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Headed to Prison Dedicated to those who are facing incarceration. What to expect; what you can do to prepare; Q&A's; support.

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  #26  
Old 04-13-2017, 01:27 PM
AtlantaChaos AtlantaChaos is offline
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Look, you might want to check yourself into a hospital for a while and let them help you take care of you. Contact your attorney, and s/he'll help you find a good program in your area and make sure that the courts don't have a cow should you fail to make it to a hearing.

Please remember, thoughts of suicide are a symptom. They aren't your own thoughts, they are a symptom of depression and an indication that your illness is quite severe. Suicidality is not your own set of thoughts, but they should trigger in you a few thoughts - 1. this depression is so severe I need professional help, 2. thoughts of suicide are not my own thoughts - they are thoughts of deep depression, 3. because they are not my own thoughts, I can choose what to do with them, 4. if I choose to indulge such thoughts and embrace them as my own, I am far more likely to lose my life to depression, 5. if I talk about these thoughts with a professional, I am far more likely to get to a place where my depression is in remission and these sorts of thoughts and the related feelings are apt to fade into the background of my life.

I'm not a mental health expert, but my basic understanding is that fleeting thoughts of suicide are natural, and you may be able to ride them out if you can't get help. BUT, if your thoughts of suicide are more concrete - you have a method picked out, you know where you'd like to do it, you have a day/date picked out - then you need to be in a hospital. Vague tightness in the chest - you can talk to your PCP, but if you have crushing pain in your chest, you are having a heart attack and need to be in the hospital NOW. It's the same thing - if you have an idle thought of suicide, talk with your doctor, get your blood tested, make sure it's psychological or treat the underlying medical condition (thyroid disease is more than enough to do it). But if you have a method picked out? You need a hospital just like the person with crushing chest pain needs a hospital. It is not an option.

It really sucks that you're experiencing this. Lots of people go through some depression when dealing with the criminal justice system. No where near as many deal with that level of depression when dealing with the CJ system. Get help. There's no medal given or time off sentence given for suffering through this alone. Matter of fact, depression thrives on feeling alone and isolated. Get help. You are worth help.
Thank you. What is ironic is that I am usually the one on the other side helping others and telling them to not give up, specially having been in the same place 4 years ago. The truth is that everything hurts, thinking about it, talking about it, even trying not to think or talk about it.

To answer your questions yes, I have thought how to carry it out but I don't have a date or time picked out. I am trying really hard to stay positive but the truth is that I cannot escape the reality of my situation. You say these thoughts are not mine but they are very persistent. I haven't talked with my attorney about my current suicide thoughts but I he knows the situation I was in 4 years ago. I had everything planned out and I was tasting the barrel of my gun I just couldn't pull the trigger, I did have a glimmer of hope that I had not been formally charged then.

I just feel crushed but I have the suicide prevention hotline on speed dial on my phone. I am trying to talk myself out of the dark thoughts. Every time I start climbing out I get a call from my attorney about the case and I just slip back to rock bottom. I am just exhausted of this situation, I am tired of being the fighter, I just...I just want to give up. Nothing seems worth it anymore.
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  #27  
Old 04-13-2017, 02:34 PM
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The thing I didn't consider (too selfish) was how devastating suicide would always be for my loved ones. I was going to take the easiest way out, for me but not for my family. 37 months will pass. It will seem slow as it is happening, but once it is nearly over, I was surprised how quickly it seemed to have gone.

3 years is nothing when compared to the rest of your life. The US Government controlled my life for 3 years in the Army, and 8 years prison/supervised release, but I was in charge much longer than that.
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Old 04-13-2017, 03:10 PM
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Thank you. What is ironic is that I am usually the one on the other side helping others and telling them to not give up, specially having been in the same place 4 years ago. The truth is that everything hurts, thinking about it, talking about it, even trying not to think or talk about it.

To answer your questions yes, I have thought how to carry it out but I don't have a date or time picked out. I am trying really hard to stay positive but the truth is that I cannot escape the reality of my situation. You say these thoughts are not mine but they are very persistent. I haven't talked with my attorney about my current suicide thoughts but I he knows the situation I was in 4 years ago. I had everything planned out and I was tasting the barrel of my gun I just couldn't pull the trigger, I did have a glimmer of hope that I had not been formally charged then.

