It’s the great disappointment of my life, me being in prison, and there have been many disappointments in my life. My crime was never planned, I had a mental breakdown, I’m still pinching myself just to make sure I’m not dreaming.

The first year was the worst, as I was waiting to find out how long my sentence would be. The whole year was mental torture. I had chronic stress, all day and night, high blood pressure, and so many very bad panic attacks, lots of anxieties, crying a lot, so so sad in my heart. I feared for my sanity at times. Then some of them found out I was gay. I had a tough time for a while. When things were very bad, I slept with two bibles under my bed. I prayed every day and night in search of faith and some comfort.

I have known adversity from young, being abandoned as a baby, some abuse, homelessness, having my heart broken when my boyfriend died and so much more, but these are the worst days and moments in my whole life. A real struggle emotionally, a very painful experience. You become consumed.

First year: bad conditions, sharing a cell in which I am locked up for 23 hours a day. Required to eat and shit in an unscreened lavatory. Very dangerous and frightening place to be, the violence is horrendous. Slashing, Beating. Taxing. Bullying. Prisoners fighting prisoners. Spice, and all other drugs are rife, everyone is smashed.  Some take drugs to take their minds out of the monotonous, poor, degrading daily routines. Some others self-harm because they have lost hope. Very toxic environment. If you make it out you are very much traumatized by the whole experience. I have not laughed for over two years.

Now fast forward to a new nice prison I am in. It’s much better in every way. I now get to sleep good, have my own cell and feel safe. The prison officers are nice, I feel like I have some kind of respect. They have a very hard job and I think in this prison most of them do it well.