Posts tagged suicide
Posts tagged suicide
TW:suicide, rape, torture
June 25 2013
Iraq war veteran Daniel Somers committed suicide following an arduous battle with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) that was caused by his role in committing “crimes against humanity,” according to the soldier’s suicide note.
Somers was assigned to a Tactical Human-Intelligence Team (THT) in Baghdad which saw him involved in more than 400 combat missions as a machine gunner in the turret of a Humvee, in addition to his role in conducting interrogations.
Somers’ suicide note is a powerful indictment of the invasion of Iraq and how it ruined the lives of both countless millions of Iraqis as well as innumerable US troops sent in to do the dirty work of the military-industrial complex.
“The simple truth is this: During my first deployment, I was made to participate in things, the enormity of which is hard to describe. War crimes, crimes against humanity,” wrote Somers. “Though I did not participate willingly, and made what I thought was my best effort to stop these events, there are some things that a person simply can not come back from. I take some pride in that, actually, as to move on in life after being part of such a thing would be the mark of a sociopath in my mind. These things go far beyond what most are even aware of.”
Somers also complains about how he was forced to “participate in the ensuing coverup” of such crimes.
Somers’ death serves to refocus attention on the fact that military veterans are committing suicide in droves after being afflicted with PTSD as a direct result of committing atrocities while in combat.
As Somers highlights in his note, 22 military veterans commit suicide every single day. Amongst active-duty soldiers, more than one a day commit suicide, a figure that surpassed the number of US troops killed in combat in Afghanistan.
“And according to some experts, the military may be undercounting the problem because of the way it calculates its suicide rate,” reports the New York Times, adding that experts cannot understand “the root causes of why military suicide is rising so fast.”
However, the root causes are laid bare in Somers’ suicide note. US troops are being ordered to commit atrocities so vile that the only way many of them can cope with the horror of what they have done is by killing themselves.
Examples of atrocities aided directly or indirectly by US troops in Iraq include;
- Orders to slaughter “all military age men” during some operations;
- Torturing detainees – many of whom had never engaged in combat and were totally innocent - at grisly prison camps across the country;
- Raping and torturing children at the infamous Abu Ghraib detention facility while they shrieked in terror. Women forced to watch later begged to be killed.
- Sodomizing detainees with chemical lights and broom sticks;
- Indiscriminately firing upon and killing journalists and children from the air;
- Massacring entire groups of unarmed Iraqis, including children and the elderly in Hadith.
“This is what brought me to my actual final mission. Not suicide, but a mercy killing,” wrote Somers, adding that him living “any kind of ordinary life is an insult to those who died at my hand.”
Read Somers’ full suicide note, obtained by Gawker and published with his family’s permission.
“Sylvia Rivera kicking ass on stage after some radfems & transphobes tried to refuse her the right to speak at the 1973 Christopher Street Liberation Day rally. Said radfems then had their own march in part protesting trans participation in Pride. A precursor to today’s Dyke March.”
It is women like Sylvia Rivera and Marsha P. Johnson who started the Stonewall riots and queer liberation. 43 years later, trans women of color, the people who started the movement, are the people maligned and left behind by it.
In Sylvia’s words, “What the FUCK is wrong with you all?”
[[Trigger warning: suicide]]
Sylvia went home that night and attempted suicide.
Marsha Johnson came home and found her in time to save her life.
Sylvia left the movement after that day and didn’t come back for twenty years.
PSA tomorrow is April Fool’s Day. If someone talks about being suicidal, don’t assume they are joking. It’s just another day for people who are suicidal and in danger of self-harm.
I’d rather see a message like this spread instead of a ‘don’t make fake suicide notes!’ post. Because yeah, it’s an absolute asshole move to fake something like that. But it’s even worse to accuse someone who is suicidal of that shit.
Nearly half of living trans people–surviving trans people–have attempted suicide.
Nearly half of those of us who did not succeed in killing ourselves have tried.
Nearly a tenth of us will be murdered. Nearly half of us will be raped. Most of us will experience violence from loved ones and almost all of us will be denied homes and jobs. This is not hyperbole. These are the numbers as the world currently stands. But the most devastating one, as far as I am concerned, is that first one. Nearly half of the living have tried not to be. That is: let’s leave behind all the nearly. More than half of us have tried to end our own lives and many of us have succeeded. We are a heartbroken people.
