I looked in the mirror and nodded. Yeah, I really liked my jacket and wool cap. It was chilly this morning, but with the new additions to my wardrobe, I’d be warm and look good.
Minutes later, I was browsing the window of Barnes & Noble when a homeless man, pushing his cart filled with all his possessions shoved into plastic bags, announced loudly, “Lookin’ cool, but a fool”.
Shocked, I stepped away from the window and watched as the man shuffled past. “Jesus”, he was talking about me! I glanced at my reflection in the store window and shuddered. How did he know? I was feeling so full of myself this morning, and the old guy picked right up on it. It was brilliant.
It’s uncanny how some untreated schizophrenics have the intuitive skill to read our minds. Like a psychiatrist uses his “third ear” to pick up hidden nuances in psychotherapy, the schizophrenic can be even more acutely in tune to another’s inner workings.
To me it is absolutely amazing and mysterious. Sadly or happily or whatever one’s perspective, when treatment is successful, the magic fades — as do the voices and paranoid ideas.
Before they’re treated, how do psychotic people do it?
Probably being paranoid, with all senses on alert, allows the primitive, reptilian part of the brain to pick up and decipher the hidden thoughts of all potential attackers. The biochemicals in the brain align just so and magic happens.
I loved my first year of psychiatric residency when I was surrounded by untreated schizophrenics. I loved the mystery and the magic. I loved all aspects of how the mind works.
I still do…
Like mysteries and magic? Check out Chasing Backwards, a psychological mystery, Skin Dance, a mystery, and The Man with a Microphone in his Ear.
Dr. Smukler has won the prestigious Golden Ear Award for excellence in teaching at Harbor-UCLA Medical center and excellence in writing fiction at The Santa Barbara Writers Conference.
All books are available as ebooks and paperbacks. You can find them at amazon.com/author/arthursmukler or https://artsmuklermd.com/