The pain!

Griffith, Douglas L., Jr.



The Pain! How could I experience so much pain without knowledge? Ah, that's it... I did not have the knowledge of words to be able to connect my feelings with words and their meaning. An example, a powerful one, is the word suffer. I did not know it meant to feel or endure pain. Now I can understand the following pains: failure, loss, lack of support, disappointment, regret, rejection, defeat, life. The pain of failure and the other nine pains I will address did not really manifest themselves to my understanding until I heard the speech of motivational speaker Leslie (Les) Brown on March 21, 2020. I was prompted to search the dictionary for definitions of these words. I now have a clearer picture and comprehension about why I landed in prison after a nine-year stint in United States Air Force (USAF). You see, I failed to continually grow, improve myself. I can now clearly pinpoint key events which set me on the path to failure: One, I forgot, got distracted from the discipline of study to gain promotion. I know this because I forwent to study for six months - No clubs, women, distractions. I went to work, lunch, gym (weight lifting, swiming), dinner, barracks to study. When testing time came, for I had really desired to be promoted to the next pay grade (E-5), I confidently answered most questions. At the end, I came back to my room in the barracks and I could recall many questions which I highlighted in my Career Development Course (CDC), and Professional Fitness Examination (PFE) - military knowledge. I was convinced I had scored 80% in both exams. Result, my 2 organization Captain surprised me with an E-5 stripe when she walked into the office I worked; my score 80 CDC, and 79% PFE. This is by far the most uplifting I have ever experienced when it comes to a work experience. A second experience is been recognized as a professional performer for my work in developing a database to track the office's monitoring of CDCs. A third one, a merit for the order, neatness of my locker. Oh my Lord... I completely forgot about how well discipline had served me when I travelled from South Dakota back to California in June 1986. Five years after my arrival to the United States of America (USA), I had attained my goal in 1985 to be promoted to E-5. Little did I suspect that my failure was on its way. I experienced a sense of failure when I tested for the third time and failed promotion to E-6 by less than one point. That hurt... I felt pain because I knew I had failed to study properly. In my first test for E-6, I had felt exhausted and at that time I did not not truly understand why. Now I do! The test for E-6 was designed with answers which provided multiple choice answers which were close to each other, sometimes one word was the difference so that without certainty of the answer, the response to the question could be wrong. During my preparation for the second test for E-6, I attempted to establish study by going to the library to find quiet to study; however, by this time I was now married with one daughter. I failed to attain discipline of study. By 1991, I was angry, disappointed, dissolutioned (I just studied this word to express the feeling I felt at that time - overcomed emotionally) because of the pain I felt at the invasion of Panamá, my native land. I now understand 3 why I had such dissolution... in high school I had learned that the USA had a history of intervention in Panamá and back then I was angry with such knowledge. However, by 1981, after my graduation in 1979, I came to the USA without memories of the past. I had buried these painful memories and restarted without awareness of how conflicting my feelings of loyalty would become and test me. My sense of failure I can now link to some criminal acts I committed between 1986 to 1994, and I know my lack of discipline, character flaws, ignorance, stubbornness, stress, physical and mental injury, depression, psychosis (induced by INH - a prescription for a positive reaction to a TB test), denial, suicidal ideation, fear, paranoia. Oh, what a mess I became. As you can read I now know my factors, most of them, which contributed to my failure. This enables me to address them in order to avoid making the same mistakes and demonstrate my suitability for parole. The pain of loss is connected to the factors which caused the failures I identified in the previous paragraph because I lost many opportunities along the way which could have directed me on a different path. My crucial and most important pain of loss is that of a victim who died at my hands. The immensity of this loss did not really set in until the District Attorney (DA) revealed in open court that the victim had died of two bullet wounds to the heart. This revelation deeply affected me... To such degree that I broke down in tears on the witness stand. I lost wife; connection with children, family; freedom; but most traumatic was the loss of my dear mother in 2004. It took eight years for me to contact, really grieve this loss. I 4 I remember it because I cried while I had been placed in Psychiatric Security Unit (PSU) as punishment for indecent exposure though my behavior had been influenced by my mental deterioration at the time. I had not considered that loss was connected to pain until I heard Les speak about. And, what really prompted me to write with more passion was reading "I Can't Get Over It - A Handbook for Trauma Survivors - Second Edition" by Aphrodite Matsakis, Ph. D. In Chapter nine she outlines the importance of identifying losses in order to understand why happiness is replaced with sorrow. I have experienced financial loss: Loss of home, cars, good credit, job, good insurance rates, financial ruin as a result of my crimes. When I was in county jail I was not thinking about these and other losses like I have now come to recognize because I had found the Bible which took my mind away from worries. Now that I have become aware of need to connect with my losses in order to properly grieve them and then finally be able to accept them, I believe healing is possible The pain of lack of support. I was not always aware of this pain; in fact, when my greatest supporter was alive, my mother, I was functioning in prison. But when she died, I could not express my pain or how this loss affected me. I shutdown and did not even cry in 2004. It took until 2012 to cry and realize how profoundly lack of support from my family without her affected me. Some members of the family like my dad and my uncle, I suppose, did what they could, but my family consists of more than them. Up until 2009 I had received visits from 5 my two deaf and mute daughters and it was a wonderful surprise from