By Invitation

What a young patient with schizophrenia taught me about limits

When mental illness cannot be treated with medication or therapy, that is where kindness and compassion should step in

ST ILLUSTRATION: MIEL

When Mr L was in his 20s and studying for a business administration degree in an American university, he would observe certain strange happenings.

Sometimes, the books in his room would seem to be out of their usual places and the water had an unfamiliar bitter taste to it. The two students with whom he shared the apartment started leaving coded messages to each other in the different ways they arranged their books and notes on the dining table. Such little signs multiplied and became sinister portents.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on August 13, 2019, with the headline 'What a young patient with schizophrenia taught me about limits'. Subscribe