Leonidas is a 42-year-old man diagnosed with paranoid schizophrenia in 2001. He had this diagnosis from the X psychiatric hospital when he was voluntarily hospitalized due to some auditory hallucinations. He was hearing voices criticizing him as «useless», “loser” and other derogatory comments. He had also some annoying thoughts. After his hospitalization, his employer fired him from the café, where he worked as a waiter, citing financial difficulties that did not allow him to have many employees. Since then he has been unable to find a new job.
While he was looking for a job, he became very depressed because he couldn’t find employment. His mother said him that it was worthless to look for a job, because a person with a mental disorder could hardly be accepted for work. Finally he accepted what his mother told him and he remained unemployed. He lives with his parents in a house in a suburb of Athens and visits a day center three times a week, where he is examined in a regular basis by a psychiatrist and participates in various groups, such as a group of artistic activities, a poetry group etc.
One day while he was walking to the day center for the poetry group, he was narrating a poem loudly. Passing out of school, some high school students began to make comments, such as «you are crazy», «where are you going old man», «you are smoking like chimney» etc. and they laughed loudly. Leonidas kept walking to his destination, giving no attention. He thought that the students had this behavior because they were children and it was a big mistake to talk alone. He attended the meeting with the poetry group, and when he was invited to recite a poem, he politely refused.
He kept going to poetry groups, following a different path. He tried to stop his habit of narrowing on the street. After three meetings, he stopped joining the group, saying “he cannot make it”.
Social stigma, reinforced with episode of verbal aggression.
Emotions: sadness, shame
Coping/Stressors related to mental illness/social stigma and self-stigma
Coping/Functional coping strategies
Questions and answers
At what point in the scenario do you find that the protagonist was a victim of violence? To what kind of violence does the scenario refer to?
The point at which Leonidas was subjected to violence was where the children described him with various comments. The various derogatory comments he received, can be possibly regarded as verbal violence.
Also in the scenario where Leonidas’ mother tells him that it is difficult for a person with a mental disorder to be accepted for a job, it can be possibly considered as discrimination. The same may occurs with his employer’s decision to fire him after his hospitalization (in the event that his employer did this because of his hospitalization and simply referred to financial problems as an excuse).
Do you think that the thoughts, the actions, the feelings and the attitudes adopted by the protagonist of the scenario helped him/her to cope with this situation? Are there any alternative ideas?
Leonidas in the incident with the children did not get angry. The scenario does not report that he experienced specific intense emotions. The scenario gives the impression that he “isolated” his emotions. He also seemed to rationalize their behavior. He accepted the situation as it was. The rationalization of the children’s behavior may help to prevent him from behaving aggressively towards the children, thus he avoided a potential trouble. Possibly the suppression of his emotions about the event (his feelings were not even expressed in the group at the center of the day), may have possibly contributed to his drop out from the poetry group.
What other interventions and actions could further help the protagonist to deal with this incident and with any potential similar incidents in the future?
Not responding to aggressive behaviors may help but he could express his feelings to a group or to a daycare mental health professional.