I just feel crushed but I have the suicide prevention hotline on speed dial on my phone. I am trying to talk myself out of the dark thoughts. Every time I start climbing out I get a call from my attorney about the case and I just slip back to rock bottom. I am just exhausted of this situation, I am tired of being the fighter, I just...I just want to give up. Nothing seems worth it anymore.
Ok, I'm going to play the mom here & tell you that this is not an option. Remember the saying that "this is a permanent solution to a temporary problem". Yes, right now 37 months seems forever & losing all the things that you've worked for seems devastating but you can make it through this.

Whenever I get down about my son serving his sentence & losing his house, job & friends, I am thankful at least that I still will have him when his time is served. You can eventually find a job, earn money & replace most of the material things you've lost but you need to keep yourself going to do this. No one says it'll be easy but what you're considering isn't either.

I 100% agree with Yourself. Get a medical & mental checkup. There are meds to help you stay level & get you through this. Getting treatment before you go away will help you since medical care isn't the easiest to get later. Has your lawyer thought of having you evaluated & possibly have you serve some of your sentence in a mental health facility if that's a better option for you at first?

I know with my son it was the fear of the unknown that was the worst for him. He will be released next year & has managed to make it so far. I won't say it hasn't changed him but he isn't having the rat in a trap feeling that he was before his sentencing.

Please know that you have support here & other places. It just takes the courage to reach out for it.
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  #29  
Old 04-13-2017, 03:27 PM
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Thanks everyone for the support. Some of you have reached out to me via PM and I highly appreciate it. I tried calling the suicide hotline and was placed on hold...lovely. Today was a very hard day for me. It was difficult waking to several emails from your attorney and none of them good news. The truth is that I need my mind to break away from all of this and I haven't been able to do much of it for the past week.

Not having a job and having to think about my situation/future all the time makes it worse. I can't focus on anything. Watching TV, reading, cooking...things I generally enjoy are meaningless right now. I could clean, but...let's not be too crazy here.

The truth is that I need to give my life some sort of meaning. When I had a job, when I had something to work for, I had that sense purpose. I know I am not the only one going through this situation, and definitely not the last one either. We have a broken Criminal (in)Justice system which doesn't care about those who are being accused/sentenced. I don't blame those who work in it, because it is the job they have been asked to do. The thought occurred to me 4 years ago when I first was faced with this crisis to document what I learned and share with others. I was hoping to fully vest on that project once the statue of limitations was done, but obviously I did not get lucky in that regard. Nevertheless I want to pursue this project, if anything else for my own mental sanity and stay busy. Therefore I started a project which may or may not lead anywhere. I posted a separate topic on the general forum about it.

Thanks everyone who stepped out today and provided insight and support. I am still on the ledge, but I am not thinking about jumping yet.
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  #30  
Old 04-13-2017, 05:29 PM
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Thanks everyone for the support. Some of you have reached out to me via PM and I highly appreciate it. I tried calling the suicide hotline and was placed on hold...lovely. Today was a very hard day for me. It was difficult waking to several emails from your attorney and none of them good news. The truth is that I need my mind to break away from all of this and I haven't been able to do much of it for the past week.

Not having a job and having to think about my situation/future all the time makes it worse. I can't focus on anything. Watching TV, reading, cooking...things I generally enjoy are meaningless right now. I could clean, but...let's not be too crazy here.

The truth is that I need to give my life some sort of meaning. When I had a job, when I had something to work for, I had that sense purpose. I know I am not the only one going through this situation, and definitely not the last one either. We have a broken Criminal (in)Justice system which doesn't care about those who are being accused/sentenced. I don't blame those who work in it, because it is the job they have been asked to do. The thought occurred to me 4 years ago when I first was faced with this crisis to document what I learned and share with others. I was hoping to fully vest on that project once the statue of limitations was done, but obviously I did not get lucky in that regard. Nevertheless I want to pursue this project, if anything else for my own mental sanity and stay busy. Therefore I started a project which may or may not lead anywhere. I posted a separate topic on the general forum about it.

