James Hicks, M.D., 50 SIGNS OF MENTAL ILLNESS (Yale University Press)

Dr. James Hicks
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You are driving through town as you would on any given day when you first become aware of the burning smell. You open the car window and, almost without thinking, pull over to the side of the road. You reach for your cell phone, but you can't remember where the numbers are stored. A child is screaming. You recognize your son's voice, only you know he's much older now. You see him running down a hallway as fire licks the walls behind him. You pick him up and run out the front door, the sound of sirens cutting through the haze of smoke. Then the smoke clears and you find yourself standing on the sidewalk, next to your car, the phone still in your hands.

The smell of smoke drifts away. No one is in danger. Your son is off at college. You were probably just smelling someone's burnt breakfast from a nearby home. You lean against your car and try to breathe slowly.




This excerpt may not be reproduced without written permission from the publishers.
Fifty Signs of Mental Illness: A Guide to Understanding Mental Health
Yale University Press / New Haven and London
Copyright © 2005 by James Whitney Hicks

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