Sunday, January 21, 2018

One Step Forward Two Steps Back

Re-entering society after incarceration is tough. It's tough because you've missed your loved ones like crazy. Missed hugging them and kissing them. You've not had a cell phone or social media or television. You have not been coming and going as you wish or when you want to. Food, drink, clothes, a shower, all those things have been controlled while you were incarcerated. And as crazy as it sounds, it takes a minute to jump back into all of that. As difficult as transitioning back to home life, it's even more difficult to transition back into the community.

When your case has made the headlines of the local paper for a little over a year and a press release was issued every time you had a court date, there are very few folks in the community that don't know who you are. And there are even fewer that don't have an opinion on you and your case. This makes transitioning even more difficult. Everywhere you go, everyone you see you wonder what they're thinking about you, wonder if they're going to talk to you or talk about you. It makes going out, to the food store, school with the kids, the doctor's appointment, to dinner very stressful. It's almost not worth leaving the house because it's so uncomfortable.

And while you can quickly remember how to work the television and love on your kids and husband, what doesn't correct itself as quickly is going out in public.

As of today, I've been home just under 5 months. You'd think after 5 months going out to run errands or to a restaurant or a church activity would be unmanageable. By now, the news of your homecoming is old and folks have moved on...or not! This evening I went to a church activity where I ran into another member that made sure anyone that was unaware of my time in jail or why quickly knew. Whispering and staring increased throughout the room. My heart began to beat harder and faster than I could handle. I felt the lump in my throat and the tears in my eyes but that was the last thing I needed in front of 200 people. What to Do? Run! Yes, I would just leave. Not really an option, I had a pretty important job at this event. Ugh! Stuck! And all I could think was "how much longer will this go on? Will I ever go out in public again without fear of this happening? Without it happening?".

Stuck at this event wondering what to do, I found a friendly face so I walked over towards him, he looked at me, saw my face and jumped up with the biggest squeeze. He asked me what was wrong and I told him(after a bit of prodding) And he squeezed a little harder and said "Well now everyone here knows where I stand and that's with you". This was wonderful. It made me feel calmer instantly and it was especially awesome because this man is very well respected and known in this group and he picked me! In that moment, I was reminded of the support I have. Sure there are plenty of people that are going to keep making my life difficult but there are so many more that love and support me.

Tomorrow will come and I'll have to again talk myself into leaving the house but every time I remember the love and support I do have, leaving gets easier. I am hopeful that soon enough it won't be a thought I have anymore when I am out in public. Maybe, just maybe, I will someday enjoy my community again.

Thursday, January 18, 2018

The First 24

Yesterday I shared my last day of incarceration so today I thought I'd share the first 24 hours I spent incarcerated.

October 11, 2016. That was the day I went to court for sentencing. I had been assured that I was not going to jail by everyone from my husband to my lawyer to my therapist. There were fines and maybe community service coming but no jail time. There was no president in Virginia for jail time to be given in cases such as mine. My restitution had been paid, my record was completely clean, I was not the kind of person who was put in jail; I'm Caucasian, a female, college educated, upper middle class, stay at home mom with a clean record. So, I got up, got dressed and ran out the door without stopping to kiss my monsters because I was going to be back by lunch time.

So...that didn't happen. What did happen was that the judge sentenced me to 30, yes 30 years in prison of which I was to serve 12 months and the other 29 would be suspended. That means that if I were to get anything more than a parking ticket, I could get all 29 years enforced. In addition to the 30 years in prision, I was told I would be put on probation indefinitely, to start immediately after my 12 active months in jail.

As you can imagine, I was hysterical, inconsolable and my family sitting in the courtroom could do nothing but watch. Not a hug or a kiss, not a single good bye, just off I went.

I was whisked away and put in a holding cell where I sad for a couple hours before being transferred to the jail. Where I sat for nearly 5 hours waiting to be processed. I sat in that cell crying and crying, shaking. I was in complete disbelief, it was surreal. The longer processing took the more distraught I became. I didn't get to say good bye to my monsters, I've ruined their lives, I will never make it through.

Booking time finally came and I was finger printed, had DNA collected, pictures taken and intake interview. Every time they did something else I cried more. During my interview, I said things that led the correction officers to believe that I was going to possible harm myself. So off to "crisis" I went. This is where they but the folks that are mentally ill and suicidal to keep them safe. It is important for the next part of my story to remember that "crisis" was to protect and keep people safe.

I was escorted to "crisis" by 2 female officers who once there opened a steel door that behind it had cement everywhere. The walls, the floor, the ground and even the bed(I use this term lightly). My head was spinning, and  I was still crying.

Next, it's time to change. They make me strip down. Everything off! This was a problem for me because with everything else going on, my period had just begun that morning. I explained this to the officers and they told me I still needed to give them all of my clothes and my glasses. Here I stand naked, bleeding and crying. This is when the handed me a green Velcro wrap to put on. I would compare this to a cape at the dentist's office for all of you not luckily enough to experience the real thing. But guess What, the Velcro on my suit is old and worn out so it won't stay on at all! That was all the had though so I needed to make it work.

As the officers were leaving I asked who I talk to when I need to use the bathroom. They looked at each other, smiled and pointed to a sewer grate on the floor and told me that was the toilet. Oh and if you need toilet paper you had to ask the guard when they did checks and they would give you 3 squares or so.

