I Can Be Different

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(Editor’s note: The Vanguard is proud to announce a new project in partnership with Incarcerated Allied Media.  Thanks to Dr. Joan Parkin and D. Razor Babb.  These articles are published by Incarcerated Individuals at Mule Creek State Prison and part of the Mule Creek Post publication.)

By David Depron

I CAME TO prison on charges of carjacking, possession of a firearm, and narcotics for sale. The prisons I’ve been to kept me from seeking help for mental issues. You see, in some places (a lot of places) it’s not cool to share your inner thoughts and receive help. It can be especially frowned upon to interact or talk to staff.

Luckily, I ended up at Mule Creek. This prison broke the link for me and I was able to reach out for help and become a better, more engaged human being. I was able to accept the kind of help that really lifted me up. In those other places they tried to pressure me into the mindset that real men don’t need help, real men don’t cry — you know the story.

Here at Mule Creek my eyes were opened to the reality that no matter if you are a gang dropout, gay, black, white, Hispanic, Asian, or whatever, we all have similar goals, values, and dreams.

I’ve been to 15 prisons; this is my fifth CDC number. Coming to Mule Creek broke the cycle of hate, blindness, and insanity. People here are themselves no matter who is around, and I’ve met some interesting people here, even officers and staff who really want to help.

I’d just like to tell the young guys coming in that it’s OK to ask for help, it’s OK to not have all the answers or to feel the emotions we all have. In them, I see myself, playing it crazy and tough. It took a long time for me to finally figure things out. I used to try to numb the pain with drugs and gang life; now I know that I don’t have to do that to fit in or feel good about myself.

I’ve gone from drugs to gangs to the hole and all the way to Stupidville. But after a concerned clinician came to me and offered sincere help, I realized I’m never going back to that old life again. I went through the enhanced outpatient program and into Criminals & Gangmembers Anonymous and victims’ awareness, and got the help I needed.

I thank the mental health staff at Mule Creek, and the group facilitators and officers who helped me.

If you stay ready you won’t have to get ready. I’m ready, now, to face whatever comes with hope and optimism. I’m focusing on the road to recovery, not the potholes in the roadway.


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About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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