Threw my life away years ago, now just to finish the job properly

Discussion in 'Suicidal Thoughts and Feelings' started by Seriapatrate, Apr 29, 2013.

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  1. Seriapatrate

    Seriapatrate Member

    I first thought of suicide when I was 12 years old. It was triggered by the onset of a sexual identity crisis that continued unabated throughout adolescence and into early adulthood. Although originally a good student, I became burned out my last two years of secondary school and just barely graduated. This was followed by a series of aimless jobs for a few years, none of which I was happy at.

    I began drinking and experimenting with prescription narcotics in my early 20s. Addiction never crossed my mind even though a have a long, documented family history of it. I didn't have a legitimate prescription for these drugs. I forged those and this lead to my first felony arrest and conviction. Although my sentence was originally probated, this was revoked when I was convicted of my first DWI.

    That first trip to the penitentiary altered my life forever, even though it was only 2 years. I was aware that the world could be a bad place before that experience, but it wasn't until I was there that I began to appreciate just how vile and evil one human being could be to another. It was terrifying.

    After my release, I found that I was locked out of society. Even though I never really felt like I was a part of it to start with, it was now socially codified. People had good reason to turn me away from jobs, homes, and colleges. Nobody wants to employ or lease to a convicted criminal who was an addict. One night in 2002, after consuming a great deal of alcohol, I attempted suicide by driving my car into a lake. Being intoxicated, I missed the lake and slammed into a tree instead. This resulted in a hospital stay immediately followed by 8 months in jail for my second DWI.

    My third DWI, a felony in my jurisdiction, came in 2006 and resulted in my second trip to the penitentiary where I again witnessed the same cold hearted nature of others. After another 2 year stint, I came home to take care of my father, who died in December, 2011 followed by my stepfather, who died just before last Christmas. The latter man was very stressful to look after as I have no medical training and he suffered a very slow, agonizing death. Of course, a bottle helped me through it.

    5 weeks ago, after having a root canal performed on a tooth, I again took prescription painkillers that had been given to me by my dentist. I also went about my usual ritual of consuming alcohol that afternoon and evening. I ended up in my car again with no recollection of any of the events afterward. Thus, this is now DWI #4 and felony #3.

    The local prosecutor here has decided to try me as a habitual felon which will command a 25 year sentence this time. I have four words for him: I.....DON'T.....THINK......SO. I barely survived my first two trips there with my sanity. A third trip, especially one of that duration, would wiped my sanity out.

    I still have a few months to sort out what needs to be sorted out. My attorney managed to convince a magistrate to lower my bond from $100,000 to $25,000 and release me while awaiting trial. There will be no trial this time, except the one in my own head and heart. The fact that most of my family is now deceased makes this choice far more easy. My history should make it easy for society as well. I'm a dangerous person. My actions over the years have displayed that. But I promised myself that I would rather die than go back there.

    For those that argue that suicide is somehow selfish, I can see that argument when it comes to certain people and certain situations. Each one is different. In my case, I don't see the selfishness. Just about everyone is gone now and why cause expense to a society that has deemed I should be confined away from them for a long time.

    I can't say that I'm not conflicted about it because I don't consider myself a bad person, even though I have committed some bad acts. Hell, the top prosecutor in Austin, Texas just got sentenced to 45 days in jail for DWI. There just is no point in going on anymore. Even if I were sentenced to a 25 years and was released after, say 7 to 10 years, which wouldn't be far fetched here, what have you then? A career criminal released back out onto the street and probably with mental deficiencies significantly worse than they are today. No chance at employment or housing. What do you do with that person? If they are on the street, they have to eat somehow. So they steal and rob and panhandle and what not. Then they are re-arrested and back to prison they go. I see it everyday in this city. I saw it everyday both times when I was in prison. Those people were already the walking dead.
  2. total eclipse

    total eclipse SF Friend Staff Alumni

    YOU hun are NOT a criminal you have a dam illness alcoholism and addictions why don't the prosecutor send you to rehab unit for 2 yrs instead dam them for judging somone that is ill
    Get a good lawyer ok get one that understand the law and fights for you to get you HELP not to put you away for something you have little control over without support
    Don't let them win hun you fight and get the help you deserve ok don't let the dam bastard win
  3. SuzenH

    SuzenH Member

    Your story, to the letter, denotes precisely what I fear the most about society and living today. I just needed to vent back to you about your situation. Of course, there is little anyone can do for one when it comes down to law. I am so sorry you find yourself in this situation. I have no idea what life on the inside is like but I have heard horror stories that I refuse to even replay in my mind. You share your story so articulately. Should you find the strength to serve another sentence keep sharing (via writing or volunteering) from the inside to anyone who will listen on the outside. This IS a huge issue and it is growing daily. Of course, I have zero tolerance for drunk driving. No debate there. I just don’t agree that life should have been rendered nearly impossible following that very first mistake nor do I believe anyone gets the help they need by simply being thrown into prison for these types of offenses. We have to change this and fast. In the meantime, this is a message we need to get out to our young people every single day.

