Oct. 18, 2018

Comment Response

by Dymitri Haraszewski (author's profile)
This post is in reply to comments on:  Is It Possible To Have A Worthwhile Life In Prison thumbnail
Is It Possible To Have A Worthwhile Life In Prison
(March 29, 2018)


REPLY ID 6k99 (pg 1)
Dymitri Haraszewski
Blog #1660
10-5-18 (My mom's birthday is tomorrow but she's dead now.)

Hi Kyla. I'm very sorry for taking so long to reply to your comment. I think I got my copy of it, oh, over a month ago for sure, and no telling when you actually posted it. There's no date on what I get (oh yeah, for you and anyone else reading this, that's a good tip — it's REALLY helpful if you'll type in the date on any comments you leave, since we have no way of knowing when you wrote). I figure they probably don't mail me the comment copies for up to three weeks (sometimes just a few days, but sometimes almost a month) after you leave one, then 2-3 days before it gets here via snail mail, then who knows how long before the prison turds actually deliver it to me. That takes another 3 or 4 days at the FASTEST (very rare), and often a solid 4+ weeks... 30 days, 40 days. Not unusual. So by now you probably left your comment months ago, like early summer? I'm so sorry I took so long. I have a 2-part excuse, if you're interested: 90% of the reason was that I had court deadlines, as I often do, and those are priorities because if I miss them, they throw out my lawsuit. I'll tell you more about why I'm suing, if you're interested. The other 10% of the delay was because I like to try to send in a new blog post whenever I reply to a comment, since it's extra motivation to get one done. I have SO many things I want to blog about, but it's hard to scrape up the energy anymore since there's usually no feedback, or very little. I can't even tell whether anyone ever sees my posts — no hit counter or anything — so it gets pretty demoralizing pretty fast.
You asked me some pretty solid questions, and I'd like to answer them for you, plus I have something you might be able to use to practice your counselling on. I'll get to that. So, you asked:
Q: What helps calm me down when I'm mad? Hmm. First of all, yes, for sure I get mad sometimes. Pissed. Enraged, even. But I wonder if you just mean angry, or also the other feelings I often have, like hopelessness, worry, fear, loss, regret, and general sadness. I think I feel sad and full of loss more than anything. I miss my friends, my family...I miss people. Society. Interacting at a supermarket with strangers. Group experiences. And laughing — I loved sharing laughter. I also miss planning things, that is, having a future. "Two months from now" used to mean something. So did "next week" and "next year". And "tomorrow". Now, every day is basically the same, and no matter what I do or what I want, they stay the same. Sure, I could do crazy things and get in lots of "trouble", but that's not really anything different. I can get beaten up by cops, have my things taken, be thrown into an ice cold or overheated cell with a starvation diet, but that's not really a change. Just an amplification of the average day. I can't plan a trip, I can't have new, meaningful experiences. I can't get a new car or new house, can't have a family or be a partying single, can't go to school and immerse myself in philosophy or cognitive psychology (those were my actual college majors)... just, nothing. No riding trip over a weekend in the desert with friends, no putting together a surprise party for a sibling, no helping a friend change the brakes on his or her car, no house-sitting or dog-walking for neighbors. Can't learn a new bike or skateboard trick, can't go to a concert, can't be at the grand opening of anything, anywhere, ever. So, I feel sad, and loss.
But anger... how do I calm myself down? Like you said, all I have is myself. Well, mostly. Sometimes I get lucky and can get a phone call to my sister or a friend's mom, then talking with them can help me chill out. But most of the time I can't call when I'm upset, it's just not an option, and even when it is, it can make the anger worse, whether it's from not getting through on the one shot I might get at a phone, or whether it's the getting cut off in just 15 minutes when we really need to talk for an hour. Or maybe all the stress and fighting necessary to get on a phone in the first place cancels out any benefits from the stupid-short call.
Hmm, so what do I do? Truth is, not much. Like everything, anger passes, eventually. So mostly I just wait it out when I'm mad. Maybe I'm never really not mad. I'm perpetually pissed, to tell the truth. It's not ok, what this system does to ppl.
Q: "Have you learned to cope, or is that something you never get used to?" Lol. Yeah. So here's my answer — I hope I never get used to any of this. That's death. Fire on your skin should always burn. Water in your lungs should always suffocate. If they don't, something is very wrong... you're probably a mutant. Existence in a cage should never be acceptable. But still, I do "cope"... I keep existing. One day to the next, one foot in front of the other, forever hoping the feet will lead to a day when I can live again.
So hey, put on your counsellor hat. Talk to me — what do you say to someone very depressed because he has 8 siblings, but only 2 stay in touch, his parents both died, and even though his phone used to ring 24 hrs a day with dozens of friends, now he has no one he can call but one sister and two mothers of friends he met while in jail? Well, one other friend, but he only answers once every few months? Let me know. :( And THANKS for writing, Kyla.



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sirwin2020 Posted 1 year, 4 months ago. ✓ Mailed 1 year, 3 months ago   Favorite
Thanks for writing! I finished the transcription for your post.

I enjoyed reading your post! You seem like a really unique person who is very wise, intelligent, strong, and determined to get to the other side of the bars. I'm so sorry for how they treat you there, and I can't even begin to imagine what constant isolation and subjugation would be like. Your persistence in life is very inspiring.

Even though I can't relate to your exact situation, I can definitely relate to the depression part. For years I dedicated my entire life to school, so much so that I became severely depressed and crumbled under the pressure to perform and be perfect. On paper I got straight As and did all these academic clubs, but in reality I was miserable and could no longer put myself through the obsessive studying that got me those grades. I was in a really dark place for a while and almost committed suicide a few times, but through therapy and taking off school for a few months, I'm starting to feel better. Anyway, I know the dark places your depression can take you so if you need coping skills or just someone to talk to, I'm here for you.

I would also be happy to talk to you about what you studied in college (philosophy and cognitive psychology I believe?). I would love to learn more about both of those subjects so we could talk about it and I could update you with any recent discoveries or send you cool articles I find online. If you'd like to I'd be happy to do that.

Also after going through months of pretty intense therapy, I know plenty of ways to deal with anger and anxiety in safe and effective ways that you might find useful. Here are some things that you can do to get out of your head and distract yourself from your thoughts.

1. Sometimes I pick a category (ex: animals, food, people, countries, etc.) and try to name something in that category that goes with each letter of the alphabet. For example if I choose animals I can go "A - anteater, B - buffalo, C - caterpillar, etc.".

2. I also do this thing that focuses on the five senses. I name five things I can see, four I can feel, three I can hear, two I can smell, and one I can taste. The last two can be kind of hard to think of sometimes but I still think it's really useful when I need a distraction.

3. When I'm angry and have a lot of pent up energy that I need to physically get out, I resist the urge to punch or break something and instead run up and down stairs, do push ups, or some other physical activity to tire myself out. Sometimes I need to do this first before doing step 1 or 2 so I can calm down faster.

Anyway sorry to write so much, and I'm very glad I read your entry. You are incredibly articulate and write beautifully, and I think you'd be an amazing poet. Take life one day at a time and have faith that one day you'll get out of there. Until then try to find purpose and meaning in your life, because I promise you it's worth living.

Stay safe and stay strong.

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