Over the years I have heard many mad and intriguing confessions. I’d like to think that I have always been an open-minded person but I believe I am even more so now after working with a multitude of clients from all sorts of backgrounds. Very little surprises me these days as I have learnt that in many instances, anything goes, as long as it involves two consenting adults and they are not hurting anyone else.
1) Permission to wee
I once had a man phone me up to enquire about counselling.He had seen my YouTube video on abusive relationships and he wanted to know whether his relationship was unhealthy and abusive. He told me that his girlfriend enjoyed being controlled. He explained that she didn’t like making any decisions. I wasn’t too concerned at this stage until he let me know that the level of control included her toilet activities. The caller told me that she would phone him when he was at work and ask permission to use the toilet. I let him know that this was an unusual setup but that if they were both happy with the level of control then there was no need for them to come to counselling. He admitted that he liked being her boss and that she liked being told what to do, even if it involved when she was allowed to have wee.
Working in mental health hospitals was a fascinating job. At one stage I worked on a ward with 10 females who had all murdered someone. The victims ranged from parents, spouses, children to strangers. Those that had killed their partners were applauded whilst those that had killed children were ostracised. Most of the women self harmed and had very low self-esteem. Most, if not all, had had horrendous childhoods and although I am not justifying their crimes, many of them were also victims in their own right.
2) The Murdered Neighbour
I will never forget chatting with an elderly man who had killed his neighbour. He recounted how he had gone over to her house and rung the doorbell. He remembered her opening the door and seeing her silhouette framed by the moonlit stair landing-window behind her. He told me how he had struck her on the head-it was as if he was telling me a story about a movie he had seen. This was a common way of telling stories about past crimes. Many are able to detach from the crime and perhaps it is this ability that caused them to commit the crime in the first place.
3) The Lonely Schizophrenic
One of the saddest experiences I had was meeting a young lady who had not committed a crime yet was being held in a high security mental health prison. She suffered from schizophrenia and was incredibly volatile and aggressive in her behaviour. As a result there were no suitable places for her to be held and she had ended up in a mental health prison. She was kept in a tiny cell on a ward that smelled of urine and was kept isolated for most of the time. Her meals would be shoved from the door of her cell to the furthest corner of her cell where she had been ordered to crouch down. The tray of food would slide along the floor and as this travelled towards her, her cell door would be firmly shut again before she was allowed to stand up again and retrieve her food. When she went for a shower she would be escorted by several staff members who would hold her in a special grip in order to render her less capable of acting out. I remember her peeking through the small round window in her cell door and spotting me on the ward. I was not a permanent member of that ward and was only there helping out on that day. She spoke to me in very short quick bursts.
“Hello!… oooh you are new here.” Her eyes had sparkled with excitement. “Please come back, please come and talk to me” she had pleaded. “What’s your name? Oh… Oh, sorry… I know I am not supposed to ask personal questions”. The patients were told that they were not allowed to ask personal questions of staff. This was for safety reasons as there had been cases in the past of patients finding out personal details of staff in order to send somebody on the ‘outside’ to cause trouble for them.
“You look nice, please come talk to me”. I have never forgotten her. I still wonder if she is there still or where she is now.
4) Double Crossing Relatives
Another of the women who lived on the ward I regularly worked on met a male inmate and they ended up getting married in the prison. He ended up being released before her and went to live with her mother. A few weeks later the mother and her boyfriend revealed that they were now seeing each other and her husband asked for a divorce. Talk about a double whammy. There were so many sad stories and injustices.
I have met clients who are afraid to leave their own house, clients who are fearful of baked beans as well as those that are unsure of their sexuality. There is never a dull moment in this line of work. Mad confessions of infidelity, secrecy and outright dishonesty. Because of this I find it is really important to seek out positive healthy experiences to maintain balance in my life. When too much negative energy is entering my life intends to build up and affect me emotionally and physically.
We live in an imperfect world and instead of trying to fix everything I have learned to accept what is. I try to learn from all the information that I am privileged to have shared with me and use this to give something positive back. Being philosophical and keeping a sense of humour have been vital.
Have you got any mad confessions you would like to share? Often when we are brave enough to share, we become aware of just how many others have experienced something similar but haven’t been able to share before. Write to me if you would like your story shared, you are welcome to remain anonymous.
Photo by symphony of love