I went into work last Monday, started my morning routine, and noticed everyone was having a rough morning. Being the positive guy I am, I start questioning people about the long faces. Come to find out we had a member in our command commit suicide. Our command is small. Everyone interacts with everyone on a daily basis. We get to know more about each other than we really care to know. This man was a positive influence on a lot of people. If you needed cheering up, this was the guy to go to. Sadly, that is said about a lot of people who commit suicide. It’s as though they hide behind their smile. They don’t want their problems to be anyone else’s problem. It’s a sickness that eats us from the inside out.
September is suicide awareness month. We in the military have a suicide problem. The numbers are staggering. Although I don’t comprehend why someone would commit suicide, I do know that it’s a sickness. It can affect anyone at anytime. All it takes is the right event to take place and the pressure of the world increases to the point we no longer have hope. Hope is what gives us our fighting spirit. Hope says we can still make it. Lose hope, and we lose sight of our way out. Suicide becomes the only answer.
Less than .5 percent of America is in the military. Everyday our numbers are getting smaller. It’s bad enough we are losing brothers and sisters in the battlefield; why should we lose them to the silence of their home. There is a statistic that states 22 service members commit suicide a day. When will the number of suicides become acceptable? Of course the “answer” is 0 per day. How do we get there? It’s not like we can question everyone on a daily basis. “Do you feel like committing suicide today?” “No? OK carry on.” That’s not how this works.
Some are going to need a phone call, and others are going to need a text. However, no matter what it takes, we can all do our part. If depression is creeping in, do what you need to in order to get through it. Do not lose hope. We should never isolate ourselves. We would never want our family or friends to do that. It’s not easy to share our problems with others. Why? Because people usually don’t take the time to listen. They are quick to give Band-Aid advice. “Get over it.” is not a solution. It’s a “Quit bothering me with your problems.” Another reason we don’t share is because we don’t want our problems to be other’s problem. Sometimes it takes two to carry a load. We need to learn when we have too much on our plate. Sometimes we don’t have a lot on our plate, but we have carried that load for a long time and we feel stupid for asking for help. Imagine if we had a coffee cup and we held it out in front of us with our arm straight. How long could we hold it out there? When it gets too heavy, will we ask for help? It’s only a coffee cup. No matter the size, we should always be able to ask for help. We should also be willing to help; genuinely.
Thanks for taking the time to read, and may we always be willing to ask for help.