LIFE AFTER PRISON
August 2006 and beyond
Nothing humbled me more than release from prison. Given that I was a psychology major, had more support than most people in prison, came home to my own apartment and had a job, had friends who could help me, and what I thought to be a very strong, stable frame of mind, I really, really thought coming back to my life would be easy.
But it wasn't. Not at all.
I had no idea who I was anymore. My life had stopped, kind of frozen while I was gone, while everyone else's life went on. I didn't fit in with them when I came home. I was delicate emotionally and I didn't know it. A year and a half of operating under literal commands from someone else conditions the human psyche. I had no control over anything during that time - didn't really make any decisions, didn't have to think about much, didn't have to be responsible for much. And then suddenly I had to take care of myself, function "normally", and make ends meet. And figure out who I was.
I didn't know anything about PTSD back then. I really thought I was strong enough in mind to beat whatever difficulties I faced. And I did eventually, just not as gracefully as expected.
Post-prison was very, very hard for me. I ended up tangled in a web of disaster that I couldn't escape on my own. It's humiliating, disappointing, and very hard for me to think about that era. I ended up going back home to St. Louis to stay with my mom within 4 months of my release. I considered it hitting the reset button on my life. It gave me a chance to get back to my roots, and face the loss of my father. It was a hard, hard year, but all of it happened the way it should, and paved the way to what I have today.