Before You Kill Yourself, Read This

Posted: January 1, 2014 in Courage, Healing from War, PTSD, Suicide

You’re thinking about it. Ending your life. Stopping the pain. Doing it because you think it’s best for those around you. You’re tired of your shit being the cause of other people’s pain. Tired of fighting demons. Tired of… just tired.

Every night, every day, is a struggle. A goddamn fucking struggle. You wear a smile. You’re screaming inside. And no one can hear you. Not the fucking VA. Not your family. Not your friends. You’ve been cheated on. Left. Denied. Turned down. Turned away.

But you’re supposed to be okay.

You’re supposed to be better by now.

But you’re not.

No one can see you. Yeah, your buddies know this shit. But they don’t have to live inside your head. And everyone else? “Go to counseling.” “Take your meds.” “Try to forget about it.” You’ve heard it all. Just do something, fuck, anything, as long as we don’t have to deal with your pain. That’s what they’re thinking, right?

So, suicide. Go out quickly. No reason not to. At least then the people you love won’t be hurt by your shit anymore. You’ll be free from these ghosts you can’t evade. The anger you can hardly contain. The scenes that flash before your eyes over and over and over and fucking over again and…

Give me one damn good reason to live, you plead. And silence echoes from the heavens.

Alone. Lost. Exhausted. No end and no hope in sight that things will ever get better. That things can even get better.

You should’ve died down range. Would’ve been better than this internal hell.

And so you are thinking about it. You might have already tried. And for whatever reason, you found this article. These words. These thoughts that feel as if I’m reading your mind. And you feel a spark of recognition. Enough to keep you reading.

Because everyone talks about “suicide prevention” but no one gives a damn about you. “Call the hotline”, they say, as they hand you a flimsy card, turn and walk back into their comfortable lives. Twenty-two veterans a day.

You know what? I’m tired, too. I’m tired of hearing about good, caring guys like you who pulled the trigger, fastened the noose, and died believing they were alone in their pain. Died believing that suicide was the only way. Died believing that no one like me existed out here. Died without knowing how easily they could have lived. How if they had made one connection to one person who actually gave a damn about them, it would have made the difference. That one healing embrace would have been the turning point. A spark lighting up the dark.

Because it is the difference. Your spirit doesn’t need a miracle cure. You’re not dying of cancer. The wounds you bear are not unhealable. The pain you feel can be eased. You CAN heal. You can feel joy again. You can find a life that you live on purpose and with purpose. You don’t need a miracle cure. The power is within you.

But you are tired. Worn. Weary. Exhausted. Depleted. You don’t have the strength to continue on alone.

That’s why you’re here. Now. Reading these words I’m speaking to you.

Because you need someone to take your hand and look you in the eyes and fight for you.

Yes, fight for you. You don’t need to be rescued. You need someone to fight this battle for your freedom with you. To be there when you can’t go on, to remind you of the light and joy and beauty and strength that’s still in you. To hold up a vision of you, whole, and remind you of what IS possible. To see, when you can’t see it yourself. To believe, when you can’t believe it yourself.

To fight for the Light in you until you can feel it yourself.

Don’t. Don’t be that guy I hear of tomorrow whose death causes his buddies to absorb the shock like another blast. Don’t be that death that makes it just a little bit harder for them to stay. Don’t be that death that lets war win, that lets the enemy win, years after they had their last chance.

You matter. You matter to your buddies. You matter to me.

You. matter. to. me.

I don’t care how broken you think you are. I don’t care how beyond hope you think you are. I am looking you in the eyes and telling you this:

I am here to fight this battle with you.
I see you.
You’re not invisible to me.
You can find healing.

So what do I want you to do?
Clasp my outstretched hand. Connect.
I will fight for your freedom. I will walk this path with you. You owe it to every single person who has ever loved you, living and dead, to give yourself this chance. You owe it to your buddies.

You owe it to me because I’m here, looking you in the eyes.
You owe it to yourself.

REACH OUT.

Email me at brittareque@gmail.com or connect via Facebook.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comments
  1. How truly sad, that no response to this excellent blog have been made, from 01/01/14,
    to now. Well, let’s not give up, just because so few people want to talk about suicide.
    While I have no desire to work in the field, beyond being a trained lay responder, I do
    seek to put some time into Facebook Awareness of the foolishness, as well as tragedy,
    of suicide. I am a certified lay QPR provider of the > http://www.qprinstitute.com/ <
    Please check the institute out, if you are not yet familiar with it. A recently posted video
    there provides deep insight into why Warriors so often fail to ask for help, before killing
    themselves. Keep up the wonderful effort for our visibly & invisibly wounded warriors.

