Suicide has been a conversation that has come to me from a number of sources over the past couple of weeks. It's important to remember that when we are in a state of hyper-vigilance, extreme danger, or high stress we are not thinking rationally because we are not operating from the part of the brain that gives us the ability to exercise discernment, safety, rational problem solving.
I think of it a bit like this. If you are a police officer or served in the military you can likely relate to what it looks like to peer through a scope on a weapon. When you look through that scope you have a very narrow field of vision so that you can pinpoint a target, correct? When you are looking through that scope, does that mean that everything outside of your field of vision does not exist? Of course not, there could be other people around, buildings, vehicles, environmental elements, etc. that you are not focused on because you are peering through that scope honing your target.
When someone is considering the idea of taking their life, to me it's as if they are peering through a scope that only allows them to see one thing, one answer, one way. What they aren't seeing outside of that scope is that there are resources available, solutions they haven't yet discovered, and people who are willing and can help them on their path. They have themselves locked on a target and unfortunately they've made their own bodies the target.
Now, just as a reminder I am not a counselor or a doctor, but I have been the one that some have come to over a period of years who were considering taking their own life. I had to make some smart decisions and alert the necessary people to help them and disaster was avoided. Please be alert to behavior that may signal a risk of suicide. There are hotlines available for help. Statistics say that 22 veterans take their life everyday. 1 is too many. 22 is devastation. Appropriate professional assistance is needed to handle those types of situations.
Remember that if you are the one who is feeling like there aren't any solutions, remember that you are only peering through a limited scope and aren't operating from a the place in the brain that allows you to see that.
Ask for help. Reach out and ask for tools. Do some homework. You've got this. If you've been reading my blog, you know that I believe there are layers upon layers to all of this. There is never an arrival point. It is an ever unfolding journey and you are never, ever alone. Just because others aren't talking about it, doesn't mean they aren't feeling the way you are.
Talking about PTSD is rare among those who have it. It took a long time for me to be okay with this arena, but as it gains momentum I realize that the soldiers who have had my back over the years were right; What I have to say can help others, so I roll with the fears and keep reminding myself there is someone else hiding away who is listening to me. It doesn't matter to me whether you put yourself out there to the world; what matters to me is that you discover who you are now free of the judgment of having to be a certain way because your environment tells you so. Pay attention to your reactions. They are 110% trackable. Use your military skills. Use your investigative Police know-how. Track your reactions. You will see patterns. I guarantee it. Once you become aware, you can do something about it, and make some small changes that will lead to a big impact in how you see your PTSD. Remember you aren't irreversibly damaged. You've been given one heck of a tough mission to grow through your challenges. You've got this. There's no giving up on this mission. There are always avenues that are just outside your scope of vision that you haven't discovered yet.