This is not arbitrary. This is not a mistake. This is not for no reason. This is because we live in a world that has systematically forced into us the falsehood that we are unworthy of the basic consideration of humanity. This is because we–and we are a beautiful people, a powerful people, a beloved and phenomenal people–have been fed falsehood after falsehood until we were convinced that we were the problem, and not the campaign, from the institution on down to the individual, to erase, denigrate, break, and murder us. This is the failure state of the communities we live in: our families, our religious communities, our political leaders, our movements, our governments, our cultures. This is us–trans people–as a people–being forced to carry the weight of an entire world’s failure.
If we are so desperate to escape this world–if we see no other alternative, or worse, loathe ourselves so very much–it is because our communities have failed us. They can do better. We can do better. We deserve better. We are not so full of self-hate because something is wrong with us. We do not do such terrible violence to ourselves because that is what we deserve. We do not abdicate the belief in our own inherent dignity and worth lightly or easily. It is torn out of us, little by little, in daily, tiny murders. And every time we cringe and scrape and apologize for breathing, for taking up space, for speaking, for loving, every time we ask for forgiveness just for being what we are, every time we internalize story after story about how we are dead to our loved ones, ask to be brutalized, need to expect that what we are will merit every door closed in our faces, we are participating little by little in our own suicides.
I am no longer interested in sweet words about this. We convince ourselves we are the problem because we are taught to do so, and we are all taught this, minute by minute, even those of us who mostly don’t believe it. We are reminded every hour how low and vile we are despite our best efforts. If you have for an instant believed that you are unworthy of love, that you are wrong, that you are anything less than a person, it is very simply because your community has failed you.
When you have been told you are less than human–less than sacred–less than beautiful–your community has failed you. When you believe it, it is because your community has failed you. I do not intend to mince words.
If you are out there believing that you are less than other people–that you are unworthy–that those who love you are settling, or tolerating, or deserve your apology–that those you love are not lucky to have your love–your community has failed you. Your family has failed you. Your faith, if you have one, has failed you. Your leaders have failed you. If you or the people around you are using words that make you feel like a thing; if you are frightened to have basic bodily functions in public; if you talk about yourself like a disease, not a person; if you see nothing ahead in your old age but the bleakness of despair, isolation, and abuse; if your youth is a neverending desperation to get out and away to somewhere you cannot trust exists; if you are quietly taking your bag out from under the seat another has taken from you and moving on instead of asserting yourself; if you are telling yourself it is excusable for other people, even loved ones, not to afford you the basic respect of your own name; if you are believing this is the best you can do, they have let you down.
You deserve better. Because you are not the problem. You are not broken. You are not worthless. You are not a problem and you are not a mistake.
We talk a lot about principles and rights, but I am not talking about rights and don’t want to. Rights are the purview of politics and I don’t want to talk politics. I don’t want to talk analysis or discourse or theory.
I want to talk morals. It is a moral issue that our community is full of despair and self-hatred and self-disgust. It is not a matter of rights. It is not a matter of laws or votes or commandments. It is a moral issue. It is a theological issue. It is an issue of fundamental, basic human-ness. And I think sometimes we, as a community, especially those of us so proud to be radicals, forget that sometimes we rush ahead of the community, the culture, the people to whom we are connected, and want to talk about our rights before we talk about what we deserve and why we deserve it. We want to talk about protecting our own before we give each other reason to believe we are worth protecting. We want to jump in with both feet and spread the word about what we ought to have in society without convincing our people that we are worthy of not just full participation in society, civil or social, but of love. Of beauty. Of truth. Of basic humanity. Of self-respect.
