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Commentary

Kat’s Blog: Don’t Let Increased Stress Lead to Suicidal Thoughts

In August 2017 I wrote a blog piece for Women Against Registry titled “No More Suicides, Please”. Almost 3 years later I’m still receiving notices of comments on that piece, notices that have prompted me to touch on this subject again.

Knowing what we know about the way some registrants and their families have been treated, it’s no wonder some registrants, and even their family members, have considered suicide as their only option, the only way out of “life on the registry.”

My previous blog was not written during a pandemic, but even then, life for many registrants was a “walk along the edge.” Registrants can’t find jobs, they can’t find housing, there’s no money to pay all the fees that are heaped upon them. For some, thoughts of suicide snuck up on them quickly once they were released from prison, life on the registry terrified them and their options seemed few. For others, the longer they were out, the more difficult life seemed, spinning their wheels, looking at what appeared to be a bleak future, didn’t seem like a life worth living.

Today, registrants are still dealing with all those same issues, plus more. In a world where everything is shut down, registrants are still required to meet with registry officials, law enforcement and treatment counselors and I haven’t heard anything about “fees” being forgiven despite the fact that everyone is out of work. Registrants in many places are still being required to register in person, required to attend treatment in group settings, taking polygraphs and still having to allow their P.O.’s and whatever potential germs they’ve been in contact with, into their homes, putting registrants and their families at risk.

 At a time when we’re supposed to care about each other’s health, it seems no one cares about the health of registrants and that may make registrants feel helpless to protect themselves and their families.

The stress of life on the registry compounded by the uncertainty of a pandemic may be enough to push some registrants ever further towards the edge, an edge they often can’t find their way back from.

“They’d be better off without me” is a phrase I’ve heard too many times from those considering suicide, when referring to their families.

After a long mental health career let me just say for the record, for those who are thinking that suicide is the answer to your family’s problems, I’ve never had a family member say they were better off now that the person who committed suicide was gone. Never. Ever.

No matter how much stress and strain those families went through with the person, all I ever heard was “I’d give anything to have just one more day with them.”

I don’t want to minimize the fear, desperation, anger, frustration, emotional and physical pain   registrants have to endure.  Those of us that are “registrant adjacent” can only imagine what you deal with on a daily basis. We know your issues but we don’t walk in your shoes, we can’t ever fully understand the depths of your pain.

But we are here for you.

Because today is a difficult struggle, doesn’t mean that tomorrow can’t be better and if not tomorrow, then maybe the next day or the next. If you’re not here, you’ll never known what might have been, what you may have missed out on, what possibilities your life could have had.

If you’re feeling more stressed than usual during this world crisis, scared of dark thoughts you’re having, then reach out and talk with someone. There are counselors, doctors, pastors, family and friends. Call a hotline, a support group, call 911, get to a mental health center.

There are people that want to help.  

None of us knows what tomorrow will bring, but if you don’t stick around, you’ll never know what good things may have happened.  Choose to live, we’ll get through this together.

Take care of yourselves and those around you.

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“Because today is a difficult struggle, doesn’t mean that tomorrow can’t be better…”. How can it be better when a crime committed 24 years ago against someone who has forgiven you and courts say you can have unsupervised contact with them, yet the laws still treat you as a threat to society?

I hear ya……now matter how many decades pass we are All painted with the same brush and treated like our crime was committed an hour ago. But…..keep yer head up.

@love and peace, I am sure everyone can understand that but is it just conjecture or establishment mentality. As I mentioned to Janice in one of my letters I believe that they are canceling a lot of meetings and gatherings cause of this virus ordeal. I was suppose to go to Appomattox, VA for a festival. They e-mailed me of their cancelation due to this virus and I wanted to visit that battle field again. Last time I was there was three years ago doing my vending work for events in VA. Each time I have an event I have… Read more »

@ LOve,peace,happiness-little by little groups like ACSOL are getting laws changed. Change may not come as quickly as we want, but there is progress being made, and that’s hope for everyone’s tomorrow.

