I had an unstable childhood. A plethora of abuse in all forms of the word. I watched violence between my bipolar mother and schizophrenic father. I watched from a very young age. That’s all I understood. That is what I came to see as “normal” in life, and I watched.
I witnessed substance abuse and alcoholism inside disheveled, insect infested apartments. I watched.
I had seen masks being put on for church and quickly torn off and shot to the ground when we returned “home”. I watched.
There was a presentation of physical violence, unraveling in the presence of my four siblings and I. We watched. I watched.
I saw my father get dropped off at the V.A hospital by my fed Up mother and never picked back up. I was 10 years old. I watched…
…I met a girl when I was 17 years old. I was ashamed to admit that I was in foster care since age 11 and put through therapy and on antidepressants since I was 13.
Her understanding, was the first time I had felt accepted. I felt happy.
I didn’t need my medication if she made me happy.
When I was 18, I tapered off my Prozac.
At 19, we got married. By age 22 we had 1 daughter, 1 son and had been paying a mortgage.
Life happened so fast, I hardly noticed anything eerie with my mental health until I did…
"Pacing and anxious, then facing the anguish in the reflection in the glass. As I gaze through myself into the outside of my hell, I'm stabbed with the aching feeling, of drifting from my past. I have dug my own hole. and let myself go. There used to be light all around me, but now I am drowning with a little glimpse of hope. Though it is still there, and I'm tired of this nightmare. So I will free myself, I'll find my own way out, so I can be myself. I've learned that I'm stronger now. The only thing I can do is ride on the waves of tears."
When I was transferred to the intake facility, after getting sentenced to 40 months in prison, and after spending three and a half months in County, I became very anxious. The time up until then, consisted of me getting back on antidepressants and making a plan of action for when I spend the next 3+ years in prison.
The intake facility was another waiting game. With testing and interviewing to see what prison I will be “fit” into. I was in a cell that had a metal, sliding door, with a rectangle shaped window in it. It was after “lights out” when I started my nightly travels from the metal toilet, to the door. It was about a ten foot walk, back and forth. I periodically stopped to look through that window. When my legs became as tired as my brain from the racing thoughts, I paused for a final glance out of the slim rectangle. I saw various reflections.
The “anguish” I had been referring to was, If I focused on the small window, I saw a reflection of myself, and the sadness in my darkly mirrored eyes.
“…gaze through myself…”: If I looked through the rectangle window, I could see the large window that is part of the building. The building section I was in, was in a triangle shape. The angle of that huge window, and with it being dark outside, I was able to see a semi clear view of the whole “pod” (sub-section of the facility I was in): with the tables we ate at during meals; the Correctional Officer making his rounds, glowing his flashlight into distant cells; and sometimes the T.V. was left on in the dayroom. This was “the outside of my hell”.
I was getting further away from my wife and two children with realization of the time I’m actually going to be away. A lot can change in 3+ years and I needed to accept that I could not do anything about the outside reality. I must live my own life and grasp hold of what I neglected since I was 18 years old. But I must also remember: “I dug my own hole”.
I was not the victim. I was a sick man who was getting well.
This section of writing ended on a positive note, despite the “tears”.
Weather if it was actual tears or just a metaphor for the sadness I was in, I was able to briefly see myself actually on top of the sorrow and imagine it being all downhill from there.