Crazy but Compassionate

I’ve been in and out of the hole and out of my mind! I’m trying to have a sense of humor about it, but it’s really not funny. I just got 150 days in DTU (Mental Health Hole). I’ve been a little stressed out, but I’m doing a little better. I get a little peace of mind locked in this cell by myself. The C.O.s and inmates can’t bother me and I have my tablet, so the music helps a lot.

I also made friends with another inmate. “Derek” is 27, a little slow and has severe mental help problems. Everyone treated him bad because he was acting crazy. He doesn’t have any electronics and can’t read or write. When he snaps (even I have never seen this happen before), he rips out desks bolted to the floor, beats the door, and tears light fixtures clean out. He usually does this when he quits taking his meds, which is often. He’s three cells away from me and in another program. The kid just wanted someone to listen to him and he’s not that crazy (just a little bit). I got him to take his meds for three weeks now and told him how pleasurable he is to talk to on his meds. I told him that with meds he’s normal, a human being, even if others still treat him like an animal.

He likes country music so I blast music, running my tablet through a broken desktop radio. Well even the COs saw a difference in Derek. They started to give him extra food and so forth. When the Lieutenant went to move me to the MHU tier, Derek yelled out “Don’t move my boy! He talks to me. Please! I’ve been doing good.” (This was so sad but it brought a smile to my face). I never hesitate, 24 hours a day, to answer when Derek calls my name. Even if I am asleep, he’s not a headache…I like him. The staff sees the change and knows I can work with him when even they can’t. Many CO’s and two psyches have thanked me. I go to group and yard with MHU and they think I’m crazy now. Good!

They cuff me like an animal. Lock me up like an animal, and I am lonely.  Sometimes I look at the Mary Mother of Captives picture you gave me. Depending on my state of mind I use it as a reminder that the Blessed Mother is in the cell with me too. Her back to the locked gate, she’s holding the fetters that bind me because she wants me to be free, if only in the cell with her. She knows who I am and not what the courts or prison officials say I am. She sees past the violence and the chaos I am capable of causing. She sees into my heart at the pain inside. And she holds what binds me to her own heart. I am hanging in there, struggling like hell, still doubtful, but I promise I won’t give up hope. Love is paid by love alone.              –Johnny.

Written by Fr. Paul Morrissey, OSA