Dealing With Depression: Practicing New Techniques
I have been in this rut lately. Specifically because of work. I am at work 33% of my time and its a staple for me here. Work provides my hygiene and jobs are rare in this place, coveted maybe. So a few things went awry at work. Its important to mention here that I enjoyed my job immensely. I didn’t want to do it as a career upon release, but I enjoyed it.
I had to switch positions, I was a cook and now I am the garbage man. Traditionally when this happens it means that you were demoted. Even though we all get paid the same. The cooks position is regarded in a good light solely because its difficult to get in there. I was a cook for a year and suddenly switched. Which raised some eyebrows.
I had to because in prison if someone else gets in trouble because of you its called snitching. Something you don’t do. Here’s my problem, first and foremost I was being pressured for sex. Which if I didn’t get away from the area the situation would have escalated into something dangerous. The second part is theft. Guys that are supposed to be trusted colleagues are peeling this place. Which I don’t like. It makes me uncomfortable and turns my stomach. When I confronted the guy doing it he promised he would take responsibility if caught. Which goes against the convict code of silence. Which is, if you get caught doing anything, you remain silent and everyone goes down together.
I could care less if this guy is stealing whatever’s not bolted down, what I care about is when he gets caught and if he doesn’t take responsibility. Then my integrity comes into question. This is unacceptable. I don’t steal, I respect my work area and because it took me so long to get a job I have a sense of duty.
Now by me switching areas it alleviated the sexual harassment. Which, if reported properly would have put ME in the hole. In this case, me switching jobs sent a clear message of I won’t tolerate your harassment. It also gets me away from the products that guys are trying to steal. Which gets me away from the hot spots. Which alleviated my threats. So now that I am no longer in a dangerous spot, the bullies leave me alone, no one went to the hole…why am I depressed about it? Where I should be proud. My pride has been damaged more then anything here. I have to relearn my place in work all over again. Because I wouldn’t talk to most of the State Kitchen Staff about why I left, some of them are treating me like dirt, which is adding to my depression. The staff that needed to know knows and the reason I won’t tell the rest of them is simple, they’ll talk about it to inmates. There is a reason I won’t talk to them. Now they’re mad at me making my life just as difficult as any inmate could.
Having said all that I have duties outside of work. I am working on two books, I have to memorize curriculum for a class I helped write the curriculum for, I am drawing a huge portrait, I facilitate for The Redemption Project and that’s not including any type of personal socializing. All these things I love and are suffering because I can’t seem to get my depression under control.
Which leads me to a new technique. A friend of mine tells me last night (he is amazing at compartmentalizing) that I need to set a time limit on the feeling. Not to stuff it down, but I am going to allow this emotion to run for let’s say 1 hour. Then, I am going to move on to something else knowing full well I can always revisit it when necessary. Just thinking about it makes me feel better. So I am going to practice this technique today, its better then the alternative I know which is not much. I also want to point out that though I am depressed, I am actively seeking a way to manage it. It isn’t consuming me, I get overwhelmed by it and unlike ten years ago when I committed my crimes I know that I have to deal with emotions immediately. Come to grips with what’s going on.
Thanks for listening, With Love
Jeff Utnage 823469