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On losing hope

I’ve had at least one Army buddy commit suicide in the last several years.

It’s not something any of us like to think about, but it’s not an uncommon phenomenon. At least 20 veterans take their own lives every day, according to some reporting. Whether you believe that number to be inflated, it doesn’t matter. Veterans die by their own hands, and it’s not hard to imagine why.

Loneliness, nightmares, post traumatic stress, that feeling of being trapped, of being reviled, of being stared at on the street…

And that feeling of desperation isn’t just limited to vets. I was going to blog about “13 Reasons Why,” but I decided against it, because as interesting and well-acted as I found the Netflix series, I don’t like the view of suicide as a revenge fantasy, providing to the victim a scapegoat on whom to blame the pain and the ultimate act, and giving them the supposed satisfaction of being noticed, respected, and even loved in death that they couldn’t achieve in life. I won’t dwell on my issues with the series. I’ll point you to this article written by a licensed clinical social worker instead, which explains some of the issues I had with it.

But I’ve seen this desperation, this feeling of being trapped with no way out, this feeling of constant anxiety, malaise, depression, and outright terror that you will never get better. I’ve seen it in high school friends, and in family members. I’ve heard, “I wish you guys didn’t love me, so I could just kill myself without feeling guilty!” I’ve seen despair so deep, that I thought at any point, blood would start flowing from freshly opened wounds and drown me in its sticky agony.

I’ve told friends that life is a series of ups and downs, and that when you’re at your lowest point, there’s always a chance – however small – that your lifeline will begin to ascend again. But not if you stop it. Not if you end it. Not if you allow the hopelessness and despair to consume you and trick you into believing that this is the only option left.

Yesterday, Bob Owens made such a choice.

For those who don’t know, Bob Owens was editor at bearingarms.com and a fellow Second Amendment advocate and warrior.

He had a wife. He had two daughters. I cannot imagine the agony his family is feeling right now, having lost a husband, a father, and a friend.

The Washington Post wisely closed comments to its story. Scum such as Raw Story (no, I’m not linking to them) gleefully left the comments section open for vicious trolls to joyously roll around in the blood of a fellow human being while they revel in their oh-so-droll and tasteless snark.

In the end the fight to protect the Second Amendment lost a warrior, but a wife lost her world, two daughters lost their dad, and the community of online and real-life friends lost a kindred spirit.

I cannot imagine the desperation and pain Bob must have felt when he made the very final decision to take his own life. I cannot fathom how he thought his family would move on without him. I cannot judge another person’s agony.

I would, however, beg and plead with all of you out there who are experiencing the desperation and pain that is driving you to consider a very final, very irreversible cure to stop, reach out, allow those who care about you to reach for your hand and pull you up. You are not worthless, you are not cowardly, and you are not weak if you ask for help. Turning to another human being and taking the offered hand takes an immeasurable amount of courage. Allowing your lifeline to rise again takes an incalculable amount of will power.

Be stubborn. Don’t give up. Don’t lose hope. Reach out to everyone you can. We will help you.

The world needs you.

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51 responses

  1. I have also lost a few to suicide. IMO, if you are first on your list of people to shoot, you need to adjust your priorities.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “IMO, if you are first on your list of people to shoot, you need to adjust your priorities.”

      How does that fit in with individual responsibility? If you are responsible for the life choices that got you there, who else would be first?

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      1. So, that kind of sounds like “who would you rather kill more than yourself” and probably not a great question to answer.

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        1. It’s an excellent question to answer. Being uwilling to face the darkness in yourself makes you incapable of dealing with darkness in yourself, when it inevitably begins to drown out the light. Face it when you’re calm and at peace, so when it comes in times of turmoil and bitterness, you don’t get lost.

          Face who you are. ALL of who you are.

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  2. Damn well said. It’s been a few years since I lost a Brother to his own hand. But it doesn’t stop hurting.

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  3. So incredibly sad to hear of Bob’s passing. Having, many years ago, considered the same, I am reminded of a friend’s thoughts. He was a writer who had many bouts with suicidal depression, and he shared what stopped him.

