My Own Prison: A Poem and Post

Prison. For most, they think it to be a building—a physical entity that exists to house criminals and wrongdoers. In most cases, however, a prison can also be one’s self. For the millions of those who suffer from depression, anxiety, post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD] and many of the other mental illnesses and disorders, their mind is their own prison.

Built from the ground up, bit by bit, piece by piece. It can result from many things. For me: it’s been overcoming guilt. The burning anger that resides within. The negativity of several people and their dirty antics. The “what ifs?” The memories, though some blurry, of when I was on my antidepressants; the actions and things said. . .done. The immense sadness that dwells within. The constant twisting and shaping of how one can manipulate things against their own being. You realize it, you acknowledge it, and you know it to be a lie, but you can’t seem to overcome the grief that has besieged you and left you, seemingly, stranded.

Alone.

A fight for your life.

You have been tossed into shark-infested waters, and you are bleeding out.

My first therapist wasn’t horrible. He was just doing his job and trying to help me. You can’t help those who do not will to be helped or want it. I found it to be my punishment—to suffer—to slowly kill myself. Painfully. With the most potent malice ever conceived.

There were others that tried to help. Then there was the medication. Going to sleep for. . .what I believed was one day, turned into two or more sometimes. It hurt. I felt I was missing out on the most important of times, and it was unfair—to my daughter and my wife. . .and myself.

I was unstable. Anything and everything could set me off. The wind could blow the wrong direction and I would be having an anger attack. Eventually, I would do an unspeakable act that would convince myself; through a sort of out of body experience, that I needed to lose the medication and get proper help. That I needed to accept responsibility and be a man, a father, a husband. There were to be no more “woe is me” moments.

It would take time. . .

As time has gone on and that I went through EMDR therapy, my overall person has improved. I made changed, important and very much needed changes. I stopped being surrounded by negative people. I began exercising and losing weight (because I have always hated my body image). I stopped drinking alcohol in unnecessary consumption rates (I was an alcoholic, plain and simple in the end there. I became dependant on it).I started eating healthier. The food I did consume was not healthy and paired with soda, it bogged me down.

Simply enough, I didn’t care about myself. I didn’t love myself. I needed to change that. Being on the path to recovery doesn’t happen overnight and everyone is different.

“Get over it. That happened X years ago.”

“That still bothers you? Grow up.”

[At the intersection where the accident happened after finally being able to take my daughter home, away from the hospital, with my wife in the car behind me] “Sorry, I thought this would be the faster way. . .”

Being accused of wanting to kill my wife and daughter and using the accident to cover it up.

Those were a few of the many things said that were fuel added to the raging tempest I held within.

Time. Help. Understanding. Therapy. Changes.

That has been what has helped me. Good friends. Family. And making myself really change—for the better.

Every now and then, I get a dark spell, and that’s OK because it’s going to happen. I’ve been trying a new technique personally, and it’s helped. . .to a degree. Writing, however, has been the most helpful.

Normally, I’d never share my emotions or my thoughts. I figure, though, if someone can relate—someone can be helped, and that others out there that struggle can know that they are not alone in the fight. That there are rescue boats in these shark-infested waters with proper help for you. Then that’s fine with me. Because we are all pieces of a far grand puzzle than we can comprehend.

Stay strong and stay vigilant, friends.


My Own Prison

by Robert J. S. T. McCartney

Life undoes itself from me slowly as dare try to redeem
This prison
All these walls I’ve built up
Damn them
Damn me

I want to break free
From the binds that continue to keep me
Sometimes I only believe in self-absolving

But I know it to only be
I mustn’t keep fighting for me
For they are why I am here
The things I hold dear

Here

I will suffer through the pain
Because I have so much more to gain
Pain knows love just as well

As life knows death
Intermingled we are

The realization in which I now know
I do not suffer alone

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