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Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Franken-Castle

Our therapist attempts to make sense of what has become of The Punisher

By Tim Stevens

Frank Castle is-or rather was-an adult male of above average physical fitness for his age. However, at the time he came into this writer's office, he now presented as something very different. Prior to seeing the client, the writer spoke briefly to a creature who identified himself as "a friend, even if Castle will not admit it" and warned that the client no longer resembled the file footage the therapist may have seen, but rather "an unholy abomination of metal, wood, and flesh...and I know from unholy abominations." Despite the warning, this writer does admit being surprised by the client's appearance. Castle explained that he was the victim of a vicious attack from someone named Daken and that several "monsters" reassembled his body, using additional non-organic pieces as necessary, and reanimated him.

The client reported "hating" the way he looked and felt cheated that he

was not allowed to stay dead. When asked why he continued to stay with those who would do this to him and deny him his death, he admitted to feeling some bond with them and that what had been done to them was an injustice too awful to ignore.

Prior to his death and reanimation, Castle operated as the violent vigilante and wanted criminal known as The Punisher. Between that, his time in Vietnam, and the death of his wife and children, the client has been the victim of several instances of physical and emotional trauma. Begrudgingly, he confessed to having flashbacks and nightmares of past traumas, especially about "killing them again," a statement he has heretofore refused to elaborate on. He is hyper-vigilant and rarely sleeps, although it is unclear if the latter is the result of trauma or of his new state of being. He has difficulty expressing emotions and when he does tends to do so in a manner that is out of step with the situation he is currently responding to (e.g. explosively anger, heavily muted sadness, etc). In short, Castle fits into nearly every category of a Posttraumatic Stress (PTSD) diagnosis. The client has, so far, resisted this label and indicated to the writer several times that he "handles everything fine, thank you."

The client is also on a wide variety of medications, none of which he is able to identify. The pills do not appear to match any of the photos in the most recent edition of "The Pill Book," nor the previous three editions. Normally, the writer would encourage the client to discontinue the use of these unidentified medications, but it is unclear how they play into his current state of being. Instead, the writer has recommended to Castle that he learn what he is taking so that he may be more involved in his own health. The writer has also asked the client to get the prescribing doctor to

contact the office. Castle has agreed to do what he can, but added, "it might be pretty hard," without explaining further.

Currently, the writer has had difficulty getting the client to state or agree to goals. Castle insists he only wishes to "die, again, with dignity and stay that way." However, the writer does not think that there is any danger of the client taking his own life. That said, the writer is Castle's "friends" to keep a close eye on him for suicidal gestures and, more likely, engaging in repeated extremely dangerous behaviors without signs of trying to limit risk.

For now, despite the lack of identified goals, the writer will continue to see Castle  to monitor for safety, help him accept his "new" life, and work on reducing his PTSD symptoms.

Frank Castle's next appointment will be on June 3 with Doctors Rick Remender and Roland Boschi. Details will be available for review on that day under FRANKEN-CASTLE #17.

Psy D. Candidate Tim Stevens is a Dialectical Behavior Therapy Consultant and Practicum Trainee at a college counseling center who has experience working with individuals living with PTSD, severe bodily trauma, substance use, and difficulty expressing emotions in a healthy manner.


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