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Not looking forward to court, honestly not sure why I'm posting this either?


I'm not looking forward to court on Monday. I've been feeling hopeless and am dealing with people not hearing me or listening to me lately. People talk over me -- not in the "talking loudly when I talk" way, but in the "you're obviously too slow/stupid to understand me so I'm going to look over your head at your 'caregiver' and explain it to them and not agree to listen to you" kind of way, like I'm not even a person.

Actually, I'm not sure what I want from this thread. Probably not encouragement because my friend offered me that already -- I texted him that I was expecting at most that the judge will find me guilty and I'll end up in jail even if I get a payment plan for the fine because I'm still waiting in disability money. He replied, "Well I think maybe they'll be able to see with the evidence that you aren't lying and really did just panic and it happened to look like stealing, and you don't get a fine and the judge will be so sad about what happened to you that he'll award you a million dollars that Walmart has to pay to cover your emotional damages," obviously being funny.

Which is not only encouragement, but challenging the distorted belief of fortune telling, where I'm clearly just expecting the worst in order to (a) protect myself from the worst possible outcome so it "can't" hurt me as badly when it happens, and (b) prepare for what I expect. Meanwhile my Bestie is helping by doing the opposite, which is guessing a really good, equally unrealistic outcome to the worst case scenario I'm expecting in order to... I'm not sure how to word it. Make it easier to find the most likely middle ground.

I think if it's possible the judge will hate me and condem me instantly, then yeah, it's possible that they will listen earnestly and genuinely try to hand out justice, since that is supposed to be their job. And Walmart's people will genuinely try to say I stole from them despite what I say, because at this point their job relies on it. They're all just people, obviously, and it's my anxiety that makes it feel like they absolutely hate me, that I f*ck up wherever I go and don't belong in society, etc.

On the other hand it was such a big blow to my feeling of security that I'm so devastated that it is difficult to do anything but say the logical answers without being emotional about it. I finally got to the point where I could be in public again, and for what. To be stalked in the Walmart and get so triggered I thought it was the traffickers waiting to grab me. Foolish on my part, K guess, but not out of the realm of reality. I think.

Anyway, not looking forward to defending myself. The police said the judge would give me a public defender, and I'm not sure what to bring. I genuinely didn't steal. So even if it ends up in my empty criminal record, I guess it doesn't matter in the long term.

It would be helpful if I had a therapist, but I've been kicked out of therapy (I am exaggerating an issue because I'm upset about it and feel it was unfair, and irresponsible of the office since I just got out of the hospital and am not doing well (the context is due to disability, such as narcolepsy, I struggle to know when I'm going to be able to make appointments and I'm therefore taking appointments from people who deserve them more than someone who can't make them). That was a ramble.

So I guess the real issue is that I feel helpless, not that I'm going to court. And that I'm just not expecting it to go well, I've been so suicidal that I have my method picked out and the supplies needed in my Amazon shopping cart (despite this, very happy to hear Amazon is getting sued finally), and I feel it doesn't truly matter what the outcome is.

Though, if the last part were true, why am I insisting that it will turn out badly no matter what I do? Seems like I'm hoping it does go well, though I'm sure when/if it does, I will feel silly and dumb for having fortune-telled the worst outcome and feel like I overreacted and that my feelings SHOULD be invalidated.

And I can't even say I want support either, because I'm getting support?

I can't quite tell what I want. To be heard, maybe? To know people know I'm not trying to do crime and also that Walmart is terrible? Because people already know that, and the people who matter in my life do believe me.

So I don't know. Maybe I want the wider world to take me seriously for once, for my life to quit being affected so severely by my two full pages of diagnoses, to be part of society enough that I have housing? For things to stop happening?

The actual worst case scenario according to that would be that the judge and court are corrupt and never let me talk, I don't get a public defender to help me voice what actually happened, or they all point at me when I go mute and also accuse me of having a fake service dog and act like I'm being stupid if I cry about it. And then I get fined a billion dollars, get all my assets sold, am awarded disability but all the money goes directly to Walmart, and have to live in jail for two years.

And based on that, best case scenario is that the court will be full of angels who will sense when I'm telling the truth, give me hugs and tell me the whole case is dismissed for both parties.

And based on THAT, the likely scenario is that court will follow some legal script I'm not familiar with, the public defender will speak on my behalf, and I'll be judged as fairly as a human can judge another human in a Tennessee court, leading to me either getting financial assistance, hopefully, for a fine if the judge decides I was guilty, or the case being dismissed with a warning that I better not be seen stealing ever because it looked like I was and it would be disappointing if it turned out I was stealing 24/7 or whatever. Also the judge may even decide that they targeted me for having a service dog with me. Who knows I guess.

Anyway, I needed something to look forward to after that case so I'm not thinking JUST of that case like it's the end of the world, so Bestie and I are going to go to one of our favorite restaurants afterwards. Hopefully I won't be too tired to go, as it's a two hour drive.

