Need help immediately? Call 646-54-DRDEB
Defining “Normal”: Caroline’s Screaming; Phil is Jealous – Who is Crazy?
Maybe neither of them is crazy. This poor woman sat in my office weeping; she thought she was going crazy. We’ll call her Caroline. Here’s what happened: Her husband, we’ll call him Phil, decided that she was having an affair. She insisted she wasn’t, but he refused to believe her.
He started questioning every second of her day yesterday; it became a grilling. Not only didn’t he let up, but the stony silence of dinner was replaced after she’d fallen asleep at 2AM with more grilling. Needless to say, Caroline couldn’t readily fall asleep after that. She finally drifted into a disturbed sleep around 5 only to be awakened by her alarm an hour later.
In the morning, she came unglued, shouting and screaming. The children were frightened and Phil rushed to “protect” them from their “crazy” mother. This was the last straw. Now fear was added to distress and anger. Fear of losing her children. She called me for an emergency visit.
“You’re not crazy,” I told her. “Your reactions are consistent with a person under stress who is deprived of sleep, and who feels there is no exit.”
How many people out there think their reactions are crazy? How many of you are worried about this? Being calm in the face of attacks, especially false attacks, is highly unusual. That level of calmness tells me that either a person has been doing yoga meditation all his life or that he is emotionally cut off from his feelings. Now, that would be something to be concerned about.
In other words, it is normal to become upset, and normal to become highly upset when relentlessly attacked, especially falsely attacked, combined with threats to remove the children, however subtle these are. It’s normal also to lose it in the face of sleeplessness. If you remember, one of the reasons that the Guantanomo prisoners were considered to have been tortured was sleep deprivation.
This is from WedMD (http://www.webmd.com/sleep-disorders/guide/sleep-requirements): “Too little sleep may cause:
- Memory problems
- A weakening of your immune system, increasing your chance of becoming sick
- Increase in perception of pain”
Note, please, my previous post which shows that people experience physical and emotional pain in the same center of the brain. Now, that’s interesting, isn’t it?
My bottom line here is that if a person who is
---and deprived of sleep
doesn’t act upset, then I’d be worried there is something wrong.
Finally, Caroline calmed down enough for us to plan exactly how she should handle her jealous husband.
“So,” Caroline asked me, “if I’m not crazy, then maybe my husband is?”
Now, were were back to square one, this time with jealousy. Is jealousy normal?
Stay tuned for the next post.