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Peter Pan Syndrome

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Doctor Megel had seen many things as a psychiatrist, very little unsettled him after years of working at St. John's Mental Institution for children. Some had extreme phobias, such as George Dallion who had such a fear of the dark that he didn't like to blink. Another had one of the worst cases of bulimia he had ever seen. She continued to measure and record everything that went into her body and everything that came out. Julian, a boy of seven, thought his body held four different souls at the same time, and often went into fits.

Megel sympathized with these children and tried to help them as much as he could, but they were not the ones to plague his mind. No, the case that troubled the doctor was that of a seventeen year old boy named Peter.

Peter was diagnosed with an extreme type of schizophrenia. It was not a rare disorder, yet Peter had the most unique delusion. He believed he lived in this magical place called Neverland where he never aged. He still thought he was ten instead of the teenager he actually was.

In “Neverland”, Peter constantly battled his arch enemy, Captain Hook, a notorious pirate who instead of a right hand, had a lethal hook. And though Peter taunted this imaginary foe to no end, Megel knew Peter had the most awful night terrors of the pirate. He sometimes woke screaming, clutching his chest where he was sure the captain had ripped out his heart with his hook.

Megel sighed and ran a pale hand through slightly graying hair. He had no idea how he could possibly help Peter without more medication, but he didn't want to do that. The poor boy was already distant enough.

The doctor frowned before straightening in his leather chair at his desk. He lifted his hands to rest them on the keyboard and began to type.

April 13, 2009
“Peter had a full scale nightmare last night at 2:24 AM. We gave him medication for the migraine he complained of. Apparently the progress he made was limited. He was crying and screaming, raving of "being chased and threatened" by "Captain Hook" who never leaves him alone. Doctor Stair doesn't think he will ever be released from the ward. I feel like I have betrayed Peter by speaking about the outside world. He seems to be fighting a battle behind his own eyes.”
Doctor Megel

Megel bit his lip, a habit he'd been doing for years when he felt unsure or thoughtful. Peter trusted him to talk to him about Neverland and even made him a character in his illusion. He was the crocodile who ate Hook's hand. Peter told him he's constantly ticking too. A ticking crocodile.

He wasn't sure how he felt about that.

Megel felt his lips twitch. A therapist unknown to his own feelings. Ironic. His hands rose to start typing again when suddenly his office door burst open, revealing a ruffled Doctor Stair.

“Come quickly, Doctor,” Stair panted, black framed glasses slipping down his thin nose. “It's Peter! He's on the roof; he's gonna jump!”

Megel's brown eyes widened before he lept from his huge desk and pushed past Stair to run up to where Peter was. Megel knew Peter's condition was critical, but he didn't think he was suicidal!

“Please don't jump, Peter,” Megel muttered while sprinting up the stairs. When did the stairs become so much longer?

Megal heard Stair clambering after him, but he paid him no attention. He had to get to Peter. At long last, he saw the metal door that led out to the roof. He continued to rush toward it, slamming his body weight to get it open. Luckily, Peter had not thought to lock it and Megel made it outside with no trouble.

“Peter!” He shouted, searching for the blonde haired boy. He caught him standing on the ledge while looking out at the horizon. Peter had not seemed to notice his arrival, so Megel assumed he was once again in one of his delusions. He better not startle him then.

“Peter,” Megel called more quietly to get the boy's attention. Peter stiffened. “It's Doctor Megel, Peter. Please, listen to me.” He made sure to keep his voice calm, but stern. “You don't want to do this, Peter.”

The boy turned to him with a small, mischievous grin on his face. Blonde curls danced in the wind and dark green eyes peeked beneath his bangs. Megel noticed his gaze was distant, reinforcing the theory that Peter was hallucinating.

“Hello there, Crocodile,” Peter greeted in his usual cocky tone. “Just stole Hook's treasure right under his big nose! The Lost Boys and I were just about to fly off to the lagoon to visit the mermaids! Want to come with?”

Megel's breath left him in a whoosh. Peter thought he could fly? So, it wasn't a suicide attempt. Just another hallucination.

“Listen to me, Peter,” He spoke firmly. “You should come with me and we'll go to the Lagoon some other time.”

Peter's face fell. “But, we want to go now.”

“Just trust me, Peter,” Megel pleaded. “I promise we'll go to the Lagoon another time.” Megel reached for the boy.

Peter groaned and crossed his arms sullenly. “Fine. I guess we can do something else.” To Megel's utter relief, he stepped off the ledge and walked to the doctor. It was only then that Megel noticed Doctor Stair was beside him, watching him with something that looked like awe. Megel rolled his eyes and took Peter's scarred arm.

“Come on. Let's get you inside.”



Weeks passed. Peter was unusually placid, though he'd still mumble to himself and have an occasional nightmare. But, there was no doubt, Peter was doing better. And that was something of a miracle to Doctor Megel.

May 18, 2009
“Today Peter made substantial progress. We were in the middle of speaking about possible relatives he could live with when Doctor Stair entered the room. He reported that Peter no longer has ulcers (caused by stress), no longer needs to take medication for migraines, and only reacts to hallucinations in his sleep. I am proud of Peter, but he has progress to make yet. He continues to speak absentmindedly about "Captain Hook" who evidently invades his everyday thoughts and feelings. There is only so much medication we can give him, and I can only hope he battles the hallucinations on his own.”
Doctor Megel

“-And then Tinkerbell came back to life cause I believe in fairies!”

Megel smiled somewhat sadly as he gazed at Peter who was too busy gesturing wildly from the couch to notice. Peter was telling him of how his fairy friend, Tinkerbell, drank poison to save his life. Not too bad as hallucinations go, but Megel knew what really lay behind it. Tinkerbell represented Peter's mother, Isabelle, who had committed suicide by drinking bleach. Of course Peter wished he could believe her into coming back to life.

“Hey, Crocodile?” Peter questioned curiously. Megel looked at him, responding automatically to the name Peter gave him.

“Yes, Peter?”

“Do you believe in fairies?”

Megel blinked. “Um-”

“Cause if you don't then a fairy drops dead somewhere.”

Well. Peter was doing better.



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