The following was taken from a letter from the row, which speaks movingly and eloquently on the difficult subject of depression, something that affects many of our friends. The author has given permission for it to be shared here, and we hope it may be helpful to any members whose friends are in a similar situation.
Hi! Yes it’s me. I’m still alive, physically speaking that is, and glad of it. I know, I’m so sorry it’s been quite some time since I were last in touch with you, but for a little over the past year, mentally and emotionally, I’ve been in what I can only call a minimally functional state of depression. Minimally functional, meaning: a daily routine so ingrained that it becomes automatic. I went through the motions of getting up at mealtimes (though I didn’t eat much of anything, due to my not having much of an appetite. Because of that I lost ten pounds). Count time; I even showered, and cleaned up this cage when it needed; thankless tasks. I did however fall short when it came to washing my own laundry here in this cage. Instead, I sent my clothes out to the prison laundry and slept through much of that time. Now all of my whites, or what used to be my white clothing, are a very dingy looking mess. I hadn’t gone outside in all this time, or spent any time conversing with any of the guys around me, because I just wasn’t up for being sociable. But since I have to live around these guys, I told them I was going through some things and didn’t want to talk to anybody. They understood and fished whatever they had to pass down the line, by-passing me. I just became mentally so fatigued and emotionally too beat-down that I couldn’t deal. The frustrations of my legal struggles; finally realizing that there is nothing left that I can do in ways of turning things around….
You add to that the numerous years of emotional gut punches I’ve constantly received from my family (a supposed source of ‘unconditional love’) that continues to this very day. Not being much of an expressor of one’s thoughts and feelings, I internalised a great deal until I just couldn’t any more and I broke down. As a result, depression set in, leading to a lot of self-deprecating thoughts and feelings of very low self-worth. How could I truly trust and actually believe that there are others in the world who could genuinely love and care for me, especially with my being where I am and how I got here when my own blood related relatives do not seem to. That’s the negative thought which was constantly the loudest, and because of it, as well as others like it, instead of grabbing a hold of the one positive in my life (our friendship) with both arms wrapped around it, and hanging on to it for dear life I’d succumb to all the negative thereby causing the friendship we came to establish to suffer due to the lines of communication being severed on my end.
For that I can’t begin to tell you how extremely sorry I am. I can only hope for a little understanding and possible forgiveness. I am, though slowly it may be, starting to pull myself back together. Hopefully, I’ll be all the stronger for it.
The once lost …