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Attempted Suicide

My Lesson From an Attempted Suicide

By Travis

In the aftermath of the 9/11 attacks, I was compelled to join the Marines, where I found a profound sense of purpose and belonging.

Training in the Marines ingrained in me an acute awareness of mortality, teaching me to always consider the imminent presence of death. The notion of dying in Iraq felt more tangible than the prospect of returning home. Acceptance of death in battle became a comfort to me.

Despite the odds, I survived the war, not once but twice, emerging from IED explosions and near-death experiences that left me in a state of constant alertness and anxiety. Yet, returning home, I was ill-equipped for civilian life, burdened with survivor’s guilt and possessing nothing more than an aged Volkswagen Passat and a couch at my parents’ house. At times, I found myself envying those who had fallen in battle, as they were spared the daunting task of facing the future. I was lost, contemplating my existence while lying on my mother’s couch.

I pursued higher education, but the haunting guilt of survival followed me, making my college experience seem insignificant compared to my military service. My freshman year was marred by heavy drinking, and my struggle with alcohol persisted, exacerbated by marijuana and prescription pills. These substances provided an escape from reality, numbing me to life’s demands.

However, one December day marked a turning point when I contemplated ending my life. In that moment of despair, I reflected on both the hardships and the joys I had experienced and realized that I did not want my story to end in such a manner. Surviving the war, I eventually recognized, was a hidden blessing, a realization that came close to eight years after my near-fatal decision.

I share this once-guarded secret to convey that life, albeit complex and challenging, is not meant to be navigated in isolation. There are many who care and are willing to support us through our struggles, a lesson I learned the hard way. The kindness and support of those individuals have been invaluable to me.

Having nearly lost myself to despair, I now strive to live meaningfully, dedicating my time to personal improvement and the betterment of others. My experiences have taught me the importance of caring deeply, born from a time when I felt utterly indifferent to life itself.

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