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A Lost Military Spouse

April 14, 2011

Hello friends. I’ve been a little absent in the milspouse blogging community, because honestly … it’s been pretty quiet on the home front. My husband has been home for a year and a half following his last deployment & we’ve gotten pretty used to a “normal” way of life. This is definitely something that is not common & while I know that deployments are looming & somewhere down the line I’ll be back into a new kind of “normal,” I just really don’t have a lot to discuss when it comes to the Army.

There have definitely been times when I wanted to get fired up about various issues related to the military [ahem, possible pay cuts] but the reason I stepped away from my last blog was to sort of step away from the things that made me angry about this lifestyle & focus on other things that were important to me.

But today has been a rough day in the milspouse world. News from a friend [that unfortunately, I can’t share just yet] brought tears to my eyes. And then I was directed to this page, a blog by another military spouse.

A fellow Military Spouse’s online suicide note.

I do not know her. I have never read her blog before. I do not know her background to anything that has gone on in her life. I will tell you that she is SAFE. I do not know the circumstances but she was not successful with her suicide. But her story breaks my heart none the less.

I cried over a perfect stranger today at work. It’s beyond unfortunate that this poor woman felt that she had to take her own life because she didn’t have the support that she needed. Where were her friends? Where were her family?? I know that my life is so far from perfect, and after today I will think twice about the things I complain about, but I also know that I have AMAZING people in my life who love me & care about me & would make sure that I never slipped that far.

I wish that the powers that be would take a good hard look at what is going on. Ten years of war is taking a serious toll on the military families. The spouses are starting to crack from the inside out. I myself have never kept it a secret that I am on anti-depressants; while they are mostly due to my infertility issues, I do know that there are hardships to this life that I can’t always handle on my own. But again, I have great people in my life. And the fact that this woman felt that she had nobody to go to breaks my heart into a million pieces.

Like I said, I don’t follow her blog & I do not know her personally. But her husband obviously has deployed, & from the sounds of it had a very rough deployment at that. I really do not believe that people change like that overnight. There has to be a trigger. Something inside is making these Soldier snap. And the spouses, unfortunately, are starting to suffer right along with them. The wars need to stop, & the services provided to the families need to seriously improve. I know that the White House is working on some new initiatives directed at the Military Families, but is it enough? We’ve been down this road where something is developed to help & improve the life of Service Members & their families, but it always seems to fall to the wayside.

FRG’s need to be stronger. They need to have more support. They need to not turn away family members, MARRIED OR NOT, that want to help out with their loved ones unit. If somebody had taken this woman seriously maybe she would never have started to feel this lost.

This makes me so angry. And it also makes me sad. I want to reach out to this woman, whomever she is, and hug her. Tell her that life is worth living. That her husband has some pretty obvious & serious PTSD issues that need to be addressed, whether it screws up his career or not. That there ARE people out there that care & that want to help.

The military needs to start taking our families more seriously, & start realizing that the extremely heavy burdens that they are placing on the families time & time again effect more than just the Service Member.

** If you feel that you need help, even just somebody to talk to, Military One Source offers free, confidential counseling to the Military & their family members. Twenty four hours a day. Seven days a week. Face to face. Over the phone. Even online. There are options for you. Please. PLEASE call if you feel that you are slipping.

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20 Comments leave one →
  1. April 14, 2011 7:29 pm

    THANK YOU for talking about the problem and not just my friend (I do know her, and it’s been hard seeing this go around). But THIS is exactly what needs to be done- we have got to fix the PROBLEMS that push us over the edge.

    Sigh. It has got to get better than this, right?

    • Brittany (The Army Wife) permalink*
      April 16, 2011 6:33 am

      You are welcome, and you are right. I do not know her, but I do know that there is a such a BIGGER issue here. I hope she is doing ok.

  2. April 14, 2011 7:43 pm

    I have to say I am an Army Wife heading into deployment number four & my soldier hasn’t even been home a year yet. Exhausted mentally doesn’t even cover it at the moment. He has been gone every other year for almost 5 years now-this has to stop some how. Our sons don’t know their dad anymore & it actually is easier when he is gone. That sounds harsh & sad but it’s true. He doesn’t know their routines, their wants,likes,dislikes etc.
    So I hope for the sake of the Military Families this new program they are starting does take off & help lift the burden some.Thanks for posting about this- poor wife. Make me sad as well to think she felt that alone.

  3. April 15, 2011 4:31 pm

    What makes me so sad is all the spouses before this who suffered in silence. Those who didn’t have a public platform to voice their struggles, opinions, etc. Those who didn’t get help. So many times spouses get villified when we vent, but if we don’t talk about it all, how will anyone know? If we don’t vent, what will happen if we keep it all bottled up? As tragic as seeing a spouse’s goodbye letter on her blog is, I hope it really and truly opens the eyes of people in positions to honestly help our families because we’re starting to slowly crumble without support.