    I can’t help but wonder if you had spent those first two years in a treatment center befitting of the crime, without the black mark, if the outcome may have been very different. I agree you are not a bad person. In fact, for many years, I have experienced the very same type of cyclical depression related episodes that have not yielded the same result. Some turn to alcohol, some drugs, others self-mutilation etc. Like many other people today, such harsh criminal treatment for mentally and socially unacceptable behavior does indeed “ruin lives” period. It’s hard enough to survive these days without the burden of a criminal record. Nearly impossible with it. I just believe the benefits of serving your sentence in a treatment center as opposed to a state prison would have served both you and society far better. We live in denial. Alcohol is a legal, affordable, abundant, mind altering liquid that is sold on every corner of our cities and nearly every American drives a car. Yet one “bad day” can change the path of one’s life just this drastically.
    I know you are facing great despair and we cannot change the past. Sadly, you are faced with the severest of obstacles to overcome. Thank you for sharing your story and know my thoughts are with you. Try to find the strength to keep fighting…..
  4. Seriapatrate

    Seriapatrate Member

    Thank you to the above posters who replied. I also appreciate those who have taken the time to read this diatribe. In response to your remarks Total Eclipse, I really wish treatment was more of a priority in my jurisdiction. Unfortunately, it is not. Most public officials in my area believe that corrections should entail punishing the offender as priority #1, act as a deterrent to other would be wayward citizens #2, and rehabilitation #3, if it makes the list at all. This philosophy is followed irrespective of the crime. A defendant charged with robbery or kidnapping is treated with the same philosophy as one charged with drug possession or DWI. Granted, the sentence is much stiffer for the former offenses but the attitude in trying a person for any criminal act is the same. A good lawyer who understands the law and fights for you can only do so much. Attorneys are NOT miracle workers. If you are guilty, which I am, and the state has the evidence to prove this, you really are at their mercy. Otherwise you take your chances with a jury or with the bench, both of whom will be none too pleased that you insist on wasting their time or the court's time in demanding a trial. Your sentence will be FAR harsher as a result.

    Replying to SuzenH: Yes, I too wish that the outcome would have been different after that first case. I was 22 years old at that time. I had a 2 year college degree and worked full-time for an international accounting firm in their personnel department. A rational criminal justice policy might have dictated that I would have been a strong candidate for genuine rehabilitation as my crime then, prescription fraud, did not involved an outward victim and was non-violent in nature, although it was deceptive and wrong. The judicial officials did not see it that way though and I ended up with a prison sentence. Because of this flawed philosophy, the prisons in my state, as in most other states, are bursting at the seams. When an incoming prisoner is being classified, the idea is to send that person to an institution where others are confined for similar crimes with similar sentences and whatnot. In reality, one is sent where bed space is available. Thus, that first trip I ended up serving my sentence at a maximum-security institution confined with people who had been convicted of violent offenses who had VERY lengthy sentences. Believe me when I say to you that I meet many men who I would never want to see out on the street again. Being a man of slight build, being that young, being somewhat bookish and shy, and having no outward protection from the gangs that infested that hellhole, I found myself extorted from and victimized. This was truly a traumatizing experience. I suppose that is what the state wanted. Why did it not work then? Why did I end up there a second time?

    The answer to that has nothing to do with corrections but with the problem of re-entry. Simply put, there is no re-entry. As stated in my original post, I was unable to secure anything beyond temporary employment for what was tantamount to starvation wages after my release. I mostly supported myself by working odd jobs under the table for cash. On more than one occasion, I was no paid for the work that I did and had no recourse since I was never legally employed. It was a miserable existence alleviated only by cheap alcohol. That was a temporary escape with its own negative consequences, but an escape nonetheless.

    I recognize that what I did was very dangerous and believe me, I wish I could remember the details of how I ended up behind the wheel again. Unfortunately, I do not. That episode is a complete blank in my memory. I did, however, make a conscious decision to drink and for that I am responsible. At this point, even if rehabilitation was an option, it would be futile. Why rehabilitate a person who has already been deemed to have no social worth anymore and nothing to contribute?