This is not about self-esteem. This is not about self-help. This is a moral issue. This is an issue of the basic liturgy of human interaction–because it is our daily rituals that define the four corners of the world and the arches of the sky, it is our stories that tell us how to recognize our own faces, and we have been denied our place in the human liturgy for far too long and it is long past time to erupt up from the landscape that conceals us and demand, not just our rights, but the basic essential core of worth and decency that makes us people and therefore worthy of rights in the first place. We have been denied this and we have been told we are the problem. Those of us who are political, like me, hear often about ourselves as a cause. Those of us who are academic, like me, hear often about ourselves as a concept. But we have gotten ahead of ourselves because too many of us–leave alone everyone else, us!–have not heard about ourselves as people. We have been excluded from our own landscape of story and ritual. We have been ejected from our own moral universe. We have been torn from our own regard. And we are killing ourselves by degrees because of it. At eight years old I put a kitchen knife to my chest and pushed, and it was only a miracle that caused me to falter and fail. That eight year old child was not the problem. I was not the problem. A world that taught me that I had no place in it, that taught me to look away from my own holy truth and afford myself not even a scrap of the respect I agreed all other people merited, that taught me that nothing done to me could be wrong because my own moral universe did not include me–that world was and is the problem.
If for a moment in your life you have spent a breath or a thought hating yourself, looking on yourself with disgust and contempt, it is because people have let you down, and those people were wrong. You deserve not to submit to them. You were never the problem. If for a moment you thought your family, your friends, your lovers, needed to compromise to love you, thought they could do better and have a real person instead, it is because your community has let you down, from the top to the bottom.
If our leaders cannot tell us this–if we as leaders cannot tell each other this–we are fundamentally and profoundly abdicating our responsibility to our people, who are crying out for justice. If you run a church or a support group or a political faction or a newsletter or a website. If you speak to our people in public, if you guide young people or those just discovering themselves, if you are entrusted with the responsibility to guide any of us, and you do not make it clear that we are whole, we are real, we are worthy, we are beautiful? You are letting us down and you can do better. You can do better than letting that lie go unchallenged. Our people are hungry for the truth. We are starving. If you deny them that food, if you feed them garbage instead, it is on you.
This is not politics, or theory. It is a moral issue. We are under the arch of the same sky, and yet we are denied the sight of it, leave alone the hope that we might be virtuous enough to share in holding it up.
We are not the problem. We are not broken. We are not dirty. Wrong is not our name. We are not wrong. It is long past time to recognize that though we may lose much from truth-telling, when it all burns away, everything that is left is true.
Do not trust me because some great Word is in me. Trust yourself and the Word in you. Trust that you are brim-full of truth. Trust that there is a mighty and lie-less core within you that from birth has told you that you are full of what is good, and trust that the fact you cannot hear it ringing out over your landscape is because it has been buried by other people in a landfill of falsehood.
The fact that you can doubt the truth within yourself is because your community has let you down. And we can do better. We deserve better. We are better than that. We are not wrong.
I do not intend to mince words. Whatever there is in you that tells you that you are not worth loving, not worth living, not worth fighting for: burn it. Burn it down and dig for the truth underneath. Dig down through the ashes of all those lies until you hit bedrock and then, pushing off from it, rise up. We walk in places much too dark and terrible to deny ourselves this. In a world that sanctions and blockades our sources of spiritual nourishment, we carry too much already to weaken ourselves by collaborating with this enforced and unjust impoverishment. We deserve to rise up, and, even if only in ourselves, nurture revolution.
We are real people, beautiful people, and we deserve families, communities, movements, and cultures that honor us. I think we can have them. I believe we can make them. We are part of this human family, worthy, complete, pure, and mighty. And we ought to be able to say this out loud and to ourselves until we know that it is true.
Welcome to church.
Historically Alaska Native peoples lived solely from the lands and waters of the far north; it is that relationship between land, water and people that has culturally defined the first peoples of Alaska. Today Alaska Natives face many challenges in a world dominated by differing values. Rapid lifestyle changes, forced assimilation, and historical traumas have led to severed connections to the land and waters; these struggles threaten the loss of traditional values that have sustained Alaska Native Peoples for millennium.
Alaska Native communities today are battling suicide rates six times the national average. Suicide is a problem that is difficult to think about and hard to talk about. In many families and communities people either do not want to talk about these tragedies or they do not know how to talk about them. Therefore the impacts of suicide get buried deep and individuals, families, and communities are left without a healing process.
We Breathe Again is a feature length documentary film that takes a real and intimate look at Alaska Native communities as they struggle with the impacts of suicide, and endeavor on a path of individual and community healing. The film presents journeys of both hardship and beauty; and it illuminates everyday paths toward reconnecting the severed ties between the people, the land, and the waters. Set in a landscape as dramatic as the stories, this film will push the audience to feel the rhythm of the land juxtaposed to the realities of its peoples.
