Psych Ward

Psych Ward: Dorothy Gale

Back from the magical land of Oz, Dorothy has a hard time readjusting to Kansas and seeks therapy…

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By Tim Stevens The following is an excerpted transcript of a therapy session between Dorothy Gale of Kansas and therapist Tim Stevens. Tim Stevens: Last time you were here, we had just begun to talk about the difficulties you've been having since returning home. If you feel able to, I'd like to return to that today so I can get a better idea of what's happening with you. Would you be able to talk to me about those things today? Dorothy Gale: I…I'll try. Tim Stevens: Thank you. Any time you feel like it is too hard or you need a break though, you just let me know. Okay? Dorothy Gale: Yes, thank you.

Tim Stevens: Good. We'll get started then. First, I'd like to start with the dreams you mentioned having. Are you still experiencing them? Dorothy Gale: Off and on. It is not as if they happen every night. Tim Stevens: Of course, of course. Would you say they occur often, though? Dorothy Gale: Maybe…once a week or so, at this point. Tim Stevens: When they happen, what are they like? Dorothy Gale: Well, they are different every time. Sometimes I see the Wicked Witch of the East get crushed and I can hear her screaming even after I wake up. Other times, it is that awful moment when the monkeys captured us. There are even times where I just dream about darkness and the sounds of bees and wolves in the distance, coming closer. Tim Stevens: That must be very frightening for you. Dorothy Gale: Yes, it is. I wake up and my heart is beating so fast. I don't think it slows down until an hour later. Tim Stevens: Would you say these dreams are increasing or decreasing in frequency?

Dorothy Gale: I think they happen about the same. Maybe a little less. Although… (silence) Tim Stevens: Yes? What was it you were going to say? Dorothy Gale: Well…sometimes it is like I am having them when I'm awake. I'll be on the farm and a flock of birds will fly by and suddenly I'm back in Oz and the crows are attacking us again or I can feel the monkeys' hands on me. Or I'll see steam and I can't get the image of the Witch melting out of my head. At times, I swear I can even smell that horrible odor that lingered in the hall after she was dead. Tim Stevens: And how long has this been happening? Dorothy Gale: Two, maybe three weeks. There are moments where I am so overwhelmed I can barely breathe because of it. Every one I know keeps telling me it is not real and those things cannot hurt me anymore, but… Tim Stevens: It still feels real, doesn't it? Dorothy Gale: Yes! And no one understands that. They just think that I should be able to turn it off, to leave it in the past. Tim Stevens: That must be so frustrating.

Dorothy Gale: And embarrassing! I'm not weak, but I can tell they all think I am. If there was anything I could do to stop this, I would! Tim Stevens: Well, I know that and you know that. Hopefully, the more you can tell your friends and family, as you become more comfortable, the more they'll understand what makes what you are going through so different than a typical memory. Dorothy Gale: I don't care about them understanding or not! I just want to feel better. Tim Stevens: I can imagine. The good news is that, with time, you and I are going to find out ways to make you feel better and to get you past this. But it will not be easy and it will not happen right away. So, until then, it is going to be very important that we teach those around you what is happening to you so they can be more sensitive and supportive. Does that make sense? Dorothy Gale: I suppose. I just wish there was a switch I could pull to make me normal again. Tim Stevens: I know it must feel like that. But the fact is, you are normal. You are still the Dorothy that you were before this harrowing experience. It is important for you to hold on to that and make others understand it to. Having PTSD does not change who you are. (silence)

Tim Stevens: Shall we take a break for some water before we discuss what you were telling me about avoiding social situations? Dorothy Gale: That would be very nice, thank you. Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has experience in working with individuals dealing with PTSD. To learn more about Dorothy Gale's experiences, please take time to examine the work of Doctors Eric Shanower and Skottie Young who have extensively chronicled her time in Oz. Details of her time there can be found in THE WONDERFUL WIZARD OF OZ #5, available for review on April 8. Check out the official Marvel Shop for your favorite Marvel Heroes! Download episodes of X-Men: Evolutionicon now on iTunes!

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