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Old 02-14-2019, 11:20 PM   #1
seeker33
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Default Fear of going to jail

As some of you may have noticed, I have some pretty weird thoughts and beliefs.

One of them is a fear of going to jail for murder which I didn't commit. I've had this since I was a kid and watched a movie about a judicial error. They sentenced an innocent person. Since then, I get this thought from time to time that it's surely going to happen to me, Not always, but from time to time.
It happens especially when I feel good and enjoy for example a beautiful sunset. Then a thought will come "enjoy this while you can, because you won't see this in jail:"Then it spoils my whole experience and I get anxious.
Or tonight I began thinking how poor inmates aren't allowed to commit suicide and how would I kill myself in jail. And I made a plan that if my attempt is not successful I would take it to court and I would try to legally force them to allow me to commit suicide because I would claim it's my human right and if they won't allow it it would be considered torture.

Don't worry, I'm not suicidal at the moment at all. I'm perfectly safe. I'm just thinking that if I ever really go to prison I would DEFINITELY want to end it. Because being forced to live in jail is the absolute form of loss of control and vulnerability. That's what scares me the most! There's nothing I'm more scared of than the loss of control.
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Old 02-15-2019, 03:56 AM   #2
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Default Re: Fear of going to jail

It is hard to understand that feelings and fears are sometimes not reality. I am sorry that you have intrusive thoughts lead you to a scary place. Is there something that you could do to bring you back to where you are in reality to ease your mental suffering?
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Old 02-15-2019, 04:15 AM   #3
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Default Re: Fear of going to jail

I'm so sorry, seeker33 It sounds like those are intrusive thougths. I'm so sorry, I know it's hard to deal with them. I get some obsessive thougths from time to time as well. It's not easy to control them. Have you tried writing them down when they happen? Maybe that could help. Keep fighting, you're stronger than them. Wish you good luck! Let us know how it goes. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this
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Old 02-15-2019, 09:50 AM   #4
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Default Re: Fear of going to jail

Oh Seeker! What a scary recurring thought for you. I'm no expert but it sounds like a manifestation of severe anxiety. Possibly even a form of phobia. Here's something that popped into my head when I read your post. Back when I did therapy, I had a psychologist who was talking to me about my own anxiety. I was worried a lot about the future at that time. Anyway, she mentioned a different client of hers who had a recurring fear that she would hurt a child. The client was a woman...apparently a decent person with zero desire to hurt anyone least of all children. But she was having to go to therapy because the fear almost became obsessive. Now unfortunately I can't share a therapy idea for dealing with it because my psychologist never brought up that client again or her strategies. But, I mention here because I feel quite sure that an experienced therapist could help you manage your fear of going to prison. Are you currently in therapy? have you mentioned that fear?

I don't want you to have any more ruined sunsets!!! I love to watch the sunset! In the meantime, how about this...next time you are enjoying a moment and the prison fear pops into your head trying saying to yourself out loud: "Well there goes my amygdala again...throwing out some odd anxiety...it's okay amygdala...focus on the moment...all is well...nobody is going to prison right now...so let's just take slow and deep breaths here...you and me amygdala...we are a team and we are okay!" I would suggest a combination of mindfulness and meditation. I have even used meditation when I have suicidal ideation without a plan or some sort of intense anxiety. It really helps. YouTube. 'Guided Meditation for panic' or 'guided meditation for fear of losing control'

I read that announcing an unpleasant feeling out loud can help to reduce it. Such as "I feel panic right now because I am scared I could go to prison." Try saying it out loud...see what happens. Then you can add "I know I am not going to prison so the panic will pass when it's ready to."

I hope this helps. You deserve peace!!

Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker33 View Post
As some of you may have noticed, I have some pretty weird thoughts and beliefs.

