The gun didn't fire!Submitted by mingeem on Tue, 02/18/2014 - 22:16
I must have been sitting in the bathtub for hours. Condensation was building on the barrel of the Ruger .45 automatic that is shoved in my mouth. A trash bag is placed over my head with my arms through the drawstrings so my brains do not splatter against the wall. With a round chambered and the safety off, I watch the hammer pull back while slowly pulling the trigger. Click!
My heart skips a few beats as I try to gain my wits. Am I dead? Is this the afterlife? Gradually, I begin to realize the gun did not fire even though the hammer slammed forward. I franticly eject the round from the chamber, place the gun back into its box, and return it to the closet.
This haunting scene occurred on the afternoon of February 3rd. I was at rock bottom. I have been suffering from debilitating anxiety and depression since leaving the military over three years ago. For most of this time I would self-medicate the pain with alcohol. It seemed to efficiently numb my angst until I was busted for DWI last June. Sitting in jail for 48 hours resulted in a successful detox. Upon seeing the judge, I pled guilty and received probation. This meant no more drinking, no more self-medicating.
For the next six months I did what was required of me. I went to numerous substance abuse classes and group meetings. I paid my fine in full. I even had an ignition interlock installed in my truck. However, the sobriety came with unrestrained PTSD symptoms.
Around the middle of November was my tipping point. I quit everything- my job, visiting my probation officer and substance abuse counselor, even paying my bills. I isolated myself in my apartment for the next two months, ordering a pizza once a week for sustainment. The only social interaction I took part in was a bi-weekly trip to my dad’s house and the occasional comment on The Daily Paul. I spent most my time hyper-vigilant, anxiously pacing from room to room pondering how to end my life.
My dad came to check on me January 10th. I lied and told him I had been suffering from the flu. He asked if I had money for rent or food. He convinced me to move in with him; after all he had lived alone since my mother passed away in 2009. In the presence of my dad I would put on a smile, while still planning on killing myself. This culminated in the events of February 3rd.
Sobbing, I called my counselor and told her what I had attempted. She scheduled for me to meet her in the morning. Meanwhile, my dad arrived home from work and I informed him of what was going on. As we were wrapping up our conversation the doorbell rang. It was the police. My counselor had called in an emergency response.
The police took me to the emergency room where I was questioned by a doctor and social worker. The doctor ordered that I be transferred to a mental hospital nearly 500 miles away. Even though I explained I was uninsured, they evacuated me on an expensive medical flight. Upon arriving at the hospital, I was confused and irritated. During my intake, I was asked to retell my story to a therapist. I was then seen by a psychiatrist. He prescribed me a few medications and explained they would hold me for a week to monitor the effects.
As the medication began to work I felt an unfamiliar sensation, clear-headedness. During my stay, I met some very wonderful people who like me were in a dark place. We would sit in the halls and talk for hours about our lives. I began to realize my problems were not unique and it was possible that my brain could be fixed. I was not just a crazy person.
At my follow up appointment with the VA, I met with a therapist that specializes in counseling combat veterans. She spoke in very scientific terms. She explained how my brain gets stuck in flight or fight and its logical response that alleviates the anxiety and hyper-vigilance has been repressed by alcohol abuse. This was very reassuring for the reason that a scientific problem can have a scientific solution.
In conclusion, the gun did not fire! Every day from now to my optimistically natural death is a gift. I am excited to face whatever life brings my way. I do not know what exact purpose I have in this life, but I do know that I will not squander this second chance. My emotions are still raw at this point and still must primarily focus on recovery. However, as the wounds begin to heel I plan to seek a life of servitude to humanity. I am now playing with "house money" and will do my best to utilize this gift for the benefit of others.
Suicide is a permanent solution to a temporary problem.