  2. Andrea Gish says:

    I am not a veteran nor any of my family, but I just want to applaud you, your work and your bravely written words. We need more people like you to let them know that they matter and that its not impossible with the right people in your corner. I can’t even pretend to know about anything you or they go through but I do know suicide. Its the hardest thing to talk about but its so very important to talk about because if you miss that chance to talk about it you may have missed a chance to save a life.

    • Thank you so much, Andrea. You said this beautifully. We have to be brave and not afraid –and a good way to do that is to ask them “are you doing okay?” and then to really listen.

      • Tammy says:

        Britta,

        Thank you so much for your bravery to speak up about a VERY sensitive subject. Especially with our Armed Forces. So many of our troops do feel alone. Afraid to speak about the thoughts they are having with the very comrades who would understand what they are going through.

        Part of the reason for this is the undercurrent of stigma that is still attached to speaking about feeling out of control of your life when in the Armed forces. It is embarrassing. It is shameful. It is below the standard soldiers are called to uphold.

        Higher up, the Armed Forces chain of command, is trying to lessen the negative impact for a soldier who comes forward asking for help. But there is still a lot to be done. The road is long in this battle for each life.

        As a suicide prevention trained soldier, I am one of the many resources being deployed to the units to help promote soldiers speaking up about their struggles. Trained to help my battle buddies in finding the resources to help them through their temporary and current struggles. Trained to help them in their long term daily struggles. Trained to show them not only I care for them but they have a whole chain of support within our buddies as well. Trained to show them there is a light at the end of the tunnel and it is a brighter future.

        Thank you again for your work. I hope to see more of it in the future out side of FB.

        Tammy

  3. Dawn says:

    Amen and thank you! I found your site on a Facebook post and Im reading and following your page. I am the wife of a medically retired three time deployed soldier who fights daily for his sanity and our future. My sister is married to a medically retired soldier with a severe TBI and they fight everyday for his survival and their future. I am a disabled veteran who struggles with pain, loss, grief and many other emotions you have mentioned but many, including my own husband don’t understand because I didn’t get a chance to deploy before I was injured and told I was of no use to the Army anymore. After all I did, all I sacrificed, all my hard work I was no longer good enough to do my job and sending me broken out into the world to fend for myself was their answer. So thank you for all you have done and continue to do for soldiers and those who struggle everyday. May God Bless you and Keep you!

  4. This is Stop Soldier Suicide and we just saw your blog. We’ll share it and use it because we are fighting this fight with our brothers and sisters every day. This was a really gut wrenching and perfect essay on why the hell we are here and what we can do when just one person decides to truly help a veteran in need.

  5. tedbauer says:

    thaankyou

  6. will says:

    You saved my life, thank you.
    OEF 12-13

  7. Budd Holmans says:

    I suffer from PTSD. I have endured the pain of a couple of suicides of children. I have experienced death too many times. I have seriously thought if suicide myself on a number of occasions. But I had a loving wife. And I was determined to beat this beast called PTSD. I attended an Operational Stress Injury clinic for two years and followed it from start to finish. Today I am much better. Not totally healed but managing life to the point of enjoyment. There is hope. Suicide is a permanent answer to a temporary problem. Life is hard. But it is worthwhile.

  8. Kimberly says:

    Wish my husband had read this, sadly he commited suicide on June 6th 2014. Thank you so much for writing this! Hope everyone out there struggling finds some solace in this article. God bless

    • I am so very sorry for your loss, Kim. May you feel Love holding you close during this time.

    • Sharon Drain says:

      Kimberly, hugs. We travel the same dark and lonely journey. You will be in my thoughts and prayers.

    • Tammy says:

      I’m sorry, Kimberly, for your pain and loss. My soldier lost his battle after 5 combat tours in 2011, and I understand. TAPS offers a lot of resources and loving support for military survivors of every kind. I only wish it hadn’t taken me 2 years to become involved, as they have been of tremendous comfort. He can no longer reach out, but I encourage you to…Be well, be blessed.