    First, suicide is an act of anger. Second, it is an act of supreme selfishness. Third, it is an act that is too final, it cuts short the story of one’s life and interrupts others’ stories. You, and they, never get the chance to see how the tale would have ended had one not taken one’s own life.

    Pain is incidental to living, but pain is transitory. There are always seasons. They do change. Pain is natural, especially self-inflicted pain. We want to be better than we are, but the opportunity to change, to see it, to be it, ends with suicide. My best friend, the most talented rigger I ever knew, killed himself in a van on a beach parking lot. I was devastated because I would have given him anything…anything…to keep him on the planet.

    He never called. He never asked.

    Damn.

    If any reader considering offing yourself sees this: You have more friends than you could possibly know. All you need to do is ask…and ask…and ask. Somebody out there gets it. We know. Even if you’re so pissed off, we can hear you…and you are not alone.

    Make a deal with yourself and wait. It will pass whether you think so, or not. You can do anything for fifteen minutes at a time…even wait.

    We pray for you daily…we love you…and like you whether you think so or not. We are your friend whether you know us or not.

    Wait. Think. Everybody fucks up every now and then, but you gotta hang around, deal with it, get better. You will. We’ll help if it’s only by listening at the right moment.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. It’s not pain. It’s just that when you get down far enough, you don’t see any point in going through the motions any more.

      There’s simply no *point* in involving anyone else. Your best friend is apathy; it’s too much effort to go out in the garage and start the car, or whatever your preferred method might be. It’s when you’re on the upswing that you get enough motivation to seriously consider carrying through on suicide. That’s why so many people say “gee, it looked like he was getting better.” He *was*…

      Further up, you’re back to where you don’t want help. “Help” is likely to come with badges and white coats, creating a whole additional set of hassles and complications. And even if they find some drug cocktail that doesn’t turn you into a zombie, you’re in for an unpleasant life-changing experience, because you’ll be marked forever, wink-wink, nudge-nudge. Screw that.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. “Further up, you’re back to where you don’t want help. “Help” is likely to come with badges and white coats, creating a whole additional set of hassles and complications. And even if they find some drug cocktail that doesn’t turn you into a zombie, you’re in for an unpleasant life-changing experience, because you’ll be marked forever, wink-wink, nudge-nudge. Screw that.”

        THIS. And it’s especially true for someone like Bob who actually owns guns. The first thing that happens is you lose your Second Amendment rights. Forever. And your family loses a valuable resource, because the new hotness is to say that they can’t have your guns because you’ll still have access like the nutjob in Newton. So the cops will be around to confiscate them. Why do you think Obama’s crew was / is so eager to declare all vets who needed help with their finances mentally ill?

        Liked by 1 person

  4. […] Tolerance truly is a one-way street in the minds of the Progressive. My good friend Nicki has a great deal to say on that, among other […]

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  5. One thing I would ask of others who may not have been to that edge: if someone you know is there and reaches out to you don’t freak out on them. Even if you don’t think you’re up to being a life line… It might not be a line they need, but a reason to start climbing a reason to hang on to what they already have. Just by being there you may be what convinces them to keep going. If you walk away, they may not open up again.

    Liked by 3 people

  6. The sad part is those of us who deal with depression (either full on or bi-polar) have learned to hide it – cover it up, even push people away.

    I got tired of hearing the platitudes, the “don’t act depressed and you won’t be depressed” lines, or “just smile, it will pass”. I got tired of people telling me that I was high maintenance or depressing to be around. “Don’t make it my problem.” “Are you off your meds?” (yeah, they don’t work for me) I’ve pretty much quit trying to make friends or talk to people.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. That’s why I always advocate just listening. Just being there for someone. Even if you don’t know what to say – maybe it will just help and give someone a tiny boost that they need to start climbing again.

      Liked by 4 people

      1. That is what I have referred to as the Holy Shut up. It is the blessed presence that is available, yet silent.
        I have a family member that has despaired at the disappointments and failures in his life and has at times voiced a longing for it all to end. I confidently stated that ” it will not always be this way.” And it wasn’t. And he still struggles but has joy to balance that, and is ever so glad that he made a choice to give life a chance.

