Monday, July 21, 2008

On a serious note...

I like it.

Suicide and depression is something that really wasn't addressed too much when I started boot camp. Unfortunately, it was something that had to be addressed in depth before we graduated. Eye opener, that.

Not really sure about the whole role-playing scenarios, somehow I see boot camp as one of those arenas that aren'y exactly condusive to good theatre, but mebbe that's just me. Recruits can be motivated to do just about anything, with a good D.I., and that's a fact...

One thing that the article nailed was the fact that it's almost always the fellow Marine that notices when another isn't doing so hot, and that communication is very important the whole way through. I would drop everything possible - and had to, a couple of times - if one of my Marines (or any, really) were having some no-shit issues that were getting rather difficult to handle.

One thing that I've advised to some vets - and some family members of vets - is that communication is important, even after the vet leaves the service. Civilians might have some difficulty understanding some of the issues, but difficulty is not a reason to abandon the effort before any attempts are made. Good comm isn't always sitting down and talking about ones feelings, thought that might be a part of it. Sometimes it's having a beer, commiserating about periphial hassles, or just hanging out, shooting pool.

My personal opinion is that talking with the guys and gals that you served with are the best folks to work through some issues with. Post service, that might not always be possible. People come from all over, and after they're done, alot of 'em go back to wherever they came from. Sometimes, another vet will do - they might have not been in your platoon or even branch of service, but they might be able to relate to the experiences. I'm always happy to help the few times that guys have come to me for help. I'd hope that any of my Marines could come to me, and if not, well, someone would do the same for them.

Sometimes, professional help is needed. I'm glad that mental help isn't nearly as much of a taboo as it was when I was in- heck, I've heard of some motivated Army officers that are mandated to go to counseling, as a 'lead by example' sort of thing. If they recommend one of their guys or gals go get some help, it's good to be able to relate one's own experiences to that sort of thing.


Old NFO said...

Excellent post Murph! Good advice to the friends/families also. We didn't have this after Nam, so quite a few didn't make it all the way back.

Hammer said...

My dad in his worst episodes talks about suicide a lot. He says it's his right to choose...this attitude has made his doctors go apeshit.

I figure the only thing I can do is be there for him when he gets to feeling like that.

From what I understand it's unfortunately all too common.

Murphy said...

Cryin' shame, old nfo, and that's the truth.

Hammer, there've been times when that's pretty much all I did. I got to feeling kinda bad, like maybe I should have done more, but I learned that sometimes, just being there is exactly whats needed.

Bobby G. said...

Agreed...we had many who returned from 'Nam, but left a LOT of themselves over there (some to this very day).

We all have good days and bad.
Makes me think of have to just "tough it out", but even that can be a daunting proposal at times.

We might not be able to ever forget, but we CAN learn and grow from the experiences we've encountered, and some small way manage to help someone else when they need it.
And to learn to help ourselves when WE need it.

Very good post, Sarge.