by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
January 2, 2013
If you are a veteran dealing with depression and PTSD, or married to a veteran, this is something you need to know and I hate to talk about.
I don't know what it is like to go into combat but I do know what it feels like to want to die because of it.
For The Love Of Jack, His War/My Battle Page 92-93
Eight months after giving birth, I couldn’t get up out of bed. I called my mother and told her that she had to come take care of Rachel because I was too sick to get up.
When Jack came home he took one look at me, put his hand on my head and told my mother to call the doctor. I put up a fight and told him that I was just tired and needed to sleep.
I was burning up with a fever. He pulled me off the bed and got me dressed. My mother stayed with Rachel. Jack rushed me to my doctors. My temperature was 104 and 105 by the time I got to the hospital. The infection had spread from my bladder to my kidneys and blood stream. I almost died.
I drifted in and out, walking up shaking when my fever spiked. I couldn’t care about anything or anyone. I thought that I was going to die. Part of me wanted to. I was so miserable. I wondered why God had spared my life so many times. Was it just a waste? I couldn’t believe how bad my life was. The loss of Jack’s love was unbearable. As far as I was concerned, it was a wasted life. I was a failure.
I gave up writing except for letters to the editor of the local paper. I gave up every dream I ever had. Worst on the list, was that I gave up on Jack. He meant so much to me and I was left with nothing.
I was tired of getting short-changed by what I thought was fate. I thought God wanted us to be together and that Rachel was my reassurance that I was right where God wanted me to be.
My soul cried out to God to just end the misery and take me home. Then I thought about Rachel and knew I couldn’t leave her. She meant everything to me. At that point she was the only good thing that came out of my life. She needed to know how much I loved her and how special she was. My body kicked into high gear and nothing was going to stop me from going home to her.
I looked at it as Jack saved my life by making me go to the doctor. He thought it was his fault again. No matter what I tried to say it didn’t matter. He was wonderful with our daughter. He took care of her by himself for the week I was in the hospital. When I came home, it was back to the old routine. But I was different. She took top priority in everything I did from that point on.
That is from my book and my life. I originally published it in 2002 because of September 11th and knowing more families like mine would suffer. As hard as it was for me and mine, I knew what PTSD was. My daughter grew up knowing why her Dad acted the way he did. Yet even knowing since the beginning of our relationship in 1982, I was brought to the point where I was praying to die.
I had faced death several times before but this was the worst for me. I wasn't just thinking of killing myself, I was praying it happened.
There is a lot of talk about how many of the military suicides were not tied to deployments but as you can see, I was not deployed but still suffering because of my husband's deployment many years before we met.
I was a religious person, deeply connected to my faith, yet felt lost so many times in my life that it was hard to hang onto it. The worst thing was, I had no one to talk to I believed would understand. Everyone was telling me to just get a divorce and the veterans I was helping had enough of their own problems.
I hope that when you read someone asking why veterans are killing themselves, you remember me and understand what they need to want to live.
They need a reason to stay alive. They manage to do it when they are thinking about others, especially the others they are serving with, the same way I had my daughter to keep me alive. They need hope that their lives can get better. They need someone to talk to. They need a spiritual healing and need to stop hearing that if they had stronger faith, they wouldn't be so depressed because some member of the clergy thinks words instead of works will "fix" them.
The need to stop hearing "get over it" and start hearing how they can make peace with it. To know that crying is healing the wounds they live with inside as much as stitches heal the wounds outside. They need to know that even Jesus cried.
32 When Mary reached the place where Jesus was and saw him, she fell at his feet and said, “Lord, if you had been here, my brother would not have died.”
33 When Jesus saw her weeping, and the Jews who had come along with her also weeping, he was deeply moved in spirit and troubled. 34 “Where have you laid him?” he asked.
“Come and see, Lord,” they replied.
35 Jesus wept.
36 Then the Jews said, “See how he loved him!”
They need to know that no matter how much pain they are in, He will understand. That no matter how they may feel responsible for something that happened in combat, Jesus understood the Roman Centurion who came to Him asking that his servant be healed.
The Faith of the Centurion
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
There is nothing they will not be forgiven for if Jesus had this much compassion for a Roman soldier. So, while you read the following and learn what is happening, know this, they can live.
Why Soldiers Keep Losing to Suicide
December 20, 2012
by Sarah Childress
The military has found that only about half of service members who need help seek treatment, Chiarelli said.
People within and outside the military who are working to end suicide say that it’s up to the commanders to challenge those perceptions. Chiarelli, for example, had been a strong advocate for combating the stigma before he retired earlier this year. (He is now the chief executive of One Mind for Research, a nonprofit group dedicated to curing brain disorders.)
But in May, a blunt blog post by Maj. Gen. Dana Pittard, the commander of Fort Bliss, Texas, summed up the sentiment that some victims’ advocates say remains pervasive in the military.
“I have now come to the conclusion that suicide is an absolutely selfish act,” Pittard wrote, in comments that have since been scrubbed from the website. “I am personally fed up with soldiers who are choosing to take their own lives so that others can clean up their mess. Be an adult, act like an adult, and deal with your real-life problems like the rest of us.”
Pittard’s remarks surprised advocates because the major general had worked hard to reduce suicide in the military. But the day he pounded out that blog post, he had just returned from a memorial service for a soldier who had killed himself in front of his six-year-old daughters. Pittard later retracted his remarks, saying that they were “hurtful” and “not in line with the Army’s guidance regarding sensitivity to suicide.” “With my deepest sincerity and respect towards those whom I have offended, I retract that statement,” he said.
Still, that blog post “throws us back years,” said Kim Ruocco, who directs suicide outreach for survivors at the nonprofit Tragedy Assistance Program for Survivors, or TAPS. “When you say someone’s a malingerer, dropping their pack, it’s a weak thing to do — it completely sets everybody back.”
Ruocco’s own husband, a major in the Marines, took his life after a deployment in Iraq, where he had flown 70 combat missions. Before he died, she said, he worried that if his commanders knew he was struggling, they would think he wasn’t strong enough to go back to war.
They are not selfish. I think I wrote about Major General Pittard said thinking about Clay Hunt because I knew he was far from selfish. He gave back even in all the pain he was in with Team Rubicon. Later we learned that Medal of Honor Hero Dakota Meyer tried to kill himself as well but the gun did not fire. They were not selfish but sometimes there are just not enough reasons to go on one more day. Most of the time they cannot, or will not, tell people how much pain they are in. No one knew how much I wanted this life to be over. No one knew how much I was hurting any more than anyone knew how sick I was to bring me to the point of death.
If I died in that hospital bed, no one would have know anything about any of it. As of this day, even though it was so long ago, I still hate to talk about it but what I hate more is the pain so many others are in while waiting for that one reason to live another day. I hope I gave that to you.
You held on when other people needed you in combat but today you don't see how many still need you. They need you to heal so you can help them and they can help others.