Prison was the most soul-destroying experience of my life. The harshness of my surroundings ground away at my soul daily until one day, I had no coping beans left.

@Asteroid_Caller’s #MadCovidDiaries 26.01.2020

Solitary

Prison was the most soul-destroying experience of my life. While psychotic, I coped. While psychotic, prison was a simulation created by my friends. I trusted that they would not make it harder than my capacity to endure. When I came around I realised where I was. The harshness of my surroundings ground away at my soul daily until one day, I had no coping beans left.

I generally protest to prison analogies. However awful your depression might be, it is not like prison. Psychiatric hospital is not like prison. Perhaps if I was not autistic, I would care less and grant you the creative license to describe your despair.

I have been thinking of prison lately. As it approaches a year of severely limited contact, I have been thinking about how solitary confinement makes even the mentally most robust insane. This is still not prison. I have retained the power to decide who enters my space with their germs.

I have reached my limit though. I am out of coping beans. A year is my limit.

So I turn to that time for tips from my wiser, stronger, younger self. What would PL 4106 do? Mostly I sang at the top of my voice while cleaning the wing. Every week I would learn a new poem and speak it out of the window at 5pm on a Saturday. The first poem I learned was the one I needed the most throughout all of my time inside. In this time of disconnect and death, it still offers some comfort so I will leave it here for anyone who needs it.

Wild Geese by Mary Oliver

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through the desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License. We ask that you seek our permission before you use any of our material – this includes researchers who want to harvest our data for analysis!

One thought on “Prison was the most soul-destroying experience of my life. The harshness of my surroundings ground away at my soul daily until one day, I had no coping beans left.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: