My Journal for Psychiatric Nursing Concept 03

August 26th, 2008 by Dianne Peña

During our first day of exposure at National Center for Mental Health, our group showed mixed of emotions… Some of them were excited, some of them were scared and some of them were nervous. I belong to the excited one. However, a part of me was a bit afraid because I am clueless on how to treat and deal with them. My fear subsided when our clinical instructor taught us on how to interact with them.

We were assigned 2 students per patient for our security. My partner and I was able to interact with the patient effectively though at first, we ran out of questions to ask. Good thing our patient was very spontaneous and has a lot of stories to share. We knew how she get there, about her family background and on how is she doing now and her relationship with her co-patients. We validated the data we have gathered and it was correct though she failed to give us some details about her stay at the institution maybe because she already forgot due to time, she doesn’t want to talk about it or she doesn’t trust us enough. Throughout the interview, I almost felt like I am talking to a normal person. I wasn’t afraid at all and I clearly understand what she was talking about.

On the other hand, I can’t help but think of why most people fear these kind of persons— crazy, lunatics, insane as we would label them. They are trapped with that stigma that tends “normal” people to become disgusted. Yes, they are capable of hurting themselves and what more of other people right? But if you would come to think of it, they are just protecting themselves. Yes, they have unusual attitudes as well as behaviors but it can still be treated. They are not capable of thinking properly and deciding for themselves correctly but when you spend time with them, you will see how weak they are inside, how they need someone to talk to and someone to hear them, how helpless they are with their situation.

I believe mentally challenged people are also like us, normal people, who just failed to cope with their problems and conflicts. They feel they are alone and defenseless. They aren’t as strong as we are and that is why instead of fearing them, we should extend our arms to them and help them to get of the darkness they are into. I know they also wanted to get out but doesn’t know how to and lacked courage to do so.

At some point I think normal people are the once who should be feared for they have the right way of thinking and be capable of doing things mysteriously. I mean, if you would compare it with people who are mentally challenged, normal people doesn’t show any signs and symptoms of such disorders and is capable of pleasing you where in fact, under their good looks is their dreadful motive. Looks can be deceiving. We should be careful with our judgements.

I don’t know if I was lucky that I have interacted with people who are mentally challenged (because people often chose not to…) but one thing is for sure, people need not to be afraid of them because inside them, is a heart that is longing for love and acceptance.

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