03 February 2012

The knives we carry

Before you start reading: this post contains written thoughts about suicide. The words are graphic, and real, but they are only thoughts-- not actions.

The following was written late this afternoon. I'd just woke up from what was a close to decent nights sleep. There were two messages on my phone, one from the VA- I'm going to start active therapy again- and the other from the person I'm subletting my apartments from. Paperwork for financial aid this year is hosed, which is mostly my fault. Along with not being able to handle classes comes not being able to handle other paperwork, it seems. So my current apartment is now too expensive, and I need to find a new place and move very soon (ie, “I gotta bug out”).

These thoughts have been bouncing around off and on for a while now. That whole “well made plans often go astray” thing is doing a number on me. Today it bitchslapped me for several hours. I did manage to make some coffee, and write what you see below. I took my meds, although a couple of hours late. I eventually got hungry-- not the “Rocky lost the fight, so now has to get hungry to train twice as hard for Rocky II” kind, but the “MickeyD's sounds really fucking good right about now” kind. The walk there was cold, the food tasted like greasy cardboard, and the walk back was cold. But it helped.

Meds now, therapy soon. I'll be ok.


I've had a recurring thought, these past few days (weeks): “If I were suddenly not here, would anyone notice? Would anyone care? Would anything change?”

I, like many vets (and many people in general) carry a pocket knife. It's a black Ken Onion folder from Kershaw, a gift from my best friend. It's equipped with a three inch blade that has a serrated section, and it's spring loaded so it opens with an audible pssht-click. Carried in my left pocket, it's technically a concealed weapon. Realistically, it's just a somewhat bad-ass looking, along with extremely well made and useful, pocket knife. It could be a weapon, if not for the fact that I can use it for hand-to-hand combat about as well as I can fly an F-16 to the moon. I also occasionally carry a smaller folder, same basic concept. I always have one or the other close at hand, and they are always kept sharpened.

I figure five or six times with the serrated portion of either blade would open up the blood vessels in either wrist pretty effectively. The pointy end would do a good job of reaching far enough to hit whatever artery it is that feeds blood to the hand and fingers. It would hurt, I imagine. I recently cut a 1/8” slice out of a finger tip trying to pick up a safety razor blade, and that hurt like a motherfucker. Maybe I could take a few aspirin, dull the pain and thin the blood. Then, it's simple. Wrap up in a blanket on my futon, get comfortable, and bleed until I pass out.

No one expects me to be anywhere until tomorrow at 1600 when I'm supposed to be at work, and they'll just mark me as absent if don't answer when they call to see where I am- no one will come to my apartment to check. My next shift would be Monday night, and they might wonder then, but by then it'll all be done. I haven't talked to my Mom since Christmas. If she doesn't hear back from me right away, she just waits until the next holiday and calls again.

I'm behind on my rent, so I have to be out of my apartment by Monday anyway.

I imagine they'll find me then, the police will be called, there will be an investigation. My wallet will provide clues: student ID, and a VA card. They'll find out from the university that I'm a student who can't enroll, with a history of academic problems. They'll see the collection of bottles of anti-depressants on my desk, and the VA will tell them that I've been in and out of therapy for PTSD, anxiety, and depression for going on twelve years. More, if you count the couples therapy from when I was still married. There was also the therapy when I was a kid, in junior high school (the one where I didn't talk, because I didn't know what was wrong).

Neighbors will say they rarely saw me, and didn't notice anything out of the ordinary-- older guy, seemed nice enough, but he kept to himself, pretty much.

Court records will show some debt, a couple of tickets but nothing recent, a divorce, a bankruptcy. It'll all go into a report that will be filed and forgotten. Or, none of it will. What explanation do you need beyond depressed and drugged vet who finally just gave up?

My stuff will be sold or donated, or simply thrown away. My apartment will be cleaned up and re-rented. The new tenant won't be told.

I'll be buried in a state-managed veterans cemetery, most likely the same one where my Dad is buried. One day there will be a small funeral, taps will be played. Will anyone cry? Another day, a crew will bury me. Then there will be only the sounds of the wind across the land, and the occasional car going by.


No humans (me included) were harmed during the writing of this post. Comments are (as always) welcome.


  1. Hey, sorry I haven't commented on any of the other stuff. I want you to know that I've been watching this blog on and off since I found it. (I'm the grad student who used your blog for a class) I was a little worried about how the last semester went since there was nothing after december. I'm not a vet, I don't have PTSD, but I work Vets in Higher ED and I know that this kind of thing is important for us to see and understand. Please stay safe.

  2. Hi, to answer your question, I would notice if you weren't here. And even though I don't know you, on a human level I would care. Did everything work out with the apartment?


  3. Hi there dude. I find it really impressive that you can articulate yourself so well when it comes to your pain. Far better than I can, and I'm a double major in Theatre and English, also PTSD. I know these thoughts: I have them every day. Like you, they're thoughts and not actions... but the thoughts still cause a lot of damage, eh? Hang in there - I've got one more semester left, no idea how I'll survive the next two-three months... except that I intend on checking in on your blog daily. It helps a whole hell of a lot to see that I'm not alone (heck, I guess neither of us are) and not crazy! :)

    I'm actually in the same boat with the apartment, too, but I think mine will turn out ok. You alright? How did the apartment go? Where are you staying? Keep us all updated.


  4. It's good to get your feeling off your chest glad you are going to continue therapy. Sometimes it never seems it will get better and death is the only way out. But I read something truely moving it was a qoute found at a concentration camp ... Which made me think wow if these people managed to keep hope alive ... So should I. I've decided if I die no one will miss me as much as I will have missed out on what life has to offer. We're human we're vulnerable, but for a reason so we can see we aren't invinciable and we shouldn't place value on material things,but rather the human conditon. I tell myself I am worthy of love everyday from myself first and foremost ... Sometimes it's followed by some remarks lol but I've started to believe it. God can forgive if we ask for it ... Its seeking our own forgiveness that tourments us. You will be okay :)

  5. I'm hanging in there-- finally in a new apartment, back in regular therapy, trying to take all of my pills on schedule. I've been receiving positive feedback at work lately, which has helped. Some days that's all I do, going to work, but perhaps doing well at work is something to build on.

    Thank you, everyone, for your comments. Small steps forward.


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