Twenty -two. That is how many American service members and veterans take their lives every single day. Twenty-two.
My son lost another comrade today. He posted his farewell on Facebook and by the time the authorities got there, he was dead. A young man, serving our country, took his own life, like so many before him. Caleb came to me terribly upset moments ago. We shed tears together. He said, “You couldn’t tell he was sad, he was always so happy”.
That is how depression works. The world sees a person that is all right. Everything seems fine in their lives, but depression lies. It says, “Everything is wrong, you are worthless, you are insignificant”. Depression lies. Even when you do great things and succeed and earn accolades, it is there whispering in your ear…”you are worthless, the world is a bad place, you will never be successful, everyone is better off without you”… And the circle of negative thoughts and even suicide begin to turn once more.
I know, I have depression and some days I have to go to my husband and tell him that it’s not a good day, sometimes, he sees it when I don’t say anything and he helps me through. I am lucky that my husband and children are supportive and that I have good medical care. I’m lucky that I can talk to them whenever I need them and they help me fight the darkness.
I didn’t know this young man. I haven’t known any of the men that have killed themselves that have personally served with Caleb. That number is six. Caleb served for six years, that is one member of the Air Force each year of his service that took his own life. With all of the care out there, the resources for veterans and our men and women serving in the armed forces, this should not happen. I am heartbroken. I am heartbroken for his mom and dad, friends, and family. I am heartbroken for my military family.
If you are suffering, you are not alone. YOU ARE NOT ALONE! It is not weakness to ask for help, it is not weakness to fight the demon of depression! It is a battle and you are strong. You have gotten this far. Please call The Veterans Crisis Line at 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, if you are serving or have served. Or text, 838255. Someone is there to talk to you and help you.