  4. April 15, 2011 11:17 pm

    Kat posted an address Jess’ parents posted to allow us to send her words of support. I am putting the link to the address here:
    http://unlikelywife.blogspot.com/2011/04/send-kind-word.html

  5. libarmywife permalink
    April 16, 2011 5:51 am

    The whole stiff upper lip, don’t show them you are hurting, pull up your big girl panties and move out… well that’s just not working for some of us. Yes, there are times when we hear a milspouse whinge about a trifle that we want to shake them and tell them to just grow up. BUT. BUT. When a milspouse is in this kind of pain, we can’t just leave them alone and let them figure it out on their own. Because when there is this much pain, you aren’t thinking straight. As Jessica said, her pain was too big and to overwhelming and she couldn’t, at that point, think past it. What we can do, and must do, is be there. Let them know we are there, and don’t let them close up and retreat. If they say, I want to end it all, GET THEM HELP. They may hate you for it. But they have to be there to hate you.

  6. April 17, 2011 6:27 pm

    Hey yall, remember me? this is a great post ive stumbled upon because I wanted to off myself last friday. Like seriously about to make a nex run to buy the supplies and fully planned out so I couldn’t fail. And before I could, I turned myself in. Couple days in the hospital, now im eating and sleeping again, things are getting better. I’m trying to fix myself and I feel so bad for what I put my husband through. He’s in restriction right now. He lives a floor above me, twenty feet from where my shop is. and we are not allowed to have any kind of contact. he got 45 days, half months pay for two months, busted down to e1 after being e2 for a week, anger management and lost his rate. He was within a week of graduating AE strand. He tried to off himself, and when med hold kicked in, his sht caught up to him. A week later he met me. A week later we were married. one month later, almost to the day, is captains mast. I was there. Front and center, watching my husband get his fate decided for him in 6 minutes. And it was an open mast, every single school house was there, which is approx 4 thousand people. And everyone acted like it was so much fun, like it was a sporting event to watch someone who messed up get their worlds rocked. And yes, Aschool is just like high school. So I had to deal with all the rumors and snide remarks. A shipmate told me “Im sorry that you’re married to that shitbag. I feel so bad for you.” I told her not to, since I love him and I have never been happy until I met him. I’m proud of my husband. When folks assume just cause our last names are the same means that we’re the same it irks me. But anyway. The day after mast was my first day of ATT. ATT nights. So I’d work all day in performing unit, then go to school all night. I would spend most of the night crying, and wouldn’t eat since the galley was closed all night. I’d get a bag nastie, and id pick at it. My mind was racing, I was anxious, I had a lot to go through so I wouldn’t eat so hunger would drown out those thoughts. There was this constant internal struggle between the wife and the sailor. It was horrible. And we have a test everyday, so if I fail 3 consecutive tests I’ll get set back, fail three more and I lose my rate. Also to be in performing unit, you must retain a b or better. So yes, I’d fail tests. I’d have a panic attack or anxiety attack every single day. Then I’d spend all night crying because I hated how weak I was being. Finally, after two weeks, my instructor pulled me aside. I fell apart to him. He had me talk to my mentor,who told me to leave my husband and toughen up. And then I had a board to go to. The cheifs who talked so bad about my husband, those were the chiefs I had to ask forhelp from. They pretty much said Itll all be ok, and washed their hands of it. They didn’t want to get involved. They didn’t want to deal with the mess that I was. On friday, I found out I was getting setback to mod one, after being halfway done with ATT. That was my breaking point. I planned out my suicide instead of paying attention in class. Then on break I went to my MTI. He took me seriously. I’d told my LPO 3 times at least that I wanted to die. He didn’t believe me. My MTI as well as a boy I sit next to in class saved mylife. Friday night my otherinstructor was on duty in restriction. He told my husband I was in the hospital, and through pulling strings, found out it was a suicide attempt. So my husband had no idea where I was or if I had died or anything until sunday when through my determination I managed to get someone to give him my phone number. He called the hospital 6 hrs after recieving the number. It took him six hours to calm down enough. We missed our sunday visit because Iwas in the hospital. Istayed there till tuesday morning. I got to base at 14 and had to stand room inspects 15 with class at 1530. And upon arrival, I was notified that I was moving rooms. So yeah, it was stressful first day home. And after class, which then I found out I’m being switched to days,picking up where Ileft off (hmm smells like my husband’s doing) I had to move. My MTI (not the one who saved me) chewed me out about taking to long to move and about being a weak person. She just tore my butt up. I sat in my new room alone, and cried. I cried so hard. I was just crying, making wounded animal noises and everything until I started to hyperventilate. Thats when Irealized my husband was the only person in the world who could calm me down. I forced on some calm and decided to talk to the MIDS MTI. He was able to calm me down enough to get a couple hours of sleep. I got through this week, and was looking forward to today’s visit. On saturday I found a long graphic sexting conversation between my 23 year old husband and his 15 year old “sister”. Did watch have to log restricton off spot due to ass whoopin during today’s visit? YOOOOOU BETCHA! And I did whoop some ass, but not nearly as much as I planned. He said it was his “son” who is one of the souls who live in his body. Yeah. My husband has this imaginery world going on. And I think he has multiple personality disorder. I usually rolled with it, because, if that is his only flaw…..But yep. He’s tried to off himself too. His last attempt was a week before he met me. He doesn’t want to since I’ve been in his life. What saved me was wearing my ring in the hospital. I wasn’t allowed to wear it in class (I’m an AE), so just having it on my hand, staring at it, it reminded me of this beautiful real good man I’m married to. Even if he’s a little batty, heck, I’m crazy too. lol. I’ve been eating and sleeping now. I’m getting my life back on track. I still have little blips of not ok, like the 7 hour long anxiety attack I had last night, but I’m getting better. He gets out may 6th. I graduate ATT may 5th, so its all good. He’s undesignated, so he’ll hopefully be here during strand, and if hubster can work his magic we might leave at the same time. *fingers crossed*

