#FF — Alternative Programming Part Two


PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

I’ve been at the conditioning center a decade; not a bad patient; just not a real good one.

Today Snowy, who’s been here longer than me, cracks, “Fake it ’til you make it, eh, Green?”

Snowy decorates the floor with her blood.

Confined in Reflection (i.e.solitary,) they assign Dr. Dorsett, my first individual therapist. After two weeks of assessment, Dr. Dorsett recommends the individual treatment continue.

Over the years, she delicately steps me through barricaded, long-abandoned corridors.

On January 25th, I remember killing you. It brings no satisfaction; only sorrow.

At home, late at night, Dr. Dorsett, polishes her wings.

[100 words]

This story is a part two of last week’s story. It is also a tribute story to my therapist, mentor, and friend of many years, “Dr. Dorsett” (name changed to protect her family’s privacy.) Dr. Dorsett passed away in 2020, lost to Covid. One of her favorite sayings was that humans that helped others were, “Jesus with skin.” Here I have made her an angel, which she was and which she is.

Finally, this story is meant to illuminate the woeful lack of adequate and effective mental health treatment for those who are incarcerated. The reality is that so many who are locked up suffer from debilitating mental health issues and wouldn’t be there if there were well-designed and adequately funded outpatient mental health treatment available.

Undersea St. Thomas 4 Meme

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields is the scribe-mistress host of Friday Fictioneers.

72 Comments Add yours

  1. James says:

    My short story about a “firestarter” in “That Which Burns” is a lot like this. It’s included in this anthology. https://www.amazon.com/Winter-Wonder-Superhuman-Shane-Porteous-ebook/dp/B09M82XVV3/

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks for the info.

      Like

  2. Liam says:

    Wait, I thought these came out on Friday?

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Liam, the prompt is posted usually around 2am EST Weds and that’s when people begin to write and link up in Mr. Linky. By Friday it is in full swing. Better get to writing!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Liam says:

        I think I’m still going to post mine on Friday.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. msjadeli says:

          You technically have until Mr. Linky closes on Tuesday to post, so Friday will definitely be before the deadline.

          Liked by 1 person

  3. neilmacdon says:

    Chilling, and yet hopeful too

    Liked by 1 person

  4. James McEwan says:

    I was sorry to learn of the passing of your therapist. Your story does bring home a kind of madness surrounded with hope.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      James, thank you for your condolences and for sharing what you see here.

      Liked by 1 person

  5. scary, this one is.
    As is the reality, in all too many of these.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks much, Na’ama.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Carol anne says:

    That is great Li!
    And so true, we need more mental health outpatient treatment centres!
    I am so glad you knew Dr. Dorsett! xo

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks so much, Carol Anne.

      Like

  7. Michael says:

    I am lost for words tonight… but your posted story has got me thinking. And I agree mental health services are very inadequate. How I wish that I had done more.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Michael, I’m glad the story got you thinking. I’m sure you did the best you could, as many mental health workers do. It is the system that is broken. Thank you for your comment.

      Like

  8. memadtwo says:

    Mental health is a huge issue everywhere. Not enough trained therapists to start with, and definitely not enough good ones. No funding for treatment, or humane places to house those who need it. You were lucky to have a good therapist–most even mediocre ones around here have no openings. And so sorry Covid shortened her life. (K)

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Kerfe, I believe I was led to her. It is the world’s loss she is gone. Why does death have to take the angels?

      Liked by 1 person

      1. memadtwo says:

        It makes no sense at all.

        Liked by 1 person

  9. Nobbinmaug says:

    Mental health is an issue everywhere. We’re finally getting to a point where it’s not as stigmatized, which is a baby step in the right direction.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      You’re right, well-said.

      Liked by 1 person

  10. I’m sorry your therapist passed. Healthcare in prisons is a pretty depressive subject. I can only imagine how bad it must be for chronic illnesses like mental conditions.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Christian. She was my therapist for a number of years and then she was my friend for a number of years. Her passing was a shock to my psyche that I’m still trying to get over. I’m sure her husband is lost without her, as are her children and grandchildren 😦 I’m guessing the inmates are “managed” with group therapy, medications, and punishment 😦

      Liked by 1 person

  11. trentpmcd says:

    We do an awful job of dealing with mental health issues in our society, inside and outside of prison. Glad there are some angels out there to help. I’m sorry about the real “Dr. Dorsett”.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Yes, we do, Trent. Even if you have insurance coverage they usually only will pay for so many sessions. Oh, have a debilitating mental illness? Six sessions should cure you. Not cured? Oh, take these pills (and get really effed up!) I’ve seen it too many times. Thank you for the condolences.

      Liked by 1 person

  12. Sadje says:

    Mental illnesses is such a big field. Neither the diagnosis nor the treatment is 100% accurate. You’re so right that with proper treatment, many people can live normal/ useful lives.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Absolutely, Sadje. Diagnoses are reassessed every so often and are fluid. Who is doing the assessment makes a big difference as well. What’s bad is if you get an inaccurate assessment but it goes into the “permanent record” and takes on a life of its own. When I worked with the juveniles, there were “pet” diagnoses that would become popular at certain times, with the usual recommendation of medications. I think alternative therapies that can be very effective can’t stand up to the big pharma machine and the “standard treatments.” Our system is royally messed up. You are right, with proper treatment, including adequate support services as needed, many can live safely and productively in the mainstream. Thank you for your comment, Sadje.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sadje says:

        It’s heartbreaking that money comes first before people and their health in a country where there is so much advancement and so many resources available.

