A look behind the scenes

The nocturnal crisis of Lena

It is a relatively quiet Tuesday night when, around 8 p.m., the CIT receives a panicked call from Lena. Lena is 17 and reports being in crisis. She says she has been staying with a friend for some time, but now has to leave there. Then Lena says (read screams) that the CIT needs to arrange a crisis placement right now.

When the CIT indicates it wants to discuss the state of affairs with her quietly first, in order to assess exactly what is needed, Lena becomes angry and coercive. Having a conversation with Lena is difficult. When Lena does not immediately get a solution that matches what she has in mind, she proceeds to use force terms such as: “so you guys just let a 17-year-old sleep under a bridge?” and “so you guys are no use to me either. Again calmly stated that the CIT needs more information from her to discuss with her what is appropriate and necessary for now. Lena has no use for these questions and disconnects, having indicated to the CIT worker she has nothing. Moments later she calls back, but when she hears she has the same employee on the phone she immediately disconnects. Because this is a minor girl with worrisome issues, with whom the CIT has been involved six times before, the CIT decides to contact the father and Safe Home to see what is going on.

Father indicates that Lena is currently a danger to herself and has been away from home for four weeks. Lena has recently been posting videos on social media in which she is under the influence of drugs. Among other things, Lena would use Ketamine, XTC and Meow. In particular, when Lena uses Ketamine, she vomits a lot. At home, Lena was no longer manageable, so she stayed with a friend and her parents. Father knows these people and indicates that it is a good and safe address. Things went wrong with Lena tonight at these acquaintances as they go wrong with Lena everywhere. Lately, father has been seeing additional entries in Lena’s account that come from older men. Then the question quickly arises whether Lena should do anything for this money. There is no clarity on this, but it raises many feelings of insecurity. Father really doesn’t know what to do anymore and then gives his permission to place Lena for an overnight crisis should the need arise. The father and mother themselves are no longer able to take care of Lena, no matter how difficult they find it. We decide to invite Lena to have a quiet conversation.

We meet with Lena on neutral ground. Lena arrives quite a bit later than agreed upon. Lena immediately wants to use the restroom. From the hall, it is clearly audible that Lena is vomiting. After a while, Lena is able to enter the conversation again. That is; joining them. Lena comes across as absent-minded and hanging around a bit. The CIT soon knows that having a good conversation with Lena is not feasible. It seems especially necessary for Lena to get her rest, as she may not have slept for nights. Nothing remained of the disrespectful behavior earlier in the evening on the phone. Now she is easily approachable and friendly, at best a bit apathetic. Lena tells her story about the various sojourns of the past period. Her drug use and self-harm keep getting her into trouble and making her unwelcome at the addresses where she was offered housing. At the last address with acquaintances of her parents, three men also lived and Lena did not feel safe there. She explains where these unsafe feelings come from. Lena indicates that her destructive behavior stems from her past which we will not elaborate on. Lena herself feels that things are going completely the wrong way with her, but no longer has the ability to adjust herself. Lena says she knows it’s time to accept help. When asked if she is currently under the influence, she replied in the negative. The CIT has its doubts about this, because she has already gone to the toilet four times and they keep hearing her vomiting. All signs point to Lena being under the influence. In addition to vomiting, she also has red eyes, shows neurotic behavior, wanders off and sags constantly. Therefore, there was no point in prolonging the conversation and the CIT decided to place Lena in crisis at least for the night. Then Lena can sleep off her intoxication and the next day can discuss with her what help she needs to get her life back on track. Lena is open to this and agrees to the placement and she promises not to run away. The CIT transfers to ongoing assistance. The goal now is to be able to keep Lena on board and together with her, shape her request for help.

By now it is night and time for Lena and the CIT to catch some hours of sleep. Tomorrow is another day. The next crisis is already upon us….

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