Taking care of your mental health while out on bond

No one can deny that going through the court system after an arrest is a stressful and overwhelming experience no matter how small or large the charges are.  There are so many changes, demands, and new things to deal with that it can be easy to become anxious and stressed out during the process.  Because this is bound to happen to even the most resilient of us, it is important that we do our best to keep making forward progress and to come through the other end stronger than before.  Here are a couple of tips and things to keep in mind.

Be Patient and Mindful

The court system and a trial can take weeks or more likely months to resolve, and at the onset, it is extremely overwhelming to consider all of the demands placed on you by the courts as well as just maintaining your everyday life. Check-ins, hiring and speaking to lawyers, family, and employers can be a lot to deal with, but if we try to exercise some mindfulness and try to stay in the present moment, this can help us to realize that not everything has to be done at once.  Try to make a spreadsheet or checklist with everything that needs to be done and just do what you can, one thing at a time.  If we try to focus on everything, it is easy to lose our cool, but if we go step by step, we can accomplish anything.

Meet all of the Judge’s Conditions

Whenever someone is released on a bond, the judge will almost always set a series of conditions for the defendant to stay out in public on their own recognizance.  This can include some basic things like keeping your job or looking for one if you are unemployed.  There are most likely other conditions such as avoiding alcohol or other recreational drugs.  Additionally, you may be required to check in with a pretrial officer or submit to drug testing or other compliance requirements.  Make sure to keep up with whatever the judge has ordered because a failure to do so will most likely result in being returned to police custody while you await trial.  Showing that you want to be a responsible member of society and that you can follow the judge’s orders is paramount.

Focus on the Positive and Look for Opportunities for Change

Being arrested and going through the court system is always going to be a major life event and possibly a traumatic one, but it doesn’t always have to be a negative one.  Sometimes events like this happen in our lives because it is time for a change or possibly a wake-up call to some of our behaviors.  Being released on bond means that the Judge feels that you have the potential to turn things around, and we should take that opportunity to look for ways that we can grow and change from the experience.  Sometimes these events allow us to get the help we need or take a step back and see the life that we really want in comparison to what we have been doing.

It Won’t Last Forever

Finally, keep in mind that despite the length of time and effort that goes into an arrest and trial, it won’t last forever.  Most of the time, this is a temporary bump in the road and eventually, life will go back to normal.  At the beginning or when you are knee-deep in trial obligations, meetings, and conditions, there can definitely seem like there is no end in sight, but it will eventually come to a conclusion.  Stay positive, keep looking forward, and go one step at a time and you will come out on the other end.