We go through emotional disruptions/imbalances/instability. It is part of most people’s lives and as we get hit with intense situations that there is no play book for, figuring out how to cope with these new things is difficult at best.

One of my best friends getting out of prison recently and her and her husband mer someone from my past, the victim in my case. At the same time this college student began asking really intense questions about my crime via email and being kinda shady and shadowy about the whole thing. Also happening my cellmate gets suddenly moved and as a trans woman that can be scary because finding a safe person to live with can be a serious challenge. I had a lot going on, really intense and unexpected stuff.

Part of what led me to prison is not being able to cope with my emotions, like at all. Whenever someone would evoke strong reactions from me I simply disconnected from them, got away and never looked back. So I walked away from basically everyone, always. My “go to” still to this day is to ice over and cut ties, something I am currently receiving a lot of help to combat and taking very seriously because I don’t want to be alone. So I faced these things as best as I knew how, I went to one of my therapists with it in a group therapy setting after trying to cope with everything on my own unsuccessfully. In my mind, when you need help, you ask for it which is something else I am not used to doing for emotional support. So I did.

I don’t feel better about being vulnerable, this particular therapist is a challenge to talk to for me for a multitude of reasons but the main one is they only look for the bad in you, not the good. They don’t recognize when you do something right, its only criticize and correct behavior all the time. But I don’t have much choice except to quite a critical program that would mean me not getting out of prison. So I faced my fear of this person, spoke about the problem and when it was all over I had a knot in my stomach that almost made me puke but I walked away knowing that I did the right thing, even when it wasn’t easy and that sometimes you don’t need help because the people that are supposed to help don’t always have the answers for problems in life. Sometimes intensity happens and all we can do is do our best to reach out to our loved ones and ask for support.

When we have that knot in the pit of our stomachs and our minds are piecing together information that doesn’t belong and we have racing thoughts and it feels like our lives are spiraling out of control, what do we do to recover? The answer can be so much simpler than we think, as I discovered, just stop. That’s right, just stop, breathe and look inward. Stick to your routine, don’t give anything up or start anything new. Talk about what your feeling with someone trusted, even if you don’t know what you feel is, like in my situation I felt such a range of emotions I didn’t know which ones were prominent, so I spoke about them all, several times to several friends (aren’t support people wonderful! Thank you!!).

Understand that it may feel like you’re emotionally unstable, but the reality is you might not be. If you’re anything like me you’re pretty normal emotionally but have very real situations that have presented very real intensity. Nobody is “prepared” for those times. Sometimes all we can do is hang on for the chemical dump in our brains. I went for a run, drank water, slept good, avoided people I knew would require my energy, wrote this piece, talked to friends, stewed about revealing a weakness to my therapist and at the end of all…I’m okay.

We got this, we’re okay. Look at us, we’re standing. Alive and breathing, no catastrophe occurred, everyone’s okay. I’m going home in 13 months, you’re going to go on to live as wonderful a life as you’re willing to work for and with a little bit of luck and smart positioning, it may even be better than you ever expected.

How do you bounce back? You expect it. Begin by telling yourself it’s possible, then expect it.

With Love
Ruth Utnage
(For interviews or media inquiries please contact me directly!)

Ruth Utnage fka jeff 823469 C-510-2
PO Box 888
Monroe, WA. 98272

or via Jpay email service (you have to use my birth name, but, please do not call me by it, my new legal name is Ruth)

Jeff Utnage