Chapter One - Half of Me is Missing

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“I don’t belong here. I’m not like the others. We don’t look the same or act the same. I don’t understand their sense of humor. They are crude and I am refined. I am intelligent and their capabilities are mediocre. I don’t fit into this family. How did I get here? It isn’t fair! I don’t like these people. I don’t like where I live. I deserve much better. Please, doctor, explain my situation. I don’t deserve to suffer in a place where I should not be. I can’t understand it! Help me, help me! I can’t go on any longer. I would rather be dead than in these circumstances! Part of me is missing. I have known this all my life!”

Jasmine was pacing the floor in my inner office in Portland, Oregon, twisting her hands, agitatedly. I noticed that she seemed to have little control of her body or her thoughts. Her fevered rosy cheeks and full lush mouth intoxicated me against my will. Jasmine pushed her black, silky curls back from her beautiful, distraught face as she begged me for some explanation. Tears were coursing from her luminescent green eyes, leaving a transparent trail down her cheeks, as she sobbed in my office.

I am Dr. Engels and I desperately want to help my patient. However, I have no inkling as to why she feels this way or how to help her. This is the first time I have ever seen Jasmine cry which makes me wonder whether we have reached a breakthrough. The past few months, she has been sullen and uncommunicative although she finally admitted that she has no feeling or empathy for her family. I have no recourse but to adjust her medications and to seek answers from other psychiatrists. Before I discuss her hypothetical case with other doctors, I decide to ask Jasmine’s parents to come into the office to see if they can shed some light on her perplexing and bewildered thoughts. Jasmine is now twenty. I can see no hope for her until we can get to the bottom of these aberrations.

I hate to admit to myself that she is so physically lovely that I can’t help feeling a stirring in my loins every time I scrutinize her looming presence in my office. I try not to stare at dots of moisture between her full breasts. I fight these feelings since I realize I must remain impartial. As I gaze at her flushed, appealing countenance, I try valiantly to persuade myself that there must be hidden beauty inside her as well. If only I can delve deeper into her problems to obtain more of an understanding of her psychological issues, then I may be able to delude myself that she can be helped. After all, I am just human myself; yearning intensely for her to be well and functioning so she can live a productive life. I desperately want this disturbed young woman to be one of my success stories.

Jasmine sometimes behaves in a provocative and seductive manner which is, at times, hard to resist. I must struggle against my attraction to her and strive to help her in any way possible. No matter how valiantly I duel against these feelings, I feel the pull of desire and the need to bask in her light. I tell myself that I am a learned psychiatrist who must put these lustful responses aside, although it would be tempting to succumb to the charms of my tantalizing patient.

I realize that she may have a neurological disorder that results from damage to her right posterior parietal cortex which manifests itself as unawareness of her body parts which may explain why she is insisting that part of her is missing. These patients maintain that specific parts of their body are missing from their awareness. But Jasmine seemed to feel that her body had been divided into two separate parts, believing that she would not be whole until she understood and rectified this phenomenon. She could possibly also suffer from nihilistic delusions persuading her that part of her body was missing. She certainly seemed to have a distortion of her body image. I knew that it was important that I understand the reason for her problems before I could begin to help her.

“Jasmine, I would like to ask your permission to contact your parents and set up an appointment with them to obtain some background information about you so I can determine the best course of treatment for you.” I advised her.

“Suit yourself,” Jasmine answered hopelessly as she strode out of my office, “although I don’t think they have any understanding of me, at all.”

As I continued treating this fascinating patient, I began to keep a journal in the event that I might want to write a book exploring her feelings of anguish and mental pain in the future. But I had no idea what I would encounter along the way. And I could never have had any conception of the hazardous and tortuous result of my journey. If I had realized what I would encounter in the pursuit of truth and understanding, I wonder if I would have continued with her treatment. I will never know. I was so completely captivated and enamored by her complex problems, that I could not deny the challenge. I completely ignored the cold chill of fear and trepidation coursing down my spine. I have to concede that I was very apprehensive but, at the same time, found myself invigorated. However, I had no idea of the depth of darkness hidden in her soul which would eventually become evident and destroy us both.