Updated: Aug 19
I have been seeing a lot of articles about people committing suicide for one reason or another. Doctors because they are depressed that they cannot cure patients of Covid-19, people who have committed crimes and are about to get arrested and don’t want to face the consequences, police officers, military members and veterans suffering from the effects of PTSD and the other ills of this dumb ass on going war, kids, and the list goes on.
Over twenty years ago, I had a belief that those who committed suicide were weak and were running from their problems. Then I joined the military and my view of the world extended beyond where I grew up and the people I knew. At my first base, I encountered people from different backgrounds, different ways of life, people who grew up differently from me, people who had different cultures, religious faiths and ethnicities than me. The base wasn’t all that big and the people I hung around were known around the base.
This one particular Friday this military member waited until he thought everyone was gone for the weekend and decided to take his life in his office. Luckily, or I guess unluckily for him, there was another military member that was still in the squadron that found him and called the ambulance. I don’t know why he wanted to take his life, it wasn’t my place to pry and find out, although I did want to know. Hell, we all are nosy when it comes to things of that nature. But that’s neither here nor there. The point of that story was he waited until he thought everyone was gone so he could be sure no one would find him. He had an angel looking out for him that day because someone found him. I didn’t think he was weak when he came to out process for retirement. What I saw of him was a man that was in pain. A man that was tired.
I’m that aunt that will talk shit to you if you do something stupid. I did just that when I got a call that my nephew tried to slit his wrist because of a girl. Now, most people would say that was heartless of me, but it really isn’t. If I would have talked to him and would have been softballing shit with him he would have been worried. I let their mothers and fathers do that for them. I’m that aunt that’s going to give it to them real and raw 100% of the time, whether they want to hear it or not, that’s what they expect from me. Did I think he was weak? Nope, I thought he had his heart broken and he did a stupid thing especially when there was so much cooch floating around that damn campus.
When I got married, my now ex-husband had that same mind set that I had about suicide years before, that those who commit suicide are weak. Then he deployed six times to a war zone and experienced the traumas of war and some of his wingmen committed suicide for various reasons. One that stood out was an officer got caught with child porn and he shot himself when they were going to arrest him. The others couldn’t deal with the traumas of war. He changed his tune quickly about suicide. The military has a way of changing your mind about some things.
Then there was the friendship I had with someone who wished, hoped, and prayed that she didn’t wake up every single day. She had and has mental disorders. She’s tried to take her life I don’t know how many times. She’s actually tried to do so one night while we were on the phone together. That was a very scary night for me. I didn’t know her address, all I knew was her phone number and she lived near the airport. Thank goodness for Google and knowing her wife’s name. She cursed me out for calling 911, but she wasn’t going to die on my watch, not with me on the phone with her. She lied about how many pills she took, but she woke the next day. And I think to this day she still curses me for calling 911, but what kind of friend would I be if I would have just let that shit go? For each time she tried I don’t think that she’s weak, I think that she’s tired, and that she wants the pain to stop.
And just last Saturday someone super close to me took handfuls of pain pills because she wanted the pain to stop. She was tired of always being strong; strong for her family, strong for her friends, strong for people she didn’t know. She was tired. And she wanted the pain from her childhood to go away, pain from her young adulthood to go away, pain from not knowing who she was all these years to go away. She just wanted it to all stop. And for about 42 hours it all did go away. Her lady friend was on the phone with her and she made her go throw up all the pills she took. And she did, whatever didn’t start absorbing in her system. She fell asleep face down in a pillow. She didn’t feel no physical pain at all when she woke up, but she was super out of it. When she walked it felt like she was walking on air and stumbling while doing that. She couldn’t stay awake in the bathroom. She doesn’t know how she stayed awake or made it through the night much less that day.
Like everyone else all she wanted was her pain to stop. Nothing more, nothing less. Did this make her weak? No, it just made her no different than anyone else when they reach their breaking point and they don’t see any more lights at the end of the tunnel. But there are lights out there shining bright. You may not see them now, you may not see them tomorrow, you may not see until a month from now, but they are there you just can’t give up. Never give in to that permanent solution when it's a temporary problem.