Tag Archives: suicide

Garret

This is what heroin addiction does to a person long term.

What heroin addiction really looks like

I took the phone from her as she left. “How are you doing?” I said.

“I don’t really know how to answer that,” Garrett said. He looked lost. Sad and angry at the same time. Trapped. He had deserved to go to jail in the past, he said. This was the first time he didn’t deserve it. He wouldn’t get better here, surrounded by inmates with drug connections. About two-thirds of men and women in local jails nationally are estimated to be using or dependent on drugs or alcohol.

It might not have seemed like it to others, but he had been doing well for him. He had started college. He had kept a job until he started school. With an adult record, he’d have trouble finding a job, an understanding community. He’d have student loan debt he wouldn’t be able to repay.

His probation conditions undoubtedly would prohibit him from using again — rules at odds with the reality of addiction where relapse is common, just as it is with other chronic illnesses. Even if he could find a good treatment program with an opening, he’d need to balance it with a job to pay off the restitution he owed for previous offenses as a juvenile — or face ending up in jail again. And the substance that righted his brain and connected him to his friends? No more.

“This is the only time I’ve seriously contemplated ending it,” he said. “I’ve never, ever felt this weak in my life.”

3 IDF soldiers from the same unit kill themselves within weeks of the Gaza ceasefire

This is messed up

In the weeks after Israel and Hamas agreed to an open-ended ceasefire, three Israeli soldiers decided to end their lives with their own weapons. And what was especially striking about their suicides was that all served in the same unit, the Givati Brigade, which had a reputation for its ruthless ferocity, considerable bravery, and the use of Old Testament religiosity to justify the merciless operations of its commander, Colonel Ofer Winter.

So why did it happen?

A contributing factor, according to Staff Sergeant J., who served in the Givati Brigade in the middle of the last decade, and does not want to be named, is that secular Israelis are now avoiding the military or declining to continue after mandatory service. “Those who do continue feel a religious and political duty,” he says. This has been discussed as a concern by Israeli academics and analysts for years.

The staff sergeant said that when he was in the Givati Brigade in 2007 or so, it was “openly secular.” He recalls “there was a group who had come from the yeshiva,” but “often they were uncomfortable… they felt sidelined.” As secular Israelis left, however, the vacancies were filled by settlers, he said.

Could any of this, or some of this, or none of this have affected the decision of three Givati soldiers to take their own lives? The Daily Beast reached out to several post-traumatic stress disorder specialists for their analysis.

“It is strange that they hadn’t seen a mental-health counselor,” said Mooli Lahad, an Israeli psychiatrist and psychotrauma specialist with over three decades of experience. He was citing reports that the Givati soldiers hadn’t received treatment. “This isn’t common for the IDF,” he said.

Lahad stressed that suicide usually has to do with pre-existing issues, such as depression, and an accumulation of factors can lead to a sense of hopelessness, which counseling helps to prevent.

“Sometimes, if there is a particularly macho culture, seeking help for depression or PTSD is seen as showing weakness, which is discouraged,” Lahad said. “If there’s a commander who thinks God is whispering in his ear, this can make things even more difficult.”

The article also speaks of religious radicalization of the Israeli military due to the role of fundamentalist settlements.