Today at work, an inmate told me about someone he knew who had committed suicide. “I just can’t believe someone would do that. You only have one chance — my mother told me that. You get one chance at life, and you can never come back. You can never see your family again.” He was completely boggled that someone with an apparently good life would want to end it.
It reminds me how differently people’s minds are programmed. Of course, there are plenty of suicidal prisoners. But there are plenty who, no matter what humiliations and deprivations they experience, cannot fathom wanting anything other than life.
Recently another client spent a while telling me about how she was homeless, broke, addicted to heroin, and not sure where her husband was. At the end of the meeting, she gave a dreamy smile and casually mentioned, “And I think I might be pregnant. I hope I am. I’ve been trying to get pregnant.” To me, these seemed like the worst possible circumstances to be pregnant in. But to her, it was her life, and a baby seemed like one bright spot in a very dingy world.