INSIDE CDCR: Correctional Officer finds healing through writing

INSIDE CDCR: Correctional Officer finds healing through writing


To me, correctional fatigue is slowly chipping
away at you every single day working inside the fence. Inside the walls. About six years ago, I got involved with Dr.
Caterina Spinaris and Desert Waters when I was looking for help dealing with a correctional
suicide of a fellow officer. In my relationship with her over the last
five years, I learned more about dealing with stress, about correctional stress, correctional
suicide. Then about 14 months ago there was another
suicide of someone who was very influential on my thought process, and I started writing. I would write out different things that were
going on. Different events. Different emotions. Just anything that came to my mind, it would
come out as a big jumble. And then by the time I got done with it – because
I never rewrite it, it’s one time through. Then I started sending Dr. Spinaris and Desert
Waters my writing, and she found it very useful to try and break the ice with other correctional
staff and let them know that there’s people out there that feel just like them. When I first started writing about the stresses
of the job, it was due to the hurt I was feeling in seeing people I cared about committing
suicide, and not wanting to feel like that. I wanted it out of my system before it did
hurt that much. I get nervous every time I sit down to write
and I’m going to turn it in to somebody to use. But then when you say, “No, your writing helps
others,” then that makes me smile. And I’m forever grateful to her for giving
me that opportunity to help others know it’s OK to look for help and let people know you’re
hurting. And it’s OK to ask for help when you need
it. I hope that my writing makes you think. That’s all I’m asking for, make you think
and make you feel. And then ask yourself the questions, “How
much does this resemble me? How much of this is what I’m enduring?”

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