Enough with the Questions!
A patient needs some extra support over the weekend. I suggest I get the Crisis Resolution Team to visit her every day. ‘What’s the point’, she says. ‘You know, they just ask the same questions again and again. It makes me worse’. I have no answer. I know this is true.
For several decades, since the days when I was a patient, I have seen and heard how an obsession with questions damages psychiatry. Many of us have been asked the same questions day after day, year after year: ‘Do your thoughts seem faster than normal?’, ‘Do you ever have thoughts in your mind which are not your own?’, ‘Do you feel anxious?’, and so on.
What does this feel like? As ever, my patients describe it best. One locates it as “like a machine gun into my brain”, another “an attack, an intrusion, a knife into my body”. A socially anxious man appeals “Did I say what I was supposed too? Did I perform OK?”. A woman with a long history of childhood abuse says the questions felt like “a penis going into my body, again and again”.