Linda, an Army veteran, went into the bathroom late one night to shoot herself in the head. Her family and the world would be better off without her, she thought to herself. Plus, she wanted to finally put an end to the bad dreams.

Her convoy was struck by a roadside bomb in 2010 taking out half her squad, she was one of the lucky ones, herself losing just her left leg.

Prior to the incident, she had been contemplating reporting a superior for sexual harassment during a night of heavy drinking with her unit. She decided against it, didn’t want to put her husband, a fellow soldier, through that.

Now back home she realized that her contribution and sacrifice had no real meaning. Was Iraq a better place after we left it? Nobody could give her good answers. She also struggled to find work as a mom of two and found that many companies were prejudiced against her service, especially when she moved back east. “They just didn’t think you’d be a good fit for the culture. Plus our CEO voted for AOC. You understand, right?” said her childhood friend who tried to get her an HR job at her tech company.

Her two boys (5 and 2) were in bed watching a movie with their headphones on. She knew her ex-husband would be here in the morning to pick up the pieces. She put the warm metal of the .45 to her head, and slowly squeezed the trigger until the darkness came.

I made up Linda, but the story of her is very real.

For some who read this, it will be the reflection in the mirror they don’t want to look at. Many others will just want to close their eyes, like a small kid watching a scary movie for the first time.

  • In 2017, the suicide rate for Veterans was 1.5 times the rate for non-Veteran adults, after adjusting for population differences in age and sex.
  • Firearms were the method of suicide in 70.7% of male Veteran suicide deaths and 43.2% of female Veteran suicide deaths in 2017. *2019 National Veteran Suicide Prevention Annual Report

Veteran suicides and other problems (I’m going to focus on suicide) aren’t going away by closing our eyes because we want the scary clown to vanish. The clown is in the room, we need to acknowledge that, and talk about solutions to help with a better military to civilian transition.