Monday, September 4, 2017

After Suicide Family and Friends Face Their Own Demons

Suicide Survivors: Death of a soldier forces parents to face their demons

Independent Record
Matt Neuman
September 4, 2017

For some people, moving on means finding a balance between forgetting and remembering.
 Ten years after the loss of her son, Lisa Kuntz of Helena still feels the pain, it’s just a little less jagged.

“I’ll see someone walking down the street that looks like him, and I’ll still break down,” she said. “But life is good for me now. Of course, it’s no bed of roses. But death is part of life, just like paying bills or being in debt.”
(Note: Read about the parents struggle and then read about his buddy's battle)
Now, 10 years later, Josh still struggles with the anxiety of losing his friend and his comrade.
“If he could see that over 10 years on, so many of us are still hurting, maybe he wouldn’t have done it,” he said. “But, hell, I’ve had suicidal ideations because of it, so maybe not. I still haven’t dealt with his death. I just keep shoving it down deeper.”
Survivors are three times more susceptible to suicide and self-harm, according to Karl Rosston, suicide prevention coordinator with Montana Department of Public Health and Human Services. He says the No. 1 thing survivors can do is talk about it, not internalize their feelings.
Josh went to the V.A. for help, and ended up on anti-anxiety medication. He had hoped for a quick fix, an easy out from the pain. But it wasn’t enough. Eventually he met a therapist he liked at the V.A., who he said helped to make him more self-aware of his P.T.S.D.
“She told me it wasn’t my fault, that I didn’t do anything wrong, but I guess I’ve never accepted that part of it. It’s unshakeable. In the Guard we spent so much time learning to protect and take care of each other, but we screwed up. I still live with that every day.”

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