  9. God bless you for writing this. Where do I begin to help and care about people who are dealing with things like this?

  10. Joanne says:

    Thank you for what you wrote, my son has PTSD, he is only 30 years old and even though he has not been in a war he has been tormented all his life , bullied in school, beaten everyday and finally when that stopped he has a rare condition that almost took his life four years ago…we have been there for him all the way but we are also sick, I have brain tumors, and his father has cancer…so I’ll tell you keeping it together is a real full time job, but I know someone higher above is giving us help…because the only thing keeping us going is the love we have for each other…so what you said in your letter I can relate…keep the faith…and God bless you…XOXO

    • Tammy says:

      Joanne,

      Your story touched my heart as I can relate very much to your son’s portion.

      By God’s grace we are all here on this planet we call earth. It is a shame when people chose to make life harder for others out of their own fear of what their lives are truly about.

      You and your husband are to be commended for the battles you fight everyday. For standing by your son through his trials as well as working through your own. It is a full time job to keep positive when all the world seems to have gone crazy and your life is in apparent shambles. Yet your life is a testament to the world that there is a God and he is love.

      By the way, I am a soldier who has dealt with PTSD not only from childhood experiences, like your son, but also from my own family. Many times when I was younger I would pray asking God to show me why I was here. He showed me why. I am here to care for others. To open their hearts. I joined the military because I wanted to protect and comfort those who suffer to show them there is a better way.

      Life would be so much easier if we as a people lived life the way that God intended for us. Loving one another and striving to be understanding of others. But as God would have it we are given free choice to do as we please. That is why we need people like you and your family to help lead the way to a more peaceful and positive place.

      Thank you for all you have done and are doing set the example for those around you.

      Tammy

  11. eagoodlife says:

    Reblogged this on The Life Of Von and commented:
    Reach out…..

  12. scott says:

    Thank you, from one that has tried it several times.
    US Army
    Combat vet

  13. james mcmillan says:

    I’m a veteran in Australia living with PTSD, what you wrote is inspirational, we need to have the faith to reach out to our mates/buddies, to support each other and bring into play the fighting spirit and determination that we gained in our service. Suicide is final, there’s no coming home from it. My greatest friend took his own life, he was a professional soldier who preferred to take his own life than to ask for a hand to get through it. Now he has two beautiful daughters that will never again feel the love of their fathers embrace, no walking down the aisle or father daughter moments, he was my best friend, I should have known how much he was hurting. For god sake and the sake of your kids, reach out.

  14. Ken hogan says:

    Thank you, might battle started in 1983, I didn’t know it until 1996. Of course by then everyone I had ever met thought I was completely insane and after the diagnosis all I got was, “it was a long time ago aren’t you over it now!”. I live alone in a town I know no one, the only human contact are health care professionals. I would love it if one day someone said thank you and can I help. I am ex RAN and there was no battle, just, “your expendable and your not going to get home”. They were fucking right because the home I once knew is long gone and I live out of a kit bag, summing up the courage each morning to make this a new day.

    • Steve Davis says:

      Ken, you are not alone. I don’t know you and you don’t know me. You are not alone. Thank you for your service. This isn’t our home anyway. God knows you. He knows all of you. He knows your fears, your pain and never said life is easy. Keep finding the courage to live one more day, each day, every day. You are worth the struggle my brother.

  15. Michael says:

    Damn… That was me you write about….
    Made me rethink…
    Thank you…
    Danish veteran with PTSD…
    Croatia 1993, Bosnia 1996 and Iraq ( OIF ) 2003

  16. Jarrod says:

    So truly well written and I felt right to the bone, you have touched on every thought I once had and exactly what I felt, I was very lucky to have someone who fought with me, good luck with all your efforts I am sure they will be much appreciated an I applaud you for shedding such a true experience of what its like.

    Australian Army SGT
    Retired

  17. Tina says:

    I read this with my husband today a medically retired Australian veteran. I read the last part looking him straight in the eyes as I did… My husband has had 4 (thank god) failed suicide attempts… Thanku cause I really feel this reached him!!

  18. Amanda says:

    Thank you for sharing this, I have tried several times. It is like your rational brain takes a backseat to the pain you feel everyday.

  19. Jake says:

    Come together my brothers and sisters. None of us fought our battles alone… nor can we fight this one by ourselves. When in danger for your life, you can trust the man or woman next to you. So it was then, so it is now.