We Breathe Again follows inter-generational Alaska Natives today, each shedding light on pieces of the past, present, and future of their culture and way of life. Through experiences of humor and sadness; of joy and despair, this documentary is an Alaska Native story about being Native today.
[[Image Description: White text on black background. Text reads, “Reblog If you have honestly ever thought about killing yourself.”]]
And the funny thing is that there’s almost never been a definite incident in my life where I could point to it and say, “There! That’s it! That’s what made me want to die!” It’s always more of a slow buildup of tiny things that don’t matter until they do.
And it’s never been something where I was the cliched image of a Suicidal Person, because the cliche doesn’t allow for not dying because you haven’t finished B5 or not dying because you haven’t moved back home or not dying because you haven’t tried that new slushie flavor or not dying because you still haven’t seen Serenity, gorramit. Death isn’t some grand life event, it’s small and trivial and so is life.
Once. It was terrifying. I never want to be there again.
it doesn’t get better, for some it gets worse
everyone says how
‘it gets better’
it hurts because
obviously something is wrong with you
because everyone says
‘it gets better’,
and it isn’t getting better
so you should just hide the hurt,
‘it gets better’.
you shouldn’t complain because
if it’s not getting better than it’s your fault.
if everyone says it then it must be true,
no matter how much it all hurts,
or how bad things have gotten
don’t complain because
‘it gets better’
so just deal with it
and suck it up
like a good victim.
don’t fight back because,
then you just make them angry,
and if they are angry
they have a reason to hurt you.
don’t you know
that if you a perfect victim
‘it gets better’
the teachers all say
‘it gets better’
parents all say
‘it gets better’
even your hero says keep trying,
‘it gets better’
but its not,
and you don’t know how to try anymore.
they all say
‘it gets better’
but none of them help,
none of them seem to care
so maybe when they say it,
they mean after it’s all over.
after all it didn’t change
when you wore the right clothes
listened to the right must
when you try your hardest
to stop being different.
‘it gets better’
when its all over and done
those pills in the cupboard,
that rope in the garage,
that razor in the bathroom,
seems so much easier than hearing
‘it gets better’
everyday when doesn’t.
from everyone whose suppose to help,
so you make a choice
and swallow all the pills
any wait for it to end
because then it will be better
and you won’t have to hurt anymore
Suicide may still be a hush-hush topic for many Indian people, but it’s not for Arnold Thomas, Shoshone-Paiute. And Thomas, who tried to commit suicide in 1988, when he was 18—and miraculously survived—has plenty to say about it. In fact, that is what he has done for most of the past decade. Under the banner of his Salt Lake City–based firm, White Buffalo Knife Consulting, he has traveled to dozens of tribal communities in the United States and Canada to speak about his attempted suicide. During the first half of the 2000s, he was telling his inspirational story to some 20,000 to 30,000 people every year, hoping to encourage more open communication of a problem that touches too many Indian youths.
Thomas, 41, was recently ordained the first chaplain from the Native faith traditions with the College of Pastoral Supervision and Psychotherapy, and he is a chaplain for the Veterans Health Administration. While he does not deliver his suicide-prevention talk as often as he used to, he is still eager to speak about his experience—what drove him to the point of suicide, how he survived, the healing process and how he emerged from it all with a soaring spirituality and a renewed love of life.
Bei Bei Shuai was released on bail today after more than a year in an Indianapolis jail for being so depressed during pregnancy that she attempted suicide. She survived the suicide attempt but lost her baby — and her ordeal is not over yet.
Even though she was finally released today from jail, she is far from free. Even though she is no longer held in a cell, she must wear a GPS electronic monitor which tracks her location every second of the day, and which she must pay for herself ($12 dollars a day). All of Ms. Shuai’s savings have gone to the enormous cost of her ongoing legal defense, and now, she must literally pay for each day outside a jail-cell.
Ms. Shuai still has to stand trial for attempted feticide and murder of a viable fetus – facing a sentence that could be as long as 45 years. According to the Indiana Court of Appeals women who experience pregnancy losses may be charged with murder, and those who take any intentional act that is perceived as risking pregnancy loss can be charged with attempted feticide and attempted murder.
This is so incredibly wrong….
Please consider donating to the Bei Bei Shuai Legal Defense Fund.