Anytime you go away on a long trip, you may feel homesick. This is true for prison inmates as well. My first few weeks and especially during the holidays, I felt extremely homesick. I wasn’t sure what to do, but later on I did figure out some methods to ease it.
First you have to realize what is the cause behind the feeling. Of course you’re in prison, but what triggers the feeling is what we are looking for. For instance, I remember this one Friday movie night at prison camp where we watched the movie Tron Legacy. It was my second time watching it, but it became my worst viewing in my opinion. During the movie I felt as if I was at home watching the movie or that I was in a theater with a cousin. When the movie ended, I realized I was in prison. It was a depressing moment.
Another time I felt homesick was on my birthday. I hated that day, at least I did while in prison. I only told one person it was my birthday and I only did that so that I didn’t have to go to work at the Power House. When I sat down to write in my journal, I felt an overwhelming sadness. I don’t usually make a big deal about my birthday, but that day it depressed me because I was sitting in prison camp. I usually get a few “Happy Birthdays” and maybe some gifts from my mom, but that’s usually it. I know it was the fact that I was in prison camp that made me feel homesick that day especially because I didn’t get a visit from anyone (I’ll talk about that in another blog post).
To avoid times like this, I created some boundaries in my prison life. I decided not to listen to Prince, not that I really could since they only played him once my entire stay. I used to listen to Prince five hours a week, if not more! I also didn’t listen to any other music I liked, mostly because they didn’t have any music I liked. Other solutions to overcome being homesick are:
- Stay Busy
I wrote as much as I could write. I suggest figuring out a project that you can do with pen and paper. Maybe outline some ideas for a project you can do at home.
- Forget Home
Don’t worry about what’s happening at home. I know this is easier said than done, but you can’t worry about what’s happening at home because it’s only making you more stressed out. You can’t solve your home problems while you’re away at prison. Just trust and have faith that the people at home will be able to figure things out.
- Create Advantages
Try to turn the prison experience into an advantage by working on some self-improvements. You could do some light workouts, educational studying, or become more spiritual. I chose to work on my novels and my people skills, even though I managed to stay by myself in prison.
- Eliminate the Feeling of Entitlement
Don’t feel as if you’re entitled to be home. Realize that you will get home sooner than later as each day goes by. You can’t rush the process so don’t feel as if you need to be home now or that you should be back by now. Take things slow and accept them for what they are. If you don’t, then you’ll also become concerned with other inmate’s sentences, especially if they have a shorter sentence than you.
Now that you know what to do while you’re away, don’t think that this will completely eliminate your feeling of being homesick. It will definitely come, but at least you know what to do or even how to avoid it. If you have any methods for getting over being homesick, let me know in the comments below.