S3: Fine Line - Episode 13 - Daniel

Episode Information

Fine Line: Mental Health/Mental Illness – Episode 13 – Daniel

[Intro Music]

Narrator:  Welcome to Season three Fine Line narrative histories about mental health and mental illness, a traveling exhibition and weekly podcast edited and hosted by Michael Nye, supported by Kronkosky Charitable Foundation. May you find insight and understanding in these voices. Episode thirteen, Daniel.

Daniel:  Well, when I was 15 years old, I found out my first wife was gonna have a baby, and it was gonna be a girl. You know, that’s about the only time really, that I can say that I was happy. And, uh, and just last time that I got outta prison, I was really looking forward and getting out. There was a lot of things in my mind. And now that I’m out here, you know, it’s not going my way. If I knew the things that I know now, when I was young and I could turn my life around, that’s what I would do. I was a real naughty person, you know, even with my parents, I was, you know, and I didn’t wanna listen to nobody. I didn’t care about nobody. And I had a evil heart. You couldn’t tell me nothing. ’cause I was gonna do what I wanted to do.

That’s not the way I was brought up. I wanted people to say that I was a, a bully. I wanted people to be scared of me. And then at the age of 11, I jumped to that heroin bag. I had to taste for it, right? And, uh, I just wouldn’t leave it alone. And I would do some treasured things, man. I, my life had been all criminal. I, um, I took part in, um, beating up this man, robbing this man. And, um, I got convicted. They gave me two years. First time I went to Gatesville. And then, uh, from there I took part in robberies. I went back to TYC for a year, but I was convicted as an adult. And then from 18, I went to the federal reformatory for bank robbery. When I was incarcerated this last time, a black guy, he hurted my pride. And, uh, I was around other people that, uh, they asked me, man, you gonna let that man talk to you like that? And everything else. So I killed that man. They gave me 10 years from murder. Well, I’ve been on the streets since, um, November of 2002. And, uh, it’s a new environment. ’cause in prison it was there, it was, food was there, clothing was there, a bed was there, and you didn’t get cold. Things that you gotta go and do to survive out in the streets. And it’s hard, man. It really is.

I try to commit suicide when I was in my drug addiction. And, um, what I did, I, uh, I got me a big old cup and I put some drain and some bleach, and I drank it. . I had blisters all over my tongue, nose, throw and chest. And then, um, I was depressed when I really, down, when I lost my mother. That’s about the only two times that I really tried to commit suicide. When I felt like that, it feels like nobody cares. You know? You just don’t care. Whatever happens to me, it just happens to me, you know? And whatever I have to do, I’m gonna do. And I mean, it’s sad. It’s scary ’cause, uh, you’re paranoid around people and it’s hard to explain, man, but it’s just your mind. How you get, like, you don’t care. No more living, you know?

And I was just scared, man. I was scared of people when I was little. I had a person try to molest me. He didn’t succeed to what he did, but in back of my mind, it always been there, right? And, um, at one time, as I was growing older, he went to prison and I never saw him again. But I had put in my mind that if I was to ever, ever see him, once I started being incarcerated, I thought about killing that man. And now I wouldn’t do that, man. ’cause I feel like a different person. I got a heart. I like myself now, man. You know, I can see myself not using no drugs. I wake up and that’s me. And, uh, trying to do something outta my life and I’m afraid of dying. At one time, I didn’t care about all that, but now I’m scared, you know, even though I’m not in Jesus Christ, footstep, but, uh, I’m still searching, man. You know.

[Outro Music]

Host: I met Daniel when he was living on the streets in Memphis, Tennessee. We spent two days together talking. He was so open about his life and how difficult it was living on the streets. Homeless Daniel suffered with major depression. Major depression is a condition that’s almost unimaginable to anyone who has not known it. Daniel told me again and again, he wanted to make amends for the things he had done, that he wanted his life to count, to matter, and to givr. Stories may not heal us, but they can shine a light toward understanding. Thank you, Daniel, for your voice and your presence, I’m Michael Nye. You may go to my website, michaelnye.org/podcast for Daniel’s portrait and transcript. Thank you for listening.