A Step Sideways
I often hear people say that suicide victims are cowardly and selfish “How could they do that to their families?” I’ve spoken with several first responders on the brink of suicide and I’ve also spoken with family and coworkers of those first responders who have ended their lives. This is what I’ve learned.
In one day I had a paramedic from England and a paramedic from New Jersey email me stating they wished for “the sweet life of suicide”. One of them told me it’s terrifying to contemplate suicide while not wanting to die. “I don’t want to leave my family but I feel there’s no other options for me”. Thankfully these two were reaching out for help but I think many don’t have the mental capacity to even know they’re in trouble. They are bombarded constantly by their demons and it only gets worse when they sleep. They need help but they’re too ashamed to ask for it, they feel they have only one option. I think a big step of getting out of that trap is to realize you’re not alone, don’t be ashamed for how you feel and seek help.
I have also heard from several family members and coworkers of suicide victims. Of this group it’s about 50/50 between anger and understanding. It’s my hope that this post pushes this group closer to understanding. PTSD changes the biology of the brain. After hearing from so many first responders who suffer from PTSD and are contemplating suicide I have no doubt they truly believe they have no other option.
There is a way back from what the military calls ‘a step sideways’. If you are reading this and you feel suicide is your only option then please call one of these numbers to receive the help you need –
USA 1-800- 273-8255
Australia 13 11 14
If you are not from one of these countries and know your national suicide help line then please add the country and number in the comments below.
Have a safe and healthy week everyone.
StepSidewaysAll photos by Daniel Sundahl
From Emergency Response Portraits