Have you ever heard anyone say that suicide is the coward’s way out? Is that person you? If you have ever heard it or if you feel that way, that is only one small point of view of an endless world of stories. An endless amount of view points that lead to different outcomes. Have you ever stopped to consider the view of the person contemplating suicide? I can tell you personally I have had hypocritical conflicting thoughts about suicide. There have been many times in my life have I found myself to be suicidal. However, I have also found myself saying it’s the coward’s way out and only hurts the people you leave behind. I know, that doesn’t make much sense. We should probably stop and consider the view point that I was approaching each different response to suicide from and the surrounding details.
At my earliest ages I remember one thing above all else, loneliness. I can tell you that the beginning of my anxiety started somewhere near the kindergarten age in life. I remember coming home from school and being alone. I remember falling down and hurting myself and crying alone. I remember what it’s like to hold my knees and weep into them while rocking back and forth. Always I thought, why does nobody love me? Why is nobody here? Why does nobody care? I seemed to have a magnitude of unfortunate events in my life, events I dealt with mostly alone. I remember what it’s like to be scared and have nowhere to turn, nowhere to find comfort.
A memory of waking my mother up as she told me to, an act had I not done I would have surely been beat. However, she was so out of it when I woke her up she pointed a sawed off, side by side, double barrel shot gun in my face. I was eight. I remember that time when I went out and told her strung out boyfriend what happened, I watched her get beat without flinching. There was never anything else said or done about that incident. There was no seeking comfort in the arms of a beloved parent. My comfort came in the retribution of watching my mother get beat. If I had sought the comfort of a hug or sympathy from any aspect I knew that meant bad things. That meant change, which meant I would be going somewhere else. I never talked about the bad things, I didn’t want the unknown. Part of me felt I was not good enough for the possibilities that could be opened with change. I didn’t deserve the possibility of a nice home with loving parents.
I can’t tell you how many times I thought of suicide as a child. As I got older I got a little braver but was still scared to actually commit to killing myself. Part of me has always felt that I was destined to be greater than where I came from one day. I had to earn that greatness completely on my own though. There came a point when I was a preteen that I found I didn’t want to commit suicide. I found self-harm. I found relief. I found that I could burn or cut and feel the tension release. All the weight on my chest and shoulders would escape through my gasps of feeling the sharp pain. The discovery of self harm did not take away all thoughts of suicide but it took away the planning for suicide. It did not take away the loneliness and the questions of self worth. It just made all the other pain I felt hurt a little less, at least for awhile. Later in my teen years I found drugs and sex, those are stories for another time.
The closest I ever came to suicide when I was actually stopped from completing the action I was well into my military career and going through my second divorce. I was working a job that had me on average working 18-20 hour days 7 days a week. My children were with their father for the majority of the time due to the obligation of my position at the time. Before the divorce he would always mention things in a way that I didn’t at the time feel was abusive but now I see it was extremely detrimental to my self esteem. Saying things in a way that almost sound endearing such as, “we are a good balance, your bad childhood and my good one”. As tensions got high during the divorce it went to more blatant statements of, “you can’t be a mom without me, you don’t know how to love a child”. Little did I know when I was working, securing a future, my children were being told I did not love them nor want them.
Another contributing factor was harassment in the work place. In the military it is essential that you inform your leaders of difficulties in your life, especially if they could effect your work performance. Since going through a divorce is a pretty significant life event I was sure to inform my supervisor. During all this mess I actually thought what happened after I informed him was my fault, like I asked for it. I told him that although I preferred to keep my personal life separate from my work I thought he should know I was going through a divorce incase the issues bled into one another. You see, I thought it was my fault because maybe saying I like to keep the two separate he took that as an open invitation. Of course it was not an invitation but after that he began to come onto me.
It started with him asking me what I looked for in a man, what I thought of him. It then escalated to him always attempting to place himself unusually close to me or be alone with me. I became very good at pretending I didn’t notice or nonchalantly brushing off his inquisitive questions of whether or not he had a chance. I remember I learned really fast that if I was sitting at the computer in the office it was best to get up and move out quickly, if not he would stand so close behind me I could feel his body heat and ragged breathing. It is sad to say but in the military this has not been my first experience with this type of thing. I was afraid if I flat out turned him down I would be pushed out and not mentored, if your not part of the group you get ostracized and will lose out on valuable training.