        Liked by 2 people

    2. All of this.

      Doesn’t stop the despair at chewing at you on some days, but really, there are days when I wish it wouldn’t cripple so much. Ultimately, what keeps me here is a scream to myself. “Don’t you fucking dare put more scars on your husband and childrens’ hearts! They’ve been through enough!”

      That, and my mere existence pisses off certain types of people. I like the thought that me just being happy sends people into paroxysms of rage with no further effort on my part.

      The one person I dearly loved who did kill herself, did so because her meds stopped working. She didn’t want to end up back in a padded room, she told me, no longer knowing who she was. I still miss her, and I wish I could’ve done more; and some days I hope she knows that I am not angry with her, and that I simply miss her so very much.

      Liked by 6 people

      1. I “Liked” this comment because of this:

        That, and my mere existence pisses off certain types of people. I like the thought that me just being happy sends people into paroxysms of rage with no further effort on my part.

        That’s plenty good enough reason, given the types of people who fit that description.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Patrick Chester | Reply

        That, and my mere existence pisses off certain types of people. I like the thought that me just being happy sends people into paroxysms of rage with no further effort on my part.

        I have had various trolls demand I kill myself since I annoyed them so much. What an amazing motivation to stay alive. 😉

        Liked by 1 person

      3. For me, it was a 7 lb bundle of red and white fur. There was no one to take care of my cat.

        Even though I was tired of hurting, I could not bear the thought of leaving her alone in my apartment, hungry and alone, for however long it took someone to notice I was gone.

        Liked by 3 people

        1. My cats and my kids also stopped me taking that step when the depression got really bad. My husband is an adult and I knew he could survive without me. BUT not the cats and kids.

          Liked by 1 person

      4. That, and my mere existence pisses off certain types of people. I like the thought that me just being happy sends people into paroxysms of rage with no further effort on my part.

        Be assured I am not one of those people. I don’t know if my being glad you’re around is as powerful a motivator, though.

        Liked by 1 person

    3. I’m giving you a hug right now.

      Like

  7. As someone who’s been there… Well said. Thank you.

    To those wondering what to do or say when they suspect someone they know is thinking of suicide – let them know you are there and care. Offer to listen if they ever feel the need to talk. Keep talking to them when they seem more down than usual.

    It’s terrifying – I’m honestly not sure whether it’s worse to be holding someone else’s lifeline or to be teetering on the edge. But I’m damn glad there were people around to be my lifeline when I needed it, and I won’t walk away from someone else who needs it.

    Liked by 6 people

    1. Thank G-d.
      Ten weeks ago, my son (who has never been good at either long-term planning or asking for help) was saying the only reason he was still alive was that he “couldn’t do that” to his father and me. So he held on a little longer for our sake … then a friend gave him a good lead, and we bought him the equipment he needed to get and do the job. For the last month, he’s been a different, but familiar person: the irrepressible, cheerful boy we remembered so well is back. We pray every day that he stays.

      Liked by 3 people

  8. Reblogged this on WyldKat's Lair and commented:
    I’ve walked down that dark road, I know how hard it is to think or understand that people do care. Some days it is hard to see the forest for the darkness.

    My condolences to his family.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. I am willing to bet that suicide has touched nearly every single one of us in some way or another. I lost a cousin, and a friend to it. Also my uncle, to whom I was incredibly close. We had warning from him, he was older, and lost his wife, lived alone, and said, when he could not stand living anymore, he would kill himself. Most didn’t believe him, while I did, since from a young age I wanted to be just like him. But there was not much you can do when a lucid man has made that decision, and so, a year or so ago, he left a note, and shot himself. The pain I felt was less than it might have been, only because I understood his motivation, and he was 92 years old with all his peers gone, but it still was hard to process. I have two others who went deer hunting and simply didn’t come back alive. They both left young families. The stories would break your hearts. And if they would just have reached out a hand, I know that I could have helped them, somehow to find the emotional and physical help that they needed to help to put their lives on a better path. I don’t talk much about it, but I went through counselling a number of years ago and it helped me immensely. I was finally able to understand who I was and why I always strove for perfection in every thing I did. I know that there some really bad ones out there, maybe a lot, but if you find a good one, they are worth their weight in gold.