They left; I was alone in a cement room, sitting on a cement bed, bleeding all over myself, holding my Velcro suit up. I sat up most of the night and at 4am they served me breakfast( I would come to find out that 4am really was breakfast time here, every day!) Sometime the next morning an officer came to my cell and opened my door so that I could have my hands and feet shackled so I could be assessed by the therapist there. I explained that my " turtle suit" would not stay up so I needed to hold it and I could not handcuffed. Yeah, they didn't much care and walked me through the clinic, full of inmates, mixed sexes as I exposed myself to all of them.

When I got to the therapist he did find me a blanketto cover myself with and then he told me to enjoy my time in jail a d think of it as a vacation from my monsters and husband. Hummm...probably not going to happen. He did offer me a marble composition book for journaling and off I went.

That was first 24 hours.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Time To Share My Story

Today I decided it is time to start telling my story. What I've decided to do is tell it in parts, mostly by subject, so the post may not go in chronological order. As an example I might talk about birthday parties over the past 3 years and next post talk about my kids through those same 3 years. My story is long and confusing with so many different players but I need to share it. I need to get it all out of my head and my heart so I can try to move on.

On initial thought, I was going to start this series with a post about friends but instead I'm going to start here:

On August 25, 2017 at 8am I was released from Rappahannock Regional Jail where I had been for 335 days or 10.5 months. I was 70lbs thinner, alot more grey and an emotional and physical disaster.  

Finally "I'm free"! Or so I thought. My very first stop, after being locked up for almost a year, was at the probation office where I had to check in and register so that I could start my 10 years of probation. Ah...freedom in The United States of America. Do your time, pay your fines and then move on to probation where you're required to have a job or do community service. You also have to submit to drug screening even if you do not have a drug charge. Oh and my favorite, now that you're "free" you are required to ask permission before you travel more that 50 miles from the office. FREEDOM.

That was day one of the start of my new life. Now instead of just  being a Mom, a wife, a sister, a friend and daughter I get to be a FELON.

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

My Journey

What I think people don't understand about depression is, it's not the BIG, life changing moments that always push you over the edge, it's often the little things that just keep piling up and up and you just can't get off the ride! Your mind makes one more mess from the dogs, one more late night for your spouse, one more fight with your kid just too much. So when you spill your drink, BAM...that mess is the one you cannot clean up.

It's holding onto each one of those acts and not having the ability to "fix and forget" before you take on the next moment in life. It's NEVER being able to let go & move on. A hypersensitivity to every action that is take at or by you. The bad, sad drowns out the good, the joy. And it just gets louder and louder and plays over and over! During the day at night, alone with friends IT JUST DOESN'T STOP!

And for me, dealing with this my entire adult life (probably earlier without a name), I have been lucky enough to find a way out of the dark. A husband that always supports me even when he doesn't understand. Monsters that know when I need a hug. A mother, sister and brother that have been with me through it all and never stop loving and supporting me. And a few close friends that see when I need help and stick with me for the long, dark ride.

I don't think there is ever a way to know when depression becomes dispair and I hope to never know; but I do know that understanding and support are the key to making it to the other side. Knowing that someone stands with you makes it a little easier to walk.

Saturday, July 12, 2014

When?

I've spent the past 18-24 months in what I imagine HELL to be. My father's nearly 4 year battle with lung cancer entered the final stages then and in April of last year the cancer won. That has set the tone for my life and since then I have not been able to get my head-above-water. Even after both shoes dropped and I thought things HAD to get better, they didn't, they haven't. Everything is a fight with the monsters. They don't want to help with anything and they have all taken on my anxiety disorder. The husband's job has been in constant turmoil and our neighborhood sucks(makes Stepford look fun)! All of these has done wonders for my fibromylgia and my desire to conquer the world is gone. Now I'm happy if I can conquer a shower on any given day. I'm down and out and defeated.

Sunday, December 29, 2013

If It Ain't Broke...

It's been less than a year since I gave up my iphone and went with a Samsung but today I went for the deal AT&T and Apple were offering and took the iphone 5c deal. There was nothing WRONG with the Samsung III but all of my other devices are Apple and the ease of use is just a huge selling point so back I go.

Here are the top three things I have not enjoyed about the Samsung and android:
1- itunes is not compatible with it
2- the PLAY store is much more difficult to navigate than the itunes app store
3- the samsung is not compatible with the sound-system in my car
As I have listed these, I have thought of many others like the ads on the phone from google, annoying when you are paying a TON of money for cell service each month!

I know that there are people that really enjoy their androids and maybe if I had started with that instead of an iphone for smartphones I would feel differently but for now I am going back to apple.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

More Firsts Ahead.

Today marks eight months that my father has been gone and the days are not getting easier. In fact, with the "Holiday Season" upon me it is getting more difficult. I am not one to easily get through holiday season as it is; the stress of family and keeping everyone happy is too much for me while trying to transition to the dark,drab,gray of winter weather! My very fragile mental state is overwhelmed by it all!LOL! So, this one is sure to be GREAT, given this added stress.

Now, I am stressed about becoming stressed out! How crazy can one person be?