“You are alone, no one cares if you live or die. Kill yourself already.” This phrase buzzes through my head multiple times a day. I shake my head to clear it. My medicine must be wearing off. Reaching for the console in my truck, I open it. Percocet, Oxy, Vicodin, Valium, and muscle relaxer bottles rattle when the lid relinquishes its grip. “Time to load up.” My Double Gulp of Mountain Dew with a splash of Vodka helps me wash down my happy pills. Exiting my truck, I slowly begin making my way to the office.
My demons are temporarily silenced from the flood of narcotics. Gathering my squad together, I begin instructing them on the fine art of combat medicine. “Listen troops, you can’t perform first aid in the kill box. Pull the wounded behind cover, someone slap a band aid on the wound, and get out of the kill zone.” My soldiers nod their heads, and I quiz them on basic first aid until lunch.
“Hey Sergeant, do you want us to bring you something back for lunch?” Forcing a smile that I didn’t feel, I turn down their offer. I walk over to a desk and plop down on top of it. The black cloud of depression weighs heavily on my mind. “Everyone is gone to lunch; your pistol is in your truck, you could kill yourself and no one would find you for at least an hour.” Tears rush to my eyes, angrily I wipe them away. I have been home for three years and it seems that I replaced Iraq with a war at home and work. “I fight at home, then I come to work and I fight here….repeat cycle….what must I do to get relief?” It was a rhetorical question, and I did not expect an answer. However, my mind was bent to give me one. “KILL YOURSELF!” The vehemence of this unwanted answer forcefully brought me back to reality.
The sound of laughter echoes throughout the motorpool. My soldiers gradually make their way back to our small office. Forcing a smile, I pull out the next part of my training presentation. “My name is SGT Freeman, and this afternoon I will be instructing you on how to be a hard target and the dangers of being a soft target.” In the back of my mind I could hear depression manically laughing and it chills my blood….