Damon Friedman: I almost killed myself, however then noticed God had a goal for me. Get assist in case you are struggling

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September is Nationwide Suicide Prevention Month. It brings again reminiscences of an evening a number of years in the past once I sat on the sofa, pistol in hand. The stench of CLP, a lubricant the navy makes use of to maintain weapons clear, crammed my nostrils. I inserted the 15-round journal into the pistol and pulled the slide to the rear, placing a spherical within the chamber.

I flipped the swap to fireside. I had been ingesting quite a lot of beer that night time, and ideas raced by means of my head. Sitting at nighttime lounge, I believed: “Simply do it, why wait? Why stay in ache any longer?”

Now I ponder why I had such a thought, and why so many veterans — about 17 a day— commit suicide on this nation.


 I had simply come dwelling from my first fight deployment in Iraq. Along with suicidal ideas, I had nightmares, flashbacks, and insomnia.  I additionally skilled nausea, dizziness and complications after being uncovered to repetitive concussive blasts. I had begun to query my goal in life.

Luckily, I noticed that God did have a goal for me and I obtained assist. However a number of latest occasions triggered feelings that introduced me again to a different darkish place.

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I retired from the navy this summer season right into a civilian world torn by a pandemic and racial unrest. To witness folks kneeling through the nationwide anthem and burning the American flag that I fought so arduous to guard and protect is painful. It’s complicated and tough to course of.

On Aug. 31, Military veteran Ronnie McNutt killed himself on Fb Dwell. Then Sept. 9 marked the one-year anniversary of the suicide of Calvary Chapel pastor Jarrid Wilson, who was the founding father of the psychological well being nonprofit Anthem of Hope. 

On a deeply private stage, I did a CrossFit Hero Exercise known as DT, named after an Air Pressure particular warfare fight controller killed in Iraq. This exercise hit near dwelling as a result of I additionally was an Air Pressure particular warfare operator and knew DT.

Decorated veteran's suicide puts spotlight on epidemic plaguing America's veterans Video

Though I nonetheless battle on occasion, particularly when issues like this occur, I've discovered that seeing a psychological well being professional has helped me to speak by means of my fight experiences and discover some closure.

However my issues aren’t merely psychological, and that’s true for a lot of veterans. They endure from traumatic mind damage and “ethical damage” after witnessing or doing issues that violate their private beliefs.

Since I've had a number of concussions, I additionally see a specialist who's an professional in traumatic mind damage. Her assist has enormously improved my mind well being and performance.

Lastly, I've sought religious mentorship and strengthened my relationship with God, who has stored me alive by means of my darkest occasions. The reality is, when somebody is suicidal, they want a number of sorts of remedy.

Suicide is not only a navy drawback; it's an American drawback. It’s one of many main causes of dying within the U.S., and the suicide charge is growing.


I believed I used to be too powerful to achieve out for assist. Particular operators are presupposed to be sturdy and unbreakable. Nicely, we're sturdy, however we're additionally human.

If you're struggling like I used to be, attain out and get assist. All the time bear in mind that you're liked and that God has a plan for you.

That night time once I sat at nighttime room with my pistol, the enemy needed me to drag the set off and finish my life. God needed me to stay with the intention to save others fighting related points.

I now know my goal is to make use of my experiences to unfold information, understanding and hope to heal others.   

Don’t fall for the enemy’s lies. Should you need assistance, attain out. I guarantee you, individuals are standing by. 

Should you or somebody you realize wants assist, name the Nationwide Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 800-273-TALK (8255).


Dr. Damon Friedman, a adorned veteran of fight in Iraq and Afghanistan, just lately retired from the Air Pressure as a lieutenant colonel in particular operations. He's the founding father of SOF Missions, which works with veterans with PTSD. This text is customized from his forthcoming e-book, "Igniting Actions," which empowers leaders to make a distinction in unsure occasions. 

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