Wounded Warrior Project has had some very bad press this year with some difficult times ahead. But, I recently came back from a wonderful trip with them that I think may just change my life!
One of the "pillars" of WWP is helping veterans get back into shape physically and finding ways of doing activities that don't exacerbate their disabilities. I was allowed to attend an off road biking adventure in Utah where I was able to experience riding a recumbent bicycle that allowed me to ride without pain for the first time in years! Now, I hope to get a recumbent of my own and start moving again!!!!
It has been a long journey, and it certainly isn't over yet, but I am grateful for all the blessings I have been given and for the opportunities that groups like WWP give to disabled veterans like myself.
I don't update this site very often... mostly I post stories and links to the FaceBook page. But every once in a while I post a bit here. Today I was moved to do so again.
I read an article from a PTSD FaceBook page that I shared on the Unvalidated Pain FB page. It talked about the media coverage on our nation's ever increasing suicide rate and how that coverage doesn't mention all the people who have reached out for help and gotten through a suicidal crisis. As one who volunteers for Crisis Text Line (741-741), I can attest to the fact that there are many who reach out for help and are saved from dying by suicide. It is important that this information is shared! That people can reach out, receive help, and recover!
Please reach out. Sometimes just having someone to talk to can make all the difference.
Tomorrow I celebrate my 20th wedding anniversary. Many would say congratulations... that not many make it this long. And yet, i can only remember the time that divorce was on the horizon. Papers filed. Money paid. But, when the day came, I didn't go. And that has made all the difference (to paraphrase Robert Front). The money lost was worth it, knowing that tomorrow I can say that we have made it. Together!
No one gets through war by him/herself. And no one can get through the transition home alone either! Allowing people to be part of the healing process is essential, though difficult.
I spent last week at a Wounded Warrior Retreat with a group of outstanding women. Since we have returned home, we have supported each other on a closed FB page. It was been wonderful. And, I received a beautiful comment from one of the peer mentors from that trip who was willing to take the time to read my book. i share it here in hopes that others will be moved to read it, or share it, or share their own in order to heal!!
"I just finished your book-- It was by far the most powerful book I have read in a long time. It touched close to home- Thank You for sharing your story!"
It's the last few days of Suicide Prevention Month. I have been trying to share the story of "Unvalidated Pain" and the idea of watching Robin Williams movies, that people may remember that all of us have been impacted by suicide to one degree or another. I hope you have taken the opportunity this month to share your story, to share the book, "Unvalidated Pain," or in some other way help prevent suicide. If you have ideas on ways to have a positive impact on the lives of those who suffer due to suicide or from suicidal thoughts, please share them here! May we all be a force for positive change!
Today is the last day of Suicide Prevention Week, but I hope you will continue to share what you have learned about suicide prevention and most importantly, I hope you will step in to help another who is suffering. No one should die alone. And no one should die by his/her own hand. We may not be able to stop everyone, and we should not (like I have!) take responsibility for those who do commit suicide, but we SHOULD, we MUST, do what we can to help another in pain. Reach out. Be a listening ear. Share your own struggles. And get help! Call the Suicide Prevention Hotline if you or another is in crisis!
Wanted to pass on this link a friend shared for DoD's 2014 Suicide Prevention theme - "The Power of One." It's true… one person can make a difference. And one comment, one text, one phone call to someone who is down and suicidal can give him/her pause and save a life! That's not just a platitude, it comes from experience - from both sides of the aisle.
Preventing Suicide: The ‘Power of 1’ Could Save a Life
With Suicide Prevention week coming up the second week in September (September 7-13), I would like to challenge those who have been touched by Robin Williams and/or touched by suicide to:
1) share their favorite Robin Williams movie on their FB/Twitter page
2) watch their favorite Robin Williams movie the week of September 7th (September 10th is World Suicide Prevention Day)
3) start a conversation with others about suicide - how it has impacted them, how to prevent it, etc.
4) if able and/or so moved, donate to Suicide Prevention Life Line - an organization that provides online and phone counseling to those in crisis
5) challenge others to do all of the above!
Unfortunately, the pain of combat doesn't end when one comes back. We lost nearly 2000 vets just since January 2014 to suicide. IAVA is trying to get congress and the White House involved, but it takes all of us to combat suicide. If you are in pain and need to talk to someone, call the suicide hotline. If you are a friend of one in pain, get him/her help now!
1,892 US Veterans Are Thought to Have Committed Suicide Since January 1, 2014
Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) go to Capitol Hill each year to lobby for changes that will improve the lives of veterans. This year, the 10th annual Storm the Hill, they go to seek help from Congress and the White House in reducing military and veteran suicide. You can follow their progress on their website: IAVA and on Twitter. Let's hope their faithful work can reduce our 22 veteran a day suicide rate!
A medically retired, Iraqi Freedom veteran, Army Chaplain.