Military suicides have risen to rates none of us want to see.† Last week, while still mourning the loss of 31 in the Chinook incident, and the daily news of more casualties that added up to 10 more KIA (Killed in Action) in that week and unknown numbers wounded; we reeled from the release of the military suicide numbers for July.† 32 Active and Guard soldiers killed themselves in July.† These figures are staggering, the highest since we started keeping records of Army suicides.
Suicide has also become a hidden epidemic among family members of those in the military.† A few months ago, the military spouse social media world was rocked by a farewell message written by an Army Spouse named Jessica.† Her ďif you are reading this, I am deadĒ post on her blog sent an enormous shudder through our world.† Jessica got help, and is carrying on a new life.† I canít link you to her note: she took it down as a celebration of her new life.† A New York Times piece about this by Alison Buckholtz brought this to a larger audience.
This isnít an isolated incident. Many of us have stories about talking someone down, or know of a military spouse who has decided this life is too painful and cannot go on.† The wife who was admitted for attempting to commit suicide and then released a few days later to go home to an empty home and finished what she started; the wife who got into her car in the garage and left it running; the ones who try, but donít succeed. †As Shawn Gourley has written on her site †Military With PTSD, the numbers are growing.
Those of us in the military spouse community are starting to speak out.† We refuse to be quiet anymore.† We refuse to pretend that all is just peachy keen and hunky dory Ė while some of our community are drowning in despair in the middle of another deployment or while trying to deal with the distress of reintegration with our spouses.† Those of us who can, are reaching out.† Since many of us are scattered all over the world, we stay in contact as best we can: email, chat, skype, facebook.† And this is also where we find our support.
Just Wait is a place for military spouses to read stories and view art created by other military spouses who thought about suicide and chose to wait. So often we feel trapped, and we think the only way out is to take full control of our lives by ending them.
But you have other choices. There is light beyond the dark. There is hope.
Hope that we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, hope that we can get to the end of the road.† Hope that when we get there, our families are intact; hope that we can survive another deployment, another reintegration, another move, another holiday without our spouse.† There is Hope — and if you understand that, you can pull yourself out, you take that step, you can keep reaching out.
Please Ė donít say we knew what we were getting into.† Donít say you know how we feel because your husband goes on a fishing trip or your wife was gone for a whole 3 weeks on a business trip.† Just. †Donít.
Photo from Just Wait - used with permission
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