WHAT IS HOUSE DEPRESSION ON HOUSE ARREST AND THE CURE FOR IT
The bullshit saying goes something like home is where the heart is. But supposing you had a change of heart though – what happens when you are trapped in the comfort of your living room, and that becomes prison and your personal hell. What then?
What is House Depression?
House Depression is a negative state of mental wellbeing one suffers when under home confinement (house arrest) resulting from the restrictions imposed when on a supervision program. Symptoms generally associated with house depression include anxiety, mood swings, loss of appetite, insomnia, and suicidal thoughts as the individual grows increasingly restless in isolation from the sheer boredom and withdrawal from human interactions on a day-to-day basis when serving out their sentence.
Look, being stuck and not able to go anywhere when your freedom is limited to the friendly confines of your home can get downright depressing. Sure, it is better than the alternative, but then again, is it though?
It could be that you have been sentenced to house arrest, or that you are on probation, but regardless, if you are serving a sentence that puts restrictions on your freedom, it is going to affect other facets of your life. You see, life is constantly happening around you, yet to always sit there, and not have the option to participate can get old fast. It can truly drive you mad, seeing as how it is like you are there, but not there.
Yes, you may be grateful that you’re not shitting in a cell, but still, it has a knack of wearing thin on you rather fast. It really takes a certain type of discipline to adhere to without cracking, ultimately having you suffer the consequences that result from your impulsiveness. A true test of will.
Relationship woes, children not able to understand, work issues, the car breaking down, all will contribute to the stressing effect. And the bullshit will definitely bring you down.
I think about the phrase out of sight, out of mind is definitely applicable at times, whereas things would be easier for my family (and myself) if I were not around. You know what I mean.
Not having the luxury to be locked up in some faraway place, but to be present in real time, unable to help out on day-to-day activities and tasks will evoke natural animosity from your significant other and family members. Again, it is like you are there, but not there.
I had to quickly pull myself together and adapt to the situation, as you must if you are incarcerated in order to survive and function. I not going to lie – I did feel like a useless sack of shit for a large portion of my house arrest term. It was emasculating to watch my wife handle certain duties that I should have taken care of. And as a man, father, and husband, it took its fair toll, putting a tremendous strain on our relationship.
Understand, this is not for the weary. To those with the grandiose notion that being on house arrest is a cakewalk – well, that is absurd. The initial break in period of my sentence was a very sobering experience. I didn’t know what to expect and was not yet fully prepared for the emotional roller coaster one goes through in this saga.
Bear in mind, it is not the depression to be worried about when on House Arrest. It is what the boredom and depression lead to, which is anger and frustration. By far the most dangerous and worst part to all of it.
After all, what the is depression going to get you? Sympathy (maybe), but in all likelihood no. It’s a pretty useless feeling too. It’s not like you’re not deriving a lot of pleasure imposing your depression on someone.
Anger and frustration though, people will feel your pain when you impose that. You share more of a connection, sick as it may be, with anger and frustration. It is natural to feel this way. We are human – not animals. When we feel controlled and restricted by rules, walls and/or electronic devices, it evokes a hostile response within most of us.
Add to that the monotony of it all. Week in and week out having to go into that office to report your whereabouts. Seeing the same people. You see and feel the animosity people have towards their probation officer. It’s a real mind f***.
Do not fall into that trap. Anger and frustration are very, very costly. It makes one impulsive and unstable. Leading to rash (irrational), bad decisions. Decisions that affect your life and your family’s well-being, and ultimately altering the course of lives drastically.
Unfortunately, there is no course to help you through this. This is punishment. Is it any wonder why the recidivism is so high?
There are 2 ways things can go for you.
1. Let these feelings and emotions you are experiencing get the better of you, thus allowing it to screw you up. As a result, say goodbye to your freedom. And your family.
2. Channel that anger and frustration into productivity, translating into a better quality of life. A life you’d like to design, as opposed to having one riddled with restrictions.
So we know the deck is already stacked against us as a felon, having to overcome all the obstacles and challenges that are attached with it. Although punishment is being served, there is light at the end of the tunnel.
This temporary pain will not last. Since it is for a certain duration with a distinctive end in sight, why not maximize the opportunity and make the most of that time. Have time serve you.
What I Occupied My Time & Energy With
I was already a homebody, so there was no big culture shock when it came to my social life. I did however, play the house arrest card as the perfect excuse in order to get out of certain functions, events, and people I didn’t want to see or hang out with.
Hey Felon, you wanna hang out?
NAH, I DON’T WANNA HANG OUT WITH YOU. PLUS I’M ON HOUSE ARREST.
I cleaned house too both physically, mentally, and financially. A messy, cluttered house leads to chaos and unorganized thoughts, adding to more stress. Make the damn bed. Vacuum for Gods sake. There’s a reason the military take pride in making their bed every damn day. It is called Discipline.
An undisciplined life is an insane life.
By taking control of your environment, and having it clean and organized, it will in turn lead to better control of your mind and thoughts. Clean and organized thoughts. And we all know that thoughts become things.
You’ll feel accomplished which will lead to momentum. Now parlay that momentum into other disaster areas of your life needing some troubleshooting. I also took full advantage of technology.
Having access to online tools, resources, and communications was a godsend, whereas in jail you would generally not have these everyday luxuries. Outside of work and family, my time was occupied reading, writing, and exercising.
I learned about negotiation tactics with creditors, and how to consolidate debt. As a result, I cleared up tremendous amounts of personal debt, and increased my credit score significantly, ultimately leading to a home purchase.
As an outlet for that anger and frustration, I started writing and collectively putting it all together in order to form something that you’re currently reading and taking part in. My other outlet has been exercise.
Whereas before I was constantly worried, chain smoking, and stressing, I’m now calm, centered, and focused. No more smoking. I feel better, stronger, and am able to handle any type of challenge that life hands me, much better than previously in life. And you’ll need all the strength you can get, especially being a felon, and all the little challenges and hiccups that come with.
I guess the biggest thing to be gained is a better sense of clarity and purpose in life, with an appreciation for time and what can be done with it. It is not to be squandered. It (time) can work for you or against you. I didn’t look at life, time, or what I did with it the same way ever again. In the end, I felt like an upgraded, new and improved version of myself. Ready to conquer. You can too.
–The Educated Felon