How to be your own therapist

How to be your own therapist

#1-Self Reflect

#2-Every Problem has a Solution

#3-Talk to your doctor about an antidepressant (if needed)

#4-Ice Cream

#1-So I’ve been down in the dumps for several reasons lately. I think being single is the hardest thing I’m dealing with right now. I’ve worked on me and have self love and moved to a town I love BUT I’m still single. With all my friends married and most with kids, it’s hard to see the constant happiness posted over and over again on Facebook. Now, I know marriage isn’t easy. I have one friend who is very honest with the struggles she is having with her husband. I know another getting a divorce because her husband cheated on her. So I’ve been thinking why is being single more difficult for me lately?!? And I realize it’s because basically I’ve not had a good date in OVER two years. I’ve stopped trying in this town. I am going to give Bumble a shot cause I haven’t been on that yet but I think this town is too small for a 40+ single woman.

#2-So, then I began thinking, if I don’t have a good date in the next 6 months, I could move. And if I move (and I know the town I want to try next) and then find someone in the next couple of years, I’ll have the rest of my 40’s, all of my 50s, 60s, and hopefully 70s and some 80s and THAT’S A LOT of time to be with someone. So just thinking about that has put me in a better mood.

#3-I’ve been on the same antidepressant for the past couple of years and it’s time for a change.

#4-You can never go wrong with ice cream.

DEPRESSION SUCKS

DEPRESSION SUCKS

Earlier today I was struggling big time and crying and wondering when is it gonna get better. I still don’t know when it’s gonna get better. But what I did do is I went to see what Jenny Lawson is up to…If you don’t know her she goes by The Bloggess and is SO honest about depression. I was reading her tweets cause I haven’t read them in a very long time and saw one that said:

Remember that depression lies. Get help. Celebrate each day you get through. Remember that this will pass. You’re not alone.
In a funk

In a funk

 

Overall, since the last time I wrote, life has been good. I still enjoy working as a therapist at the jail. Yet, I noticed a few weeks ago, I didn’t feel like myself.

It started with me getting back on a dating site and I heard from a guy but I didn’t pursue it. I told him I was going out of town (which was true) and I’d contact him when I got back. I went to a music festival and had one of the BEST times of my life. I went by myself but met someone new each day so I had no worries about being alone.

I got back and had NO desire to contact the guy…he was decent looking. I think maybe why I didn’t pursue it was because he didn’t “wow” me with anything…it was a basic “how are ya” message.

Then, on Facebook, a couple of friends hung out without inviting me. I feel so middle schooler saying this but it hurt a little to see I didn’t get an invite. So I deleted my facebook profile and I am just trying to focus on me and the blessings I do have in life.

But see, here’s the craziest thing about depression: no matter how much someone has, a dark cloud can still follow him/her everywhere. It feels like just breathing can be difficult. Smiling seems fake and forced. With the suicide of Linkin Park’s lead singer (a band I never listened to but just spent the last couple of hours listening to them), it’s just SO sad…

I have had to do A LOT of POSITIVE self talk these past couple of weeks and remind myself there are still MANY good times ahead to have…Hopefully, I will find that someone I can spend my evenings with so I’m not alone most nights….And until then, what am I going to do??? Breathe….one moment at a time.

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When dealt a shitty hand…

When dealt a shitty hand…

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Had a friend on here ask what I have been up to since it has been so long since my last post. It doesn’t take much to get me writing again. =)

I’m loving working as a therapist at the jail. The last few months I’ve been meeting monthly with this 19 year old who has been dealt such a shitty hand in life. He and his sister were adopted probably around the age of 5 or 6. Then their adopted father molests his sister so then I think he and his sister go into foster care.  He ends up at the Division of Youth Corrections for a couple of years as a teenager. And then the only person he knows he can love (his sister) is shot dead when she is a teenager.  So NOW how is he able to believe that there are more good people than bad?? That this world is a good place?? I sure wouldn’t if I was dealt the hand he was dealt. I worry about his depression. At our last session I told him he HAS to BELIEVE that there are good people in this world. And when he runs into the bad people, now he CAN make the choice and move on and not have those bad people in his life any more. Surround himself with good people.  Life isn’t easy and at times discouraging, but when we surround ourselves with good people it makes the difficult times bearable.

I’ve been thinking A LOT about Aaron Hernandez’s suicide. I enjoy the work that I do because just about every patient I have at the jail has someone that cares about him or her. I fear one day one of my patients will lose their life to suicide. I’m working DAMN hard every day to make sure it doesn’t happen. It’s tough to see the signs of suicide at the jail….most people aren’t happy to be in jail….they spend their days sleeping in their cell. Isolating. And how can I find those that are isolating? Thankfully, I work with a GREAT team of Deputies (and many hot ones too, haha). I’m relying on them to communicate to me when they notice someone isolating….But with  Aaron Hernandez, if he was isolating, was that normal for him?  It’s tragic Aaron took someone’s life too soon but also tragic that Aaron was so hopeless.

Hopes and dreams

Hopes and dreams

I am finally working full time at the jail and I am actually liking it more and more. The diversity of the patients I see every day is unbelievable. I think I’m getting better at figuring out who is not telling me the truth and who I can truly help.

I have to tell you the story of this patient because well, it’s a story worth telling.

