Jump to content
Washington Football Team Logo
Extremeskins

Task and Purpose: ‘I Closed My Eyes, And When I Did, I Saw My Pistol’: The Warax On Suicide


visionary

Recommended Posts

https://taskandpurpose.com/even-the-warax-contemplated-suicide-heres-what-saved-him/

Quote

‘I Closed My Eyes, And When I Did, I Saw My Pistol’: The Warax On Suicide

 

Editor’s note: May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and the West Point history department last week asked veterans on Twitter for their advice on how to “positively add to the discussion about PTSD.” One vet who responded with a personal story was The Warax, the anonymous, Seuss-inspired former Marine whose cantankerous takes on post-military life and politics have earned him a big social media following. “The first time I thought about killing myself the idea was easy to dismiss,” The Warax’s story began. What followed was a gripping but very recognizable lesson on how depression and suicidal tendencies can set in as a veteran’s career sunsets through no fault of his own. We asked the Warax to share his story here in an essay, and he agreed.

 

If you or a veteran you know is in crisis, you can always reach help on the Veterans Crisis Line: Call 1-800-273-8255 and press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

 

Until the explosion, what scared me most was the thought of being killed, but what is most terrifying about war is that you can be destroyed without dying. It happens gradually; like getting older, you cannot see it happening to you. Each day I woke up, looked in the mirror and I recognized the person looking back. Until one day, I did not. I would stare at myself in the mirror trying to see what was broken, but I couldn’t see what was wrong. I saw my same eyes, same face. Same arms, same legs. But I was not me, and that realization was terrifying.

 

The man I was before the IED strike was smart, confident and decisive. The man I became, as I saw myself then, was not. Most of the time I couldn’t remember where I was or what I was supposed to be doing. I would stare at my Marines, unable to remember their names. When people spoke to me I misunderstood them, and when it came time to respond I was unable to organize my racing thoughts. I would clutch at words as they flashed through my mind, only to see them slip by like water and evaporate before I could open my mouth. As days turned to weeks and then months without improvement, I felt myself being hollowed out by despair and anger.


The first time I thought about suicide, it was easy to dismiss. The idea first popped into my mind as I listened to a Navy doctor explain to me that I would be medically retired, that I would not be a Marine anymore.

 

Until that moment, I believed that the doctors would be able to fix whatever was wrong with me. Through the confusion, pain, hate, and sadness, I was holding on to the belief that I would return to the Fleet eventually. When the doctor told me I would not get better, that “life is now about making the most of what you have left,” I felt as though the floor gave way beneath me.

Quote

 

I am still here though, and I will tell you why. I am alive today because when I was a young Marine, my platoon sergeant took the time to talk to us.

 

Gunny carried himself like someone who grew up fighting, and he had the scars to show for it. He squinted and smirked like Robert DeNiro, and when he spoke he did so with a heavy Boston accent. Gunny was the most military man I’ve ever known, and frankly, he scared the hell out of me.


But once a week, Gunny sat on the floor of our berthing area and talked to us about life, and we listened, half-circled around him. There was one conversation in particular this man had with us, on his own time, that helped save my life. That day, Gunny talked about his own experience with the psychological cost of war, explaining that mental health is as important as physical health. As we sat around him, Gunny told us that thinking of suicide is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of a medical emergency.

 

 

Link to post
Share on other sites

Completely agree with his take, especially this part..
 

As we sat around him, Gunny told us that thinking of suicide is not a sign of weakness, but rather a sign of a medical emergency.
 

“Thinking of suicide is a sign of a medical emergency.” I remembered those words, years later, and in the darkness they saved me. Because of that conversation I realized I was sick and that I had to ask for help. I did. And I am here. Thank you, Gunny.
 

It is easy for soldiers (and civilians) who have experienced war to forget that life is beautiful. It is easy to forget because the horror of war chips away at who we are gradually, and like getting older, we do not notice that it is happening. But life is beautiful and life is full of love and hope. And each of us deserves to be a part of that, no matter what we’ve done or seen. Remember that.

 

To be strong, does not mean to be invulnerable. Even a rock wall will crumble and fall if enough time is spent chipping away at it. A person will break or change and become unrecognizable to themselves if they are in a place when the pain is so great and there is no place to get a respite from it. Love and hope are so important, without those reality becomes a bleak nightmare.

That's one of the most important things I've learned when dealing with trauma. The power and danger of normal. How beautiful things that were once normal can fade away and be nothing more than a dream, as every waking moment is filled with stress and pain as your new normal. And on the flip-side how to put in work to make things that were once only dreamed about, real.

Link to post
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.

  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    No registered users viewing this page.

×
×
  • Create New...