One of them is a fear of going to jail for murder which I didn't commit. I've had this since I was a kid and watched a movie about a judicial error. They sentenced an innocent person. Since then, I get this thought from time to time that it's surely going to happen to me, Not always, but from time to time.
It happens especially when I feel good and enjoy for example a beautiful sunset. Then a thought will come "enjoy this while you can, because you won't see this in jail:"Then it spoils my whole experience and I get anxious.
Or tonight I began thinking how poor inmates aren't allowed to commit suicide and how would I kill myself in jail. And I made a plan that if my attempt is not successful I would take it to court and I would try to legally force them to allow me to commit suicide because I would claim it's my human right and if they won't allow it it would be considered torture.

Don't worry, I'm not suicidal at the moment at all. I'm perfectly safe. I'm just thinking that if I ever really go to prison I would DEFINITELY want to end it. Because being forced to live in jail is the absolute form of loss of control and vulnerability. That's what scares me the most! There's nothing I'm more scared of than the loss of control.
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Old 02-15-2019, 10:17 AM   #5
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Lightbulb Re: Fear of going to jail

Another thought for you Seeker...

you identified your biggest fear as the loss of control. That is very astute and insightful of you!!! I believe that every human's biggest fear is losing control. That's why death is terrifying to most...the idea of losing consciousness...of not retaining full control of body etc.

I work in healthcare and patients' fears of losing control have become apparent to me over the years. Aside from my other goals for the patient, my first priority is to figure out how to increase their individual sense of control...that is different for everyone.

I have walked into a patient's hospital room after hearing them screaming and swearing at some of the staff. On the surface, a person may perceive that patient as angry or difficult or even cruel. What I see is panic. And what do you think some staff will do in that situation? Try to take control!
But what we need to do is safely give control to the patient. There's an art to that...I'm not suggesting allowing unsafe behaviors.

For anyone to become so sick that they have to leave their home...to be dependent on strangers for help...that is frightening because their sense of control is low to zero! I've had a couple of minor surgeries in my life...I'll never forget being told that I could not take a shower post-op unless a nurse was in the room with me...in case I collapsed or something. My logical brain understood why I was told that but my fear-brain was thinking: get the heck away from me! You may not see me naked! I'm not a child! I can shower on my own! I did NOT say that out loud or scream (though I felt like it) but I ABSOLUTELY refused to shower with a nurse there. I insisted on nobody in the room and the shower-room door locked. I was desperate to retain as much control as possible.

This turned into a tangent I suppose, sorry! But I want to emphasize to you that fearing loss of control is VERY, VERY human. Not everyone may admit it but I think we all feel that way at times. Your version of the fear of lost control is related to prison. In a way there's a sort of logic to it, right? Prisoners have zero control over their day to day lives so you are scared that could happen to you because that is your impression of the ultimate loss of control.
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Old 02-15-2019, 11:13 AM   #6
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Default Re: Fear of going to jail

Thank you so much, HopefullyLost! What you said definitely makes sense. I'll try these strategies. I'm also extremely scared of doctors and hospitals!!! :-(
I want to discuss this in my therapy when I start it again. Hopefully it will be soon.
I think mindfulness will be the best for me. My T tried using cbt on this thought but it only agitated me a lot and I felt misunderstood. I find mindfulness much more effective.
BTW I'm sure you're a wonderful health care provider. If I had a doctor like you, maybe I would even visit you sometimes, and not avoid checkups for 8 years, like I do now :-)
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:07 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker33 View Post
Thank you so much, HopefullyLost! What you said definitely makes sense. I'll try these strategies. I'm also extremely scared of doctors and hospitals!!! :-(
I want to discuss this in my therapy when I start it again. Hopefully it will be soon.
I think mindfulness will be the best for me. My T tried using cbt on this thought but it only agitated me a lot and I felt misunderstood. I find mindfulness much more effective.
BTW I'm sure you're a wonderful health care provider. If I had a doctor like you, maybe I would even visit you sometimes, and not avoid checkups for 8 years, like I do now :-)
Aw, Seeker! Thank you for your very kind words! You just made my day...truly!

I don't mind sharing (since I think self-appreciation is important) that I have received a great deal of unsolicited positive feedback from my patients. It is one of the things I value about myself...my ability to make others feel safe and to bolster others when they are faltering or scared. Patients who were not willing to work with other providers are typically willing to chat with me. Even if I don't specialize in their area of need I can be a strong advocate, help them understand the system, and introduce them to a gentle colleague.

