news. There’s gotta be a better way and I know I’m not the only one that feels this way.”
7/17/2016 Sunday 9:30 PM
He posted on Facebook “Thank you everyone for your care and kindness. I will keep a positive thinking going forward.”
7/18/2016 Monday 2 PM
Posted “Feeling cool about Usesome” which is an article about high-ranking intelligence officer making artificial news and destroying massive mankind.
7/20/2016 Wednesday 4 PM to 8 PM
He posted on Facebook “Got sick? Got resistors, capacitor, F T?”
7/23/2016 Saturday 12 AM to 3 AM
He and I talked for over two hours about various topics from “What do you think of B, rich people ruling everything, interviewing for the new job is beneficial because involve learning new thing, what if Mom and Dad and I were taken advantage, what would I do?” I told him that “That must be a scary feeling.” He said “Never mind” and changed subject. I asked him how his knee, what did the doctor say. He did not answer me.
7/24/2016 Sunday 12 AM
He posted on Facebook “<3ing.” Kicks bathroom door open and held up fist to B, eyes wide open. He said “You poisoned me, you and your coworker poisoned pool water and made me go into pool with P. My legs are handicap now. I don’t want to you.” B said violence is not going to help and sat down to talk to him. He calmed down and B was able to talk to him in a calm way. He listened and talked, lasted over an hour, then went to sleep.
7/25/2016 Monday 9 PM
He mixed cement and worked on the basketball hoop at 9 PM at night, shouting to B to help and asking mom-in-law to stay inside. At midnight, posted on Facebook a bunch of Chinese sentences that no one can make any sense. Like random Chinese words being put together to try to say something evil inside of someone.
8/2/2016 Tuesday throughout the day
P is sick. He said someone pressed button. J asked P to eat, P has no appetite and didn’t want to eat. He told P if he didn’t eat, he can die. He said at one point to P that P only needs to learn math and English and don’t need to learn anything else because he can teach him everything else.
8/4/2016 Thursday day
He said he was hypnotized, someone shot him. Caused by phone microwave. Felt that hair had blown by wind so he was hypnotized. Must be B who used pollen. She gets pollen everywhere. She is together with high school friends and large corporations like cops, FBI. He went out with P and Dad and ran into bad freeway traffic, he said someone messed with us. Someone messed with mom too because mom ran into traffic going home after work.
8/5/2016 Friday morning
He yell at B and said to sell the house, B caused T to pull wisdom teeth, she caused T to move away from San Francisco. He stopped after P started crying. I talked to him right after this episode and he acted normal. He asked me if I have already gotten my wisdom teeth off, I told him no because it was just a consultation. He said that they are getting ready to leave the house to bring P out.
He had a long talk with Mom mainly complaining about rich people ruling everyone else. There are smart people sifting all the stupid people out. Stupid people receive small incentive, so they comply and work like slaves. He was calm and had no episode.
8/7/2016 Sunday 9 PM
On the car ride home, he complained to B about her being a betrayed person. After arriving home he and P played and P accidentally poke J’s eyes. J said to P, you are trying to hurt me, I will kill you so you can’t hurt everyone in the society. He pulled B out of bed, dragged her down two flights of stairs and pulled her into the kitchen and pointed to a cockroach and accused her of poisoning him. After B tell him that it is not an issue when there are insects around, and Mom-in-law said a few positive things to calm him. They sat down and he saw her looking through her phone and he told her not to call 911. He asked if they are going to get a divorce and whether she is contacting a lawyer. He said “we can talk about it here and you don’t have to talk to lawyer.” Mom-in law-said it’s late and they should all go to sleep. He insisted to sleep with P in P’s room. She sleeps in their own master bedroom. Everyone went to bed. From 12:40 AM to 2 AM, he texted to a Family Group chat “Be careful, and evil is acting up again. My wife just put something in my drink. The family history going back hundreds of years are all traitor. Targeting all Chinese people, kissing ass to non-Chinese people, be careful, this 200-year-old issue still happens today, don’t fight within each other, needs to collaborate together. Is everyone around just sick for a long time?” When B was getting ready for work in the morning, he came to her room and said “I’m checking what the traitor is up to.”
