I just discovered a blog and the writer (http://aussalorens.com) works at a psych ward and she actually is in admin. Well, she has hundreds and hundreds of followers (maybe a thousand) and she writes a little bit about the patients. That gave me the idea to write about the work I did while talking to suicidal and gravely disabled clients (gravely disabled means a client doesn’t know what day it is or where he/she is-a basic definition). Since I will not identify the people, I do not violate HIPPA.
One of the last clients I talked to before I was fired is one I will never forget. She was a teen and I also talked to her about a year before. At that time, when I walked into the hospital room, she was sitting next to a friend and smiling. She hardly said ten words to me in the entire conversation I had with her. Her therapist said she was having a hard time getting her to open up too. She had been abused but she would not disclose who abused her or what exactly happened. I got her to write out some thoughts since she did not want to talk. I always asked clients on a scale of 1-10 (very much) to rate their wish to live and she rated it pretty high. She rated her risk of wanting to die low and also her risk of suicide low. With every client I saw and talked to, I had to go with my gut. My gut said she was a fighter and she wanted to live. She lived with her mom and had a good relationship with her mom so I safety planned with the client and family. I let her know before I left, I could sense she’s a fighter but she needed to start opening up about what happened to her because she was only going to get better if she starts talking.
Now, it’s a year later and she’s having suicidal thoughts again. It’s actually the same month I saw her the previous year (RED FLAG). She’s talking now (YAY!) I talked to her therapist again and now everyone knows it’s the client’s father that abused her and the father is going to court that day or the next day. She tells me she has no wish to live. She rated her wish to die and her risk of suicide high. She said if she could get a hold of pills, she would take them. She let me know she feels a lot worse than she did a year ago. I’m concerned.
What do you tell someone who has been abused by their own father?!? What I told her is that I don’t know why evil happens in this world. I don’t know why bad things happen to good people. I don’t know why you had to go through this and it’s not fair. Not fair at all. BUT, you can get better. You can have control over YOUR life and become someone you want to be. It will take time. Lots of time. And I believe you can be happy again.
I could have safety planned again with the mom but my gut said this gal needed to know I cared and I was taking her thoughts seriously. I found her a place to get inpatient treatment and I hope she is doing a little bit better today.