This week started off rough for me. Monday I had to appear for jury selection. The first case I was called for was against a major tobacco company. That would have been interesting, but I wasn’t sure how missing two therapy sessions a week for three weeks (at least) would affect me.
The second case I got called for was only to last one week. Not bad I thought. I can do that. I was called in at 1:30. After giving us our initial instructions, the judge gave us a brief outline of what the trial was going to be about. It was a local man who had been accused of child abuse. That triggered my anxiety through the roof. It was not explained to us the severity of the abuse, just the fact that there was abuse and neglect.
The prosecutor for the States Attorneys Office started our questioning. When she asked if knowing what the case was about would affect our ability to come to a fair verdict, a few of us raised our hands. After she asked the first two people about their feelings the judge stepped in and said that wasn’t really relevant at that time in the selection process. All I wanted to do was leave. My heart was racing, my head was pounding, I was breathing hard and my palms were sweating. How long did I have to sit there listening?
Next, the prosecutor asked if any of us had been a victim of a crime. It’s funny how I never really thought of myself as a victim of a “crime”. A victim, yes! It just didn’t really seem like the same thing to me at the time. My perpetrator was never charged. No trial, no arrest, nothing. I was a minor and that would have had to been disclosed to someone and action taken in my behalf. Never happened. Then, in thinking farther back, I suppose I could say that my biological parents committed a crime against me. Isn’t that what it is when a parent neglects a child to the point that the state steps in and takes the child away? The state takes away the biological parents rights, responsibility and custody of the child away?
One other juror alluded to the fact that she was a victim of child abuse, but would need to approach the bench to discuss it since she did not want to talk about it publicly. After the prosecutor finished questioning everyone, I raised my hand and explained that I didn’t bring it up at the time she was questioning me, because I wasn’t sure of its relevancy, but that I was taken from my home as a child due to child neglect and also later a victim of CSA. I used that acronym because I knew the attorneys, and judge would know what I meant but that many of the potential jurors may not. I feel like that made it a tiny bit easier for me to say.
As much as I would love to be a child abuse advocate, it is still difficult for me to talk about in front of a group of people. My therapy group is the largest number of people that I have spoken to, on this subject, at one time.
Obviously I was quite nervous and anxious when disclosing this information. I’m sure it was evident to others in the room also. I did make it clear though, that I was willing to talk about it openly and answer any questions the legal teams or judge had for me, out in the open.
The prosecutor had only one more question for me, and that was if I was able to put those events aside and follow the law and come to a fair and just decision in this case. I stated that it would be difficult for me since those events still affect me to this day, but that I know the law and what is expected of me. I could arrive at a not guilty decision if the evidence wasn’t there (for some reason) but I wouldn’t like it.
I feel like in some small way I was doing a little part in helping advocate against child abuse. I did get to tell a small part of my story. I was able to tell about 70 people. And even though I didn’t get to tell it all, maybe it was a little something. It’s a start I guess.
The defense attorney had no questions for me. I’m pretty sure she had already made up her mind about me.
We broke for a 20 minute break so the attorneys could pick the jury. I was extremely anxious. My chest was hurting and I could hardly breathe. I had no idea that this would affect me in this way or to this extreme. I just kept thinking, what am I going to do if they pick me? How can I sit there all week and listen, especially to the defense, about this case and that poor child? I’m going to end up at the mental hospital again.
All I can say now is, thankfully I did not get chosen!
I was really wishing while I was there that I had my anxiety medication with me, but I didn’t. I took one as soon as I got home though.
Today I feel like shit! My stomach hurts, my head hurts, I’ve had a couple episodes where I was really weak and almost fainted and blacked out. Unfortunately I was not home at those times. I thought, maybe my blood sugar is low, being a diabetic. Since I was not prepared, as usual, I did not have a testing kit with me. So, I drank a regular full of sugar Sprite. I did not have access to any candy or glucose tabs.
Finally, I could stand long enough to walk to my car to drive home. As soon as I got home I took my sugar and it was 220. Lol. Guess that wasn’t the problem. So I eat a sandwich and take my meds. Then I’m thinking, well maybe my blood pressure is low. Take it. Nope it’s fine. I lay down for an hour, not really feeling much better I take my vitals again. Blood pressure up a little bit, sugar down to 65. Oh great! I still feel sick. I don’t want to eat. I’m not hungry. As some of you may know, when your sugar is low you are famished, starved, could eat just about anything. To bring it up I decide to have a fun size Almond Joy. Too sweet!? That’s weird. I ate an apple and here I lay. Waiting to see what my next testing will show.
All I know is, sometimes life really sucks! Child abuse sucks! Depression sucks! Anxiety sucks! Diabetes sucks!!!!!!