Thursday, 25 June 2009

Is it a sin to section Jesus Christ?

The call came from the local police. They had a 19 year old male in the cells on a Sec.136. He had been found walking the streets in the middle of the night stark naked. When asked to give his name, he told them that he was Jesus Christ.

I spoke to his mother on the phone to get some background. She told me that he had been involved in a car accident a year ago in which his friend was killed. He subsequently became involved in a local evangelical Christian church. He had successfully completed his “A” Levels and then spent his gap year travelling around Asia. He was due to go to University in a few weeks time. He had no history of mental illness, but his mother told me that he was a regular user of cannabis, ecstasy and PCP, and that he had been behaving increasingly oddly over the previous few days.

I went out to assess him. The consultant, the duty GP and I crammed into his cell to see him, as he refused to come out to the interview room. Martin was sitting cross-legged on the floor, completely naked. He had refused all attempts to cover him. He was wearing handcuffs, having refused to allow the police to remove them.

He smiled beatifically at me as I entered, blessed me and told me that he forgave me for my sins. I thanked him and asked him why we would not let the police take the handcuffs off.

“Martin needs to be punished,” he answered. “I am Jesus, the Second Coming. My Dad is God. I am presently inhabiting Martin’s body, as he was killed in a car accident a year ago. Martin is the spawn of Satan, you see.”

“That’s interesting,” I said. “The problem I have is this. I have several times seen people who thought they were Jesus Christ, and they have invariably turned out not to be.”

He considered this, the smile faltering momentarily on his face. Then the sunny smile reappeared and he said, “I’ll prove it to you, my son. I have many powers. I can read your thoughts.”

“Okay, so what am I thinking right now?”

He studied me for a while, then replied: “You’re thinking I’m crazy.”

“Well,” I said, “that really is uncanny.”

We left him in his cell in order to discuss our conclusions. Although he had no previous history of mental illness, it was clear that he was psychotic. It was possible that this had been triggered by drug use, and that the car accident may have contributed to this episode. However, he was so florid there was no option but to detain him under Sec.2 MHA for further assessment.

I returned to Martin’s cell to inform him what was happening. He turned his awesome smile on me as I explained.

“I have made an application for your detention in hospital under Sec.2 of the Mental Health Act. This means you will be detained for up to 28 days. I had to make this decison based on the balance of probabilities: what is more likely, that you are indeed Jesus Christ, as you say, or that you are mentally ill. I am afraid that it is more likely that you are mentally ill than that you are the Second Coming. You do have the right to appeal against this decision.”

His smile completely left his face and was replaced with a poisonous glare. For the first time during the assessment, he appeared to be irritated.

“I died on the fucking cross for you!” he snarled as I left the cell.

A happy ending: Martin made a rapid recovery in hospital. He probably did have a drug induced psychosis. He went to university as planned.

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