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Pressures of Society

An article written by a federal prisoner:

But I go through with regards to my mental health can be traced back to how and where I grew up. I was born in July of 1999 at camp lejane Marine corps Base in North Carolina. for most of my childhood I was raised by my mother alongside my two younger sisters while my father was deployed to Iraq and Afghanistan six times, plus an additional year in South korea. We moved seven times all up and down the East coast, and even to Hawaii and Washington State. During this time I went to 11 different schools. I've been called gay, f****, weird, stupid, idiot, and retarded, on a daily basis during much of that time.

During my junior year of high school is when I first had suicidal ideation. I didn't have more than a handful of friends, none of them lived nearby. I was doing poorly in a number of classes that when combined with the rest of my high school career nearly resulted in not being able to graduate. I felt as though I was a failure, who wouldn't amount to anything because I had been told I was stupid and retarded. So many times that I believed it. the night when my dad asked me how I was doing, I told him what I felt, and that I also felt like a burden on myself and the family. he told me to get thicker skin, and get those thoughts out of my head because he lost too many friends to suicide.

While I never again told how I felt, I just replied I'm fine, every time I was asked. I was still overwhelmed by the voices in my head repeating these things. only by keeping them bottled up inside that I feel like less of a burden to those around me.

more recently, these thoughts have evolved around how I have Dishonored my family name and comparing myself to my dad, knowing I will never come close to filling his boots. This came to a height on February 14th 2020 when I signed the plea deal at my lawyer's office. On the drive home all those years of suppressed emotions came to the surface. I began to speed recklessly, doing 100 mph in the 45 mph zone on the GW parkway, screaming at myself, punching myself in the face to my vision blurred, watching the trees go past and then Amy for one. Fortunately, there was another car in front of me, causing me to slow down enough for the self-preservation instinct to make me pull over to the curb. After some time, I calm down enough to drive home normally and safely.

When I got back home, my parents questioned me about the scuff marks on the bumper as a result of popping over the curb, to which I gave a half truth. I didn't want them to worry about me, or commit me to the hospital. I reassured them that if I felt unable to drive again, I would call and ask for a ride. The next morning, I woke up and opened my bedroom door to see my mother sleeping on the floor in front of my room.

The takeaway for my story is that even if you feel like you would be a burden don't be afraid to open up about your mental health. it's a lot better to discuss your problems as you have them then for someone you love to wake up one morning having their lives changed forever.

--Matthew P.

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