I sometimes forget how influential a person’s mental state is on their physical appearance. Two of our young schizophrenics have really come around this past week, and it feels so great to see them functioning at much higher levels. Steve has laid in bed most of the week, with a pretty flat affect (this means he interacts with very little emotion). And almost miraculously (the miracle being an anti-psychotic medication called clozapine), Steve started smiling on Friday. I was walking by him in the hallway, and he was on the phone. Smiling and laughing.
Joe, who hasn’t showered in about a week, and he lays in bed all day. When he actually does get up to eat or go smoke, his hair stands straight up, something we’ve affectionately been referring to as the “Joe-hawk.” For him, a shower went a long way to making him look better.
Another patient maybe illustrates the more subtle; she came in extremely delusional and just didn’t look well. It’s kind of how doctors can tell when someone is concerningly-sick; Jenny didn’t look so great. But there’s also something else–I don’t know if it’s a glimmer in the eye, or just a more interactive set of facial movements–or just basic body language during conversation–but when you really get these patients doing better, they look better. Healthier, more attractive. It’s an incredible change, and really feels rewarding.