Here is a paragraph of a letter I recently wrote to a compañera. I thought you might find it a bit insightful.
“Do you understand how the dehumanization in this environment works? Daily I’m made to feel as if I’m nothing, a thing, a non-person, inhuman. I am not Rob or Robert Will, I’m 999402 or 71 cell F pod. This is thrown at me daily and even though I understand the nature of this hideous beast I can never fully escape its menacing stare, its wretches, perhaps, but never its jarring unholy gaze. I know that this intensifies slights toward me real or imagined and if I feel a person is being cold towards me sometimes that cold will feel like a burning teeth-clattering cold, a bone chilling cold that renders me trapped in a state of depressive self-reflection: I’m nothing, not loved not wanted, not cared for. Then these thoughts will multiply like a nefarious little virus. Pause: As I have been writing this a guy on my row has been maniacally beating on his table and periodically screaming out in the most disturbing manner imaginable. He’s lost in the dark, foggy labyrinthine realm of schizophrenia. Have you ever heard the screams of the insane? There is nothing likes it, it’s indescribable, unimaginable to those who haven’t experienced it. This is the reality I’m forced to live with, a reality I fight against and challenge and conquer in many ways, but it’s still there ever-present and always being in wait ready to viciously attack me if I even for one second let my guard down. I remain steadfast and vigilant but it can be so very hard sometimes…”