no.08

"I'm one of them people, I want everyone to know. Tell somebody what happened in my life and maybe help them." 

fightorflight.jpg

My background, all I know is fight or flight, you know? I’m in my 20s but I’ve been in and out of jail starting at 18. I’ve struggled with addiction for a long time - heroin, cocaine. I started doing better because drug court helped me into programs, but I haven’t had that much clean time because I don’t know what to do when I’m at a breaking point. Who do I call? My sponsor yells at me, my probation officer scares me. I didn’t want to go back to jail. I broke both my feet jumping off a roof after someone close told on me to the cops. He started arguing with me on purpose so he could keep me outside for when they pulled up. Something told me no, something’s not right, so I went inside the house and two seconds later the sheriff started pulling on the door. I got it locked and shut, then realized the only other way out of the house was through a second story window. I was scared, I didn’t know what else to do. I thought there was some way I could get off the roof and go. A cop came up the stairs after me and tried grabbing my shirt, so I jumped. I broke both my feet when I did that. They called an ambulance and the hospital surgeon recommended surgery, but they moved me to the jail the next day.

 

When I first got to the jail, I told them I couldn’t walk and they said, “You have to.” I told them I broke both my feet and they finally brought a wheelchair, but they wouldn’t help me get in it. They weren’t comprehending what I was saying - they really thought I was going to be able to walk. They’re so assbackwards here. I stayed in the jail infirmary for a month and they let me have the wheelchair, but they wouldn’t let me take it to gen pop even though x-rays showed my feet were still fractured. They tried bringing me a cane. I’m not gonna lie, I denied it. Anyone that has a cane brought to them… I didn’t want to walk around with a cane. But what would a cane even do for broken feet? They didn’t give me the option to stay in the infirmary and keep using the chair, so I came to gen pop with just orthopedic boots. I put them on the wrong feet all the time. They have elevators here, but they’re scary because they break down all the time. When I’m on there and I look at the help button, my hand is ready to push it. Now with COVID the guards will get after us if someone helps me with the stairs, but I have to go downstairs to get to rec.

fight or flight

mixed media

2020

Just six weeks after I broke them, an officer reinjured my feet. I got put in solitary for giving my friend a cup of coffee in the gym. I guess it was worth it because my friend got her cup of coffee. Whatever. Anyway, they were squatting and coughing me, about eight times. I felt like they were just trying to see my ass. They were trying to take me to the showers and took off my boots. I got fed up and tried to get them off me. They pushed me in a corner so they were off-camera and shoved me against the wall, grabbing my hair. Then one started stomping on my feet while the other was punching me in the face, really fucking me up. I was cuffed in front but didn’t go down. I guess I’m pretty strong. Then a captain came on the pod and bent my feet up to my shins. I was crying, screaming in pain, and heard my feet crack. They left me in a restraint chair with my feet shackled for the next four hours. I was in severe pain before, but that’s just made it even worse. My feet make a popping sound when I wake up in the morning and try to stretch. I’ll move over and try to get comfortable and I’ll literally say “ow” because something in my feet will pull.

 

After a few months, I got transferred to a treatment program but reached my breaking point. I kept telling them I couldn’t walk up the stairs in the house because of my feet but they didn’t care. It took them almost a week to get my mental health meds to me. My anxiety was really bad and I felt out of control, but my counselor wouldn’t talk to me. I kept asking and getting denied, then finally told her she was being unprofessional. She didn’t like that and told me to pack my stuff because the cops were coming for me. So I ran. I didn’t know where I was going. I walked miles on broken, swollen feet. I don’t even know how I did it. I found out later that the cops were never coming for me, I was just getting moved to a different treatment program. I asked to call my probation officer but they wouldn’t let me. Something’s got to be better than sitting down here longer than I have to, so I figured I’d do the right thing and maybe I wouldn’t have to come down here. But because I ran, I got sent back to jail. It was a scare tactic, them trying to see how strong I am with how vulnerable I seemed.

 

They had just raised my mental health meds at the treatment center and it was helping, but then it took another week to get back on them when I came back to jail. I didn’t know that the higher you go, the worse you detox. I was in there hallucinating. It was bad. I told the nurse, “You don’t understand, I’m going through it.” They kept forcing me to go to group, but I couldn’t function. I thought I was sleeping but I wasn’t. I thought I was falling. I was drenched in sweat, I couldn’t sit still. I told myself I'd never take that med again, but it worked for me, though. That was the issue. I have depression, anxiety, PTSD, ADD/ADHD. They said bipolar but I don’t think I have it. There’s group in the morning, at lunch, and at dinner time. They make more of a joke out of it than taking it serious. I wish they taught us coping skills, like what to do when you feel like you’re going to relapse, but it’s just people sharing war stories. I’m not interested in that. Sometimes some stories are funny, but only to a certain point. Enough is enough.

 

It was a lesson learned: don’t break your feet. They treat you like shit in here. They just don’t care about you. I used to be comfortable in here; I don't know how, I guess you have to adjust to it. But this time, I can't adjust to it, I don't want to. I expect the worst now. It makes me not want to do wrong out there anymore. Maybe it helped me, I don't know, in a sick way. At least I can listen to music on my tablet. I love listening to country music, especially Luke Bryan. Now I’m waiting on an interview for another treatment program and I think I’ll go soon. I’m one of them people, I want everyone to know. Tell somebody what happened in my life and maybe help them.

 

ABOUT THE ARTIST

Kaitlin Grant is a mixed media artist currently residing in Lansing, Michigan. Her work primarily focuses on addressing social issues through experimental photography and collage.

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