I was intrigued by the story enough to want to talk to Child L about it all. I asked permission and Child L's parents did not care about my talking to Child L about it, and told me yes. The parents, along with Child L, also told me that I could write about it on my blog, after they learned about it. I did not reveal this blog to either parent until after I spoke with Child L, to clarify.
Child L, who was calm at this point, allowed me to sit down and chat for a long time about his or her behaviors, school grades, and the ability to see ghosts. Yes, I threw in the "seeing ghosts" part because I wanted to assess whether or not this was a true ability to see ghosts, or a visual hallucination. Remember, Child L's frame of mind was deemed in a manic state prior to our conversation. That is why it was important to share that Child L was calm and communicative as I interacted with Child L. More or less, the response to seeing ghosts was simply, "Oh yes I see ghosts." "I used to see a little ghost all of the time when I was little." I simply stated that if Child L ever needed to discuss the ability to see ghosts, that I am a safe person to do that with because I believe him or her. Child L smiled at me while intensely staring at my eyes. It felt like something that I offered or said to Child L was peaceful to him or her.
Child L proceeded to describe the little entity, as well as other ghost sightings. It was interesting. I asked the parents if Child L seemed mentally fit as a young child, or did it appear as if these entities were a part of a visual hallucination. Both agreed that the answer was no because according to them, Child L did not have any concerns as a young child, only as a teenager. Child L expressed the same thing to me; that seeing ghosts occurred for many years. In addition, Child L wanted to tell me that ghosts were not present at the time of our conversation. I did not ask Child L that question, and I though that acknowledgment was interesting; I did not know where it came from, nor did I ask because this was an emotionally fragile child. I just listened more than interviewed.
Child L's parents observed something that I did not which was that Child L "never" became verbally or physically aggressive toward me at all, even in conversation. I realized, after listening to the parents for awhile, that their statement was true. It made me wonder about the absence of aggressive behaviors toward me, as the mother shared that every (behavioral) episode either occurred either before or after I was near Child L. Child L even allowed me to get in close in proximity to him or her, and talk about various topics which was something that Child L did not do to others very often. That was even noticeable to the parents, but I paid no attention to any of the observations that they described to me. However, I started to it after they brought it up which became important in a later conversation that I had with Child L, which I will keep brief below.
Conversation with Child L
In speaking with Child L shortly after realizing that this child did not act out around me, I asked the question about it to him or her to inquire about the reasoning. Child L smiled at me and shared,
"I cannot misbehave around you."
I just looked at Child L very deeply but did not question the meaning of that statement.
"You are nice to me."
I kind of knew where Child L was going with that statement, but I also had to quickly realize that this could be a manipulative tactic. Why? Because of the street knowledge that this kid possessed. This was no ignorant child and although the human in me wanted to know more, the human psychologist kept a clear boundary and did not entertain that comment. I believe that if I did question the comment, Child L would have told me a few things that other child have mentioned that I always had a hard time believing, in all honesty. For example, that I glow white which has been said to me many times from Nebulous Children but I could have been wrong. If I see this child again, I will ask if the timing is right due to Child L's mental health. I will also ask more details about Child L's ability to see ghosts as well. I feel as if I will encounter Child L again.
I always share with other clinicians to be prepared to hear that a child has the ability to see ghosts. I know it may sound silly to some, but I have heard it many times as I did unexpectedly from Child L's family and Child L. I have come to terms with the fact that I am going to keep hearing about children's ability to see ghosts and when I do, you all will know in my stories. They are not written to ask whether or not you believe their stories, or to persuade you to change your thinking. These are true stories told to me by children and their families over the course of 20+ years in the field of psychology.
Child L's case was a tough one for me, and many tears were shed because of the decline in this child's behavior and mental health which made the parents suffer emotionally, and it was hard to watch. Professionals in mental health, remember that you are human too and should be in touch with your emotions. I watch so many mental health professionals suffer emotionally because their fail to take care of their own mental health. Many mental health professionals push forward even when they are suffering emotionally. You are not a robot, and seeking treatment works for us as well. Burn-out could have occurred with Child L's case, but stability of my own mental health was my primary prevention. Child L took a vast amount of energy for several days to settle this child. It was hurtful to observe the psychotic symptoms of a Child L or any child, but that was my job. I may never know if Child L's ability to see ghosts caused the mental health concerns or not, but this was a child who could see ghosts.