Munching on some of my favorite freshly smoked salmon my retired office manager brought by the office today I thought I'd offer an update on a patient I recently wrote about.
The patient is a young woman who told me a horrific story of a crime she witnessed and was victim to. Each time she'd tell me a little more it seemed to take on the feel of a TV crime series more than reality of life around here. All the same, I believed she thought she was telling the truth. I quickly decided she wasn't malingering, but completely delusional was a strong possibility.
Since I last posted on this I have been slowly getting her to open up with more details about the violent acts which took place and why she is still concerned for her safety. I've tried to gently lead her to a place in which she offers me some tidbit I could verify. Yesterday she dropped a name for the first time.
I hopped on my laptop to do a little investigative work on my own and began with a simple Google search which wasn't terribly helpful. The guy was incarcerated, she said. I could try to verify that I thought. Went to the state pen site to look up inmates, and BINGO! There he was listed at a nearby prison.
On a roll now I went to the local newspaper's web site and searched back during the time when this PTSD inducing crime may have taken place, and there it was. A newspaper article from two years ago told me the story of the event just as my patient had described them. She was even referenced to in the article, but no name given. Thrilled to have discovered much of what she has told me is likely true, I was also saddened that such a thing happened to her and has destroyed her life ever since.
While this does not completely settle the debate of reality vs. fantasy for this patient, reality is clearly in the lead. At least for now I feel better sitting back and eating more of my smoked salmon.