Thanks everyone who stepped out today and provided insight and support. I am still on the ledge, but I am not thinking about jumping yet.
Sometimes it's hard but focusing outward instead of inward can distract you a bit. Try volunteering. I don't know where you are located but I bet there's an animal rescue or other non profit that would love you to give them your time. Habitat is a great place. Pounding nails can relieve a lot of tension & you can't beat the love of a shelter dog for making you feel a hero. If you can't look up then look straight ahead. Looking down is not an option.
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  #31  
Old 04-14-2017, 01:12 AM
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if it gets too hard and you want to let go of the reins a bit, go to a hospital and get help. Get a treatment plan. It will help because it will give you concrete things you can do to feel more like yourself, think more like yourself. And getting some meds straightened out would be a good thing.

Viktor Frankle, in his Man's Search for Meaning stated what I think you're saying. When in a Nazi concentration camp, a lot of people started taking their own lives, overwhelmed by the situation. Those who didn't had two reasons for sticking it out;
1. connection to other people
2. a purpose to their lives
In the case of Frankl, he had his family and family was strong with him. Later, when he was released from concentration camp, he had to start a family all over again, but he was able to do this. The other thing he had was his idea for a novel new psychotherapy. In his mind, he wrote the introduction and other books that went into the details of his idea for this logotherapy that he was working on when he went in. Both the thoughts of the people he was most connected with, and making new connections among the other prisoners as well as the ability to think about his new theory.

You need to have both. Like a lot of people, your sense of purpose and identity are tied up in your work. Being out of work is hard enough without charges pending. But, guaranteed, when you were younger, there was something else you wanted to be. I don't care if it's woodworking or getting involved in community theater or training to do a triathlon = there is something out there that you want to do. If you could motivate yourself and quit spending so much time obsessing with your situation, you could actually be a member of a running club, or whatever it is you're into. Once there, you would make new friends who won't care about your charges.

The problem is getting some space between what you want to do and your thoughts. This is where therapy and getting things situated with a psychiatrist and a psychologist come to play.

Fwiw, we don't know when a client is depressed, let alone when a client is seriously suicidal. You need to tell us. This way we can make recommendations and referrals. This way we can know what's going on and that your psychological state is a serious aspect of the case. Tell your attorney. Tell your attorney how detailed your suicide plans are atm. If necessary, ask your attorney to drive you to a hospital, or to help you find a program.

You can also make a decision to go to a DBSA meeting (depression bipolar support alliance) - they know all the good psychiatrists and psychologists in your area and who you should stay away from. they'll tell you about good programs in the area, and who does DBT therapy (dialectical behavioral therapy).

If depression is stopping you from working on the problem of medically resolving your depression, you need to go to a hospital and let them help you.
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Old 04-14-2017, 01:21 AM
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Yes . Im an old Marine and thats the only answer I have ever found. Man Up.
This is why a soldier takes his life every 22 minutes these days. Man up just doesn't work and stigmatizes those who really need help.

Fwiw, my dad died of cancer and there's a kind of cancer that runs in the family. I've seen plenty of cancer deaths in my own family ranging in age from 5 to 84. When I make the comparison to cancer and other diseases you wouldn't tell people to "man up" about, I'm making it with a fair amount of education. I'm also making the statement because cancer deaths and suicide deaths are the same thing - a disease wins and a person dies. You don't "man up" to go into remission from cancer. You don't "man up" to get beyond severe depression, PTSD, and other mental illnesses that end in suicide when not treated or treatment fails.

We've been ignoring soldier suicides since the Civil War and earlier - I believe Lucan described a few PTSD related suicides in his history (for those who don't want to look him up, Lucan wrote about the Roman civil war between Julius Cesar and Pompey - interesting reading for those into it. Quite gory at times, just a caution). Man up, and telling a person that mental illness is a personal weakness is just messed up, especially from a soldier who has probably known people who have committed suicide after a rotation in a theater of war.
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  #33  
Old 04-14-2017, 05:17 AM
AtlantaChaos AtlantaChaos is offline
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[quote=yourself;7619304]

Viktor Frankle, in his Man's Search for Meaning

I have copy of the book and I've read it over 20 times over the past 15 years. It has helped me get through difficult times in past. I read it again the other night and just felt disconnected. The words felt meaningless this time.