This patient is pissed that he has a new therapist (I drive about an hour one day a week to see patients in a small town jail). He said he didn’t want to have to repeat his life story again.

Me: “You don’t have to, let’s focus on yesterday.”

Patient: “It sucked. I want to shoot my head off and that’s the first thing I’m gonna do when I’m released. You don’t need to worry about me cause I’m not going to do anything now!! I don’t want my soul to be tapped here.”

Me: “If that’s what you want to do then we should consider having you go to a psych hospital.”

Patient: “I’m not going to any fucking psych hospital!! I’ve been to the state hospital for 6 months before. They had me taking so much Seroquel I couldn’t even wipe my ass. You know why I’m at jail now? Because my fucking ankle bracelet malfunctioned! You talking about me needing to go to the psych hospital is gonna make me flip out! I don’t need meds. I’m now gonna stop taking Prozac which I agreed to take with the previous therapist.”

He finally stops talking. I know I need to refocus our conversation on something else…so I say: “Want to learn a little about me?”

I go on to tell him I used to be a librarian…and his face immediately softens…he breathes…we have a chance.

The following week we meet again. FYI, I looked to see if he did indeed stop taking his Prozac and he didn’t, he continued to take it daily. During the second session, he tells me about his abusive father. How one night his father found him in bed with a girl and grabbed him and kicked him down the stairs. Then kicked him off the porch. He goes on to talk about more abuse. No mention of his mom.

Here is a guy who probably has never known what it is to be loved. And so I asked my clinical supervisor this week if someone is never loved, how do they learn to have self love? My supervisor said if someone can talk about a dream, a hope, or something they want to accomplish, that shows self love. It shows that someone has  enough love to know that there is more to life than the life that they have experienced.

Does this patient have any dreams or hopes?? I didn’t get into that with him but I definitely plan to do so if we ever meet again.

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Depression

Depression

I had a patient the other day that I continue to think about every so often.

He said he was adopted and never felt like he belonged. He tried to find his birth parents but found out they live in two different countries and they do not want to be contacted. He said he received a Bachelors and was a Chef but most recently was doing some other work. He said he has seen many therapists in his life and does not like therapy. He said one of his good friends had just committed suicide at the mental health agency in our town. He briefly touched on him being in jail and said he believes he was going to be released later that day or tomorrow so his charge was not serious. Yet, he said he is on probation for another three years and can’t wait to get out of Colorado and go back home to New Jersey.

And he looked sad…very sad and this is why I think of him now. That old saying how the eyes are the window to the soul I believe is totally true. I can tell by looking in someone’s eyes if I need to worry about them. And I worry about him.

What did I say? I talked about how depression lies; how sometimes people have to create their own family; self love is important; and there is always another option.  BUT see, even with me knowing all of this, I still get depressed. So, if this happens for me WITH all of my support and all of my knowledge; I just can’t imagine how shitty depression can be for some people and why I worry about them.

Our mind can be a brilliant gift or a horrible nightmare and if it’s the latter, life becomes so hard.

I didn’t know how to end this post until today…a friend posted the following quote that I want to share: “Sometimes the only way to let go of the darkness is to express it. Write it out. Paint or draw. Take photos. Do something when you feel the darkness. Make the darkness something that gives light. Real, bright, pure light.” -Teryn O’Brien. I also like the Zacharia quote…owning one’s sadness and then letting go I think is healthy and possible for most anyone.

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Crisis work for those in jail

Crisis work for those in jail

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So I definitely need to process the work I just did the last two weeks at the jail. I had a 4 day week followed by a 5 day week so that is the most time I have done at the jail all at once since I started in June.

I get asked over and over again (a friend just asked last night) if I like working at the jail.  I do. It’s very similar to the crisis work I have done in the past. What makes it different is of course the seriousness of why some are in jail. And because of the seriousness, it’s not work I can do forever and ever. I’m not strong enough to handle the tragedies day in and day out but for now, I can.

In the past two weeks, I talked to two people who are accused of killing two innocent souls. One was by accident (and if you are wondering how you accidentally kill someone, I did too when the patient told me…later, I googled the patient’s name and it WAS such a tragic accident…for privacy reasons, I don’t want to go into it here).  Those two conversations are conversations I’ll never forget.

I also talked to another patient who told me he “lightly touched” a young girl while the mom was there watching. He first blamed his actions on his cousin being murdered and the stress with his wife. I said that does not excuse what you did. I asked if there were any other kids he touched and he said no. I hope he was telling the truth (the chances of him telling me the truth is about 50/50).  Now he wonder why his wife won’t let him talk to his young kids…I didn’t tell this to him, but gee, maybe she’s pissed and devastated due to his actions.

Seeing patients in Booking is difficult because it’s like doing one crisis call after another after another…so those are intense. I had two days where I had to see 4 individuals back to back. I have to make sure if they are released, they will not hurt themselves (I did this all the time while in Fort Morgan but I only had to assess one individual at a time). One gal yesterday was being released and said she always struggles with depression. I wanted to call her Dad to make sure she would be ok once released but the gal didn’t want me to. So I told her I was concerned about her and she said she would be ok. She said if she needed to go to the psych hospital, she would. I told her I’m gonna trust her and her word so I did and I hope she’s doing ok today.