Today I am thinking about suicide…..
No – I’m not actually considering this option, but I am thinking about what must go through a persons mind as this decision is made. This past week, for the second time in about 6 months, a friend and former co-worker decided that he had had enough; That he could not take any more; That his family would be better off with out him and his “issues”. And for the first time in my life, I get it. I actually understand the decision.
I have never understood what could cause a person to make this ultimate decision. My first experience with suicide, before I got into the world of EMS, was so horrific and unforgivable…… What this man (a neighbor) did to his family……. I have never been able to forgive him or anyone else who has taken their own life. Until now.
I cannot and will not ever forgive my neighbor – or most people who make this choice – but I can easily put myself in the shoes of my two friends/co-workers. I can fully appreciate the feeling that it is too much to tolerate. I have often told my wife that she does not deserve to put up with me and my “issues” and wondered silently if my wife and kids would be better off if I was not around. (Not permanently, but just not in their daily lives). Frankly, had I not “retired” when I did – I could very easily have decided to end it all long before these two friends did.
The purpose of this post is not to justify or glorify suicide. The purpose is to say – I get it. But it is not the answer. There are much better ways to deal with your struggles. I am proof.
I realize that most of my posts here have been rather negative; describing my problems, not telling of my successes. The truth is, I have made a lot of progress and I am here to tell you that there is hope. There is help! And it’s OK to ask for help. It can be a long and difficult journey, but it is a much better alternative.
I will not tell you that I am “cured”. But I will tell you that I am MUCH better. My anxiety levels are much lower. Nightmares and flashbacks are lest frequent and less intense. When something does “trigger” an emotional response, I am able to handle it and move on. I do still have things to work on, but my quality of life is much improved.
Simply acknowledging that there is a problem will make a huge difference. Getting over the self-consciousness of what everyone else thinks is another big step in the right direction. Truth is – you don’t have to tell everyone. Of course, you need to tell SOMEONE that you are struggling….but that could be a spouse, a close friend, a therapist…..even me. For a long time, my wife was the only one who knew; Then my therapist (who is a God-send, by the way). Eventually I told close members of my family and very close friends. Even keeping my secret, for the most part, I have been able to overcome many of the hurdles associated with PTSD.
I understand there is still a stigma associated with PTSD. But, if you are struggling, you need to talk to someone. I am here to help – whether you want to talk to me, or if you want some help finding a professional……Just let me know what I can do to help you make a choice your family won’t regret…..