CASE 1: You can call me Susan. I work for L’Oreal as a Head Manager of the Advertising Department.

I am a widow, my husband died of cerebral aneurysm after we quarreled about our bedroom’s wallpaper. I have lived alone ever since. One day, it was dusk and I was walking my dog in the park. Suddenly I saw a shadow. I stopped and stood stiff as a rock. I stared hard and felt my heart take up a wild pace in its cage. The shadow looked menacing. I thought it was the shadow of evil incarnate. The curves look like the sharp blades of the scimitar. The shadow stared back at me. I broke in cold sweat. I felt so wary, so suspicious to the intent of the shadow. I stared hard and…it looked like the shadow of a woman. No! It was my shadow. The realization made me more anxious. It doesn’t look like me. I gasped and realized that I was holding my breath for the entire ordeal. I gripped my dog’s chain and ran quickly back home. At home, I quickly went to the bathroom and washed my face to mesmerize myself. The water was cool and comforting. I let my guards down and relaxed. Then, I saw the mirror. A stranger! Evil! Her eyes we’re bursting with hatred. The lips, oh the smile, such a smile of pure and sheer malevolence. I was at the kitchen before I knew it. My head felt like a thousand hammer’s pounding it. I went to the sink and gasped. The knives! The weapons! I saw knives, spoons, forks, plates, ladles, glasses, and cups. Oh my! They’re weapons, lethal weapons in the hands of the wrong person. I could hurt someone with these. I could cut open skulls with knives, gouge eyes with the spoons, slit throats with forks… No! What am I thinking?! With all the courage I could muster, I took all the knives, all the forks, spoons, and ladles to the basement, put them in a box, and wrapped them heavily with packing tape. I made sure no air is going to enter and no one, especially me, is going to open it. Me? Why me? Without thinking for an answer I quickly ran back to the kitchen and took all the plates, glasses, cups, and even the chopsticks and did the same. After making sure no weapon is left in the kitchen, I locked the basement and throw the key to the deep lake beside my house so that I wouldn’t find it. It’s been months since this experience. I’ve been wary about looking at mirrors and keeping weapons ever since. What’s wrong with me? DIAGNOSIS: Specific Phobia: Autophobia (fear of self) w/ history of panic attack CASE 2: “Oh how I hate eyes! I hate them to the ends of my soul!” Tom tells his therapist without looking at her eyes. He is fuming with anger, his face red with hate. Tom is a 40 year-old computer programmer. He has been known worldwide for his Nobel Prize winning AI Program that can solve logical and ethical problems. But he has evaded the crowd. Tom tells his therapist that he has avoided eyes or at least looking at eyes for about 5 years now. He doesn’t like eyes in pictures either. If ever he has picture in his room, he makes sure its eyes are cutout. His child’s stuffed-toys are all eyeless now. “I don’t want anyone or anything to see me. I might do something scandalous and shameful. And besides, I’m not a worthwhile sight.” He relates to his therapist. He stays most of the time in his isolated bedroom. He remembers the day of his child’s Christening. There was crowd in their home. People’s attention makes him uneasy. He had been in his room for 8 hours now and he feels the urge to pee. He has no choice but to go to the bathroom outside his room. As he stepped outside the room, he noticed everyone staring at him. Oh no! He thought. He fumbled over his zipper, his buttons, straightened his shirt, and fixed his hair. He had that overwhelming sense of dread. Everyone’s disgusted with me! He thought. He felt nervous and noticed that he was shaking, shaking terribly. He felt lightheaded as if the world is spinning. He quickly ran back to his room and curled at the corner of his bed and shuddered intensely. He had peed on his pants.

