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take my hand

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“Josh!” yells Patrick, his boss, from across the hall.

“Yeah?” Josh replies.

“We have a patient being transferred here. He’s a bit of a challenge and his old hospital thought you’d be the only person who could handle him. I put his profile on your desk. Look it over and tell me what you think?” Patrick rushes out, now panting from his lack of breath.

“Can do ‘trick. Anything else?”

“No, but please. I’m warning you Josh. This one is a special one. Think twice before saying yes.”


Josh walks into his office and collapses in his chair.

It was a long day. Sure, being a therapist and carer was rewarding and Josh wouldn’t do anything else, but it got pretty overwhelming at times. Working in an adolescent psychiatric ward, after all, wasn’t a job for the faint hearted.

He rubs his face and takes a deep breath. Josh glances next to him and there it was, the new patient’s profile. 'How bad could he be?' Josh thinks.

The front of the manila folder wrote:
Name: Tyler Robert Joseph
Age: 17
Year admitted: 2013

Josh flips the front cover open and begins reading the patient summary.

Diagnosis: Generalized Anxiety Disorder, Panic Disorder, and Major Depressive Disorder
Unique Characteristics: Shy, mute? (probable speech impairment), scared of sudden movements, scared of new people, scared of people, scared of new surroundings, scared of loud noises, scared of noises, extremely sensitive (mentally), isolation
Warnings: Aggressive at times, sensitive, non-cooperative, self harms, suicidal
Medication: Prozac

Behind that page are pages and pages of Tyler’s medical records. Everything from biological information to therapy notes. To say Josh takes interest in Tyler’s portfolio is an understatement.

Josh spends the night at the hospital intrigued at the papers scattered on his desk. By the late morning hours, Josh has read every paper in the three inch stack, front to back. By the looks of it, everyone had given up on Tyler. No progress or even changes have been made for the last year. Josh wasn’t going to be one of those people. By now, he had his heart set on helping Tyler one way or another.

As Josh finishes up his breakfast that consists of a muffin and black coffee, he calls Patrick through their radios. A couple minutes later, an exhausted Patrick stumbles into his door.

“Please tell me this is important.” Patrick groans. A moment of realization hits his face and Patrick becomes as lively as ever: “Oh my god, Tyler!!! This is about Tyler!!”

“Bingo!” Josh says as he jumps up from his chair. “I want to take him on Patrick.”

Patrick narrows his eyes as he asks “Are you sure Josh? I’m serious.”

“I’m serious too!! Yes, I’m sure”

“Okay then, he’s coming tomorrow. Be ready” Patrick says as he’s walking out of Josh’s office.


Josh finishes his morning rounds, checking up on his current patients. He currently has four, but two of them are being released later today. The other two that are staying will be co-assigned to another therapist in addition to Josh because the hospital wants Josh to focus on Tyler more than anything.

After two years of working in this hospital, Josh has gained an amazing reputation. Most people refer to him as a miracle worker for being able to open up and help those who others failed to. Josh doesn’t think of himself as such. He just claims that you have to understand the patient personally before doing anything. Apparently, Josh makes it look a lot easier than it really is.

Just as Josh is leaving his office to pick up some lunch, he hears screaming from the floor below him. Curious, Josh turns around and jogs down the stairs. He opens the pair of doors leading to reception of the psychiatric ward and the scene that folds out in front of him is anything but calm.

There are doctors running while screaming, nurses shoving people out of the room, and last but not least, a boy in a plain white t-shirt and black jeans sitting in the middle of the floor crying uncontrollably. The boy is gasping for air while a stream of tears run down his cheeks. Of course, the therapist in Josh takes over before he can even register. In a split second, Josh is sitting on the floor next to the boy trying to get him to calm down. The next thing he registers is that he’s being pulled away from the boy. His ears are being screamed at and all he can recognize are words such as “dangerous,” “away,” and “doctors.” Once Josh is awoken from his daze, he sees a doctor stabbing a needle into the boy’s arm. A moment later, the boy goes limp.

Josh is in shock. Complete and utter shock. That did not just happen. It couldn’t of happened. The room is already beginning to clear out and Josh makes out a figure walking towards him as Patrick.

What comes out of his mouth next is something Josh didn’t even know he was saying: “WHAT THE FUCK?!?! WHAT. THE. FUCK. YOU GUYS SEDATED HIM FOR HAVING A PANIC ATTACK?! WHAT IS WRONG WITH YOU GUYS???”

Patrick stills his movement and his eyes blow up in shock. He takes a moment to catch his breath before saying: “Josh. Calm. Until Tyler is officially checked in, he is still in the other hospital’s care. We have no say in what happens to him until he is classified under our care.”