For what its worth Kat is right and one must’n let stress get one down. Sure this registry is a label, yes its bad enought and a bit embarrassing on many and many want to just give up. We all have our scrapes in life but understanding amongst all this confusion and helping others in a positive way to look at things if one has the energy and makes the effort. Sure others might say this sex offender is no better than the other offender but thats not right is it. or are we all judging or looking inside out… Read more »

Virus isolation / distancing , It is amazing how simular it is to being on the registory,.
Its sort of nice to see society get a taste of what we have a life time of.
I’m not really wishing it on any one , How ever …….

@Doug, et al, Very true, but the difference is the prevailing attitude is this virus won’t last forever and there is an end in sight once there’s a vaccine, enough infectious resistance, etc because of the resources being applied to it. The same should be said for the registry and those who are lifetimers. 15 years is too long. 25 years is too long. Lifetime should not even be considered (that is a different set of problems should someone need lifetime confinement as discussed here many times). The kicker is the same application of effort and money on the virus… Read more »

I think I have 35 years in now ,,, ! Damn sure gettin old ,

Is isolation because of the Registries much of a problem? I have a completely full social life and most other People Forced to Register who I know do as well. I actually don’t really know. That is one thing that I always found hilarious about the Registries. It has always been completely trivial for me to know and hang out with any number of people and families who have no idea that I am Registered and never will. The Registries are just 100% ineffective. I have been good friends with many of my neighbors as well and done all kinds… Read more »

Oddly enough, I make it a point to tell people soon after meeting them that I’m a registrant. Most just say, “Damn, that sucks” and that’s pretty much the end of it.

For those that have a problem with it, to hell with them. Only happened once or twice in the 4 years I’ve been out of prison (minus the 4 probation revocation for being too broke to afford a polygraph).

I expect just telling people right away is likely the easiest way to avoid any future issues. People ought to do whatever works best for them. Personally, I don’t tell people, I guess for these reasons: 1. None of their business. It is only a person’s business if I care about them and it will affect them in some way. If that becomes the case, I’ll tell them. 2. I don’t owe anyone anything. No one has any right to know. 3. I won’t pretend Registries are legitimate or they are important or matter. 4. I like that people get… Read more »

One wonders if we all lie or stress/strech the truth a bit today. Sure there is no need to stress out. I wasn’t even going to come on here today but according to the bible we do or who takes a polygraph test to understand police or government actions. Stressing out is not good for anyone. One can read books to try to understand governments, talk about global warming or some computer scam with much of this sexual nonsense going on to trap another but where is the rainbow in this stress. One wonders what we did on April fools… Read more »

I left a couple of notes on your original blog “No More Suicides Please”. You say to seek support but do a quick internet search of support groups for Sex Offenders. Then do a quick search for Victims support group. I want all to see the inordinate amount of support groups for the second case and the near none for the first. I am not saying that victims do not need support and counseling but when I look for somebody to call or contact there is really no to do that with as a Sex Offender. Its a shame but… Read more »

@ JML you know you and MC have some good feedback and thats good. When I first got involved in this whole ordeal it was shocking. I even wanted to know about advocacy groups and support for the sex issue or offender issue today. Sure I got in contact with Janice, Kat, and Brenda and yes I could understand their views with all these issues going on today. At times we all can’t understand ourselves. Even women can’t understand themselves at times. Kids can’t understand themselves and even kids have to have support from their parents. Yes many times a… Read more »

Been meaning to post on this for a while. All this social isolation (and my graveyard solo work hours) has given me a lot of time to ponder. It is hard not to feel like death is the only way out. As a never-married, very lonely, very broken shell of a man living by myself and having almost always been single (thanks to a lack of social skills and confidence stemming from autism spectrum, and too few opportunities to meet people in the first place), the stresses of life as a registrant with no one at my side rooting for… Read more »

I hope things get better for you , prayers in the air !

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