Kinda concerned

Discussion in 'Parent Emeritus' started by PonyGirl65, Apr 3, 2017.

  1. PonyGirl65

    PonyGirl65 Active Member

    My son called this morning, I could hear something "off" in his voice. I asked if he had a cold, he said no. I asked if he maybe had some allergies? He said that could be, he does have a "throat thing" going on.

    We had a good visit. But. He confided to me that he has requested to begin seeing the psychologist there to address him feeling "stressed". And he did say "I have other issues too" and also mentioned depression. He said "I'm pretty anti-social in first it was because, everyone in here sucks - so I should be staying away from these people...but now it's like, there's a few who come and stand at my cell, and I just say 'Go away....' it's getting me pretty stressed."

    I did not ask The Question. Because I do not want to know The Answer.

    Is he being attacked? Is he being abused?

    We continued the conversation, with me saying "Son, you can't be the ONLY guy in there who doesn't suck." and talking about depression & drug use being a fairly well-known unbreakable cycle. And maybe in getting some help, he might be able to identify the others there who he can be more social with.

    I don't know what to think. I did say it's probably pretty normal to be depressed while in prison. And prison must be a stressful environment. And I believe that. But. I've never heard him talk like this before. He's been there almost a year.

    I wonder, are there "good" psychiatrists working in the prison program, do you think?

    ~ Peace
  2. Catmom

    Catmom Member

    Hi Ponygirl...I am new to understanding prison and know nothing at all. The one thing I do know is that I can pray for my son. My son believes he can move on without the Lord in his life, which preaching to him won't do any good so until then, I will pray. This is a tough road we have to travel, but we will get through.
  3. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

  4. Jabberwockey

    Jabberwockey Well-Known Member

    It depends on where he is at but we have several mental health employees who are good people and honestly trying to help. I can tell you this though, he needs to quit trying to isolate himself from all of the other inmates. He's making a target of himself because he has no one to watch his back. On the streets, its better to have no friends than bad friends. In prison, its better to have bad friends than no friends. Sorry, I know that probably doesn't help how you feel but figured it needed saying.
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  5. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    I worked in prison mental health over a 25 year period. I happen to feel that I was an excellent doctor and a good person. I was not the only one.
    Prison differs from state to state. But there should be protective custody available. What is called a "Protective Custody" yard. (I put the letters p and c and it turned into "perfect child." Smiling here.)

    Only inmates who are in danger or who have been threatened by other inmates are in these yards. This is the yard they place ex-cops for example who are at great risk of attack on regular yards. Or Transgender people. Or gang dropouts or sex offenders. These yards are generally far less violent with a more laid back "ambience." Prisoners are motivated to stay on these yards because in general it is easier and safer to do time here. If your son feels at risk based upon objective factors (as opposed to paranoid due to a mental illness) or he has been attacked he need only report this to custody staff or to mental health staff....and he should be moved immediately to one of these yards. At least that is how it is done in my own state. He will be interviewed by custody staff. I do not know if he needs to give names. I don't think so. Jabber who is a correctional counselor who has posted here on your thread will know how to do this.

    In my state there is huge concern about prison sexual attack and employees are extremely conscientious about reporting attack, protecting prisoners, treating them, and moving them to a safe environment. In fact we receive specialized training on what to do. There have been huge lawsuits against the State for failing to adequately protect prisoners. This is very motivating to a person--to avoid this kind of problem--let alone the moral and ethical aspects.

    I agree with Jabber about the isolation working against him. In prison more than anywhere else one needs "homies," to walk with. To walk the yard, to go to chow. To talk to. While not uncommon, the fear, exacerbated by isolation can lead to mental illness or make it worse.