them prior to them venturing on on their own. Lack of support was the source of anger on my part toward my brother and sister because I had expected more support from them. In my blind anger I wrote my sister and dad angry letters. To this date, since 1995, I have never received a letter from my sister or brother. I can sympathize with the limits of my dad but I could not comprehend why I was not getting more support. This pain contributed to my depression and suicidal ideation, but the thought of how this would affect my youngest daughter finally propelled me to ask for help. I was sent to Atascadero State Hospital (ASH) and stayed there nine months until early 2019. Wow! With the no cost for telephone call, I received calls from family as far as Germany and Florida. I was then able to recognize the deep pain my crimes had caused on one of my cousins who broke down crying and in turn I sobed. It's not that they don't want to support me; it's that the tragedy of my crimes deeply affected my family members and they simply don't know how to proceed. My pain of lack of support is now assuage by understanding that my family is still in shock. 6 The pain of disappointment. This pain is a constant one because imprisonment thus far has kept me from pursuing certain things I would have been able to pursue under different physical limits. It is very painful because it is a constant reminder of my failed expectations. However, now that I am aware of it's devastating effects it has been having on me, I can now accept and live with the pain without trying to deny it or avoid it. Whenever I am reminded of a failed fulfillment of a hope, I can redirect myself to recognize, remember that I have made progress in self development and growth. One such growth is spiritual. An example of this is the pursuit of knowledge. I watched about 15 minutes of a Philosophy video and then felt the urge to pursue the development of a mathematical equation of energy. I now question... What is the facination with knowledge which is known to be erroneous? -- Poseidon, Zeus, etc. Welcome to the Triune God (see Acts 17:23-24), he brought me back from my desire to be intellectual like others and I abandoned working on the equation to the comfort of Colossians 3:1-4 - "If ye then be risen with Christ, seek those things which are above where Christ sitted at the right hand of God. Set your affections on things above and not on things on the earth for ye are dead and your life is hid with Christ in God. When Christ, who is our life, shall appear then shall ye also appear with Him in glory." 7 I am new to being aware of and accepting pain of disappointment; however, I have found two things which give peace and hope when I am mindful of them... meaning and purpose of my life. I receive meaning when I in line with my purpose to serve God with a happy and glad heart; I stress and experience more pain when I don't. The pain of regret. Wow! I did not realize that the pain I was experiencing... Desiring that I had chosen a woman I did not in the 1980s while I was in the USAF; Desiring I had not ended a dating with another woman when she criticized the military; desiring I had study more for my promotion to E-6 which I missed by less than one point. I, yes, I did not connect that these and other pains were pains of regret - If I had... If I had done it differently. Wow! How painful. When Les Brown's speech resonated with my awakening of the connection of the word regret with what I was experiencing, I received insight which soothed the pain of regret. I could now identify the word with the feeling and this connection freed my heart to feel and be at ease. The pain of rejection. Oh my, rejected by my exwife, the military, fellow prisoners. My crimes led me to prison, but before prison was jail. I still remember the pain of rejection when she asked, "Do you still want me to be with you." Oh, I could not believe that after seven years of marriage she had questioned by love for her now that I needed her most. I told her, "You have to make that decision." I never saw her again. When I was in the 8 USAF, I had not given thought of experiencing rejection so that when it came I thought I was ready to deal with separation. At the time of separation I had not thought of it as rejection; now I do. When it comes to rejection from prisoners, I now recognize that I project this rejection because I think that if I reveal all my crimes I will be rejected so I keep my distance. In the beginning, before being aware that I was projecting rejection, I was under the unconscious power of dissociation - See Loner? and Loner essays. Now I am conscious of this and I am selective about who to interact with. Nevertheless, it is painful because I struggle. I desire to associate; yet, I fear rejection. I just thought, "I don't need to seek acceptance from those whose attitude is adverse to my circumstances (past history). By this attitude I assuage the pain of desire to belong until my search for like minded people bears fruit. The pain of defeat. This pain almost took my life. I almost ended my life, almost experienced defeat, in 1994. Since then, I have had struggles with myself and my environment which caused resignation to mental defeat in the form of suicidal ideation, fear, anxiety, doubt, insecurity, shame, guilt, confusion and other toxic emotions which were driving me to defeat. However, I am still around, I believe, because Jesus was not finished with my transformation of defeat to recognition that I had something to counter this pain -- serve him with joy and gladness with all my heart. In addition, I also learned that I needed to change my thinking. I am on this road now and the pain of 9 defeat has been assuaged by the character of resilience. The pain of life. Oh, this thing called life. I could not have predicted that I would one day write about the pain of life. I am only doing so because I have experienced the pain of life because I have lived long enough and through enough to share it. I have addressed the pain of failure, loss, lack of support, disappointment, regret, rejection, defeat, and now I write about the pain of life. It is not that the pain of life is unfair at times because the pain of life is one constant thing. We are assurred of it until we exit this world until the promises of the next life -- No more pain (Revelation 21:4), for those who have this hope. Until then, I patiently endure the pain of life! Douglas L. Griffith, Jr. Mule Creek State Prison P.O. Box 409089 Ione, CA 95640 April 3, 2020; Friday

Author: Griffith, Douglas L., Jr.

Author Location: California

Date: April 3, 2020

Genre: Essay

Extent: 9 pages

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