No one ever said it would be this difficult, coming back into the real world. A world I used to have so much fun in and now I struggle in everyday. I struggle just going to the grocery store, keeping a job and being around people. My time in prison was short, only five years but those five years was enough to mess with my head and mess with my life in the real world.
When I came out of prison, my family said I had PTSD and it was really rough at first. I couldn’t be around large crowds of people. Hell, I couldn’t even walk into a store of any kind without freaky out and I couldn’t find the front door fast enough. Over time, it got a little better my mom gave me some exercises to do while I was in crowed places and she told me how to deal with places like that so I didn’t freak out as much. I started going back to the gym which really help me a lot also.
There is a level of respect in prison that is not in the real world. There is a hierarchy and a set of rules that everyone must follow. It is very different out here. Once you have been in prison and you come out it makes everything very difficult. Out here you can’t just hit someone because they bumped into you at the store or on the job. If you’re driving down the road and someone cuts you off you can’t follow them home and “take care” of the problem. When you’re one the job and you don’t like how something is going you just have to walk off the job which makes holding down a job very difficult.
Relationships are almost impossible these days. Modern technology has changed so much in five years and social media. You think that the person you are with should have the respect and trust you have. No, it doesn’t work that way out here, so you’re thinking “am I ever going to meet the right person for me or will I be alone for the rest of my life”?
Have I really changed that much in five years? Has the world really changed that much? Sometimes, I think I would rather go back to prison because it’s easier. In prison I don’t have worry about paying bills, getting another job and I don’t struggle in prison.
In prison, I get two or three meals a day, a roof over my head and bed to sleep in. I get a tablet for emails, and T.V. and phone calls home. As bad as this sounds I don’t struggle in there as much, yes some might that is ” institutionalized” and maybe it is, but out here is too much sometimes. The worse part is that no one really understands.
No one understand how you feel so alone, frustrated and like a huge failure. No matter how hard I try I just keep getting knocked back down. I feel like if I touch something I’m going to have to pay for that also and I just don’t have the money and money isn’t coming in for everything I need to cover. And employers will say “oh yes we hire felons” but then when they see your record they’re like “oh sorry”. Oh there goes that job.
Do you keep trying and keep feeling like a failure and that the real world is against you? Or do go back to a life of crime to get sent back to prison? Where does that leave your family who wants you around and would they understand you going back? I have only been out of prison for six months and I already want to go back to prison.
I have listened to many ex-inmates talk about this very subject and how difficult it is to be out in the real world. They struggle with everyday life. They struggle with things that you and I do everyday. Like ATM machines, washers, dryers, and dishwashers. They struggle just learning how to program a cell phone. Asking them to pay bills online or calling in to pay a bill over the phone is very complicated. I can’t tell you how many times I have heard them say that they want to go back or ask me how do I live like this or they want to commit suicide. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be for them and it is truly heartbreaking.
If you know someone that is is struggle please ask them to talk to a professional.
If you have a story or comment please I would love to hear from.