Strange as it might sound, isolation for me can have a calming effect, no more racing mind, no more fight or flight affecting my digestive system and fewer aches and pains attributed to stress.
I have had a strange and somewhat sad life, I gave up a long time ago and turned to drugs as a way to try and be comfortably numb until the ride was over but there was no true escape from reality and consequences.
I went to jail in 1999 for a crime that happened during a Blank out on drugs and didn’t even know if I did what they say I did, I was told that I had full-blown AIDS and Hepatitis C and was kicking Methadone and Benzos to add to the struggle.
I didn’t care about being told I was dying because life had felt so hard for so long and I hadn’t connected to anyone for decades as far as to touch or gentle connection. I hated the world and hated my life but there was a part of me that refused to die.
I fought with nervous energy and Learned To Jail, which is not something I am proud of but it was all about surviving one minute to the next. I learned to embrace my negative labels and embrace negative attention because that is the only way I felt empowered.
I was sent to SHU which is isolation in prison for a year due to having a fight and pushing and officer during the chaos and getting 6 months and in my anger at the hearing, I talked a lot of crap and got 6 months more for threats.
I was a child having tantrums due to being overwhelmed (by everything) and as I sat in a cell staring at a toilet bowl for months waiting for it to conversate I realized that I felt safe for the first time in decades. I only had to fight my own demons and my imaginary monsters. I had a toothbrush with no handle and a bible and a piece of metal on the wall they called a mirror.
There is no easy way to navigate your life when you have mental health issues and complex traumas in your pasts but I slowly found what works for me. I have seen women have breakdowns in prison and jail when they are moving to a cell vs a dorm because they feel claustrophobic, and I would have a nervous breakdown knowing I was going to a dorm where the noise and emotional stimuli is overwhelming. When I came home I volunteered in an animal shelter and got the unconditional love I had craved my whole life.
I went to school and got my Bachelors’s degree and I am currently working on my masters of social work at Hunter College in NY. I have a home, a bed a tub and a 50-inch screen TV which are luxuries to someone that has been incarcerated. I am drug-free for 10 years and for once don’t want negative attention anymore, I want peace of mind and spirit and this Corona Virus stay-home policy is just a reminder of uncertainties and challenges that I can now handle.
We all have our own demons and challenges, so it is how we learn to face them.
(Maybe I will write another book) lol