Josh just stared at Patrick flabbergasted. That was Tyler. The helpless boy having a panic attack on the floor was Tyler. The boy that got sedated for nothing was Tyler.

“Josh. Hello?” Patrick says as he waves his hand in front of Josh’s spaced out face.

Josh shakes his head. “What? Yeah?”

“Tyler just got checked in. He’s being wheeled to his room now. Room 302. He should wake up soon and I need you to be in there when he does. You were the only person he didn’t shove away when you got near him”

“Oh. Kay. Okay, yeah. I’ll-I’ll walk up there now” Josh manages to stutter out.

Josh takes a moment to pause on the floor before his feet take him back upstairs on autopilot.


Josh knows the room 302. It was the room that was closest to all the doctors. It was the room reserved for the most troubled patients. It was the room that was the closest to his office and the room that was the furthest from the entrance.

Before he can think anymore, his feet take him into the room and sit him on the chair closest to the boy. Josh sat there taking in the 17 year old boy. The first thing he noticed was that Tyler was skinny. Almost too skinny. The next thing he noticed was that Tyler had huge, dark circles around his eyes. His chestnut brown hair was sticking out all over the place and he had scratches everywhere. His thoughts were immediately interrupted by the boy on the bed promptly opening his eyes, locking sight of Josh, and screaming while scrambling away from the older man.

Josh immediately stands up and shuffles away from the frightened boy. Josh raises his hands as a sign of peace as his mind searches for words.

“Hey, hey, it’s okay. I’m not going to hurt you. It’s okay. Breathe. Just breathe, everything is going to be okay.” Josh rushes out.

The boy simply stares at him. His breathing somewhat regulating but his eyes not letting up. His eyes are digging into josh’s soul, searching for something. He still stands in the corner of the room while Josh takes a seat in the chair closest to the door.

“Well hey there. My name is Josh and I’m here to help you. I mean no harm bud.” Josh reassures the younger. Realizing that Tyler is still standing in the corner shaking, josh suggests that he sits on the bed. Tyler looks at him wide-eyed and that cues josh to once again reassure the boy that he won’t hurt him. Tyler slowly inches near the bed and takes a seat on the side furthest from Josh.

Josh realizes that that wasn’t an easy feat for the boy so he provides: “Good job! I know it’s scary, but I’m really proud of you for doing that.”

Josh could sense Tyler’s uneasiness and fear. It broke his heart knowing that something hurt Tyler this bad to the point where he couldn’t feel comfortable around people, knowing that Tyler couldn’t trust people.

At this point, Josh decides to introduce himself: “So yeah. My name is Josh, but my full name is Joshua William Dun. I’m 24 years old and I work here as a therapist and carer. Not your normal therapist though. Not the ones who just ask how you feel and all that nonsense. I’m here to help you. To be there for you. Anywho, I love being outside. I hike, bike, and run. I’d say that I’m pretty active. I have 3 siblings: 1 brother and 2 sisters. I grew up in Ohio, but I like it here in LA much better. That's pretty much it. Oh! I also have a love-hate relationship with coffee.”

Josh swears that he saw Tyler’s lip tug up into a slight smile at that last sentence, but of course, he can’t be too sure. It was around dinner time now so he told Tyler that he’d go grab some food and head right back to the room.

With that, Josh heads to the nurse’s station to pick up Tyler’s pre-planned meal. It was simple, almost too simple. On the tray, there was one roasted chicken breast laying on a bed of white rice with steamed broccoli and a cup of water.

Without overthinking the meal, Josh heads back to Tyler’s room. The minute he walks in, he sees Tyler curled up in the corner of the room crying. He’s clutching his hair and squeezing his eyes shut. He’s shaking yet again.

Josh immediately drops the tray full of food on the side table and carefully approaches the crying boy. He manages to sit right beside Tyler and decides to just sit there. Josh has learned over the years that sometimes just letting someone know that you’re there for them means more than words, so Josh plans on doing just that.

After a good twenty minutes, Tyler’s cries have subsided and all that was left was faint whimpering.

“Everything okay?” Josh asks as he looks over his shoulder.

Tyler just nods slightly and begins to crawl back into his bed. Josh takes the message and walks over the tray of food. He wheels the table closer to Tyler and asks him if he wants him to stay. Josh could see the contradiction happening in Tyler’s head. After ten seconds, Tyler looks up and slowly shakes his head. With that, Josh says bye to Tyler and clocks out for the day.

'This is an interesting one,' Josh thinks on his way home.