It’s 2 a.m. I’ve been tossing and turning all night, barely able to sleep. It feels like as if I have been abducted, chained, taken captive against my will, separated from my wife, children and other supporting family members, and crammed in the lower deck of a slave ship. I spend hours praying daily, reading the bible along with other self-help books, programming(RDAP), participating in other vocational tech programs, socializing with peers, utilizing group therapies etc., with hopes to emancipate my mind with hopes that I may appease myself while being incarcerated. Behaving in such a way serves to be beneficial but beneath the surface this experience is very disturbing, especially to me, because I am someone whom has been pursuing a psychology degree. I begin to shake, which are symptoms of another anxiety attack about to occur, stemming from anger towards this corrupt system and myself for allowing this system to get the best of me. I am in a cell with another cell mate, who is probably my 8th cell mate in 2 months. What if he doesn’t understand that i am experiencing a panic attack and feels threatened? Oh lawd, have mercy on my soul! Is this a modernized version of the era of the slave trade with less harsh conditions? Only in this era the slaves are transported via buses with AC and heat with sufficient seating, airplanes etc. In fact we don’t have to defecate on ourselves or die of starvation while shackled in the deck of a ship throughout the journey. Perhaps be whipped, or contemplate suicide to avoid such harsh conditions. Of course, some of us do contemplate suicide and in fact commit suicide in this era. I sit up, realizing that this is really occurring in REAL LIFE! This is no nightmare! I’m really in hell! Only, I’m not jumping overboard drowning myself in the ocean, starting a revolt by rising up against slavemasters, or killing the captain and his crew members and seizing the ship. In fact, I will think of all the positive moments I have had with my family before being in this position. I imagine the first encounter with my girlfriend, reflect on the reason why i felt she was meant to be my wife and mother of my children, my son’s birth, their smiling faces etc. I use these thoughts to empower myself. This leads to self-awareness, which will lead to better self control, then finally i will be able to act in a more rational manner, being the head of a household setting examples for other men to be the heads of their household and eventually we will become stronger, together, as a NATION UNDER GOD, INDIVISIBLE.
— Charles R.