    Liked by 3 people

  10. I knew two different people who were thatclose to it. One of them started chewing on glass. I told her if she didn’t stop it, I’d use that on myself. That stopped her. The other one told me that it was like looking into a black hole with no way out. He was on some mood leveler – lithium, I think – and at some point, he went off on a trip, stopped taking his meds and did himself in.

    Some of it is phsyiological chemistry that throws off the emotional balance. Some of it is a feeling of being trapped with no way out. I have heard that the practice of zen, which is meditation, does help.

    I saw the same info over on This Ain’t Hell earlier this week. Apparently, Mr. Owens felt somehow that he was a coward without explaining that. I will say this: if someone is determined to do himself in, there may be little that can be done to stop it from eventually happening.

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  11. I’d heard about this earlier today, but I didn’t know how he went. I can’t imagine the tailspin this has put his family in. This is so hard on the ones left behind. A friend lost her husband the same way. She ended up in therapy because she couldn’t shake the feelings that she should have/could have done more. The self doubt and feelings of inadequacy were topics of many conversations I had with her. I hope his family is strong and can get through this ok.

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  12. I’m so sorry for Bob and his family. I followed him on Confederate Yankee and emailed him a few times. But I know the end of the line feeling and was stopped when the police broke down the door. Long story there.

    My head still tells me its not worth it but I go on. I’ve had people tell me, “You know what you are feeling isn’t true. You know you are a good person.”

    Sorry, but that doesn’t work. I know what I feel is true and that I’m not a good person. Telling me what I should know doesn’t work. My mind says, “If you really knew me you would see me for the terrible person I am.” I have felt a physical weight pressing me into the floor or bed.

    A better way to talk to counter my internal thoughts is to say what you think of me. “I know you’re a good person. I know you are valuable to me.” This does seem to pull me out of my own thoughts by giving me a different perspective. I don’t know if that would have helped Bob.

    Even writing this, my thoughts tell me that it’s stupid and no one should care about what I have to say. But maybe you can help someone else by talking to them in that way.

    I’ll go to sleep and wake up tomorrow and go on with this. Hopefully one day I can have the miracle of coming out of this.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. And yet you are here. And we are reading what you say. And we are taking it in.

      I can’t tell you whether you’re a good person. I don’t know you. But I do know that you’ve made a difference just by making this comment, and for someone, somewhere, you have made a difference. We are all connected in some way. You’ve touched people you don’t even know.

      Liked by 4 people

    2. The conviction that one is not “a good person” often comes out of a very subtle and plausible mistake; in practice it means either a belief that one is not a *perfect* person, or that one is not a good *enough* person — it is a sense of falling short of standards rather than being irremediably broken or corrupt. Yet the simple fact of having those standards and regretting not meeting them is one of the strongest evidence for fundamental moral character you can have — one critical hallmark of a *really* bad person is that they think they’re mostly okay, most of the time. (Or that they use “they” as the generic singular third person pronoun.)

      As Nicki says, simply admitting the struggle is happening is a critical step, and often a far more courageous one than either struggler or listener realizes.

      Liked by 3 people

    3. anonymous coward | Reply

      eeyore: thank you for this. You don’t know me, but your advice is helpful to me. I can’t say more, but…thanks.

      Liked by 1 person

    4. Much of what you said I could (have) said myself. “Why bother, no one cares what I think.” “They have better things to do than listen to me whine.” If I had a dime for every time I have deleted a comment or post because of thoughts like that, I’d be nearly as rich as Bill Gates.

      One step at a time, that’s how we move forward. BTW, *small smile* I love the name you are using. I have called myself “Eeyore” many-a-time. Cheers to a fellow “morose donkey”.

      Liked by 1 person

  13. When you put your saddle on a broken pony youre likely to get thrown off. Anyone that chooses to work for this crime syndicate posing as a Govt quickly realize the mess they have gotten themselves into. That suicide is the best choice should be telling.