I think it's all about approach. I don't view patients as beneath me...I don't believe there should be a power differential. I must earn their trust and they can choose to team up with me to work on their goals or not. That said, I am not a MD so I couldn't help you with your check-ups anyway!

I admit that I avoid going to the doctor as much as possible. I realize how ironic that sounds Though I've worked with a lot of MD colleagues and most have been wonderful! When I meet one who isn't very easy to work with, I make it one of my goals to build a relationship with them...in almost all cases I can do it over time. Confidently appealing to their logic is usually a good strategy.

I'm waaaay more comfortable being the one holding the chart and taking the notes rather than the other way around...my control issue! I have it too!
They do say that healthcare professionals make the worst patients!!! I don't mind owning that, for me anyway, there is a lot of truth to that. For one thing, I ask a gazillion questions! Hahaha.

When we meet a new doc and it doesn't go well, that memory can stay with us for a long time because we are vulnerable in those moments. Though I also think it's valuable to remember the good ones. A pediatric MD saved my life in my teens....really turned things around for me when I was severely depressed!!!

Another, who was one of my colleagues until he retired, used to give me so much extra info and insight at work from his many years of practice...well I learned so much from him and he didn't have to do that...because I'm not a MD myself and my scope of practice is different. And you guessed it...all of the staff AND patients loved him...he had a beautiful combination of excellent clinical skills AND lovely bedside manner I will never forget him...was truly a joy to consult with him on cases.

Your instinct about CBT sounds right...I don't think it's going to get you where you want with those prison fears. Mindfulness seems best to me though as I said I'm no expert.

Take good care of yourself Seeker because....YOU DESERVE IT!
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Old 02-15-2019, 12:11 PM   #8
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Default Re: Fear of going to jail

I'm glad you've decided to talk to your therapist about this, seeker33! I hope he/she will be able to help you. You could learn some new ways to cope with your feelings. Especially this fear you have. I also agree with all the great advice HopefullyLost1211 gave to you. I hope it will help a bit! I'm so sorry, I know it's hard. Please don't give up. I hope you'll feel better soon. Remember that we're here for you if you need it. Feel free to PM me anytime. Let me know if I can do something to help you. Wish you good luck! Let us know how it goes. I'm so sorry you have to deal with this
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Old 02-16-2019, 08:46 PM   #9
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Default Re: Fear of going to jail

Quote:
Originally Posted by seeker33 View Post
As some of you may have noticed, I have some pretty weird thoughts and beliefs.

One of them is a fear of going to jail for murder which I didn't commit. I've had this since I was a kid and watched a movie about a judicial error. They sentenced an innocent person. Since then, I get this thought from time to time that it's surely going to happen to me, Not always, but from time to time.
It happens especially when I feel good and enjoy for example a beautiful sunset. Then a thought will come "enjoy this while you can, because you won't see this in jail:"Then it spoils my whole experience and I get anxious.
Or tonight I began thinking how poor inmates aren't allowed to commit suicide and how would I kill myself in jail. And I made a plan that if my attempt is not successful I would take it to court and I would try to legally force them to allow me to commit suicide because I would claim it's my human right and if they won't allow it it would be considered torture.

Don't worry, I'm not suicidal at the moment at all. I'm perfectly safe. I'm just thinking that if I ever really go to prison I would DEFINITELY want to end it. Because being forced to live in jail is the absolute form of loss of control and vulnerability. That's what scares me the most! There's nothing I'm more scared of than the loss of control.
I scared of going to jail myself but my brother cause me to be afraid of cops due to many times of being arrest. Now I freak out over cops.
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Old 02-17-2019, 08:27 PM   #10
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Default Re: Fear of going to jail

I haven't had this thought but I've had my share of other weird thoughts before. Glad to know I'm not alone, but not sure exactly what to tell you. Does saying it out loud to others help?
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