  7. April 19, 2011 11:39 pm

    I stood at the top of a 13 floor building and contemplated the fall. I get this. What I don’t get is the remarkable stupefecation of the military community and milspouse pop that thinks all will be well with denial and a powerpoint presentation. Holy Xanax, Batman, double my scrip! I tried denying that my husband would ever be deployed unless it WWIII broke out – he’s ARNG – and so far, he’s been to the sandbox twice. So what the fuck? Really? don’t tell me to bond with my husband and then disparage me when that same emotional connection ( which serves you SO well) is jeopardized by deployment and I freak out! Shithead. Assbag. Col. Sir.

  8. Carrie permalink
    April 30, 2011 9:15 am

    It is horrible that people in need have been left to feel as if all doors were shut to them. I would like to say that I’ve been treated very well in the military community, and our family always has the resources we need whether it is for counseling, medical care, or just recreational activities. The military is here for our family every day, and I am very appreciative.

  9. Melissa permalink
    May 3, 2011 3:34 pm

    “FRG’s need to be stronger. They need to have more support.”

    I agree. But it’s been 10 years. FRG leaders are exhausted!!!! Many of the wives simply won’t serve anymore because they are just too tired and there’s not enough tea in China to drag them back into an FRG position.

    I do believe the military does take its families seriously, which is why free confidential counseling from Military One Source exists. I have used it personally with much success.

    Hope she’s okay. There are so many of us, whose stories won’t ever be told, that are suffering in silence.

    Thanks for letting me chime in. Appreciate it.

    Bless us all.

  10. July 14, 2011 3:54 pm

    Melissa is right – there are so many suffering in silence. Just had a friend visit who was overseas while her hubby was on a ship (they are back in a new location now). No idea that she was suffering then. Her Facebook page made me think all was great. As other friends are now on 2 &3rd deployments- wish we could do more.. Hard.

  11. Carmen Rivera permalink
    September 5, 2011 4:39 pm

    I’m reading all this and I’m drinking my own tears because I feel the sameway..I’m asking my self where is my friends and my familiy in this moment when I need them the most.. Some day i feel so lonely.. In times like this is when we realize who are really your friends..

  12. Lisa permalink
    June 25, 2012 9:27 pm

    I we are going on our fifth deployment in December. My husband just got called as a CAO and will be gone for the next two months. I know the person who lost their husband is going through a ton of stuff and I hate this for her. I also know that I am up against a wall I never knew existed. I am so done.

  13. September 20, 2012 7:06 am

    I am a spouse of deployed soldier too. My heart hurts for these wives and I would love to have the opportunity to advocate for military families. I too have lived this life. I too know how feeling isolated from the rest of the world feels. Military families need more attention, I know that there are programs available but are they really being promoted to the families in an effective way?

Trackbacks

  1. Carry on – but how much help can we give? « Milspouse Mutterings
  2. War, Wives and a Near Suicide - NYTimes.com
  3. At War: War, Wives and a Near Suicide | Mutual Cognizance
  4. At War: War, Wives and a Near Suicide | See ads
  5. At War: War, Wives and a Near Suicide | Latest Updates
  6. Hysterical women, resiliency, and military spouse suicide | LeftFace -- The Other MilSpouse Blog

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