Friday, May 27, 2011

Anecdotes from Our Walks Downtown:
The Schizophrenic

Nash Square

Statue of Josephus Daniels, Fmr Secy of Navy and FDR's old boss

There is a story of one woman I can’t forget because of how sad it was. The first time I saw her, I didn’t think much of her. She looked ordinary. Sitting at a park bench, she was working on a crossword puzzle. I guess she was in her late 40’s or early 50’s. She had the look of a librarian or a secretary.

We didn’t pass directly by her. Her bench laid on a ‘spoke’ from the circle the babies and I went around. About a quarter of a way through the walk, I heard her yell in a shrill voice “Get away, get away.” She flicked her hands trying to shoo something away. I thought she was yelling at someone, a bird or a squirrel. As I looked closely, she was all by herself. Nothing was around her. She was yelling at an invisible intruder. The woman was schizophrenic.

I was taken aback. She looked clean and well cared for. This is in contrast to the other schizophrenics I’ve seen in Raleigh and Greensboro. The other guys I’ve seen had matted down hair and a wardrobe that was torn and mismatched. They also smelled ‘gamey.’

I would see this woman several more times. I wondered if she lived with her family or if she was institutionalized. Every time I did see her, she would be agitated and fuss at the demons she conjured up.

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