    I would suggest that your son sign up for chapel, for the library, for AA or NA. He could well meet other inmates that will share interests. Depending on the custody level and yards there are groups of inmates who play sports or are gamers, there are those who play cards, or play chess. There are artists...they teach eachother crafts. Some inmates walk laps around the yard, or work out individually. (About 20 years ago I met a Russian born prisoner who said he had lost like 100 pounds walking laps. I remember him because he had been a pawn shop owner and he told me the bargains to be had buying gold jewelry in pawnshops and what brands to buy. Honestly. You meet everybody in prison: physicians, lawyers, rabbis, priests. The only profession I have not met is a mortician. I cannot remember anybody who worked in a mortuary. And did you know? They have very high job satisfaction. But that is another story.)

    There are positive and recreational activities that happen...not just abuse and predation. Yes there are those, but they have to be faced. Hiding makes it worse. Like it does everything else. And I have to tell you, from my perspective, there are some good people that end up in prison. It is way too easy to make a horrible mistake.

    I would urge him to reach out to mental health. I forgot to mention and will add here that in my state there are what are called levels of care for the mentally ill. The seriously mentally ill (in addition to individual therapy and psychiatry) are given 15 hours or more of weekly groups which can be specifically geared to symptoms or can be recreational in nature such as exercise, movies, art, writing, yoga, etc. They can be educational groups, as well: such as parenting, or men's issues. These groups make the time go by and give life focus and meaning, which is their point; as well as imparting specific life skills and coping mechanisms to get through time...and life, too.
    Last edited: Apr 5, 2017
  6. A dad

    A dad Active Member

    That sounds a lot like in school enviroment.
  7. PonyGirl65

    PonyGirl65 Active Member

    Thanks everyone for your supportive words! Copa & Jabber, thank you also for your insight and helpful perspective.

    Ugh. Another piece of knowledge to add to the pile of "I wish I didn't have to know this"....

    And dad - you are SO right! It does sound a LOT like school, doesn't it! Not surprising, GFG32 struggled in that "environment" as well.

    Just feeling BLAH today. I do so appreciate all your good thoughts!

    ~ Peace
  8. Copabanana

    Copabanana Well-Known Member

    Try not to worry, Pony. I think he may be exaggerating. It feels so much better to get all of the anxiety, fear and loneliness into Mom's brain--to free oneself up--to feel better and move on.

    Honestly. So many male prisoners have so much fun going to prison, it is not even funny. For men to age 27 or 28, prison can be a party.

    Anyway, whether he has fun or not, "he made his bed...."

    Maybe this is what he needs to experience to learn.

    Take care.
  9. PonyGirl65

    PonyGirl65 Active Member

    Yes, yes you are correct Copa. I've actually done pretty well in letting go of my worries where my son is concerned. It's a process, to be sure, doesn't happen overnight. But yes, as you say, he has made his bed. I am absolutely powerless to control anything that happens to him. (Well, not absolutely - because I can always pray, and I believe prayer is a powerful thing, for me.)

    I am glad to hear he has access to some mental health counseling, and that he will avail himself of it. I am at peace knowing, it is all truly up to him. No action is required on my part. And so I shall, quite simply, offer my prayers for him.

    ~ Peace
  10. Catmom

    Catmom Member

    Ponygirl...I agree, it is such a long process that we all go through to disengage from our kids harmful ways. You seem to be a few steps ahead of me in this but as my son is now currently sitting in jail, maybe I am catching up? I haven't cried in days and I was able to concentrate and have a productive workweek. Yes, for me, the power of prayer carries me through too! In the meantime though, I admit that I do get angry over all of these stories and how we parents suffer. And thanks for those words Copa, it helps me too to hear that.
  11. Acacia

    Acacia Active Member

    The other night I started to post a reply and then I must have hit post by accident... You said, "I did not ask the questions because I did not want to know the answer." I so get this. It is so painful to watch a loved one suffer and fail to see what role they play in their own suffering and what role they might play in their own healing. All I know is that I can't do for my son who is in prison what he must learn to do for himself. But it still hurts, and what I know is bad enough. It is not putting my head in the sand not to want to know. It is realizing that I am powerless, and that he has his own path and higher power. I detach when I have to, and I reconnect when I feel stronger.
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