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Working with a schizophrenic
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:17 am    Post subject: Working with a schizophrenic Reply with quote

I have been having troubles dealing with my coworker who seems to be suffering from schizophrenia. Psychology is not the area of my expertise but I can see some common symptoms this China experienced foreign teacher shows on daily basis. One of them is quite a disorderly thinking and utterance, another is strange delusions and the third one is a paranoia which pretty much worries me. We share an office and some workload, and I am more than pleased to be working with a professional with a great degree of experience; however, the teacherís apparent condition concerns me. Moreover, some students may have noticed since their feedback on this teacher has not been as positive, although I cannot tell itís related to the condition I am referring to. Have any of you been in such situations and if so how have you dealt with it? Are there any potential dangers I should be aware of? I realize most, if not all, of us on here arenít experts in the area but sharing some thought or experiences on the topic may be helpful.
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 1:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

If working near this person bothers you in any way just distance yourself from them. Get another office or try do your office work at your apartment. That should be easy enough to arrange. Not much else you can do is there?
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chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 2:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
One of them is quite a disorderly thinking and utterance, another is strange delusions and the third one is a paranoia which pretty much worries me.


What are the delusions? It's one thing to dream and separate fiction from reality, but is this person really playing the part of Jesus http://www.oocities.org/tjcgm1p1/s_legal.htm or Napoleon?

There is a teacher I work with and he seems preoccupied in his own world, but when I talk directly to him he doesn't seem out of place communicating. He is just not really openly accepting of other people with different viewpoints than his. The school doesn't see this because when he teaches, it's his class, he's kind of locked himself in his own room, literally and figuratively. He said he locks the door to keep the mosquitoes out Confused

To each their own.

I am curious what you mean by "utterance", just replies to students or actual conversations? I figure one could be paranoid, but of the students, school, or the area they live in? This could possible be a reasonable concern. Yesterday, a student brought a steel baton (heavy too), said he needs it when he goes for a walk at night.
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it'snotmyfault



Joined: 14 May 2012
Posts: 527

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:14 am    Post subject: Re: Working with a schizophrenic Reply with quote

wonderingjoesmith wrote:
. One of them is quite a disorderly thinking and utterance, another is strange delusions and the third one is a paranoia


Do you know if he posts on Dave's? He sounds familiar Smile
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Javelin of Radiance



Joined: 01 Jul 2009
Posts: 1187
Location: The West

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 3:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Could be one of many! Don't have to look to far around here.
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wonderingjoesmith



Joined: 19 Aug 2012
Posts: 910
Location: Guangzhou

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Exactly! Because he may post on daves, I've described the situation with a degree of ambiguity and have stayed away from details. To address your inquiries, I can say that he seems to be some kind of a believer in his own world. He's got his conspiracy theories about media, governments, history that he supports with some findings from the internet and who knows where else from. He gets carried away with news and initiates office debates which he always attempts to bring to his own conclusions. His frustrations over reasonably polite disagreements do not put me at ease. Once he gets started, it's really difficult to disengage/interchange. Perhaps, there may be the reason why some students have indicated their dissatisfaction with him, but again this hasn't really been a professional issue either way (yet).
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roadwalker



Joined: 24 Aug 2005
Posts: 1550
Location: Ch

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 5:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

No doctor here, but have known schizophrenics.

Schizophrenics have trouble perceiving and making sense of the world around them and this can lead to odd behaviors and paranoia. They aren't usually dangerous, except to themselves if their condition leads to prolonged depression. Some are violent, but really anybody is capable of violence if they are very frightened. And if one's perceptions can't be trusted, that's very frightening.

If you already have a working relationship with this teacher and haven't had any times where you felt you were in danger, you should continue. Try to always be calm and positive but not patronizing. If the teacher feels that you can be trusted, it will give him or her a link to the normal. If everyone falls away, that teacher will only feel more isolated and helpless. If he or she confides in you, bring up your concerns calmly and matter of factly. On the other hand, if you are freaked out, your reactions may just make it worse for the teacher, so it would be better to avoid him or her.

If you feel you, the teacher, or students are in any danger, tell the administration immediately and as forcefully as possible with examples of behavior if possible. Good luck.
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doogsville



Joined: 17 Nov 2011
Posts: 702
Location: China

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:58 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The situation you are describing doesn't sound like schizophrenia to me, and I have a fair bit of experience supporting and working with people with that particular illness. He just sounds like a knob from the way you describe him. Someone suffering from schizophrenia would be having aural and possibly visual hallucinations, not just disordered thinking. They would be fearful and agitated a lot of the time, not just 'paranoid' about news stories and government conspiracy theories. The fact that he 'initiates office debates' also points to something other than schizophrenia. Someone with schizophrenia is generally so locked into their own inner world that they would have a hard time debating with anyone but the voices in their own head.

