Part of the Iowa Medical and Classification Center is the Forensic Psychiatric Hospital (FHP). When I was doing time in jail, I was sent to FHP for a psychiatric evaluation.
I think that I was the only one there on misdemeanor charges; other patients were charged with claims such as attempted murder, murder, and armed robbery. Still, I felt guilt-ridden. Spending time in jail and in the hospital gave me plenty of time to think. Consequently, my mind flashed back to every wrong, no matter how trivial, came back to me. I convinced myself that I was nefarious to the point of being monstrous.
I was deeply depressed at the time, feeling hopeless, worthless, and wicked. Because the hospital is surrounded by a prison, the hospital always has two or three guards stationed in it. Their radios were constantly beeping and making white noise sounds and transmitting the voices of guards stationed elsewhere. The patients and sometimes the guards played noisy rounds of cards, which made it hard to hear the television; the hospital had very little floor space.
Although it was hard to hear the TV, I turned the station to CNN whenever I could, hoping to hear that John Edwards had been convicted of misappropriating campaign funds to hide his illicit affair. The jury kept deliberating day after day with no verdict. T
The reason that I wanted to hear the verdict so eagerly was because I thought that his conviction would assuage my feelings of guilt; “Sure, what I did was bad, “I would say, “but at least it’s not as bad as what a prominent politician did!”
I tend to do that; that is, if I feel that I haven’t done as well as I should have, knowing that some has done worse mitigates my inferiority complex.
As it turned out, Edwards was acquitted, and I was released from jail not long thereafter.