Writing Helped Save My Job by Mark Bierman
“I’m done with all of it,” I thought aloud to our empty house in the fall of 2010.
My wife and our two girls had gone shopping, and I was on a day off from my job as a correctional officer in a maximum-security prison. A position I’d held for over a decade. The years had been filled with a daily diet of violence, personal assaults, disrespect, denigration, unfounded and underserved stigmatization inflamed by the media and Hollywood. I felt purposeless and discouraged with my profession. The “impenetrable” emotional armor that I’d foolishly thought would render me impervious, had failed, exposing the vulnerable human underneath.
When I’d said I was done with it all, that’s what I meant. I was about to make a prison break and quit the job. The consequences of such an act were not lost on me. There was a mortgage to pay and mouths to feed. It’s true that with patience and some planning, a wiser strategy could have been drafted, but there was a desperation to get out and get out now.
No letter of resignation was ever sent to my employer. Instead, I began to write about my experiences and feelings down, giving them all to the keyboard. It was a literary salve. I continued to write every day and my enthusiasm grew. Eventually, I took an online writing course and crafted my first novel, Vanished.
It would be untruthful to say that writing was the only intervention needed. It was the starting point on the path to healing. Family, friends, and professional counselors have walked that path with me and it was their guidance that brought me out of that valley. The closing of the maximum-security prison in 2013 and my subsequent transfer to a lower-security institution has further contributed to the recovery.
Writing has provided a sense of accomplishment and an introduction to a supportive and positive community.
Statistics reveal that I’m far from alone and there’s no attempt here to downplay the seriousness of mental health issues.
If you’re reading this and can relate, please seek help. You’re allowed to be human and at times, life can feel overwhelming. If possible, find a positive and start from there. It may just be your first step on the road to recovery.
Written by Jeyran Main
Mark Bierman was Born and raised on a farm near Brockville, Ontario, Mark Bierman’ childhood consisted of chores, horseback riding, snowmobile racing, fishing, and many other outdoor adventures.
Transitioning into adulthood meant moving from the country into large urban centers and introduced this country boy to big city life.
Drawing on his work as a private investigator and correctional officer, Mark combines his unique experiences and imagination to create stories and characters.