A Retired Marine Says Coping With Suicidal Thoughts Requires Connections In Real Life

“Reach out to them, get to them and make sure that they’re fine.”

By Joy DiazApril 19, 2019 1:46 pm,

This storyteller says he felt worthless, like nobody cared, like nobody even knew he was alive, even though, at the same time, he knew his family and daughter loved him dearly. In this edition of “The Whole Truth,” one man shares his experience living with bouts of depression and thoughts of suicide.

“The closest I ever came to trying to take my life was in the military, but it was through pills. I’d drink all day, take more than the prescribed amount and hope I wouldn’t wake up the next day … and when I would, I would be like, ‘Okay, let’s try this again,’” he said.

This was in 2008, following a divorce, after which his ex-wife and daughter moved across the country. Then his grandfather died.

“There was a lot of stuff going on. I was away from family in the military, and life just wasn’t quite what I wanted it to be,” he says.

He says during exit interviews with the U.S. Marines, officials have to make sure a service member is physically and mentally prepared to exit, otherwise they won’t release that person. During his exit interview process, he met with a psychiatrist who asked him what he wanted to do after leaving the service. He told the psychiatrist he’d been accepted to the San Angelo Police Academy.

“[The psychiatrist] was like, ‘I’m gonna give you two options here, based off the evaluation we just did. … They’re probably not gonna hire you. Or I can give you this packet back, we can act like everything’s fine, you can throw that away, tear it up … and go back to your day, and we can release you.’ I said, ‘All right, let’s do that,’” he says.

Our storyteller says social media has made it more common for people to make empty gestures of concern toward people who are struggling.

“Society nowadays is so much into social media that showing you care isn’t really showing you care. By telling people ‘call this number,’ it’s your way of faking the funk,” he says. “Reach out to them, get to them and make sure that they’re fine. That’s the whole truth; we can’t fix a problem until people start speaking up.”

The Whole Truth is the ultimate confession booth for Texans. We won’t keep your secret, but we promise to keep it anonymous.

Do you have a story you need to get off your chest? Reach out to the Standard and we’ll share your story with fellow Texans, anonymity guaranteed. Email us at texasstandard@kut.org.


Written by Brooke Reaves.