A sketch by Echols made while in Charter Hospital.
Damien's Demons, Part Five
Damien's Health Profile
At the time of his September 1992 admission to Charter Hospital, Damien Echols was listed as 5 ft. 8 in, 168 lbs. (p. 385)
Damien Echols was described as a heterosexual (p. 226, 363). In his June intake he is said to have had 2 sexual partners in the past three months (p. 226). In his September intake the same question cited 4 sexual partners (363). He was said to be of above average intelligence (p. 147, 366) or average (p. 101, p. 188).
He is described as having problems with allergies (p. 372), asthma (p. 222), sinusitis (p. 409), headaches sometimes described as migraines (p. 222), and an occasional heart palpitations (p. 362, others).
Damien's Psychological Profile
The most common clinical diagnosis was depression, consistent with being suicidal. He was placed on the antidepressants imipramine and then Tofranil. Another common diagnosis was R/O psychotic disorder NOS (rule out psychotic disorder, not otherwise specified) a sort of catch-all schizophrenic diagnosis to explain disorientation or unreal thought processes. In another diagnosis it was declared he had no evidence of a thought disorder (p. 103). A variety of other terms appear less frequently including bipolar disorder (p. 101, others) and dysthymia (p. 170, others).
Occasionally he made grandiose or derisive comments including "I know I'm going to influence the world - people will remember m" (sic, p. 50) and "feels he is smarter than everyone else" (p. 20).
Damien passed along the information that someone at the hospital told him "he could be another Charles Manson or Ted Bundy" (p. 50). This is not specifically ascribed to a health care professional and would be an inappropriate remark to make to a troubled teenager.
The Million Adolescent Psychological Inventory (MAPI) is a psychological test directed especially toward analyzing the problems of adolescents. The results (p. 212) of his MAPI characterized him as having an "impulsive hostility, an apprehensive mistrust and an edgy defensiveness against criticism." It goes on to say:
Fearing that others will dominate and possibly brutalize him, he puts forward a socially blunt and aggressive public posture. He fantasizes being all powerful so as to block others from possessing the means to be belittling and harmful. . . . Closeness to others, displaying weakness, and a willingness to compromise are seen as fatal concessions. This teenager believes that past degradations may be undone by provoking fear and intimidation in others. Often loses temper, gets into fights, and acts in a daring fashion. (p. 212-3)
These pages have focussed on the more bleak or else sensational notes in Exhibit 500. There were also many mundane notes, and some that indicated positive attributes. He was described as "assisting peers c correct wording of the serenity prayer" (p. 298) and made a number of self-written goals on how to achieve a better life, including: "What I'm going to do: get along with all family members. How I'll do it: by listen to what they say and doing what I'm told and telling them my problems." (p. 500)
The final words I leave to Damien Echols: "I feel good about myself and the things I like about myself are that my will can not be bent and the ability to scare people." (p. 487)
Damien Echols, looking away.
Copyright © 2008 Martin David Hill
Site Design By Michael Gillen