Where Have I been?

by A.J. Rasmussen

Here it is, one week into August and I've not been heard from since June when I spoke on suicide and bullying. My thoughts have been unfocussed and my creativity dry. This transition to a new institution combined with the loss of friends, and great education and chapel programs, has been a large load to try to bare. Anxiety and depression have had a death grip on me with the occasional good moments or days scattered here and there.

A large part of my problem has been a lack of church and fellowship, but dealing with that has been easier then dealing with the anxiety I faced when I did go. I finally, after four months of persistence, met with the mental health provider and we agreed that I should push myself to attend one church service per week, and accept the anxiety but work to set it aside as best as I can and strive to focus on the song and message. The therapist suggested that running from the anxiety only makes it worse in the long run? So...Sunday I'll attend my first church service in over a month.

I'm also having great difficulty being so close to home, yet so far from freedom. My life sentence in prison is so much more real, and has so much more impact being surrounded by the sights and sounds of my lifelong backyard. There is so much good by me being here in my own backyard, yet these past four months it has been hard to turn my focus away from the impact of all I lost when I left Clallam Bay, and the re-realization of being faced with the fact that I won't leave this place alive. Couple that with being so close to much of my family and friends who don't visit or write, and life today sometimes becomes unbearable. Why is it such a challenge to set aside the negative to focus on the positive? This is my battle and goal I hope to one day attain.

As I've been helping an acquaintance turn his thoughts and stories into digital format, (TheIncarceratedTruth.com) I am beginning to realize that I am not alone in my struggles. In some way that makes me sad that others have to face the battles as well, yet it gives me hope and strength to see where this individual was, and where he is today.

I have a lot to look forward to as I look ahead. This week (Thursday & Friday) I get to view the live stream version of the annual Global Leadership Summit which is Chaired by Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg.

Saturday I get to meet my penpal of nearly two years for the first time. She is not only my penpal, but friend and Secretary of the ministry I once founded, Cornerstone Ministry (go2cm.org). By the way, she is visiting from the Netherlands, a pretty special visit.

Then, in September I get to have my first 48 hour visit with my mom. It will be like a brief release (basically) from prison to spend solely with my mom.

Good things are happening, pray for me as I pray for you, that my focus would be proper, and that I would continue to successfully adjust and adapt. Take care my friends!

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