Continuing the Conversation

Suicide. It’s a heavy topic. It’s a topic that many don’t like to discuss or want to discuss. It’s a topic that makes people feel uncomfortable and can bring out a lot of emotions depending on the personal experiences and perspectives someone may have. In this blog, in honor or Suicide Awareness Month, I’ll be discussing suicide in three parts; friends whom I have loss to suicide, my personal experiences, and an overview of understanding suicide with my final thoughts.

Over the years I have become desensitized to hearing about someone killing themselves. With a military background, this has sadly been more common than anyone would want. But of course, it doesn’t only affect military personnel or Veterans. It includes everyone, from first responders to the normal average person. It breaks my fucking heart, if I am going to be honest. It never really gets easier to process. The sadness and sorrow from the loss, aches with us for a lifetime. The ones who were taken too soon with other options we wish they would have had chosen. Wishing they would’ve reached out. I’ll share two more distinctly memorable people who committed suicide and the effects they had on me. For respect of their loved ones, I won’t share their names or the full details that led to their suicide. Many years ago, and if I remember correctly, the first friend whom I lost to suicide. A man whom I knew since kindergarten, although we hadn’t spoken in a while because I was active duty in the Navy. I remember finding out what happened. He was there one moment and the next he put a shotgun under his head and pulled the trigger. Once the realization set in, I had to sit down. I didn’t want to believe it. He was gone. I cried; I was hurt so bad. I couldn’t believe that this amazing fucking dude that I have known for so long was gone. Everyone who knew him loved him. He was the kind of guy who had your back, or he’d give you the shirt off his own if you needed it. His personality would light up the entire room and party. The other friend who I can remember distinctly was somewhat in the same manner. He had a contagious smile. A contagious personality. A little arrogant and cocky at times lol, but goddamn he was a hell of a dude. We served together in the Navy and although in different commands we did a deployment together. I can still remember seeing him in the mornings at the childcare center on base as we would pass by dropping off our kids, and he would always smile, mainly because he knew it was a blessing to be able to drop off his children every morning. He was a father that fathers should emulate. And then one day he was there and the next he was gone. He had such a huge heart. He would work his ass off and just a cool dude to hang out with. I remember attending his memorial service before his body was sent off to his home state to be buried. The chapel on base was packed. The tears fucking poured. Hell, it gets me choked up thinking about it. Shortly after, I was in San Diego with some friends on a weekend trip, and we visited the Veterans cemetery at Point Loma. I lost it, I sobbed as I thought about him. Both of them and all others remain in my thoughts and heart forever.

Onto my own personal struggles from my past. Please know, I hope others can learn from my experience and find hope if they are struggling. As this blog is only words you are reading, my expressions can’t be fully expressed, and quite frankly, this isn’t the easiest thing for me to share. But I feel this is important and can benefit others. My dark moments, they existed for many years. There has been more than one suicide attempt. I’ve checked myself into the emergency room before because I was at my wits end. I have had a gun to my head, with the trigger halfway pulled. I’ve had my stomach pumped from an overdose. Every one of those fucking times, the pain was indescribable. Words won’t ever do them justice. I have written goodbye letters because I didn’t know how the fuck else I could cope, how there could be any other way than suicide. Any other way then to kill myself. Those dark moments, I wanted the pain to stop, I didn’t want to live because the pain was so unbearable. I didn’t believe that my life was worth living and that it wouldn’t matter that much if I wasn’t here anymore; That the few who (during those times) actually cared and gave a shit, would heal with time. The pain consumed me, it was felt through my entire physical body, all of my emotions, and my entire mental processing. I isolated myself, I didn’t let anyone know my real thoughts. I felt like it was a burden for others to hear. Let’s be honest, its some deep and heavy things for someone to hear. Plus, to disclose those thoughts and emotions on those levels, you really have to trust the other person. The ones I trusted; I didn’t want to hurt them more than what was needed. I acknowledged it would hurt them knowing I was dead, so my rationale was, why add to it? Those times in my life, they are by far the darkest times I have ever experienced. I’m good now. I have overcome and found healthy ways to cope and manage and have done a fuck-ton of healing. I’ll never go down that path again. I had to soul search, I had to make a choice. I was sick of my own shit and tired of feeling that way. That is what began my personal healing journey. There is hope, as painful and dreading as those moments are, they don’t last forever. But trust me, it is almost impossible to believe that when those moments are happening. Here I am, a survivor. And I am damn proud I can sit back today and know I made it through.

My final thoughts. There are a lot of misconceptions, misunderstandings, and stigmas that come with suicide. Suicide ideology and suicide are two very different things. Ideology is a lot more common than people realize. It isn’t to the point where someone is planning their suicide, and/or ready to follow through. It is thoughts without the intent and planning to follow through. This is something that is much more manageable for someone. And although serious, it may not always be as high of a concern as contemplating suicide and or planning; someone should still seek help. I highly recommend counseling or therapy, or at minimum reaching out to someone who they feel comfortable talking to. A few key points to remember with someone at their breaking point: They will most likely be isolated in some form, they will not acknowledge to others that they are preparing or planning to commit suicide, at least not directly. They are experiencing some pain that most people will never begin to relate to. No one will fully understand what they are going through because they are not them, even if they have their own experiences. Listening openly, without judgement, without expressions of discomfort or anything that may indicate you are not wanting to hear them can be a life saver, literally. Some people argue it is selfish and get mad about someone committing suicide. Although they are valid in feeling so, that is their emotions being expressed in their own way, and it is selfish to an extent but not in the same ways we all generally think of when discussing selfishness. It is a pain that is so unbearable that the individual sees no other solution. Hard to grasp, yes, not logical thinking, yes. It doesn’t change what the individual is experiencing. When they feel they have no other options to stop the pain, what can they do? Can you relate? Together as a whole, we can help combat suicide and prevent it through many ways. Awareness and knowledge are key and the starting point. We will never be able to prevent all suicides. That’s the truth. But we can do our part to help save a life. We all would rather be on the phone for a long time with a friend than attend their funeral. Don’t be scared to ask if they are ok, don’t hesitate to ask directly “Are you thinking of killing yourself?” or “Are you contemplating hurting yourself?”. Don’t dismiss their words, especially if it is about their emotions or thoughts. There is hope. Please if you are thinking of suicide or know someone who is, please seek help. Dial 988, veterans you can text 838255 if you prefer. Or if you, or someone is at their breaking point, dial 911 or go to your nearest emergency room. YOU ARE WORTH IT! THERE IS HOPE! YOU CAN OVERCOME THIS! I truly pray and hope this helps; that this blog can make a difference, even if it is for one person.

That’s it for now friends. Until next time, stay frosty.  

UDC Wellness Expert, Matt

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