Mainly I just hope I don't get narcolepsy symptoms that morning because I'm going to drive there no matter what. I'd be more upset if I didn't even show up to court and had a warrant out for me, though I'd at least turn myself in or answer the door when the cops arrived I guess

ETA: I think I was so happy in the mental hospital because I genuinely had no recall cues (bc brain damage) to remember any of this? And was just happy about getting out of the ER I'd been in for 11 days that was neglecting my basic needs and being abusive towards me. I don't want to sound like I hate healthcare workers, I don't and I do believe they were trying their best and just didn't want to listen to me. Most people don't seem to listen to me I guess? I can't remember why I am adding this tbh lol
Can you ask the court for an advocate since you are disabled? That's someone who isn't
involved in the case - their entire purpose is to be there to help keep you calm, slow down the people talking to you, and make sure you are able to understand everything that is happening around you. Basically help take the pressure off. maybe?
Oh, I didn't realize that was an option. Maybe having a service dog with me will help with that too 🤔

I think I'll try asking day of? I'm not clear on how everything works or how early I'm supposed to be or anything like that to be honest

I don't think I know how real life works lol

Thank you
So I guess the real issue is that I feel helpless, not that I'm going to court.

Going to court, u less you’re a lawyer, is full on helplessness. As other people have total control over your fate.

Whether the results are:
- stood up against a wall & shot
- imprisoned
- pay a fine
- pay a fee
- receive something for your time & trouble. Commensurate, exorbitant, or pittance/insult.

It’s handing over your life? To others.

Whether by your own choice, or forced against your will.
Is there a charity or website that helps to explain the process too? Knowledge is power, and if you are able to arm yourself with understanding of how these things go, it might help a bit too.

can you also write some things down. So that if it is hard to speak on the day, you have things in writing to give to your public defender and/or the judge?
Thank y'all. It's tomorrow morning and I'll try to keep all this in mind.

Though I thought about it more, and the part of having to trust the justice system isn't too bad for my brain, surprisingly, @Friday :v

It seems Im good at the radical acceptance part, or at least good enough to allow that type of loss of control, I guess?

Thank you all for the support :) <3 I appreciate it. I'll try out your advice and we'll see what happens I guess
It went fine -- I didn't know the process at all so it was kind of interesting to learn about. I felt really bad for the guy who was seen before me because I was thinking it was bad enough that he was caught spreading at 31mph and was worried for him about how he was going to get through things with a suspended lisence, and then the text charges were driving without insurance and driving without a lisence, so I'm hoping he's doing okay 😬

Anyway apparently it was a general session court, so first of all I went to the courthouse which was evidently not where I was supposed to be :/ Thankfully the cop up front noticed and told me I didn't commit a felony and this was felony court. So after going to the correct court (and the judge hadn't started the... thing? started court? yet, so it worked out thankfully) I sat there until I was called up, Service Doggo did a perfect job with the cover me, and I have to pay a fee for the public defender (I think because I'm from a different county).

The cops asked me for papers on the Doggo but I forgot to tell them I was giving them voluntarily.

My mom told me to tell them that I signed paperwork under duress (spelling?) because Walmart told me I would get arrested if I didn't sign it WHILE I was still panicking, but this wasn't the court for that. It was just to confirm that yes I'm being charged for shoplifting and yes I'd like to be appointed a public defender, and yes I'll show up to court at the end of November and pay all required fees before that date to avoid a harsher sentence (classiest but okay, will do it obviously)

So yeah it was fine. I don't know how courts work is the long answer simplified
They said I'll have the right to plead not guilty or something like that and a jury if I want to later? Also it seems the worst punishment I could get is a fine and probation for a year, which would be okay with me because I happen to have gotten lucky and don't have any co-occuring addictions or any issues with the law. It would be easy for me, which is lucky considering the shit I've been through I guess lol
The judge required me to plead guilty or agree to going to jail for a bit while they send the case to civil/circuit/get me a jury. My lawyer tried a "benefit of interest" plea, which was basically to say that I did not do it and don't want to plead guilty but am willing to accept the "punishments" because the case was not simply dropped when the misunderstanding was revealed.

I live in a red state and this was in a red county next to mine known for having a particularly corrupt setup, so I wasn't expecting much. But, he did ask me to plead guilty or agree to be cavity searched and spend time in jail with a $2500 bond. I declined that because it isn't worth it.

I am very disappointed but glad I was not a black man being charged with a murder I didn't commit. Which that county is known for pulling.

And Walmart itself refused to drop the case, of course. I didn't expect anything less of them, with how they've been acting towards my community as a whole. It's impossible to shop there without being completely inconvenienced and accused of any crime, lol. They were so nice before they illegally got the other competition shut down.

But anyway. Not taking it personally. The judge judged and I got an average result. It's just probation for a year with monthly check-ins, 32 hours community service by next year, and then unsupervised probation (aka no check-ins, I think? or just on the phone only?) once the hours are finished.

I am disabled and unable to work so I'm worried about the hours, but am hoping to make the most of it because 32 hours is not that hard. Pretty sure that's how many hours I worked a month while in college.

In a year I'm eligible to get the charges expunged from my record, with my only concern being that I am still waiting on disability to come through so I can have any kind of income at all. I'm told the probation fee is $80, though I'm not sure if that's per visit or per month or a one-time fee. My lawyer thinks he could get that excused at the end when I file for expungement as long as I at least try to make payments, but that's going to prove very difficult.

I do still get this weird, unnerving feeling that my ex is laughing at me whenever something like this happens, because she used to be that way when we were together. And afterward. Never date a narcissistic abuser lol