As to whether he is a danger to you. Generally, paranoid schizophrenics are dangerous because they are driven to obey their voices. those voices tend to default to the evil, satanic and demonic end of the spectrum, often telling the sufferer that they themselves are evil or worthless. But they sometimes tell them that those around them are evil and untrustworthy, hence the paranoia. If he is hearing voices, and those voices are telling him that you are a danger to him, then yes, you are in danger. He will try to remove the danger to himself and the voices will encourage him to do so.

He sounds more like a dysfunctional and angry person who is not happy with his life to me though. Perhaps just more so than many of the people who come here to teach. How long has he been in China, and does he drink a lot? Excessive alcohol consumption can lead to the symptoms you describe, especially if the drinker is trying not to drink during working hours.
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it'snotmyfault



Joined: 14 May 2012
Posts: 527

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 9:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wonderingjoesmith wrote:
. He's got his conspiracy theories about media, governments, history that he supports with some findings from the internet and who knows where else from. He gets carried away with news and initiates office debates which he always attempts to bring to his own conclusions. His frustrations over reasonably polite disagreements do not put me at ease


doogsville wrote:
He just sounds like a knob from the way you describe him.


Very Happy Very Happy I agree
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chinatimes



Joined: 27 May 2012
Posts: 478

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:38 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
His frustrations over reasonably polite disagreements


What is he saying? If he is trying to convince you of his beliefs, what are they?

I had a guy tell me that God needed people like him to spread his faith because God is so bright it would burn me.

I also attended a seminar with a guy who held a meditation session which ended in similar fashion. Someone close to him said they felt very hot after he meditated. Fredrick Lenz, aka Rama, said it was because that person was so close to him (that the heat radiating from this Rama guy was so overwhelming to those closely around them).

Laughing Laughing Laughing Laughing

Did you feel hot when you were around him?
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Denim-Maniac



Joined: 31 Jan 2012
Posts: 1238

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 10:41 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

wonderingjoesmith wrote:
He's got his conspiracy theories about media, governments, history that he supports with some findings from the internet and who knows where else from.

He gets carried away with news and initiates office debates which he always attempts to bring to his own conclusions. His frustrations over reasonably polite disagreements do not put me at ease.

Once he gets started, it's really difficult to disengage/interchange.


This is quite an accurate description of me ... but Im not in China. Sounds like a regular guy to me.

Just continue to be a sheep, believe what you are told and question nothing. Very Happy

Nothing to worry about - we cant get on with everyone, this is just someone you arent going to get on with.
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JamesD



Joined: 17 Mar 2003
Posts: 733
Location: "As far as I'm concerned bacon comes from a magical happy place."

PostPosted: Fri Nov 23, 2012 8:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have worked with at least three teachers who fit this description rather well. Not that uncommon a personality with FTs in China in my experience.

Are his initials J. L., D.B., S. R., or (heaven forbid) J.G.S.?? If it's J.G.S. you need to carry defensive weapons and hide your daughter.
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MisterButtkins



Joined: 03 Oct 2009
Posts: 1215

PostPosted: Sat Nov 24, 2012 8:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

The guy has conspiracy theories and likes to argue (doesn't everyone with conspiracy theories like to argue?) Honestly I know plenty of people like this and none of them are schizophrenic. You do know what schizophrenia actually means, right?
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Gtomas



Joined: 03 Jun 2010
Posts: 100

PostPosted: Mon Nov 26, 2012 6:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I have seen a friend have a schizophrenic episode, and I can't imagine anyone in that state going to work, talking coherently to others, let alone teaching a class.

Perhaps the other teacher is a medicated schizophrenic?
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milkweedma



Joined: 19 Nov 2006
Posts: 151

PostPosted: Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:54 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Several posters have played this down but it sounds serious to me. The guy needs to be escorted home somehow before something serious happens to himself or others around him. Getting to know him better sounds like the best strategy as then a better assessment of him can be done and also getting the contact details of his family members can be done so that they can organise for him to go home.
China's the last place a mentally unstable person should be left alone in as the potential for tragedy or disappearance is higher because of the decrepit environment, language and cultural problems and inappropriate medical assessment and treatment options.
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