By Tim Stevens
John "Johnny" Blaze is an adult male of average to above average physical fitness. Although he appears to be in shape, he also seemed exhausted upon arriving at the writer's office. His face appeared a bit slack and his eyes were surrounded by dark circles. While the writer estimates that Blaze, in general, has no difficulty fulfilling his activities of daily living (ADLs), under the current circumstances, it was clear that his hygiene was not his first priority. His hair appeared to be a bit greasy and his clothes were dusty and spotted with dried mud.
Blaze arrived, unannounced, and demanded to be seen at once. Apparently, Danny Ketch, a previous client, had mentioned the writer to Blaze and he had decided to come in as he was passing through the area. (See Ketch's file here)
Blaze paced throughout the session and alternated between anger, resignation, and depression. He stressed that he was dedicated to stopping Zadkiel but also expressed hopelessness at accomplishing this task and feelings of "just wanting it all to end."
As with Ketch, the client's supernaturally tinged history makes him difficult to diagnose in the typical manner. Under normal circumstances, such elaborate stories of angels and demons would often by indicative of a psychotic episode or schizophrenia. However, given that the Ghost Rider is a vigilante who has been photographed and that Ketch also made references to similar motifs, this writer is not comfortable making that diagnosis at this time.
As both Ketch and Blaze report similarly farfetched events, it could be a case of Folie a Deux. However, without speaking to both at once, it would
Focusing then on the more immediate tangible symptoms that Blaze reported and exhibited it is clear that the past several months have brutalized him. While he is not as low as he once was, according to his self-report, he is still not, in the estimation of this writer, psychologically whole or sound. The client is suffering from Acute Stress Disorder and could easily begin to develop Posttraumatic Stress Disorder without counseling and removing himself from his current situation.
The client received this news with general impassivity and commented, "Yeah, that's about what I thought."
Blaze accepted some instruction in terms of distress tolerance techniques he could try if he becomes overwhelmed in the moment, but predominantly the session was about getting to know him. The writer still feels that there are several unanswered questions that need to be discussed in future sessions. The client stated, "If the world's still here...maybe I can come in some time."
While not confident that he will honor the appointment, the writer still made one with him. John Blaze is next scheduled to come in on October 7 and will be sitting with Doctors Jason Aaron and Roland Boschi. Please review file GHOST RIDERS: HEAVEN'S FIRE #3 for full details.
Tim Stevens is a Mental Health Supervisor currently pursuing his Psy D who has experience in dealing with individuals with acute stress disorder and schizophrenia.
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