Growing up, I suffered greatly from an anxiety condition that crippled me in almost every way. My life was dictated by its incessant and unrelenting attacks which manifested through panic. I learned what it felt like to have many friends, a wonderful family, and yet feel utterly alone.
I was told by psychiatrists I would never be free from medication lest I become insane. As time went on I fell victim to addiction of both prescription medication and illicit drugs. This behaviour saw me enter a world of petty crime and violence, ultimately resulting with my incarceration.
During my time in prison I had my eyes opened, obliterating my preconceived ideas about the prison system. I forced myself into sobriety which unearthed certain horrors about my past and the damage I had caused my family – I had literally woken up into a living hell which I had created.
I substituted medication and drugs with regular exercise and a healthy, balanced diet. This allowed me to manage my anxiety condition with natural remedies and no drugs. I am currently taking no medication and living a fulfilled life out of prison.
The lessons I have learnt on my journey keep me driven to work towards a shift in how we as a society view mental illness, addiction, and incarceration. I am now committed to dedicating my life to three main causes of change. They are:
PREVENTION – I hope to tell my story in such a way for it to assist in preventing others traveling down the same dark and traumatic path as I did.
EDUCATION – I hope to use my experiences over the last 15 years to educate society in a way that creates a shift in how we as a community view incarceration, addiction, and mental illness.
REINTEGRATION – I hope that through the expression of my experience I can reveal the importance of assisting our men and women with employment and education shortly after they leave prison.