Eventually though he started ostracizing me anyway and even getting angry and yelling at me for no reason; no reason other than me not wanting him how he wanted me. So now I have nowhere that is safe, I am constantly being harassed, at home and work. I being emotionally and mentally beat down, while physically working more than most people could ever imagine. I’m doing a job where I’m mentoring people into Soldiers and having to put on a strong front but inside I’m dying. Inside I’m hurting so bad, I’m always surrounded by people but always alone. I’m told not even my children love me. I want to die. I’m not quite there yet though. I want to be strong too. I just don’t know how.
There was a day that he came in yelling at me for not doing something. Something I didn’t do because he never taught me, he didn’t teach me because I didn’t want him. Finally I blew up, it was not the right setting but I snapped so to speak. I screamed. I told him that just because I wouldn’t fuck him didn’t mean he could treat me like trash and that I still had a right to be taught how to do this job properly and succeed. The look of shock and horror on his face, finally it will stop, and it did, almost, kind of. Now there was a new issue. I had called him out, he was scared, he knew he was wrong. Now he didn’t teach me because all he did was worry. He worries to the point he continued harassing me. Except now his breath was shaky and it would whisper in my face every time he cornered me alone. I would get cornered multiple times a day to be asked if I told on him. There were even times he would say that someone said something to him about me coming forward. It was exhausting, I just wanted to work, to learn, to do my job and succeed.
I still was not going to file a report. That’s never been who I am, not really sure why. I guess I don’t like appearing vulnerable, I don’t like being painted as a victim. Everything I have endured I could surely endure this; I have been alone and unloved my entire life. I have been beaten, raped, held hostage, left behind and forgotten. I have had nothing, I have done unthinkable things to survive. I did not want to let something as trivial (in comparison) as this turn me into a victim, I survive. At least I let my ego tell me that.
Ironically enough, I ended up filing a report on harassment because of my other abuser. The soon to be ex husband came went through my phone and saw a message from my supervisor asking if I had told anyone about him hitting on me (did I forget to mention he would even harass me through technology). My ex said if I did not report him then he would. I just wanted peace, I don’t want to be a victim. I didn’t want the judgment at work of being the new person who is putting a well known and trusted person under investigation. Ugh God, why can’t I just have peace? (God is a topic for another day as well). In order to keep the peace with the father of my children I agreed to file a report. I just asked to do it on my terms.
The terms of me filing a report were that I wanted to wait and file the report in between cycles of training. I wanted to do this because it was more time off and I wouldn’t be around because I’m that off cycle I was supposed to start a leadership training course and wouldn’t be back to my work for several weeks. I could file the complaint and it should all be taken care of by the time I get back. I filed the complaint directly to my commander on the 23rd of September. I thought things were finally starting to look up. I was wrong. I start my school at the beginning of October. On 8 October it was decided that the government shutdown would be effecting my leadership training and that the training would be canceled and we would go back to our regular job.
Realistically when I filed the report (which I provided evidence to) action should have been taken immediately. However, I come back to work, just in time for the initial pick up of a new cycle, and who do I see? Over two weeks later, oh, and in this time he was even promoted. The first chance he gets he backs me up against a wall and asks in his shaky hot breath if I’ve told. I had to finish working that day, it wasn’t until 14 hours later of working alongside him that I was able to confront my commander. When I did, she cried. Of course after that there was confusion through the entire unit. Confusion that led to me standing before my next higher commander on my birthday to be exact, explaining my complaint again, explaining how I was a victim, explaining why I made a report, explaining why I chose to report how I did. Eventually appropriate protocol was followed and after other heard what he was doing to me, two more females stepped forward. He was punished.
Now however though, EVERYONE knows. Everyone knows everything at this point. My divorce, my complaint, I’m a victim, their friend was fired because of me. Oh plus I’m working extreme hours again, being told my kids don’t love me and would be better off without me. I was apparently a whore who asked to be treated that way and it was better that my kids didn’t have me as a role model. I had worked weeks straight, under extreme pressure, with less than four hours of sleep a night. I broke.
This was the point. This is when I knew everyone, everything was right in the universe. It was better that I die. The important thing was that I do it right. I didn’t want to be like my mom and be mentally handicapped or a vegetable. I needed to really plan this. I’ve heard all the stories of people trying to commit suicide by shooting themselves and still living. I also was sure I wouldn’t have the guts to pull the trigger. I would need a better plan. It was in my planning phase that a dear friend reached out and found others who cared, others who would not let me hurt myself, they sought help for me. I was not as alone as I thought. People I barely knew were there to help. I say it again, I was not alone, I am not alone, and neither are you.