I have read many books and studied a lot about mental illness and schizophrenia. The consensus from the reading I have done seems to be that people who hear voices and respond to them may suffer from this mental illness. The National Institute of Mental Health’s Judith L. Rapport, M.D. states in her article, “What is Schizophrenia?”, “That auditory hallucinations are things a person hears that no one else can hear.” “Voices are the most common forms of hallucination in schizophrenia. Many people with schizophrenia or other mental illness disorders hear voices. The voices may talk to the person about their behavior, order the person to do things, or warn the person of danger.” Although I am no psychiatrist, it appears that this woman is hearing voices and does not want to hear them anymore.
I sit down by her and ask if I can speak with her. I tell her my name is Starr. She says her name is Marge and nods yes to my request. I want to tell Marge that she has beautiful blue eyes. I decide not to because some people get offended by compliments. I ask Marge where she is going, and she says, “I’m headed home." When I ask where home is, she replies, “I live in the park at Indian School Road and Hayden Road.” I ask Marge if she is homeless, and she says, “I’ve been homeless for the last seven years since my family died in a plane crash.” I notice that Marge is still talking to someone in a low voice, but her attention then shifts back to me. My first solution is to offer to take her to Broadway Christian Church. I explain to her that I went there when I was homeless and needed help, this church gave me a hotel room, clothing, and food. Marge suddenly mumbles and sticks her fingers in her ears as if she is trying to block me out.
“What’s wrong?” I ask. She seems agitated as she explains, “The last time someone was going to help me they took me to a church and left me there. How do I know that you will not do the same thing?” I asked Marge, “Would you like for me to stay with you for the night? Would that make you feel more comfortable?” Marge nodded, “Yes”, and smiled.
As I move quietly across the bus to sit beside this woman, she looks over to me timidly. I do not want her to be scared, so I introduce myself as Starr. Then she tells me her name is Marge, and she places her fingers beside her ears. I ask her if she is heading home. She says, “Yes”, and I say, “me too.” I then ask, “Where do you live, Marge?” She says she lives under the bridge at 64th Street and Indian School Road. I ask her if she is homeless, and she answers, “Yes, I am.” As I turn to face her, I notice that she is mumbling and pointing to someone across the bus, but there is no one else on the bus except Marge and me. I sit and think for a few minutes and formulate my second solution. I tell Marge, “I used to be homeless until met this man named Gary Lenzo. He runs an organization in Mesa, Arizona, called The Marc Center which caters only to the homeless. This organization provided me with housing at The Dana Center in Mesa. ” I continued, “The Marc Center also took me to Magellan which provides behavioral health services for people like me who…