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If depression is stopping you from working on the problem of medically resolving your depression, you need to go to a hospital and let them help you.
One thing to note is that many who decide to commit suicide and fail are just asking for help.
I haven't told anyone near me or my attorney because if I do decide to end it all I don't want them to feel they could have done more to help me. I have made that much clear in the letters I wrote yesterday. Maybe this has been my problem my whole life, I don't like asking for help and I don't like to be a burden on others. Right now I feel like a useless human being (single, no kids, close family lives out of the country). That is why the idea of suicide has been tempting, just wipe myself off the map...some will notice but the rest will just carry on. I know it's selfish, I know it's a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I have been strong my whole life in moments of adversity but this situation is wearing me down faster than I can gain my strength back.
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Old 04-14-2017, 09:47 AM
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Speaking of meaning, connection, and soldiers, SEAL Team 6 veteran Eric Greitens has put a lot of thought and work into mental health for veterans.

What he says about depression is worse than useless but his insight of putting scarred veterans to work for the community in a charity called The Mission Continues was brilliant.

Everybody needs to be useful and feel useful. That's why Mark Twain's idea of Heaven had work in it. Greitens also volunteered in refugee camps. The people who got through those with the least damage were the ones who tutored the kids or otherwise found or made opportunities to make a difference for others.
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Old 04-14-2017, 11:18 AM
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[quote=AtlantaChaos;7619327]
Quote:
Originally Posted by yourself View Post

Viktor Frankle, in his Man's Search for Meaning

I have copy of the book and I've read it over 20 times over the past 15 years. It has helped me get through difficult times in past. I read it again the other night and just felt disconnected. The words felt meaningless this time.





One thing to note is that many who decide to commit suicide and fail are just asking for help.
I haven't told anyone near me or my attorney because if I do decide to end it all I don't want them to feel they could have done more to help me. I have made that much clear in the letters I wrote yesterday. Maybe this has been my problem my whole life, I don't like asking for help and I don't like to be a burden on others. Right now I feel like a useless human being (single, no kids, close family lives out of the country). That is why the idea of suicide has been tempting, just wipe myself off the map...some will notice but the rest will just carry on. I know it's selfish, I know it's a permanent solution to a temporary problem. I have been strong my whole life in moments of adversity but this situation is wearing me down faster than I can gain my strength back.
The first state I was ever licensed in was Illinois. Illinois produces some pretty fantastic lawyers, like Abraham Lincoln.

Back in the day when Lincoln was just a moody attorney, his dark mood got so incredibly dark that his neighbors worried about him. The bar worried about him. They took it upon themselves to make sure there was at least one adult with him every moment of every day until his mood lifted (or, if it dragged on, it was the asylum, but it didn't get to that). There are no asylums these days, so the idea of being scooped up by some asylum, never to see the light of day again is a fear that will not happen. Scooped up out of the Er after a failed suicide attempt to a court ordered hospitalization? yes, that will happen. Scooped up by a rehab for brain injured people? yes, that will happen, and in that case the state guardian and conservator will take over your care. You'll probably never see him, but the signature sending you to a state facility - that's something you will become very familiar with, assuming you can remember such things.

***Trigger Warning***

Look, the worst thing in the world could happen. Let this percolate for a while. Let's assume you want the finality of shooting yourself in the head. What could be simpler, eh? Yeah, wrong. Don't do it right, you're blind for life. Don't do it right, you're brain damaged for life. Don't do it right, the bullet bounces off your skull and into the person living upstairs, or the mailman stopping to get a signature. You're left blind and significantly brain damaged - damaged enough that you'll never live alone on your own again, but not damaged enough to know that you at one time could do tasks that you now find ridiculously hard now.

Now, let's talk about the law, as it comes down on you. See, if you attempt suicide, you're attempting to evade prosecution. Bail will be revoked. Then, the issue of competence has to be decided. I mean, simply being blind doesn't make you incompetent, and that drooling you're doing could be for show. So, once the pressure is down in your brain and they've closed up your scalp, you get to go to the State Forensic Hospital. Once there, you get to go through a battery of tests for at least 30 days before they will render an opinion about whether the injury you received made you incompetent to stand trial - that's unable to understand your charges &/ unable to assist in your own defense (expert tip - those who are severely depressed and suicidal are not able to assist in their own defense - everything will be put on hold while you are seeking your own treatment). The standards for these two elements is pretty low. This is why you hear tales of people who are illiterate allowed to conduct their own defense, and suicide by execution is possible.

