Depression and the military

December 17th, 2013 by atrfan1

This post is not about how the military handles depression, or how a soldier does. This is not a cry for help. This is a brief story about me.

Im the son of a teen runaway and a murderer. Ive never met my father and likely never will. My mother did her best for me, but life has always been against us both. I first tried to take my own life when I was only 11. After that, attempts became a yearly thing. Life just carried on no matter how much I didnt want it to. Then, I met someone. She was loving, caring, beautiful, and overall completely perfect. And then she wasnt. She was denied enlistment in the navy. Somehow it became my fault. Her lifelong dream was gone, and instead of taking all the support I gave her, she saw me as the enemy. Then came the hitting and the cruel words. She eventually told me that if I joined the airforce like I had always dreamed, she would leave me. So I gave it up, desperate to hold on to something. After a year, when the abuse and manipulation came to an end, she threw me away. She gave me a purpose in life and took it away without a second thought. I was left with nothing.

I moved far away, and tried to start over. Tried to find a job and make friends but I just couldn’t. Things kept getting worse until I put a 12 gauge shotgun in my mouth and pulled the trigger. The gun was loaded and in good working condition. It should have ended my life that night, but it didnt. To this day I dont know why. But I had another chance, and I wasnt going to waste it.

So things cane down to the point where I had to choose between military service or going back to school. The idea of working towards a degree that would likely be useless that would leave me with crippling debt made me choose the military. Not the airforce. I felt like the shadow of what she did to me would hang over me like a noose if I took the option she took from me. So I joined the army. Wasnt my first choice, but the marine corps rejected me, and the navy and coast guard seemed too outlandish, considering I get claustrophobic and sea sick. Plus the army offered a lot more benefits, and i even got an enlistment bonus for picking my dream job.

Prepping for training, I lost a lot of weight and put on a lot of muscle. For the first time in my life I felt comfortable in my own body. Everything was great. It still is, but I’ve never been able to feel like all my problems were bebind me.

And thats because they arent. I realised tonight that the army didnt give me a single thing to live for. But it did give me brothers and sisters in arms to die for. Maybe not in the near future, but some day I’ll die in a war zone. I only hope that someone else can live because of my future sacrifice. Maybe someone with kids and a family of their own. And until that day comes, I’ll continue my life as happily as possible. Theres a woman I love, more than life itself. I dont know if I’ll ever tell her, because I dont want to become a big part of her life only to leave it later on. But I’m content with being her friend because I can still make her smile.

If you’re reading this right now and you feel like taking your own life tonight: don’t. Find something to live for. As I said before, I found something to die for, but until then, I live for that day. Whether you live to write short stories, make someone smile, or whatever you may have in your life, hold on to it. Against all odds, things get better. I’m living proof of that.

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2 Responses to “Depression and the military”

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  1. I’ve always wanted to join the Marine Corps…hopefully I’ll be able to find something worth dying for like you have, since I can’t find anything worth living for in this world.

  2. I know this feel. Hoo-ah.

    We had a soldier take his own life in Afghan a couple years back, and as a result our army became more accepting of the fact that there are soldiers who just cannot cope too well with both military service and/or civvy life problems they entered the service with. They started holding workshops for each unit around the camps, encouraging people to come forward and open up about their thoughts of suicide. The Psychs were pretty good about it, and only in extreme cases was someone reffered and/or medically discharged from service.

    There are always going to be wars to fight, that the politicians start and soldiers end up finishing. Bear in mind that the army has invested quite a lot into turning you into a piece of the machince, and you are no good to them dead. With the prospect of operational service; your mission, soldier, would be to ensure that not only do you provide support to the other troops, but that you return home as well.

    Stay safe, God bless and thank you for your service.

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