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.
I had two women recently as patients and both struggling so much.
The first was a woman who had been married twice and both husbands died unexpectedly. She attempted suicide and told me she wanted to end her life. I got out a piece a paper and on the top of one side I wrote: “Proof that we have that life will not get better.” I showed this to her and underneath it she wrote “none.” And on the other side I wrote: “Proof that we have that it will get better.” And I looked at her and said: “It will get better but what is so difficult is that we do not know when and so it takes patience. It takes a great deal of patience. We don’t know why bad things happen to good people, and believe me, I see it over and over again. I see teenage girls sitting in that same chair who come in and they’ve been raped as a young girls. Why does this happen?? We don’t know but all I can say with 100% faith is that IT DOES GET BETTER.”
The second woman was a victim of domestic violence. She cried and cried and sobbed: “I don’t know why I deserved it. I was just me. I would get up and go to work and just be me. I stood by him because I loved him. And now I have no friends. My family might not even want me now. I woke up the other night and my husband was raping me. And not I just want to be done with life. He hurt me so deep and I didn’t do anything. I don’t care if I wake up for another day.” I took a training a few years ago dealing with domestic violence. And one thing you are not supposed to do is say “He’s such a jerk! Just leave him and never go back.” Domestic violence happens because of a variety of reasons but one of the main reasons is the one abused continues to go back because of love for the abuser. There is a cycle that happens over and over again and only when the victim has enough strength can the cycle stop. So what I told her: “You loved him and he was the way he was probably because of his childhood. Did he have a rough childhood?” Her: “Yes.” Me: “So he is only going to change if he gets help. He needs help so bad. And you deserve to not be abused. And so I’m so proud of you that you realize this shouldn’t happen anymore.”
Hope is the most important feeling one can have. Hope that your children will grow up to be happy. Hope that your depression doesn’t stick around much longer. Hope that your marriage remains healthy and strong.
For me, I have hope that I will be employed soon. Hope that I will eventually meet my soulmate and we will have a happy life together.
When I was assessing clients who were suicidal, there were a few that I saw that had no hope and those were the ones I really worried about. I can remember one teen who was in high school. She moved out of her parents house and lived with her boyfriend for awhile. She and her boyfriend eventually broke up and so she moved back in with her mom. Her dad had just recently passed away to add to her depression. Since she was living on her own, she worked and paid for her cell phone. Back at her mom’s, one night, they had a fight and the mom’s boyfriend threw her phone and broke it. When I walked into the hospital room to talk to the teen, I could tell that not only was she sad, she felt hopeless. I saw it in her eyes. I was scared for her. I found her a place to go for inpatient therapy and I hope she is doing better today.
“Strength isn’t just about how much you can handle before you break. Sometimes it’s about how much you can keep handling after you are broken.” (I read this quote somewhere recently and I just googled it to try to figure out where and I couldn’t find the source…love the quote).
Another teen and this one attempted suicide by taking a ton of pills the night before. The teens I saw really pulled at my heart because it saddened me to see them so young to be struggling and wanting to give up on life.
When I got to the hospital, the case manager let me know before I entered the room that the teen had disclosed to her that he doesn’t want to go to his mom’s house anymore. He said when he goes to his mom’s; sometimes he has been forced to watch his mom having sex with her boyfriend. He also disclosed that there had been a few times when his mom shoved his head in the toilet as punishment.
I walked into the teen’s hospital room and he was alone. He was definitely sad. I asked how things were going at his moms and he wouldn’t open up to me. He just said “it’s ok.” When I asked how things were going at his dad’s, he said “it gets lonely sometimes because I’m all by myself a lot.” I asked if anything had happened at his dad’s or mom’s that he wanted to talk about and he said no.
So this is a red flag, I don’t blame the teen for not wanting to open up to a complete stranger. Yet, my gut said something it also probably going on at the dad’s house and he didn’t want to talk about it. I let the teen know that maybe it would be good to go somewhere for a few days and asked if he had any family we could call. He said that would probably be a good idea and he mentioned a sister.
I called that sister but she felt like another sister would be a better choice. I called the other sister and she lived out of town. She was older with kids of her own who were also almost teenagers. She said: “I’ve been waiting for this call…I knew he was unhappy and my dad is just clueless…he’s not the father figure a teen boy should have.”
I let the doctor know my thoughts and at first the doctor thought maybe the teen should just go somewhere for inpatient treatment. I let her know though, if we do that, he will than go back to his home life that is obviously not healthy at all. I said we now have the chance to change this boy’s life…I said: “I think it’s now or never.”
My shift was over so I let my coworker know about the teen. I don’t know all the legal jargon of what happened, but basically, he had an emergency court hearing so the judge could hear what was going on. The judge granted his older sister custody and so the teen no longer had to live in the same town as his mother or father. Man, I just smile again thinking about that again…Like I said, I had to go with my gut and my gut said this teen needed a new life and he got one. =)
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.