So, you're there for 30 days, and let's assume that you're found competent enough to stand trial. You're not functioning where you were, but it's good enough for the court. You're found guilty at trial because you couldn't allocate well enough at a change of plea, so you get smacked with the full possible sentence. You then go to the FBOP at a much more severe disadvantage than you would now, and you'd go there longer, and you might not even understand why you're there, why people are picking on you, and why you keep getting hurt by people.

Let's assume you're found incompetent to stand trial. You get sent back to the forensic hospital for 6 months. They have 6 months to get you competent enough to stand trial. It doesn't work. You get another 6 months. Eventually, you get slid from the criminal calendar to the probate calendar where all people who will never be able to handle their own affairs go - the people who must live in a facility because they cannot and will never be able to take care of themselves.

First, forensic hospitals. They are a lot like prisons, but the staff are allegedly trained in mental health issues. They are more likely to talk you down if you're angry before they take you down. But, there's still a liberal use of restraints and quiet rooms and the like. Half or so of the patient population consists of developmentally disabled, or those with serious brain damage. The other half are largely those with significant mental illness, like the guy who's not on TX death row physically, but is still classified as a death row inmate. He's there because he's plucked out both eyes and ate them. At two different times. He doesn't respond to medication, and has the diagnosis of a paranoid schizophrenic. And then there are the people who read One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest and decided the forensic hospital would be more fun and profitable than prison. So they are trying to fake whatever they think it is to be crazy (as opposed to incompetent), and do it at the expense of the other patients. They like to actually hurt other patients, especially the ones with difficulty identifying others. I have heard some really gnarly stories from clients who've done small bits in the forensic hospitals. Some of those stories are true. Some I hope are not.

Oh, and when you're moved finally to the probate calendar, you're not going to change facilities. You may change sides of the hospital, but that's where you'll be if you don't have the money to live in a private facility for the rest of your life. And they won't move you if that's questionable.

But, you'll never have to make a decision again.

Before anybody actually tries to commit suicide, they should think about the fact that they might not actually suicide. Once they try and don't succeed, it's not like nobody will ever know, and they will come out of it unscathed. Your life is changed. Your body is changed. Your brain may not be there for you ever again.

Now, let's get to some of the popular myths about suicide - you bring a few of them up.
Permanent solution to a temporary problem, it's selfish, just asking for help

Bogus. Totally bogus. These are platitudes made for mildly depressed people, mainly adolescents, who might impulsively attempt suicide. These do not apply to deep depression where all you can do is obsess about killing yourself in a particular way for months on end. Stop thinking in those terms.

Suicidal ideation is a symptom of depression. When you think about suicide and you don't note it as a symptom of your depression, when you can't look at suicidal ideation and assess the strength of the thought, the specificity of that thought, etc, then you are overwhelmed with the symptom.

Look, you probably haven't read anything that tells you my situation. I lost my leg in November after a valiant fight to save it after a motorcycle accident in 2015. Yes, attorneys ride motorcycles. No, I didn't ride a hog. Anyway, in the hospital immediately after the accident (okay, I don't remember the 6 days I spent in the ICU. I'm talking immediate to me - somewhere in my first days in critical care), they kept waking me up into the most incredible pain I've ever experienced. Fentanyl didn't take it out - I had to pass out to deal with it. That pain was a symptom of the injury. Could I have thought rationally about anything during that time period? No. I couldn't read. I couldn't see. My entire brain was taken up by this most amazing, engulfing pain. Every time they woke me up, I just became pissed at them for causing me more and more pain. Every time they changed bandages (from groin down - they carved me open like, well, ew), they woke me up to "see if I was still with them" and boom, I ran right into that wall of extreme pain. Give me a revolver at that time, and I wouldn't have blinked - I'd have used it. Why? Because the moment I was in was so intolerable that shooting myself would have made complete sense. It wouldn't have mattered that in a week or two, Fentanyl would have actually worked, and that in a few months, I'd be opioid free, driving my own car, and blah, blah, blah. What mattered was that I was in such extreme pain and that pain was intolerable.

