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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.

Join the discussion

  1. LOve, peace, and happiness

    “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?

    • ReadyToFight

      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.

  2. Saddles

    @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 to let ….. you know who where I’m going and things can get a bit tense at times. Doesn’t seem right for anyone on the registry to live like that.
    These suits are a sort of stroke of good for all and yes is something good comes out of it in CA I’m sure it will be like the shoot heard around the world for many on the registry for many.

  3. Kat

    @ 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.

  4. Saddles

    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 at another with that viewpoint. Sure we in this offender ordeal don’t have all the answers but we all still care. Isn’t that what Janice’s team is all about and the many more. Even USA’ and the other comments and view’s are good on here with much constructive advice.

    Thinking positive is always good in times of crisis but if one can help others out its all good. While this registry may have came up in the last 25 years or so their have always been some signs and types of sexual behavior in America. This internet way is a bit challenging and scary in many ways but we all have to have faith. and carry on that this registry will be over soon in many respects.

    While we all press on in times of disasters, confusion and other trials of life’s bittnerness we all strill have to remember United we Stand divided we fall. All jokes and kidding aside we all still have rights in America whether we are labeled or not to not be discriminated against.
    And yes mother nature can toss a curve ball in a nation to let us all know if we are not to treat others unfairly today but to helping families and others out. Even the sick, poor, and the homeless.

    Their are more things wrong than just the sex registry as some of you all mentioned on here or is the ones on the sex registry those desparado outcasts of America today. Sure this virus can be a wake up call for change in an over crowded Nation. We can all be winners and help comfort and console others in times of despair but confusion gets one nowhere and those on the registry are just as confused as the Nation right now.

    Many times one can think they are their worst enemy but a bit of biblical relief is good for many in times of confusion. Thats what the Bible’s their for. We all have pains & suffering, even stress upon ourselves isn’t the way so we all have hope that much of this sex registry will end for many in the USA. Staying positive is always good.

  5. Doug

    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 …….

    • TS

      @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 could be applied to prevention instead of registry and other legal reactions as we’ve discussed here many times too. Once that is realized, then more positive differences can be made.

    • Will Allen

      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 of things with them. I’ve had some neighbors who have had problems with me but they don’t affect me at all. I find it completely trivial to completely ignore such people to the level they might as well be stray animals.

      It would be completely trivial for me to never interact with any neighbors or anyone else who knew I was Registered. That is how sad and pathetic the Registries are. I could completely stay away from anyone who knows I am Registered and live a full social life with any number of other people. Easy.

      Don’t let Registries isolate you. I feel like PFRs have an obligation to ensure that they have great live and are around people and families who do not know that they are Registries, all the time. That is the proper, moral, American response to the Registries.

      • Dustin

        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).

        • Will Allen

          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 to know me and never in their wildest dreams would think that I am Registered. If I tell them later, then I like that they have learned that they have no idea who is Registered and isn’t. That it didn’t matter. And that very happy, healthy, successful people are Registered.

          I have had people “find out” later and been angry about it. Most times, at that point I have learned that the person is not worth caring about and I’ll be glad that they are angry and upset. I’ve found that to be very satisfying in some cases.

          Other times it has been disappointing but I’ve simply told those people that if they are dependent on big government, then I expect that they would be checking their hit list as they want. Why would I have to tell them anything?

          Sorry about that polygraph nonsense. It’s terrible to be sent back to prison just because you can’t help prop up someone’s profits and employment. What a lame excuse. I hope you aren’t having to take them now. America needs to shut that grifting business down.

  6. Saddles

    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 day or how is this day different from any other. Seems with this virus and all that is going on. We as being the outcast and as some say leapords it sounds a bit silly or who is casting this shadow.

    Should we Erase the Hate let all prisioners go free or stand up for justice as Janice is doing . Yes we can all picket or protest or even rebel and even take offense. Even in football it says the best defense is a good offense. Sure protection is good but it can present confusion and stress if one lets it. Is being so safe the method or who stumps their toe in the middle of the night or trys to see in the dark or what an advocacy groups all about today. Have we lost something along the way in years for Liberty and Justice and values or is government the Ides of March today.

  7. JML

    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 a fact of life. Everybody says to go out and march and fight for our rights but no one will touch any of our cases with a ten foot pole. And besides, if I go out and make a public spectacle then believe it or not my life will only become all the more difficult. “Easier said than done”.

  8. Saddles

    @ 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 support group is necessary as we are always reaching out. Isn’t a school teacher their to give support to one thats trying to learn in class? Even colleges give support classes of various topics. It easy to get stressed out but don’t let it as that would only be defeat.

    While the sex offender ordeal has a lot of variables, facets, & facts to all this understandings we all have to understand at many times who’s the victim and who’s the predator. And yes we always have an advocate with the Father and yes the bible says He is the way, the truth and the light. We can all stand up to true justice and principals.

  9. Tired of this

    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 me, no one to bounce my thoughts off of, no one to tell me things will be ok, makes life seem that much more empty and pointless. I am prone to depression as it is, having struggled with it since middle school, and I am 41 now. I have been living this registered life for over 13 years while trying to carve out a little sliver of the American dream for myself, and it has taken me years post-release just to become self-sufficient. Finding employers who would hire me and pay me enough to gainfully live on (and who won’t bend a desperate job seeker over the barrel and pay on a 1099, which left me with thousands in tax debt to the IRS, a debt I’m still paying off years later) has been as much of a pain in the ass as anyone here knows, and finding rental housing has been equally challenging. I’ve had to settle for far-less-than-ideal employment and rental situations, but I’m sure I’m preaching to the choir. I have even moved states more than once to escape being publicly registered, but in the end, it’s choosing the lesser of evils, the least-hot frying pan. Google searches of my name still turn up an old court docket and listing from a previous state I briefly lived in anyway, so in the end moving was almost pointless. But at least I don’t have a public target on my back where I live now, no dot on a map to lead anyone to my door who wants to be a f***ing hero.

    What is there to look forward to? What is even the point of it all? Is there a light at the end of the tunnel? Hope has been the only thing sustaining me for years, but hope won’t be enough to sustain me indefinitely. Of that I’m absolutely certain; I have already started cracking and have come close to the precipice on more than one occasion. This life is taking a serious toll on me. I have to really force myself to forge on and keep my head above water because it’s so easy to stop giving a shit about anything. Meanwhile I get to watch my younger siblings and cousins moving on in life, starting families, living lives that I can’t even imagine, reminders of what I’m missing. Basic human experiences like love, intimacy, belonging. I am filled with an overwhelming feeling of mourning of a life unlived. It colors my entire worldview. I scroll down through snapshots of things I have never experienced and likely never will. It feels like it’s over and I’m waiting for the end. It’s been a long and shitty movie, so why stay for the credits?

    Sorry to be such a downer, but I know this is a community where I can blow off steam and people at least halfway understand.

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