Yesterday I lost a friend from 1-22 Infantry Regiment 4th ID to suicide related to PTSD. SSG Jason Jackson was a well-rounded NCO, friend, father and husband. When I served with him we were going through the initial invasion into Iraq in 2003. At the time he was an E5 and knew that his soldiers were depending on him to make decisions quickly and lead them. In the interim we lost 8 soldiers to IED’s, a Bradley Roll Over, Ambush’s and witnessed many others get injured on the battle field. Our unit’s main objective was to capture Saddam. This was a directive from General Ordierno which at the time he was the Division Commander. Our Battalion Commander was not letting off until we fulfilled that mission at any cost. It became a Joint Task Force task with the entire theater of operation searching, raiding and killing to get to Saddam and all those affiliated.
When we returned from combat many of us were not who we were when we left. Many ended relationships, some killed their spouses and landed in jail. Others continued to do what we do best and that’s to be a WARRIOR. We continued our service and deployed again the following year in 2005. Others ETS’d and became veterans to society. After our deployment in 2005 it was Iraq all over again with a different mission. Came home and again, some ETS’d while others continued to be WARRIORS and deployed again the following year. To this day, deployments still continue to roll into Iraq and Afghanistan. Many of those same soldiers are now E6-E8, O-3 to O-10 and are your leaders. Because we are NCO’s and Officers, YOUR LEADERS, it does not mean we are exempt from needing help. The support from the commands, soldiers and civilians are just what we all need to push through this battle with PTSD. Intervene when needed, talk to each other and notify the appropriate source no matter how minor it might seem to you.
PTSD is VERY serious. Many people carry on with their lives while others get left behind to fence for themselves. Sometimes, you won’t even know that soldier or veteran is suffering. It takes allot of training or even having PTSD to recognize when someone else is suffering with PTSD. All the signs are there. They tell you without being straight forward about their issue. They cry for help without actually telling you. Hints are posted on Facebook and other social media accounts. Behavior changes, moods, anxiety levels are high and are sensitive to criticism. Some people hide it very well and show no signs of any PTSD until it’s time. Even a normal day to day civilian that has never been to combat is prone to having some kind of depression at some point in their lives. It just takes that one moment of vulnerability to take one’s life by our own hand even if you’ve always been against it. Suicide is not prejudice.
It’s not a weakness to know you have PTSD, Depression or mental instability. Get the professional help you need and talk to a battle buddy. Check up on each other regularly because you just never know. One day you are here and the next you’re gone. At that point it’s too late to do anything about it. Intervene when you suspect there might be something wrong even if it’s minor. Not only talk to that soldier or veteran but tell someone else about it. A chaplain or anyone else in that soldier’s chain of command are good sources to talk about a particular soldier and what you witnessed in their behavior. In some cases it might not be anything extreme to you but it’s better to do something than nothing at all regardless of how minor it might seem to you. What you might believe is minor it’s not so minor to the next person. We all react differently towards stress. On average 22 veterans and soldiers commit suicide every day. Only YOU can change that by intervention and knowledge. We are WARRIORS and a WARRIOR never takes their life by their own hand. We win battles and live to tell the stories while raising our children to be great men and woman. We are also husbands, wives and friends. A warrior never backs down.
In closing, “WARRIORS are not what you think of as warriors. The warrior is not someone who fights, because no one has the right to take another life. The warrior, for us, is one who sacrifices himself for the good of others. His task is to take care of the elderly, the defenseless, those who cannot provide for themselves, and above all, the children, the future of humanity.” (Sitting Bull). “Though I am wounded, I will always be a warrior. I will never give up, nor quit in the face of adversity. I will do my best in all that I do and achieve. I will not allow my injuries to limit me, and most of all, I will never forget my fallen comrades or leave a fellow injured warrior behind. “(Wounded Warrior Creed)
We have a network of people that are there for each other on Facebook which can be found at this link, https://www.facebook.com/My-Brother-My-Battle-348569735481031/
Post your story, reach out to someone and get the resources you need to get help. You are not weak for asking for help. Don’t be too proud to ask for help or embarrassed to say you need help. We’ve all been through it as you can see with my story. Help us help you!
In closing, Please help us help the family of SSG Jason Jackson by visiting https://www.gofundme.com/2ttww9gk
Until we meet again,
Ballz Deep, Deeds Not Words!
#youarenevertooheavyIwillcarryyou #nevertooheavy #22aday