Now, I'm assuming that the psychological pain you're in is pretty near that physical pain I was in. And let me guess, you understood my physical pain, but dismiss your psychological pain - it makes sense that somebody in that kind of physical pain would snap up a revolver without hesitation, right? It also makes sense that hospitals don't keep revolvers around patients in extreme physical distress, right? Well, they also don't keep methods of suicide around patients with extreme psychological distress either. Like me, they allow for healing, speed it up as much as they can, and help people through the worst of it.

You speak of saving your attorney from thinking about what s/he could have done to save your life - you didn't give any indication, after all. WRONG. Do you think I haven't lost clients? Ones who didn't tell me just how bad it was? I've lost them to suicide and DV and a few other reasons, and each one gets dissected, each interaction gets dissected for what I missed. I like to think it's impossible for people to be sitting next to me in court in that much psychological pain and me not notice. I'm wrong, and that really sucks. I work to be more sensitive to the psychological distress of others, and a few years later, I'm wrong again. And the more I practice, the bigger my shelf of failures - those who've committed suicide, those who've been killed by DV, those whose premature deaths I should have predicted gets bigger. You want to know why attorneys kill themselves? One of the reasons is because they regularly take these clients off the shelf and examine them, and each interaction they've had with them, and second guess everything they missed. This is why attorneys have one of the highest suicide and depression rates of any profession (I think dentists are still the highest, but they make their living putting their hands in people's mouths - they're pretty disgusting to begin with. No offense, Dr. Wise, see you Thursday, you know I love you, right?).

Do yourself a favor - recognize that you are thinking suicide because the level of psychological pain you are experiencing is intolerable. Go to a hospital. Let them actually help you. You can always commit suicide if that doesn't work out after a few good tries. If death doesn't work out for you, you can't exactly Plan B it to the hospital and try that, see if it works better. I mean, if you're none too keen on being a part of the Suicide Woods, you can't exactly climb out of Dante's Inferno and into a hospital bed, right?

Go, give the hospital a try. Talk with your attorney.
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  #36  
Old 04-14-2017, 07:04 PM
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I just wanted to add: I know its been said countless times across this forum, but it really does bear repeating: the worst part of this process really is the "pending" stage. Between the time you are charged and the time you are sentenced. It IS nerve-wracking. It IS stressful.

But believe it or not, once you are actually sentenced and know what your fate is going to be, once you actually get to prison and begin serving your time, it all becomes so much easier. Truly. Because at that point, you can start counting down the time. There IS light at the end of the tunnel, finally. And the future isn't so bleak.

The actual prison time itself for me wasn't the worst part of the experience by far. Before was definitely a struggle, and after was a struggle, getting back on my feet at first, but the actual prison time itself wasn't that bad once you get into the routine of things. Remember: all your needs are going to be taken care of in prison. You don't have to worry about bills, or making money to support yourself, or putting food on the table, or even deciding what to eat or what to wear each day -- everything is planned and scheduled out and decided for you. Leaving very little for you to worry about.

Try not to stress. Do seek help if depression is overwhelming you. But rest assured: it WILL get easier. And it is manageable. You WILL get through this, and come out a stronger person because of it.
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  #37  
Old 04-18-2017, 11:56 PM
Charmseyra Charmseyra is offline
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Quote:
Originally Posted by browneyes1181 View Post
Since this ordeal started, I've found myself going thru spells of what could be early depression? Or maybe just extreme sadness. ..idk. Not wanting to leave the house days at a time, not leaving my room, uncontrollable crying. Being around my kids when I can helps me because they bring me so much joy. But im worried it'll get worse once I start my sentence.
I seriously think that you need to talk to someone that can help you get your worries out. It's a good thing that you acknowledge that you might have depression, it's a good start.
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Old 04-19-2017, 12:30 AM
Minor activist Minor activist is offline
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That is sound and caring advice. I think it's also well-informed.

Now that browneyes1181 is in custody, what's her best move on finding someone to help if there's still a problem? Chaplain? Wise fellow inmate? Regular medical? Volunteer? Psych department?
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