One big struggle -- I feel like a mental health diagnosis and being admitted to a psychiatric program has ... negated my right to exist. It feels like i committed a capital offense, and received the death sentence. Because I had a breakdown and ended up where I am today -- miserable, depressed, with a mental health history on my record. Now, I know that all sounds very bad, very stigmatizing. Please know I only feel this way about myself, I don't go around hating people just because they have problems, we all have problems, God knows. I need to put this into context. I grew up in a terrible environment, my father was extremely abusive psychologically, some times physically but not too often, and I hated him with a burning passion. But, we had to play roles, it was imposed upon me against my will -- I had to be the "perfect son" and I had to profess my eternal love, adoration, and respect, very much like the way North Koreans have to love the "Dear Leader" or else, some really bad stuff happens to them. When I was growing up, perfection meant things like straight A's on every last paper, quiz, whatever. It meant I always did exactly as I was told, was always exactly on time for every event, was always where I was told to be, etc. In other words, no breathing room at all, no autonomy, no personal choice. Not even in things like clothes or my hair cut, it was what the Great Leader wanted, or else. If I transgressed in any way, such as bringing home a B+ on some paper, there was Hell to pay. Seriously, it could be very, very ugly. And I lived my entire life in some state of terror, about one thing or another -- and I still do in a lot of ways. So, I have debated that question in my mind non-stop ever since I went to the psych day program. Is having a breakdown a "capital offense"? I take it that way, emotionally, I constantly tell myself I am the scum of the earth, that I don't deserve to live, that I am some kind of monster. When in reality, I think I'm actually a pretty good guy who is an asset to society and does have purpose. I'm educated, employed, have interests and activities, social contacts, and empathy and compassion for others. The real world answer is, of course not, it's somewhere between stupid and insulting to think that way. But, in my mind, for myself, I feel (emotional side taking over) that my "crime" was so serious I don't deserve to live. Or, to put it another way, I feel like society is so prejudiced against anyone with a mental health issue that I will be treated so poorly that having any kind of "normal, happy" life is impossible. The Scarlet Letter and all that. So, I find myself torn between two alternate visions of my future. One is that I just give in, let this consume me, and be out of my pain -- I think very often of details of exactly how I would off myself. The other is that I actually start to live the life I know, intellectually, that I am capable of living and deserve -- happy, meeting goals, actually at peace with myself. I have set some real-world goals for 2014 - I am apply to grad school, an online masters degree program in my current field, and I have 3 sports goals -- I'm beginning a triathlon training program next week, I signed up for a package of boxing lessons to improve at that, I like it but I'm terrible at it, and I just bought a really great road bike, so I'm setting a goal of 5,000 miles for the March/April to November cycling season. So, what is it going to be - defeat or victory, disgrace or glory, despair or happiness? It seems like such an obvious chocie, but I just can't bring myself to believe I deserve anything other than death, followed by an eternity in Hell. A punishment that would dramatically outweigh the severity of the "crime".