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    1. I’m not going to censor this, because I’m not in the habit of doing that, but JESUS FUCKING CHRIST IN A PICNIC BASKET! Are you ALWAYS this much of an oozing dick wart, or is just because you lack attention and want to shit on something that is so painful for so many people, asshole?

      Liked by 6 people

    2. I’m no fan of the government, regardless of who is in the White House. I say that now so everyone will understand where I’m coming from when I call you out as a rancid shitstain for that.

      A man is dead, and you want to turn this political? You’re disgusting.

      Liked by 7 people

      1. Thank you, Tom, for the civil response, tho’ a far more enraged one is merited. Nicki handled it for me though, and I don’t feel like being any angrier than I already am.

        Liked by 2 people

    3. Troll.

      Go fishing somewhere else. Humans are trying to have a polite, supportive, converstation here.

      Liked by 2 people

    4. When you put your saddle on a broken pony youre likely to get thrown off.

      Usually broken for horses and ponies means they’re willing to accept a saddle and a rider. You get thrown off if they’re unbroken, not if they’re broken. Oh, and “youre” is not a word. From context, you must mean “you’re”.

      Also, this is an entirely irrelevant metaphor which neither supports nor illustrates your next sentence.

      Anyone that chooses to work for this crime syndicate posing as a Govt quickly realize the mess they have gotten themselves into.

      It would help if you chose a tense and stuck with it. Also, despite the resemblance to a crime syndicate (which is hardly coincidental, since crime syndicates are extra-legal governments in competition with any and all legal governments in their region of operation), a legally constituted government, however good or bad it may be, is by definition not a crime syndicate.

      Working for a government does not necessarily mean being in a mess. A lot depends on which government. If, as is suggested by context, you mean the government of the United States of America, it still doesn’t necessarily mean a mess. Some areas work well. Others are infested by persons sharing your apparent level of intellect and reasoning, and their ability to perform their functions suffers accordingly. I’ll leave it to others to decide which branches and departments are which.

      That suicide is the best choice should be telling.

      Oh, yes. It’s very telling. That you found the need to make a statement like this tells anyone who reads this blog everything they need to know about you: that you are a disgusting, callous excuse for a human being who sees no issue with turning a family’s loss into a political statement which you couldn’t even manage to make in a fashion approaching coherence.

      I would spit on you, but you aren’t worth the effort. You have demonstrated such a foul nature one might mistake you for fertilizer, but doing so would kill the garden.

      You have every right to pollute your own back yard, but kindly cease polluting others who have not consented to endure your noxious excrescences.

      Liked by 9 people

      1. Well said, Kate, but about the use of English: most of these people are paid, foreign based trolls. Their English is very good for sub-literate foreigners who really have no business trying to influence our politics.
        You might think of spitting on them. I’d prefer to kick them where it hurts.

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      2. *gives a low bow* I doff my hat to you dear lady. That was eloquent.

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      3. Kate Paulk achieved what is best in life: To crush her enemies, see them driven before her, and hear the lamentations of its women (if it has any).

        Liked by 2 people

    5. Please tell me which government was such a paragon of not being a “crime syndicate” that nobody every committed suicide under it, you vile mass of putrescent filth masquerading as human being, kind of like a zombie but with less intellect and more moral character.

      Liked by 4 people

    6. Just to make sure all the bases are covered, you’re a piss-guzzling quasi-human ulcer.

      Liked by 1 person

  14. Like the gospel tune says “Help won’t help tomorrow if you give up today, just hold on a little longer, help is on the way”

    Liked by 1 person

  15. I’ve heard, “I wish you guys didn’t love me, so I could just kill myself without feeling guilty!”

    the desperation and pain that is driving you to consider a very final

    It could simply be viciousness. Assuming desperation and pain isn’t well thought out. No one likes to consider this, but we are all capable of doing terrible things for all sorts of petty and banal reasons. It’s comforting to think that the suicide was caught in desperation and wanted to escape, but considering the first sentence, and the Netflix series, you should consider that some kill themselves not alleviate their own pain, but to viciously cause pain to others.