        Liked by 1 person

  13. Iain Kelly says:

    A few more angels are needed. Well written.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Iain thank you very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. That’s a touch violent for a seeming angel. Nicely done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      The therapist is the angel who goes home at night after trying to save the souls of her patients. The patient who murdered someone may never see physical freedom again but may perhaps rest in peace at the end. Thanks for reading and your comment, Mason.

      Like

  15. Dale says:

    I thank you for the postscript, Lisa, It added depth to your already wonderful write. It is a sad state of affairs.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Indeed. You’re welcome.

      Liked by 1 person

  16. I like that she polished her wings. It really brought the story home for me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Dawn, glad you like that, thanks!

      Liked by 1 person

  17. Bill says:

    Well done, Lisa.

    Health care for the incarcerated is abysmal for physical and mental health. Worse, the very reason many people are there is mental ill-health.

    The mental health treatment field has many problems, inside and out. One is that we know so little. It is misunderstood, underfunded, and often poorly staffed in every sense of that term.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks much, Bill. You’ve got a good grasp on the state of it.

      Liked by 1 person

  18. Danny James says:

    Well told. Thanks for the background.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks, Danny and my pleasure.

      Like

  19. Badfinger (Max) says:

    Mental Health… does it not seem like we have more problems now than before? My theory…which I’m not a doctor nor to I play one on TV, is the new drugs. The drugs that causes so many side affects and suicidal thoughts and actions. I do agree with you though about the system being underfunded.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Max, I love how you prefaced that. I watched a doc the other night about Xanax and how horrific it is for people who take it. It really messes a person’s mind up. One takeaway from it is that it was never intended to be used long-term but so many people get on it and cannot get off of it. Just like so many other drugs that we’ve read about or worse. Yes the physical side effects of just about any drug are horrible. It’s like you have to weigh which is worse if you want any relief. I think it is the drugs yes but I also think Covid and everything that rippled/ripples from it has pushed a lot of people to the edge. Universal health care would go a long way towards making mental health treatment available to all. That and taking away the stigma of asking for help when you need it. Sorry to go on so long about it. Thanks for listening.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Badfinger (Max) says:

        I agree…the whole isolation hurt so many people and it shows. Yea about the drugs…we all watch the commercials….could cause coughing, headaches, and oh yea…SUDDEN DEATH.
        Mental Health has gone down hill…technology has played it’s part also…social media… When we went to school…there were no shootings or anything like that…at least not like today. Everything has collided now and it’s a damn mess.

        Never apologize…I did the same thing.

        Liked by 1 person

  20. Liz Young says:

    It isn’t that long since women were shut away for menopausal symptoms, or for being pregnant and unmarried.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Liz, too true, and for lots of other reasons. Thank you for reading and your comment.

      Like

  21. plaridel says:

    such a great tribute. well done.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Plaridel, thank you very much.

      Liked by 1 person

  22. poetisatinta says:

    Beautiful tribute ❤

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, AJ ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Tannille says:

    It’s hard to know what to do with these people. We can only hope treatments get better and better. More investment would help.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      It’s complicated sure fits here. Thanks, T.

      Liked by 1 person

  24. When going through hell, keep going. At the end, one emerges stronger and better. For oneself and for the rest of humanity.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Love your comment, Santosh ❤

      Like

  25. There’s really nothing I can add to all the comments above. I must say however that I found the story and your footnote quite moving and I’m happy that you chose to share it with us Lisa.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Keith thank you very much for your kind and sensitive comment ❤

      Like

    1. msjadeli says:

      Neel, yes it is, especially knowing if she could have gotten the help she needed BEFORE she murdered her partner it may have saved his life! Also, one less person rotting behind bars.

      Like

  26. athling2001 says:

    Well done. How true that services for the incarcerated are lacking.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you, Athling.

      Like

  27. Very true. We fail our fellow human beings in so many ways. A beautiful tribute to the lovely Dr. Dorsett! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Brenda, thank you very much.

      Like

  28. Dear Lisa,

    During one of my hospitalizations, we had a fellow patient named Joe. We thought ‘death therapy’ would be a good way to remedy his problems. But, what about Bob? I digress. Your story is a chilling reminder of what used to pass for mental health care.

    Shalom,

    Rochelle

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Rochelle, I’m sure there needs to be a special wing for Joes, but of course they throw them in with everyone else, to torment the rest. Thank you for your comment and your support in trying to help educate.
      Shalom,
      Lisa

      Liked by 1 person

  29. Loved this, msjadeli. I felt every bit of it. So sad about your therapist and the inadequate help for mental health patients. I’m glad you’re spreading awareness.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Brit, thank you very much ❤

      Liked by 1 person

  30. Although it is a sad story, it is still a beautiful tribute.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thank you very much.

      Like

  31. Laurie Bell says:

    A poignant piece for our times. A true angel.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. msjadeli says:

      Thanks much, Laurie.

      Like

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