On September 10th I was in the medical wing of a prison. I got to prison in August, spent about 10 days in isolation under suicide watch and didn’t eat anything for 6 of the first 8 days. Human beings put me there. Callous cowards.
While I was in isolation I contracted a pneumonia. The conditions were disgustingly dirty (no one cleans the cells, there’s no janitorial service) and I remember looking up at the vents that were half covered in toilet paper. I’m quite certain it was the cause of my pneumonia. When they removed me from suicide watch, I wasn’t put in general population but in a medical wing. It pretty much still isolation but I had access to a tv and phone for 5 hours a day and could communicate with two other detainees through the cell doors.
I’m prescribed various medication and I got most of my meds but I had some PRN (optional meds) that weren’t exactly optional. I was supposed to take them ever night to sleep. Unfortunately, despite being on suicide watch and then in the medical wing, they often forgot to give me my medication even though I asked for it daily.
On September 10th they forgot again. I screamed and banged on the door but no one cared to check on me to see what the issue was. I had just had enough. I couldn’t understand why I was there (and I was right to feel that way) and just didn’t see the point of going on. In the immediate sense, I couldn’t handle another sleepless night. I just couldn’t. Life and my thoughts were hell and sleep was my only respite. I cracked. I tied my belt on a metal bar that goes across the window beside the bed, tied some sheets to the belt and tried to hang myself. It wasn’t high up enough so it was a suspension hanging. I could put my feet up on a stool and hang like that. It worked. I lost conciousness.
I don’t know how long I was out for. I mean it could of just been a few seconds but for some reason I want to say it was about five minutes. I’m not sure why I feel that way or how I would know. I woke up somehow in a haze and could hear voices or thoughts telling me urgently that I need to do something, I needed to act. Clearly, I was thinking I needed to act or I’d die, but to this day I’m certain it was something else.
I took my feet off the stool and untied the knot I had around my neck. I remember hyperventilating, and sweating. I smelled too. I had showered that day and had access to toiletries at this point but I smelled horrible. I laid on the bed sweating and breathing heavily and I kept searching for what is I was supposed to do. I couldn’t remember. It took about four minutes for me to realize what had happened and that there likely wasn’t anything more for me to do. My throat and neck hurt for two weeks after.
Could I have died that night? Am I still here? Am I in some other dimension? Because I don’t feel like me. And I don’t mean because of what happened to me, or the PTSD; I mean I don’t feel human or normal. I don’t know who I was a year ago but that can be explained, but now I don’t know who I was two weeks age or who I am right now. I feel completely insecure in my very existence, my perception of the world. It’s no wonder I’ve been so anxious lately.
Where am I? Why is this world so weird and strange to me suddenly? Everything appears transactional and inauthentic. But more than that I can’t compute it; it just doesn’t make sense. There are so many cars parked on the street, isn’t that weird? Do you know what I mean? I can’t explain it. I feel unintelligible. I went to the store to get a snack, and there’s all these items for sale, I see one and its like I can see where it came from; the factory it was made in, the trucks it was delivered with again and again, and it seems weird, it makes me cringe with a sense of… maybe embarrassment? Something is off. Why do we do anything? Why do we talk to each other? Its weird when you stop to think about it.
There’s a world we’re meant to create for each other. So that we just accept practices and ideas, even goals; what makes us happy or sad. I feel like I can’t accept any of it anymore. Its not a choice or some existential angst; I’m not playing with nihilism and living theory as I’ve done in the past; I’m paranoid and afraid.
I can see now that the last few days have anxiety have been rooted in this feeling. Have you ever felt this way? How does it stop?
I miss my old life. I used to care about people and feel guilty for what I had, and for what I hadn’t done. Now I’m cold and yet vulnerable and scared. Like a child but one that would kill you and not think it mattered.
Maybe I died. Maybe I’m not here anymore. And if I was and no one knows of my existence, isn’t it all the same?
I’m not me. I’m not anyone. And the world, it doesn’t remind me of anything I knew before.