I was just trying to read and my mind kept going back to the patients I had this past week so I know I need to write. Writing is so therapeutic for me.
A patient who is still waiting to see how much prison time she is going to serve said if she has to spend more than 10 years in prison, she is going to commit suicide. I asked if she had family and she said her sister is her best friend. I said she could still love her sister while in prison. I asked why would she want to end her life because I bet it would devastate her family. She shrugged and said “I’d just be taking up space.” I’m scared she is determined to end her life depending on her sentencing. And you know what’s really sad, I could hear some republicans say: “good for her…we don’t need to be wasting our tax dollars on her.” I just bought Viktor Frankl’s Man’s Search for Meaning and I hope this will help give me some direction on where I can take my next therapy session with this patient.
Another patient I had knows she is going to serve 10 years in prison. She had children and her parental rights were terminated last year. She talked about not knowing what to do now in life. We first talked about rather or not her children will come find her once they are 18. I believe most children have a curiosity on who their birth parents are and do go looking for them. This patient said: “Well if they did, what purpose would I have in their life?” I talked about how in our 20s it is all about discovering the world and she could help guide them and let them learn from her mistakes. She then talked about if she succeeded in making changes to improve her life and became stable, wouldn’t her children be angry with her and ask why she couldn’t do it for them. Of if she stayed on the same path and continued to use drugs, would her children say: “You STILL haven’t changed?!?!?” I said it is important to change and allow your children to know that at any given time, we do have the capability to change.
The last patient I wanted to mention is someone I didn’t sit down and talk to but I was asked to check in with him. He was a 20 something year old male and had only spent a couple days in jail and was getting released. I asked what his plan was and he said he didn’t know. He said he would rather stay in jail because he would have a bed to sleep on and food to eat. This just broke my heart to hear…can you imagine being so hopeless you would rather stay in a jail?!?! I asked if he had tried the homeless shelters out and he said no because his goal is to not have to stay in one. I said there is nothing wrong in staying in a homeless shelter and it sounds like that is what you need to do for now. A Deputy said he talked to him earlier and the patient said he never had a mom and his dad was in prison. As I was leaving, I saw the same Deputy talking to him and I bet you anything the Deputy was giving him some advice. I wish I was a fly on the wall and could have heard that conversation.