I have to write of my condition when I am safely distanced from it

Bossé, John-Russell

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The following was written from 5-23-14 to 6-8-14 I have to write of my condition when I am safely distanced from it - for in the midst of that affliction I am paralyzed with the venom of despair. Thoughts of suicide and self-mutilation greedily consume me, leaving virtually all rationale to float insignificant on black bone freezing tides. I must wait... sleep and wait for the prowler of depression to lose interest and move on - otherwise I am helpless. Oh, I cry somewhere where tears are conceived deep in the psyche, but never shed. My grief rarely cleanses and barely a tortured moan escapes me anymore. In giddy spikes my torment will drive me to at times ejaculate: "I should have taken the seven years! What was I thinking?" and the like. Those times bring a strange clarity to things even as I come close to pounding my head against the wall. All that is past now and - briefly - I can write. The question is what to write. I am in solitary confinement. This is the end of my third week in a place where time moves more slowly. The more difficult the circumstances of incarceration, the more assailed I am with the past, the things I've done to sabotage my life, and my failure to chose the seven years. Just writing about that tragedy draws forth the aforementioned depression, but I must somehow weather through this if the story is to be told... I moved down from MA to Connecticut around 1998 to be near a religious order. I met one of their followers in Massachusetts and was drawn to them. It turned out that they were a strict sect that preached the Lord Jesus' return in the form of a sinful man named Julius. Having overcome all sin, he thought how one can live perfectly by closely abiding by the commandments of Jesus Christ and living a bible-based life. Seeing the decency and sincerity of Julius' followers inspired me to move as close as I could to "the work": a small publishing company in Cheshire Connecticut. I too wanted to become perfect - (or at least strive towards it) like Lord Julius. When I reached CT, however, I was not as welcomed by Julius' group as I had hoped. I was quickly relegated to the fringes where only a few followers in this small sect would deal with me. They thought me strange and rebellious with unruly long hair. The more isolated I became from this group, the more my mental state declined. The truth was that I was headed for a nervous breakdown in MA but fled to Connecticut as if I could flee from my own skin. I know now that living among those people only postponed my disintegration for as long as they tolerated me. By the year 2000 even the majority of my natural family shunned me because I had abruptly left them for that spiritual family in CT. They were even afraid of me in the last months leading up to my arrest - everyone was. At a friend's house in Massachusetts my erratic and unpredictable state led to a brief stay at a mental hospital weeks before the arrest. The religious group in CT were now closing their doors to me. When I called people - even my own mother - phones hung up. People saw my deterioration and were afraid. No one wanted to get involved. Near the end of April 2001 I was almost in full thrall to the voices in my head, visions, and random impulses. My most respected mentor - an elder of the church ordered me off the premises and threatened to call the police (the night before [2:30 am?] the universe had instructed me to drive over to his house and deliver a movie rental titled Fearless. The order was clear that the video should be accepted and, in the doorway, his wife had accepted it with wide saucer eyes.) I tried to communicate with him telepathically but he didn't respond. I drove home in the most devastated state. I had lost everyone and now I was stranded a state away from my family who shunned me. In my car at home I sat there for a long time lost, not knowing what to do nor where to go from there. The next few days are unclear, but I remember I didn't sleep. On Mother's Day May 8, 2001 - on the notion that I would be "born again" - I made an abortive attempt to kidnap my downstairs neighbor. About three years later, in prison, I was offered 7 years to serve in a plea deal. Still unhinged at the time, I refused the offer, took it to trial, lost, and received 55 years. Even though I didn't really hurt anyone (I put a scratch on a court officer's leg. The next day in court I blacked out and allegedly attacked a court marshal with a chair, I was handcuffed to.) I'm doing what is considered a life bid. There are glimmers of hope if I file habeas corpus and possibly a federal appeal but I'm terrified that those glimmers will one day be extinguished. The fear leads me to wait and stall towards the time limit I have to file. At trial the state convinced the jury that I was faking a mental illness or insanity, at the time of my arrest. That's why I lost. After losing trial, however, the state has labeled me insane and prescribed a regimen of anti-psychotics that I have been forced to take for years now - even until this day. I cannot find the justice in that. It is, rather the epitome of everything fairness stands against. * * * She cares. She actually cares. Ms. K. is a strict and formal psychiatric social worker (PSW). - Rarely shows much emotion, but she was near tears when she acknowledged the injustice of my situation. Ms. K. says that for what I did, the time I got was completely incongruent. What CT (and probably every other state) does is stack up charges so that one event is closely divided by many acts. Unlike the generally more civilized European countries, the US likes to lock people up for terminally long times. That is one of the reasons why our country has the largest prison population in the world. Am I sorry for what I did? In large part, throughout my sentence, I was not. I felt that by attempting to kidnap my neighbor I was fulfilling a duty and that by doing so, I had prevented a cataclysm worse than the 9/11 attacks. Although part of me still believes that my actions averted disaster, I am sorry for harassing my neighbor. I'm glad that I did not hurt her. Hurting her was not my intention. I am approaching a point in my life where I am beginning to come to realize that what one of the doctors for my professional witness testimony said (about my being extremely self-destructive) was true. That events that got me arrested had nothing to do with my neighbor and everything to do with my self-sabotaging my life. How I continue doing that is becoming more apparent but why I do it is still a nearly unexplained mystery. Why do I hate myself (so much)? If I were free, I could seek long sessions with a psychiatric doctor or social worker. I could also take hypnotherapy. In prison, however, I am considered fortunate (and a drain on resources) to receive half an hour a week of individual treatment. The quest for self-realization - for now - must begin and end in the cell to which I'm confined 21 to 23 hours a day. Lately I feel like I'm suffocating. Each minute of every day is a slow asphyxiation. The worst death sentence in this country is being buried a live in prison without hope. I wish that I could write more - that my flowering weeds could push through more cracks in the concrete. I know that in me there must be a human being beneath all this agony. It is a faith belief.

Author: Bossé, John-Russell

Author Location: Connecticut

Date: June 8, 2014

Genre: Essay

Extent: 4 pages

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