You Are Never Good Enough.
Emile was a talented young lawyer, with a heart for the down trodden and the poor in society. His pro-bono portfolio was impressive as he rattled off some of his cases that he had taken on in the last five years in our initial counselling sessions. Despite his illness, he was still deeply involved in his profession, but it had been a struggle from time-to-time during the early days of his recovery. On some days, he was so unsure of himself that he had to take leave from his legal duties.
Emile completed his private schooling in England, went to a prestigious college, and was called to the bar in one of the Inns of Court. He possessed a disarming personality, was gregarious, and ‘a go-getter.’ With a wide and active social circle, it seemed he would have a bright future ahead of him, with little to worry about. Born with a silver spoon in his mouth, he travelled widely with his parents throughout East Asia and Europe, staying in their summer or winter homes during these journeys. His two older siblings were accomplished in their own professions; his older sister was a top research scientist in a multinational concern, and his older brother was running their father’s thriving business. The pressure for Emile to achieve was always present, as his father’s expectation of him was upfront. In his mid-thirties, he had already caught the eye of the senior partner of a London law firm.
It was a bright summer’s day, and Emile had taken time off to supervise some repair work at his London apartment. Workmen had been in-and-out of the building for the last two weeks. By late afternoon, as they were packing up for the day, Emile noted that water was not running in the apartment. When he attempted to clarify with one of the workmen about the problem, it suddenly resulted in an altercation. All three of the workmen began threatening him, and one of them aggressively pointed a sharp object at him. Things calmed down and they left. The men’s threats kept him awake all night. Thereafter, he had no recollection of what happened.
Rose, Emile’s mother, accompanied him to my office for our first appointment. She filled in the blanks. The British police found Emile wandering around a street near their London home in the early hours of the morning, naked, and unable to speak for himself. They took him first to the station, clothed him, and immediately warded him in a hospital. After a few days, when he was more lucid, they tracked down where he lived, and contacted his parents in Singapore. Emile had a psychotic break. Thankfully, he was compliant in taking his medication right from the beginning, and made a quick recovery. Within a couple of months, he commenced legal work in Singapore.
Emile’s relationship with his father took a nosedive soon after returning to Singapore, and they grew distant. From time-to-time, he was overwhelmed with guilt and blamed himself for his predicament. His mother’s encouraging support kept his depression at bay. Soon, he was back at litigation work at the courts, but his high-flying days were over!