    I don't necessarily blame employers or landlords for this situation. Again, it comes back to our justice system. Potential employers and landlords are simply looking out for the best interests of their business or property in our tort-obsessed and increasingly paranoid society which, to me, is slowly degenerating into a quasi-police state. In years past, a person might reasonably start fresh in anther locale and attempt to rebuild their lives. That has become increasingly difficult, if not impossible, thanks to modern technology where the average citizen can find out anything about anybody in minutes. Even posting comments on sites such as this exposes a person. Your IP address, among other things, is easily traceable and authorities don't necessarily need a warrant. I would suggest that anyone who is suicidal exercise caution in what they post or what they tell someone. Depending on what you say, you could be charged with a crime such as making a terroristic threat. In my own case, this does not really matter since my mind is already made up.

    I'm still frightened by all of it, but not nearly as much as I was before the successive deaths of my father and stepfather. My social circle has dwindled to only two people, one of whom is growing more distant everyday since they know I am facing a long time away. Suffice it to say, I did meet a number of men in prison who no longer cared whether they would ever be release. Their families were now dead or distant, they had no marketable skills (in 2002 I meet a number who had no idea what the internet was or what a cell phone looked like), were older which is another strike against them finding suitable employment, and their health was beginning to fail making one more reason why being released was not necessarily a good thing. If they were content to die in prison, that was their choice and indeed, the prison cemetery in my state averaged five burials a week.

    I, on the other hand, choose not to have my last vision of Earth be concrete walls and razor wire surrounded by an ocean of indifferent medical staff who really could care less if you survive or not. I'd rather have a scenically pleasant view surrounded by silence, something I learned to cherish in the penitentiary. Dying alone does not disturb me. We all must ultimately face death alone. Make no mistake that I am ambivalent about death. I think most people are. Increasingly though, I ask myself, "What if there is nothing to be afraid of? What if your fear is all in your head and is irrational?" A converse argument could be made. "What if you're wrong? What if a fate worse than what you face does await you?" This argument could be and is often made with anything unknown. The only way to quash those questions is to find the answer yourself and that is something all of us must do when facing our own demise.
  5. SuzenH

    SuzenH Member

    Again you raise many good points as to why this type of "punishment" simply does not protect us the way they want us to believe. We are tripping over ourselves in our attempt to achieve the fantasy of a perfect society, pushing the boundaries further and further out of reach. The first time around you made some mistakes. Drug addiction is a serious disease and we have years of addicts as living proof of how it clouds our judgment. Unless you were selling those stolen prescription drugs, which is still a side effect of drug addiction, two years in a maximum security prison where we KNEW you would be further mentally and physically abused is inexcusable. To then toss you back out on the streets where we KNEW you would not be able make a living, support yourself, or even find a place to live again is inexcusable. You are clearly a bright, articulate, and well educated person who simply did not receive the medical treatment needed to help stem the tide. Your failed attempt at suicide may never have occurred had you received that treatment in lieu of punishment. It’s simply unreasonable to think otherwise. And so many are destined to follow in your footsteps if they slip up so much as once in their young life. (I believe the state of Massachusetts, and many others have zero tolerance laws calling for mandatory 1 year sentences on DWI’s, period).

    As horrific as your situation is, take solace in the fact that you did not physically hurt or kill anyone but yourself along that road. Others have gone on to commit horrendous acts carrying far less of a burden than you. I know none of this makes you current situation any better or different right now. Like me, you are in a place where only you have to live day after day. It is scary. I guess this is where the saying “Don’t let the past catch up to you” derived from. Add the inability to help yourself or alter the circumstances at all, and I truly understand your despair.

    However, I will share one other thing with you. I came to this forum recently because I too am in a very bad place in my life. I too am ready for a quick, easy, peaceful night’s sleep from which I will not awake. By sharing your story today, you may have just saved a life. I have felt imprisoned all my life and I am desperate to “escape” the invisible bars that trap me. I see now that the lines between mental illness and reality can just be THAT blurred. Where we live in our mind and reality are truly THAT different. An no, I had never give any thought to the possibility that whatever comes after this life could be any worse than this. Hmmmm...

    Your words and story are powerful. Again, you have so much left to say. Fight, pray for a lenient judgment and hope for a sentence in the proper facility before you make your final decision. Continue to use your knowledge, experiences, and writing skills as an outlet in the meantime. You ARE worth the fight.
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