My daughter is still in jail. I think I am finally getting used to living in a constant state of uncertainty. I’m not sure when she is getting out. It could be next week. It could be a couple months.
This week Paul and I went to a support group for families who are dealing with family members with mental illness. Every single family there who has a mentally ill child Arabella’s age or older have or have had an incarcerated child. I found this to be shocking. We weren’t the only ones. Which makes me wonder how many mentally ill people are in the criminal justice system. And, how messed up is that? Because our child (and many others) is an adult, we could not get treatment for her unless she was a threat to herself or others. What a joke! And then, even if they hurt themselves or someone else, it is still hard to find treatment. Poor ratings from me for the broken mental health system.
My teenage adult daughter has been sitting in jail facing 3 felonies for the last couple weeks. Nothing new is happening with her case. She is just sitting there so she can’t come home and screw up her life some more. We got her a lawyer. We don’t want our daughter to be a convicted felon, we don’t want prison, we want mental health treatment. But her meds aren’t right. Although some are better than none, I guess. Both times she ended up in jail she was off her meds because she felt like she didn’t need them.
Talking to the other parents in the support group, I wonder if jail is just going to be a part of her life now. If it is, this will be the last time we get her a lawyer. We have spent so much money on her treatment already. Her two month stint in a residential treatment facility almost cost as much as a 4 year college. We’ve already paid the lawyer over $1,000. It isn’t fair to our other children and it isn’t fair to us because it is eating away from our retirement. Plus life goes on. We are paying her half of rent. We just found out she owes a lot of money for taxes because her online ‘modeling’ job didn’t take any money out.
I think my daughter is going to fail on probation. She is going to have to take her meds, be on time, have no contact with Will, and observe absolute sobriety. I would be a fool to think her prognosis is anything but poor. Plus, in the state she is in, she could harm herself or someone else all of which she has done before.
After she gets out of jail, Arabella is moving back home. It’s that or be homeless as she has nowhere else to go. We need to develop a safety plan because I’m not sure if I’m safe. My daughter is twice my size. She tried to strangle her boyfriend. What if she does that to me? I have to come to terms that my life could be in danger. Am I willing to risk that? I think I am prepared to die. I will probably have to keep my phone on me at all times and lock my bedroom door while I sleep at night. I will have to be aware at all times. Some of the parents in the support group got large dogs to alert and protect them.
My husband is gone a lot for work in the summer. At times he mentioned quitting his job so I’m not home alone. But I don’t want him to do that. Maybe we are worried for nothing. Maybe everything will be just fine. But we have to think about these things now. I don’t know if I will be able to call the police unless it is really bad. Growing up my mom tried to protect my autistic/schizophrenic brother at all costs. We had to protect Matt from the police when he attacked us or others. I grew up thinking calling the police was wrong. I just don’t know if I can do it. But I also think my mom didn’t handle things correctly. This has been triggering in so many ways.
I wish I could say I have been able to get it off my mind, but I can’t. If it is not front and center, it’s still percolating on the back burner. Some days are better than others. I’m starting to get used to it.