LIVING CORAM DEO
Monday, 11 December, 2017
The Lonely And Eccentric Boy

The Lonely And Eccentric Boy

The Lonely And Eccentric Boy.

Edward said to his mother, Jane, one morning that he did not want to go to school. All dressed up, he sat down at the breakfast table and wept. It was the first time she had heard him expressed his dislike for school, and he was unwilling to talk about it. Jane decided to take leave for the day, and accompanied Edward to school later that morning to see his principal. An immediate meeting was scheduled with the school counsellor, but no one was able to get a word out of Edward. The principal decided to summon Edward’s class monitor, and together with the counsellor, the three of them went into a private session. Jane was eventually included in this session. The outcome was for Edward to be referred for further counselling.

When I first met Edward, he was withdrawn and tight-lipped. While he waited outside the counselling room, his mother updated me. Edward, 14 years old, had been mercilessly teased and bullied by his classmates and others, usually after school hours and out of sight of the teachers. He kept to himself all the time and did not seem to have any close friends. His self defense was always to claim that he knew everything about his schoolmates, their weak points and their sins, and he also knew when God would punish them for their unkindness towards him, together with the details of those punishments. At times, he would speak in an unknown language in pronouncing apparent curses against his schoolmates. His pronouncements often aggravated the bullying and led to physical scuffles. Furthermore, Edward seemed to be misreading most of the interpersonal cues in his interaction with his schoolmates, and at times, nobody was able to understand what he was attempting to communicate as he could not explain himself plainly. These perceptual distortions further isolated him, and made mutual suspicions more intolerable. Edward’s class monitor was the one who had divulged this background information.

Jane knew that her son was a sensitive boy, at times anxious, and one who basically kept to himself, but was not aware of the extent of bullying at school. She confessed that Edward had a keen interest in everything superstitious, including paranormal phenomena, and showed an avid interest in YouTube videos on these topics. But she was unsuspecting how these had perceptibly influenced him, nor his predisposition to prophesy punishment on his schoolmates.

It took three sessions before Edward began to open up. The key was when inadvertently we discovered his special interest in assembling model figurines of superheroes from the Marvel comic series; the likes of Spider-Man, Captain Marvel, Thor, Iron Man, etc. He was encouraged to bring a model at each appointment, so that we could talk about them. Having him show me a few of these expensive and beautifully painted plastic models at the sessions opened up the door to his thoughts and self-perception to some of his bizarre experiences. In fact, he would occasionally imagine himself playing a superhero role against his ‘enemies,’ and being totally lost in his own magical world. After a series of psychological tests, we were able to confirm that Edward was suffering from schizotypal personality disorder.

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