Sunday, July 27, 2008

Virtual Head Shrinking

Through the magic of technology, I've been able to get in touch with so many people that normally hear from me only on major bank holidays and birthdays. With family and friends all over the world, I just couldn't keep up with staying in touch with everyone and having a life. Solution: Skype. I downloaded the program the other day at the behest of my younger cousin, whose been more like a brother to me than a cousin. It was really easy and basically installed itself. I checked out the "control panel" window, but still didn't really get how this whole Skype thing worked. Oh well, I thought and just kind of forgot about it. Since I don't have a headset, I figured I couldn't really benefit from the program and would use it for instant messaging kind of chatting.

A day or two later, while working on a conference presentation I'm to give the in the coming weeks, my attention became divided between my writing and an ambiguous squeaking noise. I continue on and the noise gets a little's a voice. Great, I am hearing voices. You sometimes hear stories about people losing it in grad school, especially after learning so much about psychosis. Am I meeting criteria for a psychotic break? The voices continue...was that Spanish, I heard? "What the hell?" I continue to work, trying to quiet the building anxiety the little voices are illiciting. "Mijita! Mijita! Es tu tio!" Whoa. Finally, I put it together and took a look at the Skype window. My Ecuadorian uncle apparently "called" me and I guess I must of hit a button and answered. "Oh, it's my uncle...Oh shit. I don't know how this works. Whatever." I ignore the call because I figure that I don't have a headset so he won't be able to hear me. "I can hear you but do you hear me?" he says. Clearly, my new laptop came with a built-in microphone. Would have been nice to know--it's a good thing he doesn't understand English.

Since then, I've been Skyping with folks all day long. My favorite was a late-night video chat with my cousin, a Marine who spent considerable time in Iraq. We were trying to see if he has PTSD--I read each symptom from the Diagnostic Manual as we debated whether each one fit. "Blunted emotional response....What do you think?" I asked. "Yeah, I guess I do." he'd reply. "Really? But you've always kind of been like that. I'd say no." I'd counter. "Okay, fine." Not really an ethical nor empirically based method of psychological assessment but whatever. Now, if I wonder if this would count as hours towards my clinical license?

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