One of my Soldiers learned today that he lost a soldier to suicide. One of my Marines attended the funeral this week of a brother who went Home early. I’m sure there are many more of you who are dealing with this kind of loss right now. And many of you who are contemplating killing your Self.
If you are in imminent risk of ending your life, please call 911 or the National Suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255.
Those of you who are suicidal often tell me that no one cares and that everyone would be better off if you are not here.
Tell that to your brothers and sisters. I wish you could see what this does to those you leave behind. Yes, I know you’ve lost people, too. You DO know what the pain feels like. And yes, you’re tired of it never getting better.
But as for that lie that others are better off without you? It’s a lie. It gives you an excuse to quit.
If no one cared about you, if it’s true that no one cared about those who commit suicide — then WHY the hell are my soldier and marine crying this week? Why is there a place in our hearts that feels hollow, that aches, that wonders why you didn’t reach out, that questions whether we could have prevented it, that leaves us feeling defeated, wondering how we can stop this thing called suicide from taking more of us?
Here’s the thing. Suicide is NOT the enemy. It’s not some force out there that’s killing our veterans. We can’t defeat it. It’s not an entity in itself. Suicide is a thought. It’s a lie that tired and wounded and lonely hearts that have fought too long alone choose to believe. It’s the lie that says because nothing has helped you get better, nothing ever will. It’s a state of being disconnected from your sense of power and ability to find healing. But it’s not some external force that steals in and kills you. Suicide is a choice.
If you’re thinking of killing your Self, and you’re reading this, then don’t you dare let the thought that no one cares and that others are better off without you be your excuse and your permission to take you from us.
You think about your brothers and sisters. You think about those people who risked their lives in combat to protect yours. Brothers and sisters who would have and did die for you. Are you really going to quit on them? Are you really going to let your death tell them that all of THAT — all of that struggle and love and suffering and risk — was for nothing? You survived all that just to come back and kill yourself?!? How dare you.
You know why suicide cuts deep for the rest of us? It’s not just that we miss you. It’s a betrayal of the Love and brotherhood. Yes, we are compassionate. We know your pain. We know you didn’t mean to hurt us, we tell ourselves all kinds of things to make it easier not to deal with the reality that you killing yourself feels like betrayal. It makes us angry. You chose to hurt us. You decided our love was not enough. You didn’t even give us a chance to help you change your mind.
We live in a time and age when there are plenty of resources to get help. If the VA fails you, we have private mental health providers. There are nonprofits galore out there ready to help, programs everywhere, chaplains, counselors, social workers, 911, the police. You have NO EXCUSE for not getting help. If it was your brother out there, in trouble downrange, you would have no excuse for not doing everything in your power to save his life. You have no excuse now.
The rest of us think it’s our responsibility to stop this so called suicide epidemic. But no one comes to a decision of suicide suddenly. It’s pondered for weeks and months and years. All of which during that time you could be getting help. And when you do choose suicide, it’s not the rest of us that have failed. It’s your choice.
Do I sound a little angry? Yes. I’m writing this with anger. Because this is where suicide takes me. I’m sick of watching my soldiers and marines cry for brothers and sisters they blame themselves for not being able to save. I’m tired of the lies you choose to believe. I’m tired of the lie that no one cares.
We care. Reach out. If your love for one another could get you through combat, it sure as hell can get you through this. Suicide is a choice. Choose not to. Choose life. Let us love you.
5 thoughts on “Suicide: Stop Believing the Lie That No One Cares”
You are right to call me out on your point. I was angry and frustrated when I wrote that,and it was written more out of empathy with those who have lost loved ones to suicide (some of my warriors have lost more brothers and sisters to suicide at home, then to enemy fire). There is a point where suicide is a choice, getting help is a choice. Saying something about how you’re really feeling is a choice. No, in the end living may not be the choice you make, but one doesn’t get to suicide (usually) without a long fight against it. There are people who care.
Guilt trips do not always work. If it works, good. If not… suicide attempt. Is this a risk you’re willing to take?
Giving into anger is not a solution nor an answer.
If you knew anything about mental health & illness, psychology, psychiatry, &/or neurology, you’d know that suicide is not a choice, nor is “believing the lies” a choice.
I tried to email the address listed on your comment, but it came back. Please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will write you back.
It all makes sense. Thank you for reaching out and connecting. I will email you.
Thank you for this life saving msg. I hv it saved on my computer. This and the one on purpose finding. I need these words. Are you one of us? You get the feelings. It’s been rare in my experience to find a civilian who come’s close to underst-
anding what I /we go through.
It’s been a long time since I’ve been in combat. But, serious chronic disease has gotten in the way of my facing my feelings.
Yet, now, my walls are coming down, maybe they Are down. And, I have No conscious clue as to how to find a new purpose,to build healthy relationships without the walls, the hidden secret shame, guilt, loneliness, fear of and including memories, flashbacks, And the self perceived notion that I’m barely alive w/o the sense of alive-ness you speak of in the article on Purpose that living in life-death situations can give someone.
Then, the fear that I just can’t be enough, that I’m not worthy of love, healing, safety, security, joy, feeling good…and connected with others. That maybe for me there is no way to heal, to find a satisfying way of life now or ever, which you say is a Lie. I Need to Believe you.
After reading your article(s) on Purpose, & one on Suicide over n over, I’m thinking that I do grieve for those days when my life and the lives of all around me were at stake. And, that maybe that doesn’t mean I’m crazy, nor does it mean I want to kill, or see and go through things no human should have to. It just means I got used to living that way.
And, you’re right, being a Marine/soldier doesn’t leave your identity. It will always be part of who we are. It may be that parts of that identity needs to be released as with a funeral of sorts, to make it easier for the new soldier,Marine (some of us served in more than one branch) to open up to the possibilities that DO exist for us, in helping latch on to the spirit part of who we are, which is or includes love, to lead us into this completely different world: It feels like that to me.
I’ve been feeling so alone, and unprepared to live civilian life, which I’m facing later than some may as disease still with me, has lightened it’s grasp on my life to the point that I’m starting to ask those questions: Who am I, now? How do I fit in? How do I form and keep healthy relationships alive in my life? Can I? — You say, YES!
— Thank you…
it’s an odd feeling, admitting that I don’t know what or how to do some of the things I seemed so great at before.
Post combat, & trying to live as normal a life as I can, yearning for the extraordinary, the adrenaline, the connection to life that felt so powerfully real, and made me seem invincible to all but death, at a time when my strengths were enormously vast, I do feel confused about who I am, and Irony of ironies, I literally feel afraid to try and keep trying to connect with other people living civilian lives, to live as a civilian too. It feels foreign to me. Yet, I don’t feel the excitement I did when learning new languages or skills as in the combat years. Like I said I feel fear. I’ve been addicted to fear for most of my life. I’m done. Guess you could say I hit my bottom with fear addiction…
Does any of this make any kind of sense to you?
I sure wrote a lot. I hope you can respond. I’m thankful that you wrote what you did. You, & maybe some others helped me choose to live. You are right about suicide being a decision that takes a while to make. It can haunt you for years. I don’t want to be haunted any more. I want to learn how to live in this new way, gradually letting go of fear (I hope, pray, beg the universe & God to help me with. And, I “never beg”– never say never…).
I want to marry, perhaps have a child, but if it’s to work, I have to let go of the past, my addiction to fear, and secret keeping.
I’m talking about secrets that have been powerful sources and forces of shame and isolation in my life even when, as opposed to now I had many tried and true friends. It’s not like starting over. It is starting over, a day, minute, or millisecond at a time.
please send me a note if you can.
Reader G., USMC, ARMY vet