Ever since, he avoided anyone. He even went great lengths just to avoid his family. He constructed separate hallways to prevent someone from seeing him. His only solace is his computer. DIAGNOSIS: Social Phobia w/ history of panic attack CASE 3: Eric, an 18-year-old college student, is taking up Bachelor of Science in Political Science at the Yale University. His mom and dad had just divorced. Eric relates to his therapist a condition he is experiencing for the past 8 months. Eric loves to drink coffee. He is an avid customer of Starbucks. He remembers one day when he went there. He was sitting at the stool beside the counter and sipping his relaxing coffee. When suddenly, an image crossed his mind. He stared hard at the black coffee willing the image to reveal itself more. He gasped. He saw his mom and his dad sewn together w/ sack needle and copper wire. There was also his little sister with them the three were embossed on their house’s wall as if cemented statues. Then, he mesmerized. The image was so morbid, so bloody, and so violent. Eric noticed that the cup of coffee in his hand is shaking. Most were on the table. He put it down. What an image, he thought. He was shocked by such violence, and to his parents, sure he’s going to faint. He quickly went out and went back to school. In the middle of the class, the image recurred in Eric’s mind. He hastily ran to the CR. He washed his right hand. Then, he suddenly felt uneasy. Unnerving dread. Immediately he washed his left hand and suddenly felt relaxed. He sighed, shrugged, and went out. He was walking down the alley when he stopped and stood stiff. He felt the dread again. Utter terror. He felt his stomach churning. He looked back and saw a crack on the path he had stepped on. He went back and stepped with his left foot. He felt relaxed. Why am I doing this? He asked himself. At home, as he was chopping the broccolis for the salad, he cut his left index finger. Blood spilled in the table. He felt the dread twice more intense this time. He cut his right index finger. He felt it necessary to do so. Or else he would be overwhelmed with fear. There was also another instance when he stepped on a nail with his right foot. Feeling it necessary, he also stepped on the nail with his left. Every time something happens to the right, it must also happen to the left or else he’d fret. DIAGNOSIS: Obsessive-Compulsive Disorder CASE 4: I am Tori and driving is my life. I am married, and luckily, to a driver like me. I love him so much. We spend every Sunday afternoon driving around the town, enjoying the warmth of dusk and the fresh air of spring. We were driving last March 26, 2006 towards our mountain cabin in Montana. The wind was breezy and the warmth refreshing to the soul. My husband was driving our Yellow Oldsmobile. He was smiling. We were following a truck carrying huge logs. We can’t overtake, roads too narrow. I was staring at my beloved thinking, Gosh, I’m the happiest woman in the world, and I’ve the most beautiful husband . When suddenly, a loud noise caught my attention. A log, colossal log at that, fell from the truck. It was hurtling towards us. Pointing sharply at our car and… the log hit our car right on the windshield. It passed through carrying my husband’s head with it. A beheaded body is what I’ve got. Deafening silence. A decapitated soul is what’s left. The next thing I knew, I was out the car, sobbing, and shaking. I felt helpless. I cannot grasp the horror of his death.

That was 15 months ago and now, I’m stuck. Every night I remember the truck, the log, the headless body, and my loss. I dreamt about it. Nightmares, ghastly nightmares. I wake up crying and curling at the corner of my bed, with uncontrolled tremors. I have avoided malls too and most of the time I’m at home. I remember one time a friend, wanting to cheer me up, brought me to the mall to watch the latest movie. We passed a boutique. I saw a headless mannequin. I collapsed. Every time I see a log, and every time I see a headless mannequin, I faint. I’m even afraid to sleep now. I might dream about it gain. I’m going to go crazy if this don’t end. Help me. DIAGNOSIS: Post-Traumatic Disorder CASE 5: “I think I don’t even know the meaning of the word sleep now. It’s already a month since I’ve known the very essence of sleep. My name’s Rachel. I’m 24 years old and I’m sleepstarved.” She relates her therapist. "31 nights. I can’t sleep. I toss and turn on my bed every night. I’ve counted flocks of sheep, and I’ve already sheared a thousand. I think I invented aerobic sleeping. It’s the feeling that keeps me from sleeping. That feeling keeps me alert. It’s a feeling that… I really can’t point my finger at it but it’s been nagging behind my head since then. A worry, a fear. I’ve tried sleeping pills and I did sleep. And the moment I opened my eyes, I got paralyzed, and the feeling’s back again. Something’s gone awry, I thought. When I go to work. The feeling keeps up with me. I hate it. I don’t know it and the more I hate it! I don’t understand what I fret about, I just fret! Eternal fretting! And I’ve noticed that I’ve been quarrelling to often with my boyfriend. We fight about everything, from spoon design to name of neighbors. He complains I’m too bitchy. What should I do?” DIAGNOSIS: Generalized Anxiety Disorder SAMUEL H. AQUINO JR.

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