  20. sltoodle says:

    Thank you for your article. I am a three war combat veteran, from Panama, Afghanistan and Iraq. I have my ups and downs and have had many suicidal thoughts and even actions. I myself have a facebook page I like to encourage veterans and family members. I would love to put your facebook page link on my page. Thank you for posting this and speaking to us veterans.

  21. Brenda Furlong says:

    I wish my brother had seen this. He shot himself last month. PTSD, depression & paranoia. Despite how much we told him, I don’t know if he really knew that we did love him. He obliviously felt alone in his pain, but at least he’s not in any pain now. That is the only comfort I feel in the fact that he took his own life, leaving behind a beautiful little girl. She will never experience what a wonderful and gentle soul he was. It is selfish of me to feel angry with him, but I am angry just the same.
    I will forever miss my brother/Bryan J. Furlong 1976-2014.

    • John says:

      Thank you for sharing Brenda, I knew a Brian Furlong in the Marines, was your brother? My heart goes out to you and your family Brenda. As a father, son, brother, Marine, and combat vet with PTSD, I can only hope that you can forgive him. Ive struggled with this sickness for 6 years now. It is a fierce demon to battle, the struggle with your sanity, extreme depression, anxiety, anger, guilt, and an unexplainable pain…the downward spiral into an internal hell…the fight becomes so exhausting. As it gets worse and worse, we feed this demon and he becomes stronger, our blinders are put on and we question anything that is good. Its hard to accept that the life you once had is nothing more than a memory and you feel that you are a more of a problem than a good father/husband/etc.You cant stand to look at yourself in the mirror, you abuse your body…some with alcohol, drugs, gym, cut, beat yourself, look for fights hoping to lose….the pain doesnt seem to end, you lose faith, you lose hope. You truely feel that everyone would be better off- that demon is crafty. I’m only still here bc I had a buddy that would get a “wierd feeling” and call (3x), or my dog wouldnt leave me alone and kept licking my face (2x). 5 years of theropy, meds, and a few close friends and I still struggle daily. Im recovering now and have found some hope, some beauty in life again. Im past hurting myself but it took a lot to get here.We didnt ask for this, and now that we have it, we only wish to get better and back to some sense of being normal again. My point is that you may be hurt and angry, yes his daughter was cheated a father, you were cheated a brother and you definately are just in your anger…..for this, please understand that that deep pit we fall into is cold, dark, and lonely. This is a long and harsh road to travel. With that darkness we are blind to the good things in life, to love, to hope. Once we have lost hope, we lose the fight. Ive lost 6 of my good friends and 3 others i knew since Dec. Im sure he was a good man, a good father, a good brother. I only ask that you forgive him for losing the fight and remember and love him for who he was. I pray he has found peace.

  22. Donna says:

    I am not in the military and did not go to war but I have attempted suicide! This made me think about a few things that I struggle with every day! There are so many people out there that just get to the point of wanting out! I got there twice!! God wasn’t ready for me either time! I just bide my time and basically am waiting for my turn! I still struggle but get through each day one step at a time! I basically had to give up alot of important people in my life in order to go on but I couldn’t deal with the drama! Two of the people were my children! Life has been very hard on me and my husband is my strength! I feel I know how bad these people feel inside! They are not alone! I want to thank you for sharing your story!

  23. Kate says:

    I may not be a veteran, but as someone who has been suicidal and knows that those demons of despair and self doubt and pain will come back if I am pushed too hard, thank you. This is exactly how I felt at my worst: I didn’t want to die, but I was too tired and worn to have the energy to keep on struggling through.

    I know the way the pain and the despair twists everything until you start to believe that the best thing you can do for those you love is to permanently remove yourself and your messed up life. I’ve been there. I’ll probably be there again – but I have to believe I can keep crawling out with the help of those I love.

  24. dwayne jojola says:

    My name is Dwayne have ptsd.it took me close to 40 years to seek help.To all the younger veterans who think there is nothing wrong think again. Ptsd will get you it doesn’t care who you are.I went into the marimes at 17 years old 1966 vietnam 68/69.I will be doing a horse back ride from colorado to washington dc to raise more awareness for our suicide issues and ptsd. Seems to me that suicide epidemic is something no one really wants to talk about a taboo subject.but its real. We hurt inside we don’t know why but we hurt. I am going to share my feelings, during this ride.I hope I can help us understand. You can contact me at jojousmc@Gmail. Com
    THIS RIDES FOR THEM

    • James Cashion says:

      I have made several attempts to kill myself. landed in the hospital three times, each visit saved my life. when that feeling hits there are no words that help, there are some drugs that help, like cocaine, it has numbed the pain, physical and emotional. I no longer use cocaine, but I would like to, it helps so much. I recently got divorced I was married for 20 years. The x wife has kept my two girls from me for a year with no hope to see them in sight. I do get to see my 20 year old son. I just visited the doctor today, he would not give me any pain meds or meds for insomnia. I have been awake nearly 38 hours now. I wish I could sleep. my x girlfriend turned out to be a prostitute and junkie. I made her move out. life is tuff. I don’t have enough money or food. I barely get by. my child support is 800 per month. I struggle from second to second. I have no friends, I stay alone in my basement in the dark most of the time. I am not going to kill myself but the thoughts often rumble through my head. I am in constant back pain. it was nice to share these thoughts and feelings today. never give up.

  25. Rob C says:

    Don’t be discouraged by the lack of responses..this message carries a lot of weight.. I am a combat vet.. I struggle with many things and have thought about ending it all time and time again knowing damn well I have a lot to live for..regardless of that, sometimes those thoughts just weigh so heavily on my mind that all the good in my life, or the potential for purpose seem so far out of reach that the only thing left to do is give up..I struggle everyday, like many that came before me and like many will follow…
    I’m not saying that I’m stronger than anyone because I’m still here, or that the 20+ per day that end their pain are weaker than me..I’m just saying that of the 20+ that commit that act..millions are anonymously struggling with a life that we don’t know how to handle..
    Messages like this post do reach people and I’m certain that it has helped many…it has helped me make it just a little longer, and that’s all you can really ask for because too many including myself put on that fake smile and hold all the pain inside..
    Thank you

  26. brittanyvs83 says:

    I agree, completely! Thank you for not sugar coating anything, and putting yourself out there to help others. It helps if you can relate in this case I can’t, but I love to listen. :)

  27. Just came across your post and was moved beyond words. On January 9th, 2014, we lost our third veteran friend in 12 months to suicide. I wish he could have read this. His death prompted us to form our organization and to fight for our veteran brothers and sisters who do not have the strength to fight for themselves. Your words, “Clasp my outstretched hand” is exactly what we’re trying to do, to reach out to those who are struggling and help them through just one more day. Thank you for sharing, this will stay with us for a long time.

  28. Mark Gootee says:

    I want to thank you for your article. Here I was struggling with VA-DFAS, trying to hold on to my family, house and insanity. Your article came at the most appropriate time. I know we get a lot of thank you for our service, but Thank You for your support to us. You really hit the nail on the head with this article. Thanks!

  29. nancy darling says:

    My story doesn’t even come close to a vets pain. I’m not trying to compare, only thank you. Being a civilian from a military family and once being married to a service man, I find comfort in this PTSD vet site. I have residual brain damage & major depression plus. Have had intense long term therapy, every med new and old to the market & still cannot forget 1985 or move on emotionally. My wonderful husband and I had a son, who sadly died. My husband gone “out to sea” for months at a time, missing each other, family blame games, grieving, etc caused us to separate & divorce. Guilt & pain rack my body to this day. (I had no idea how much I loved him.) I’ve worked, raised my other 2 boys alone, with no outside help. I’ve been to groups…”my pain is worse” is what I heard. Whatever, thx, see ya. What I’d give to really talk to one of you guys! You see, my Red Bull Dad was wounded in WWII, and had PTSD and a wounded leg that never healed. (Leg probably should have been amputated?) But after six months of morphine in Casablanca, he came home & found alcohol to help him cope with life & pain. He tried to “kill me” many times, I’ve had the gun at my head numerous times. Some of the “holds” he held me in were near to impossible to get out of! When younger, all I could think of was “what did I do to make you mad Dad?” And when older, “oh shit, hope that gun doesn’t go off today!” He would scream in his sleep, he hated certain people. He died screaming & I know where he was…in Italy, back in the 40’s. I learned early that he couldn’t help still being in the war, & respected him. I really miss my hero Dad, the good & the hard times. So, thanks, everyone for sharing, you help me too, more than you know. Again, I’m not comparing your war pain to me, for yours is far worse…I’ve seen it, & lived through it with my Daddy. So, please continue your struggle, you’re not alone. Reach out to your brother…he WILL help you. Nancy

Reach Out Here or Email Me at brittareque@gmail.com

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