My initial article had us meet Jen and her sister Lucy. Jen described how her day as a paralegal for a law firm turned into a fright. Her psyche was reportedly shaken immeasurably.
She abruptly left work and drove away. Rather than go home, Jen drove towards our region.
Her sister, Lucy, resides here. Jen contacted Lucy who then left work to meet at her home. Lucy realized Jen needed help beyond their capability. She then called around for therapists and reached me. I offered a time ASAP.
Lucy spoke first. She described her sister Jen having cried the entire two hour trip.
In my office, clearly her face illustrated by puffiness had been subjected to lengthy crying. I asked Jen how right at that moment she was feeling. Jen said she felt “embarrassed” and thinking this was “crazy.” She described the event that led to her drive to see her sister, Lucy. She had left work early. Something had occurred and she then got into her car and drove by her exit going home. “I must have spaced out. “ She felt like some force was driving, not Jen herself. She caught herself driving at a rate of speed uncharacteristic of her normal driving manner. Interestingly she noticed a police car that didn’t stop her, given her speed. Silently, I thought that if she was stopped, what shape psychologically which she have presented to the police officer? Somehow, Jen knew she needed her sister Lucy.
I asked Jen if she might recall any similar event from her past. She initially couldn’t. She asked Lucy who provided some family history. Their age difference, seven years, may have contributed to memory lapse or information yet to be learned. Jen, her mom, and stepdad were home. Jen was in school, Lucy was gone. Jen was asked about her folks. They’re still alive. She didn’t want to contact them. I wondered about their recollection. Silently, I wondered if Jen was unconsciously obstructing any clarity she may have blocked.
I then moved to inquire about the events at work. She’s been working at her desk. She works for a criminal defense attorney. They work well together. “Jen conducts research.” They were working on a new case. The client was incarcerated. This was a pro bono case offered by the law firm. She sidestepped momentarily to offer her resume that led to her hiring at the law firm. She was a college educated English major with a specialty and research. The law firm took a chance and not only hired her; they also provided payment for paralegal education. Sounds like the investment worked well for all parties. Initially, she worked with different attorneys. Her skills grew. The new attorney, Mark, was hired. She specialized in criminal law. Jen and Mara became a legal team. Jen provided the exhaustive research for cases, living with her dog provided time two devote the demanding hours each case presented. She, reportedly, learned how to control any emotions that may crop up in their “white collar cases.”
On the day in question, she was reportedly reading preliminary notes dictated by attorney Mira. She’d interviewed a client at the jail. Sometime following, reading the note, Jen found herself in the restroom puking. She question food stuff or whatever caused this sudden physiological disruption. She recalled crying, dry heaving, and then having some sort of “vision.” Twice more did the vision repeat itself. She then experienced a “rage I’ve never had before.” He’s self-described holistic disturbing event followed with Jen grabbing her purse and phone and running out of the building. She felt “overcome by freight and screaming in her car.” As she concluded, Jen abruptly ran to my restroom with Lucy and toe. I heard yelling, crying, then quiet. Both returned to my office.
Her head hurt and she was shaking. Her stomach also hurt. She settled down. I suggested medical attention. She politely refused. She looked to Lucy and requested to stay at her home. They left soon after with a next day appointment.
We met at noon time the following day. Both Jen and Lucy appeared rough. Did either of you get any sleep last night? Jen looked at Lucy. Lucy replied, “no, not really. My husband and two sons slept. Jen and I stayed together in our basement. We talked often on throughout the night. We drink some relaxation tea. Neither one of us felt relaxed. My family got up today and got themselves off to work and school. I think we crashed for a couple of hours. Jen woke me up with an awful nightmare. She was shaking and I woke her out of her sleep. She grabbed for me and I held her tightly. We had coffee. My husband left us a part. I ate a little, Jen didn’t eat. “Jen’s eyes remained puffy. Clearly, she’s disturbed by this unidentified harsh experience.
Jen, I’m glad to see you. Has the short time since yesterday and covered any sense of what occurred at your office? “No, not really. I feel so frightened, so scared. I was afraid to go to sleep. When I finally crashed, I was so tired. Then I had an awful nightmare.” I wonder if you can recall any or the entire nightmare? Please, I certainly can appreciate the intensity of your freight in all due respect. I wonder if your dream was a message yet even so frightful to help comprehend may be a deeper message? Do you understand what I’m asking, Jen?
“I do. The dream was much too scary to disclose. “That’s fine, Jen, are you, I ask able to recall the case woke up you ready yesterday? I don’t ask you to step on the client’s privacy. I strongly support that position. However, I wonder maybe in concepts not detail if the case set you off? Jen, any unwillingness to touch in on that matter? Jen takes some deep breaths. She begins to cry, shakes her head. She looks to Lucy. “Please hold my hand, Lucy.” “Of course, Jen.” She looks at me.
“The case notes attorney Mira took revealed a horrible situation that took place. The client was accused of sexually molesting his daughter; no wait…his stepdaughter. He told Mira that he denied the allegation. Nevertheless, he was arrested, charged, and jailed until an arraignment. Mira was called to see the client. He told her he had no money. Maybe this case would be a pro bono case. He refused the public defenders attorneys. I don’t know why, Mira left me a note. She trusts my judgment. How did I feel about this case? And working with her on it? Her note set me off. “What about you Jen about the case? Jen breaks down.
“I heard an inner voice say to me no, don’t do it! The vision I told you about? Oh, my God, oh my God, I can’t see it. Hold me Lucy! Lots of tears, sobbing, any moment of silence. Lucy, our step dad did touch me. He hurt me and threatened me if I told mom. Oh, my God, that’s why I moved away. That’s why I couldn’t have them involved in this.”
Ten minutes of sobbing, hugs, and handholding. “Sir, can we leave? I’m so tired. I need to sleep. Oh, my God. Can we come tomorrow?”
Certainly. Let there be peace on earth and let it begin with me.
Marshall Greenstein holds a master’s degree in marriage and family counseling and is a licensed marriage and family counselor and a licensed mental health counselor in New York state. He has regular office hours at Hutton and Greenstein Counseling Services, 501 E. Third St., Suite 2B, Jamestown, 484-7756. For more information or to suggest topics, email email@example.com.