Student, Robber, Musician and Vlogger
"Who am I?"
by Jack Hill
My name is Jack Hill, I was incarcerated for just over 14 months in UK Prisons at the age of 25 whilst studying for a BSc Degree in Professional Sound and Video Technology at Salford University. I am starting to write blogs and I do Youtube video blogs (vlogs) on my experiences and observations from my time spent inside and amongst the criminal underworld of the UK.
Why am I starting a blog, its simple, people seem to be entertained by my stories and I believe that I have had an interesting life so far and may have a unique perspective on some things. I also like to try and help and inspire people as much as I can. I think the people and the internet deserve the truth as well.
How did a student, facing his own destruction find himself incarcerated for Armed (knife) Robbery? I made a very, very big mistake whilst I was in a deep state of depression and a less than sober mind.
Bare in mind, none of this or any of my vlogs are excusing what I did, let me make that very clear. I did something hurtful to others, to my family, friends, to the victims of my crime and to everyone who had ever met me. It shames me every time I think about it, it upsets me deeply sometimes to know that I had been so lost that I had acted so unlike "myself", hidden away in a corner of the world away from all of my loved ones because of the biggest mistake I have ever made. I have had a lot of time to feel sorry for myself and bad for what I did, but eventually you have to close that chapter of your life and move on. There is no point regretting the past so much that you miss or mess up the present.
So all I can do is try to be the best man I can be now, regardless of the mistakes I made, I've paid for them ( at least in accordance with the law of the land) and I can only try and be a good man for the future.
So what was I like before I went to Prison? I was apparently a "lovely child" my mother tells me, always playing and very well behaved and polite. I still feel like this child inside and remember massively how I felt at the age of 7, I am still that boy inside in many ways. I never lost my child like sense of wonder about the world or my love of "playing out" - ie running around outdoors, climbing, exploring and getting covered in mud and sweat. I had an fantastic child hood with my 3 siblings, two sisters and an older, and of course my parents.
So lets skip to 6 months before I was arrested.....
I had grown into a man. I was at university and had a long term girl friend. I had been using drugs and alcohol quite heavily during my university years which partly influenced the relationships demise. I also couldn't sleep very well and would often obsess over some things and couldn't sleep without figuring something out. I was in the midst of a depression, partly caused by a bit of a rough relationship - it wasn't physically abusive, but it felt very emotionally abusive to me, it was up and down and I just put up with it all.
So she broke up with me. It was the first person I thought I loved ( I definitely cared about her deeply) and it crushed me. I remember the break up was hours of us talking and just crying. One of the most painful moments of my life ( at the time), little did I know that my own stupidity had a little surprise in store for me and that this was nothing compared to the pain yet to come.
I went into a deep depression, I had been struggling with my mental health before this moment but things seriously went down hill for me at this point.
I tried to avoid everyone I could, I tried to recover on some days, but I was high a lot of the time and couldn't form an "escape plan" to my situation. The emotional damage that I had been bottling from my past and the damage that the end of my first long term relationship had caused had become an infection in my emotions and I couldn't seem to resolve them. I woke up crying and was deeply depressed.
A few other things happened that caused my situation to worsen, I had a good job setting up stages with a few friends and had done regular work on the Liverpool Echo Arena for the likes of Usher and Justin Beiber, to mention a few. The work for this company stopped coming in and I no longer had work to go to.
I also was working full time for 3 months in order to pay for my tuition fee's, being told that the loan was just delayed and would materialise in semester 2. I got to semester 2, after a really hard 3 months.... and the loan failed to materialise. I distinctly remember a phone call from the university saying that if I didn't pay all of my loan by the next day, I would be kicked off the course.
All of the above plus a lot of debt chasing me that I simply wasn't dealing with caused me to go into a hiding place where all of my problems just piled on top of me until eventually I had to get out of that house.
In this period, I rarely saw anyone else, I didn't eat that much at all, I hardly slept at all and my mental state snow balled into dangerous state that lead me to feel like I was on the precipous of my own destruction and I had to get out of my current situation. Though it was more of an inner sense of fear and running away than a reasoned thought process.
Unlike Andy Dufresne (picture above from the classic Shawshank Redemption) - I was guilty and deserving of Prison.
On the night of my crime I believe that if I hadn't have done my stupid crime, I would have done something equal or greater in stupidity and killed myself. I remember the feeling, I had tunnel vision and no real sense of the world, I was a shell of my former self. When I was caught, I new something was changing and even though at the time I knew it was going to be bad, I didn't have any feelings of care for my own well being. I only felt really bad for the "ex-friends" that I had just scared the shit out of. It took a few hours to sink in properly and then I was in more pain again with the level of regret and shame I was experiencing.
They put me on suicide watch on the first night I was inside, fearing that I would self harm or attempt suicide. Understandably so, because I was crying loudly, shouting and punching walls for most of the night. That was the darkest night of my life.
But my family and friends followed me into the dark place, the place I had put myself in, just to see me and to hold out a hand and support me through it.
Without the people who supported me, I believe there was a good chance of me killing myself inside. I can't express in words the gratitude for their kindness, and the hope in humanity and life that they gave me over the next 6 weeks or so.
So I decided to try and stay alive and survive my prison time and that maybe on the outside there might be something good for me in the future. They made me believe that life could be good again.
I will be talking more on lots of different topics, possibly a weekly blog, but I usually do a weekly vlog if you want to check out my youtube channel as well or follow me on twitter for updates and an open dialogue :)
or follow me on twitter : @avpstudios09
Thanks for reading, I hope you enjoyed :)