Is this a topic of discussion that many are afraid to approach? OR is it a topic that many do not know even exists?
January 12th, 2010 was the day I said my vows to the U.S. Air Force.
I was a 19-year-old girl who knew nothing other than…”I have to do something else to make a decent income..”
My desire, like a majority of new recruits, was to generate steady compensation while simultaneously developing a long-term career. I was sold with the idea after viewing one of these infomercials.
Only I was told to join the Air Force, because it was a better way of life…..
My initial contract was 6 years, but after 4 years of service I separated from the military prematurely. Many people predicate that servicemen know EXACTLY what they’re getting into before they sign the contract, but this is an untrue statement.
Truth is…we don’t know what we’re getting into until AFTER the commitment. Most recruiters sell the deal by speaking of the benefits and telling troops to..“just get through Basic Training and everything else is smooth sailing…”
By being a strong-minded individual, thankfully I was able to navigate pass other pressures attached to the job.
This is not to infer that suicide victims are weak-minded…
In fact, most have a stable family and social life, are prestige among peers, have multiple organizational affiliations, and are advanced in military ranking.
For the thousands of soldiers who didn’t get a chance to tell their story, I can only conceptualize.
263,000 since 1979…approximately 20 veterans and 1 active duty soldier lost to suicide per day…
Weekly, I read posts/comments on veteran social media forums relating to suicide…..
I visualize the disturbing cries for help and it’s heartbreaking!
I will in no way make claims of “for-sure” motives why military members contemplate taking their own life. However, I feel it is more of a disservice to sit back and watch the number of suicide deaths increase without creating some forum of discussion.
Many wives, mothers, and significant others have lost their loved ones without any explanations or signs of mental distress.
Ever tried reaching out to your mentor only to discover they’re no longer living due to this tragedy? I was that airman devastated with the news after trying to update my and my husband’s mentor. This is why my concern is from a deep, heartfelt place.
How unfair is it to the survivors who never received advanced warning of this possibility? Deployments are the only apprehensions in which a military family member prepares to receive notice of a loved one’s death. But on a normal duty day, it is never briefed to them that their airman..marine..soldier..sailor may not make it to the next sunrise due to military-related suicide.
Many suffer from PTSD…and not just from deployments, but from the active duty commitment and inability to adapt to the regime.
U.S. military suicide rates are more than 20% higher than those of civilians. Though the Pentagon is renewing efforts to prevent suicides, some researchers say the higher proportion may become the new norm.
My passion is to spread awareness on this topic.
I’m fully aware that ALL servicemembers do not experience distress with the duty…but I’m asking you just for a second to think of those who DO…..think about your brothers and sisters in arms who suffer in silence.
My body has become nothing but a cage, a source of pain and constant problems. The illness I have has caused me pain that not even the strongest medicines could dull, and there is no cure. All day, every day a screaming agony in every nerve ending in my body. It is nothing short of torture. My mind is a wasteland, filled with visions of incredible horror, unceasing depression, and crippling anxiety, even with all of the medications the doctors dare give. Simple things that everyone else takes for granted are nearly impossible for me. I can not laugh or cry. I can barely leave the house. I derive no pleasure from any activity. Everything simply comes down to passing time until I can sleep again. Now, to sleep forever seems to be the most merciful thing.
You must not blame yourself. The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity. Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.
To force me to do these things and then participate in the ensuing coverup is more than any government has the right to demand. Then, the same government has turned around and abandoned me. They offer no help, and actively block the pursuit of gaining outside help via their corrupt agents at the DEA. Any blame rests with them.
-Daniel Somers, Veteran of Operation Iraqi Freedom
continue reading suicide note “I Am Sorry That It has Come to This”
This is just ONE account of a soldier’s agony.
What are other possible causes of a servicemember committing suicide? What is it about the job that creates enormous stress? Has a veteran expressed to you their feelings before their untimely death?
Lastly, are members briefed about this alarming rate PRIOR to enlistment..during recruitment? Or are they only pitched a dream?
For those who are currently serving or prior enlisted and have an experience with the military lifestyle, please don’t sit idle and watch another comrade pass away from suicide. Don’t wait until it’s YOUR spouse, sibling, friend, or relative.
THIS has to END………..and it STARTS with US speaking OUT.
For more details on my military involvement and helpful tips for NEW spouses and significant others, visit Amazon by clicking the link below for a copy of my book entitled “Military Wives: Rare Details You Must Know Before & After the Vow.”
Veteran Suicide Resources:
- VA Suicide Hotline: 1-800-273-8255
“The Air Force has announced a one-day “tactical pause” taking place over the next 45 days to address a rise in suicides across the force.”