Again, I’m awake….it’s 1am. I really should be asleep as we’ve got my parents in law coming over…my brain however has different ideas (as always)
Throughout the 5 months I was in jail, I would have to say that the hardest time was the first 2 weeks. I don’t think I can ever recall a time in my life when I have felt so dehumanised and worthless. As soon as that judge sentences you… It’s over, and it’s confronting.
I was lucky that the first officers who took me into custody were quite nice and understanding, also very willing to explain to me what happens from there on in. Even during the strip search they were quite polite and respectful. On the flip side I didn’t stay in that watch house and was transported the following day to another bigger (brutal) watch house. Never will I forget the feeling of being barefoot, without underwear, unshowered then handcuffed, put into the back of a police car and only being addressed as “prisoner”.
That’s when it started to hit home and panic began to set in.
In the drive to the 2nd watch house I was shaking and sweating, crying at times and just wanting to “wake the hell up” it all felt so surreal. I zoned out for a while, couldn’t look at my hands trapped in heavy steel handcuffs, they weren’t my hands, this wasn’t me…..pretty sure that’s when the breakdown started.
Upon arrival at the watch house I was released from the cuffs, asked a bunch of questions and put into a tiny tiny cell…consisting of a bench, a toilet and a basin. I cried, sobbed uncontrollably. I just kept thinking “I can’t do this, I can’t….” (Even writing this I’m tearing up) the place smelt like disinfectant, sweat and urine. There was no pillow, only a flimsy blanket, and no daylight, just concrete. There were 2 other women in cells near me, one was coming off drugs, so she slept most of the time, and the other was also waiting to go the the jail, but was reasonably calm about it. The food they gave us was inedible, no tea or coffee, no clean clothes, nothing. I begged and begged for a phone call, just to hear my fiancé, that was all I wanted. Just some reminder of home. Eventually I got a phone call later that day, and I could barely speak, I was sobbing so much, the pain of being away from home, the reality of where I was…it was just too much. I broke down more than I thought was even possible. Being escorted back to my cell is a blur, I then sobbed myself to sleep….I was so terrified. It was too much for me, too much for most people u would imagine. Little did I know that was just the beginning, and that I wouldn’t see daylight again for a week…..thank Christ they don’t tell you how long you’ll be there, I think that may be the reason they have padded cells…you lose your mind in there, it’s not fit for humans, not even animals really.
We were allowed out into the “yard” for an hour or so each day, that meant you got to go to a bigger cell that had a television in it, it was still inside, and concrete. It also allowed you to talk to the other women, which I will admit helped. Again, I was lucky that they weren’t crazy, I just couldn’t stop crying, no matter what was said to me, I had no control over my sadness, and desperation, I just wanted to die, not coping didn’t even come close to how I felt.
Then came the weekend…..holy crap was that an epic time. I have never in my life witnessed grown adults turning into savage crazy uncontrollable animals, but, it happens. People do weird things in the watch house, the screaming and banging, endless hours of obscenities being yelled out, human waste being thrown….it’s completely and utterly insane. That was when the suicide thoughts were at an all time high, curled up on my “bed” crying my eyes out until they’re almost swollen shut, just begging for it all to stop, shivering and sweating at the same time, wanting to vomit, but having nothing in my stomach to do so. It was one of the most traumatic experiences of my life, one that will haunt me forever.
So I spent a week in that mad house, I lost a fair bit of weight, and found out that I would no longer be treated like a person, that in there I didn’t matter, I wasn’t safe and that my sanity was hanging on by the thinnest of threads, and I had absolutely no idea how long it would be until that thread broke.
I was planning on writing more, but I’m currently sitting here crying, and my nerves are shot. I’m jumping at the tiniest of noises, and becoming increasingly paranoid, so I’ll sign off for now, and once I can I’ll write more.