By Tim Hinkhouse
December 14, 2015
Hello there, readers. Does anyone out there know a superhero? I know several, but not in the traditional sense of out fighting crime, having special powers, wearing a snazzy costume. No, these people I am talking about have saved me from myself and they dress like regular people. You are probably thinking "Oh my God! What nutty things is he talking about now?" Can I ask that you hear me out?
I have a mother who is my hero because she loves me and has been the only one who has really stood by me through this whole ordeal. Back in the summer of 2007 it was a really low point in my life and I stopped taking my HIV meds with the intent to parole from prison once and for all. I had absolutely no hope to live or ever make it out again to freedom. I really wanted to die and there was no reason for me to keep going on, so I thought. That was until my mom really stepped up, trying to do everything she thought I needed to help me get through this severe welcoming-of-death depression. I had a crippling fear of living and no fear of an after life. I felt like I was ready to make that permanent decision.
Mom knows that I love doing word-search puzzles, so she sent me a lot of them to distract me. She mailed me inspirational things from the internet, which she spent hours looking at for me. The fact that she would take away from her busy life to make me her priority showed me so very much. Mom would come down to the prison every other week to visit and she would lift my spirits.
I was in a bad headspace and I didn't care that I was being selfish. This is how suicidal thoughts work. You don't think about how selfish it is to leave everyone else behind to wonder why you are gone? All you care about is making the immediate pain go away and you won't clearly think about the long-term effects of this decision. The moment that seems dark and dismal and will make your entire life hopeless -- it'll pass. The suffering is for just an instant in the grand scheme of your life I learned. I reached out to my mom expressing my pain and then I knew that I had reached out to the right person.
Bless her heart, she stood by me and showed me that I needed to love myself and learn from her example of how she loved me. She rescued me from myself. THANKS MOM!!! You are my superhero!
I have been my worst enemy because I have beaten myself up worse than anyone who I have ever been in a fight with. Growing up with Asperger's Syndrome, I have made my mom miserable in dealing with me at times. I owe her a HUGE debt of gratitude and my life for all she has ever done for me! When everyone else in my family gave up on me, she didn't. I love my mom and I am sorry for everything that I put you through. I feel like I've failed as your son.
To my readers: If you know someone who has been YOUR superhero and you want them to know it, "TELL THEM!" People need to know how they impacted your life. We as human beings need other people. Don't wait till it is too late and you can't tell them.
As I get older I realize how important all of my relationships are and how I have to cherish those people. I used to take everything for granted, but now I know better. Hopefully as you look into your lives you will realize this too. Don't assume that someone won't be there in your time of need, just ask them. You might be surprised about who will come to your rescue!
Thank you for listening to me. I am grateful.
Stay healthy and stay safe!
HIV on the Inside
I have been HIV-positive for over 25 years and have been in prison in Oregon for almost as long because of my health status and non-disclosure. I'll talk to you about the issues faced by a person in my position along with the discrimination and stigmas attached to it behind these prison walls. I'll tell you about the strength and courage I found inside myself to NOT hang up and let this illness or my circumstances finish me off.
Tim Hinkhouse #7632447
You can also email me at hi.timothy7019
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June 7, 2018 - Mental Health and HIV in Prison
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