by David Miller
One question that has gripped the public for weeks is “What happened to Teleka Patrick?” Patrick was a medical resident in Kalamazoo, Michigan who went missing on the night of December 5th. Her car was found off of I-94 in Portage, Indiana.
The public has been obsessed with Patrick’s disappearance and the police aren’t sure where to look. Some thought there might be clues in her obsession with pastor and gospel singer Marvin Sapp, who filed a restraining order against her right before her disappearance. Sapp says that Patrick was stalking him and her siblings claim that she moved to Michigan just to be near him.
Patrick had both a medical degree and a PhD in Biochemistry. She’d also published in medical journals and received thousands of dollars in grants. According to Mlive.com, she was not just seen as being a smart woman with a bright future, but was actually considered to be extraordinary.
“She’s not just intelligent, she’s brilliant,” said Daisy De Leon, Patrick’s mentor.
De Leon is a professor at Loma Linda University in California, where Patrick studied before moving to Michigan last year. She was set to begin a four year residency in psychiatry at the Western Michigan University School of Medicine.
A spokeswoman for the school told Mlive.com that Patrick is “a very intelligent woman, very poised with her co-workers.”
Patrick’s ex-husband, Ismael “Smiley” Calderon, says that he divorced her in 2012 because she refused to get help for her mental illness. He says that she would claim to hear “voices from God.” She also said that “A Beautiful Mind” was her favorite movie, a film starring another brilliant scholar who battled mental illness.
He says that she told him, “That’s my story.”
During an online forum with allnurses.com, Patrick admitted her problems with hearing voices while writing under the name, “sandracassie3000”:
“Once you have a psych diagnosis there is no going back and it will make you unconsciously look down on yourself (sorry it’s true) and it will cause problems in your professional advancement,” Patrick said.
“I can’t be believing things that aren’t true,” Patrick said on Twitter. “I’m trying to be a psychiatrist not be in need of one.”
What do you think? Is Patrick’s case symptomatic of many members of the African American community who are afraid to seek therapy for mental illness?