It’s not Phil’s job to find Clint a perch, or try to convince him he doesn’t need one. The first is enabling, but at least it would be worthwhile. In comparison, the you don’t need to play Hot Lava twenty four hours a day conversation is completely pointless. As with any other patient, telling Clint something contrary to his beliefs doesn’t stand a snowball’s chance in hell of being heard.
The thing that makes Clint different is that there’s no conviction behind his actions. Everyone else Phil observes has some sort of rationale for their behaviour. It doesn’t matter if their actions don’t make sense to anyone else, they make sense to them. A few even take comfort or joy from the fact that others don’t understand them. There’s nothing a man with Narcissistic Personality Disorder likes more than for the peons to not get him. Clint is just about the only patient here that doesn’t attempt to justify his behaviour. He has a phobia -the most random and intense one Phil’s ever seen- and he hates it, and he’s fully aware it doesn’t make sense. He just can’t stop being terrified.
Clint is scared to walk on floors. Part of him is convinced that any tile, hardwood or carpet he steps on will immediately disintegrate. Even as the other part tells him how ridiculous he’s being, Clint can’t help but react to the fear instead of the rationality. He spent over a decade inside his house, furniture strategically placed so he could hop from piece to piece safely. And then his best friend ‘betrayed’ him. She moved all the furniture while he was sleeping. When he woke up without a chest of drawers next to the bed, he had a violent melt down and ended up here. He still won’t mention her by name.
It’s not Phil’s job to peel apart the many layers of the thick man with the glasses. It’s hard to accurately call him by name, he has so many. The man has a truly classic case of DID; abused until his personality shattered so each person could carry their own pain without the burden being too much. The man himself is Bruce, but that only lasts as long as he’s calm and happy. He’s Doctor when his ego is being threatened, and Hulk is in charge of the angry outbursts. But there are other alters too; Maestro, Joe, Jennifer. Sometimes the number seems endless, and Phil’s not the one that has to confront or analyse them.
Some people think Dissociative Identity Disorder doesn’t exist, that manipulative therapists con suggestible patients into thinking they’re more than one person. As far as Phil can tell, the origin doesn’t make a difference. What does it matter if the alters are organic, or a past therapist used underhanded techniques to plant them? Either way Bruce is thirty and can’t remember huge chunks of his childhood because another part of himself holds them too tightly.
It’s not Phil’s job to say Steve takes on too much responsibility. Before he met Steve Phil didn’t know you could shoot yourself in the head and survive. It’s true though. You can. Steve’s a living, breathing example of that. Not that he walked away unscathed. He’s got brain damage from the path of the bullet, damage that includes a shitty memory. It’s best for all that they keep it that way. When Steve loses chunks of time everyone’s happy. When he remembers, it’s bad.
The last time they worked memory techniques with him, one of the things that came back was Bucky’s death. In slips of images first, like photographs, then the full video. Once fully remembered Steve waited between bed checks to rip the elastic out of his sweatpants and tried to strangle himself with it. Apparently the man just can’t take knowing Bucky threw himself in front of a train after Steve told him he wasn’t gay and rejected him. Phil has no doubt Steve told him politely, not hatefully. Steve is a man with manners. He’s also a man willing to take the weight of the world on his shoulders.
His second attempt failed. They caught him after he passed out, but before he died. When he came to, he appeared to have lost the memory again. The staff have him on suicide watch, but Phil doesn’t think that’s necessary. As long as Steve doesn’t remember his past, he’ll be fine.
It’s not Phil’s job to shame Nick. From as loudly as Nick rants, one would think heavy handed shame is the only so called treatment he’s getting. Nick is one of several in the common room that spends the day angry and berating the staff. The staff like Nick about as much as he likes them. Phil’s heard them talk about how fucked up Nick is, which is saying something considering the people here. Self harm they’re used to. Self amputation is a whole other kettle of fish.
Like everyone else Phil observes, Nick’s actions make perfect sense to him. It’s everyone else that’s wrong. With only one eye his body is finally right, finally whole. He would never consider removing anything else, he’s perfect the way he is now. He just had a superfluous eye and had to get rid of it, the way some people grow then cut off moles or vestigial tails. No one that has the power to release Nick believes him though, and so he stays.
It’s not Phil’s job to convince Tony he wants to get better. Out of all of them, he was the one showing progress. Tony was the most likely candidate to actually leave soon. Then he made friends with another patient, a schizophrenic. For most patients making friends is a sign of progress. The ability to trust others goes a long way. For Tony all the friendship does is keep him unstable.
Tony used to be one of the biggest talkers in group. In between the manic bragging he’d talk about Pepper and Rhodey, real friends that helped ground him. They helped remind him the things he built from scrap weren’t really alive, that they didn’t have personalities. Now he only talks to Jarvis, ignoring everything and everyone else. Jarvis is nice, as far as that can go. He also firmly believes he’s a robot and will be one of the few to survive the upcoming apocalypse. Jarvis “being a robot” has convinced Tony he was right the whole time, and Pepper and Rhodey only wanted to demean his brilliant accomplishments.
It’s not Phil’s job to tell Thor to leave the facility. It’s pretty obvious to everyone he’s not actually insane. He’s anguished but he doesn’t self harm, he’s lonely but he doesn’t hallucinate people to fill the void, he’s angry but he doesn’t attack others. His emotions are deep but not extreme, and extreme is what it’s supposed to take to wind up here.
Thor feels regret for not being regretful. He and his brother ran away from home to be lovers without being judged. They were happy until Loki got arrested for attempted murder and Thor was left to figure out where everything went wrong. Instead of facing it alone, he voluntarily committed himself. He doesn’t belong here, but his family have diverted enough funds to pay for ten rooms, and that’s good enough for the director.
None of these things are Phil’s job, because he’s dead, and dead people don’t have to do anything.
They try to get him to do things, like talk, and eat. Dead people don’t talk. A while ago they said he could choose to eat, or they could put a tube directly into his stomach. Phil eats, dead hand on his chin the whole time so his jaw won’t rip off when he chews. He’s doing everyone a favour, really. If they punctured his stomach all the decomposing bile would spill out. The patients would probably vomit from the noxious smell.
Sooner or later they’ll realise he really is dead, and they’ll lay him to rest. Until then Phil has no choice but to be here watching the patients.