8/10/2016 Wednesday morning
Mom called J and first he said “Don’t worry about me. Everything is fine.” He brought P out to the playground and museum and asked mom-in-law to join too, as if nothing happened last night.
8/10/2016 Wednesday 8:30 PM
I had an hour-long conversation with him. He said B together with other unknown people from high school poisoned him for years. He asked how we feel, he said he can’t explain it, it’s just feel different. He said she brings in drugs from somewhere/someone and dosage is not severe enough to kill him but enough to make you feel different and will last 20+ years. This all came from 200 to 5000 years ago that the tradition of poisoning continues to this day. There is a group of highly educated gangster related and rich people summoned people from China to come to the US and get citizenship and turn in people for them. B is brought into that group whose job is to turn J to the highly educated people. That’s why she poisoned him. He said he already reported to FBI and Obama. He said he wants to try to make B get out of it but she is too much in already. He said he is telling me and the family because he wants us to be careful. When asked if he feels angry or frustrated, he said some time but he can’t do anything about it so just let it be. When I asked he was sad, he said no because he smiles every day. He said he wants P to be highly educated so that he will know there are people around to hurt him.
8/12/2016 Friday 3 PM
I suggested he sees a marriage therapist because his current relationship with wife, he refused and said the root cause is that she needs to stop poisoning me. Then midnight he went to her room and said she is always awake, “every time I wake up in the middle of the night, this girl is awake.”
8/15/2016 Monday 5 PM
When he came home from work, he said someone throw stuff on his head, and he went to shower right away.
Said the same as yesterday about someone throw stuff on his head. When Mom-in-law was away from the house to get groceries, he started yelling at B that she is harming his family, harming his uncle, and said parents are scared of B. And then he said to P, “if you hurt my family, I will kill you.”
8/17/2016 Wednesday 8 AM
Wrote on family group chat that someone threw stuff on his head. He said he felt something that breaks/spread apart as it lands on his head.
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Wow. To say he needs serious help is woefully understating it. I wouldn’t feel safe around him, let alone having a child around him.
I had an under-performing university colleague years ago who developed a reputation in the department for being paranoid and mentally ill because he began complaining that he was being spied on by his colleagues, monitored by the university, and that his students were being assigned to follow him and record his activity for the administration, etc. It eventually got him fired. But years later when I became an administrator and had access to office files, it turned out that many of his accusations were indeed true. He may have imagined or exaggerated some of the surveillance, but the records (and reports from other colleagues who had been involved) indicated that much of what he thought was happening to him was indeed taking place. At the time it was all being laughed off by those responsible in an attempt to cover up their activities and convince the rest of us he was nuts. Unfortunately, it worked. So, while this instance certainly seems to involve real mental illness, you never know what percentage of such perceptions are rooted in fact, especially if someone else is keeping the records and telling the story.,
This hits very close to home… This just chronicles 2-3 months of what they are all going through and will keep going through. I would also like to point out how he doesn’t really meet 72 hr hold criteria, even with the occasional “ill kill you if you do this” statement, and that paired with his total lack of insight into his own illness is what is so hard and so dangerous about mental disorders.
Its hard- you love them, they don’t think they’re doing anything wrong but they are so destructive. They often can’t function on their own, do you leave them to live on the streets or keep them in your home with that constant threat of their unpredictability?
I feel like my collegues in ER have a hard time understanding how difficult and longterm these issues are for these families who present with a situation like this that our system can do nothing for.
I am sure people get tired of me saying, “Mental illness is just the worst. It never gets better and it negatively effects the patients, their family and everyone they interact with. It is just the worst.”
This is a sad and scary account. Sometimes I wonder who to believe when I get two different stories about what is going on. This shows how tough that can be.