    Suicides are tragic, but they are strange things. Ultimately, suicide is incredibly selfish. If you are simply trying to escape your life, you ignore the very real pain you will cause those who want you in your life, it’s a cruelly thoughtless act. If you, know this and do it anyway, because you don’t care or you want to cause others pain, it’s a vicious act.

    People kill themselves all the time for a lot of different reasons. Failing to consider the reality of all these reasons means you will never understand the reality of suicides, thus never make true progress because you’re beliefs about suicides are a myth.

    If you don’t understand people’s real motivations, you will never be able to influence them.

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    1. > viciousness … thoughtless … pain …

      Right! They forgot it was all about your badfeelz!

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    2. I imagine there are real, vicious people out there. But I would submit to you that most of the folks who take that way out just don’t know what else to do. In the case I mentioned above, that love was the only thing that stopped this person from ending it. I’m grateful it did. The person tried to push us away, but just simply drew us closer together. You never know what will stop someone, and you cannot ascribe viciousness to someone’s motives in that manner. That’s pretty selfish in and of itself, because it assumes the living are the target. The Netflix series, as I mentioned, is revenge porn to a certain degree, and that does involve a certain amount of viciousness.

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  16. This may be an opportune time to reach for your foil hats. While Mr. Owens death is certainly tragic for his family and the Patriot community at large, I’m not sure I buy the whole suicide angle. I did a wee bit of research before I posted this and by wee I really do mean small and brief.

    Some of what I found was that most suicides have a tendency to be very private affairs between the individual and his final thoughts. Of the ones committed in public, with the notable exception of Vince Foster (which may have been Arkancide), I could find no others related to the use of firearms. Someone with better Google-fu than mine and more time may find out differently.

    The public ones have a tendency to be of a spectacular nature with the victim trying to make a big splash, or splat in some cases to draw attention to a particular cause or situation that they cannot control and that they refuse to live with. These can include but are not limited to jumping off of tall objects such as buildings or bridges and the ever popular self immolation.

    Mr. Owens demise does not fit the popular demographic and taken together with a few other high profile recent deaths in the Patriot community, Breitbart and Scalia come to mind, leads me to be a little skeptical of this one.

    “Arkancide is the unfortunate habit of potential witnesses to the Clintons’ dirty dealings in Arkansas suddenly deciding to shoot themselves twice in the back of the head.” wiki

    Hbbill
    Somewhere Behind Enemy Lines
    Peoples Republik of Kommiefornia

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    1. There’s been absolutely no reason (except in the InfoTards/tinfoil hat/9-11 was a gubmint conspiracy/black helicopter horde) to believe that Breitbart’s and Scalia’s deaths were suspicious. Just because Bob Owens didn’t follow the “popular protocol” for ending his own life, doesn’t mean anything. Every person bows out differently. To jump into conspiritard mode while his family grieves and tries to put their lives together is nothing but opportunistic – a chance to show how EEEEVIL government/libruls/*insert conspiritard meme here* are once again a threat to the Republic! Enough with this crap already!

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    2. This may be an opportune time to reach for your foil hats.

      Uh, NO.

      There’s never a good time to do that, and you seem to have enough self awareness to realize that people will think you’re nuts for whatever it is you’re about to say (I stopped reading right there).

      But not self aware enough to perhaps consider the possibility that they’re right.

      Like

    3. 11B-Mailclerk | Reply

      Oddly enough, highly irrational people, like many suicidal folks, often devise very irrational methods of offing themselves. To expect orderly, rational self-disposal from the profoundly depressed, is, dare I say it, “irrational”.

      Besides, since we are all 100% mortal, and every last one of us is going to eventually cash in the physical shell, that means that in any given year a number of our preferred “good guys” will die by all sorts of dumb reasons. You can quickly drive yourself nuts atttributing this to enemy action versus the normal course of human mortality.

      Ask career cops. Many suicides make absolute bogs of the job. Repeat cuts or shots are not exactly unheard of. Flinching a .38 off your noggin a time or two is not exactly unheard of in “shot self in head” suicides. (The skull is remarkably resistant to glancing blows.)

      Avoid attributing to enemy action what normal stupidity more easily explains.

      Like

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