My friend Adam Grey has written an article for Faith and Heritage, outlining a devastating rise of suicide among lower middle class whites. Whether it be an outright death or a slow death through drugs and alcohol, the epidemic (according to the source he cites) is comparable to the AIDS epidemic of a few decades ago. The death rate is so significant, it has skewed the entire data set of white deaths.
Maybe I was unwise to do it, but I’ve written freely about my struggle with suicidal thoughts here at Shotgun Barrel Straight. Unwise because, at least in my experience, it encourages a lack of respect, demeaning and condescending attitudes, and general nastiness from people who ought to know better. And for my part, I think I’ve finally gotten to the bottom of the issue – at least, for the time being. My insights here might shed light on the wider issue among whites:
You see, early on, a group of my high school friends and I debated which of the military special forces were the best. We each chose a different branch – one friend thought Marine Recon was tops while another was intent on becoming a Green Beret. I argued that Navy SEALs were the best; they seemed to offer a sophisticated finesse the others lacked. They weren’t grunts. They were intelligent and…well, I really shouldn’t have to explain to *this* audience why a young man would find them attractive. I grew up around the water anyway and loved the romance of it.
Long story short, we joined our respective services. None of us made it to special forces of course but out of the four of us, I came the closest. I had this vision of myself and the vision only grew the closer I came to my goal. At one point, I was at the top of my game: I was in the best shape of my life, I was great at my job (as a Naval photographer), I knew all about the CIA’s war in Afghanistan and was ready to do my part. I was just getting into Christian apologetics as well and was kicking butt and taking names in that area. Also, I met this girl – a beautiful, blonde, cheer-leader type who loved Rush Limbaugh and was passionate about Christianity and conservative politics. I wasn’t just in love with her, I was in love with this entire vision of who I was, my place in the world, and the wonderful life I was going to have.
But, well…I didn’t make it as a SEAL; and the girl, she married someone else. Also, due to my study in apologetics and a theological shift into Calvinism, I became guilty about my service to Molech and couldn’t continue my enlistment with a good conscience. My entire identity and sense of self collapsed. That vision – the one that sustained me my entire life to that point – was gone. Depression soon crept in and no matter what I did, it got worse and worse.
My life since leaving the military has been one long striving to fill that emptiness with new purpose but every new vision I’d erect for myself would collapse just as the first one had. None have been as sweet; none have managed to equal that first vision; and none have lasted near as long.
It’s that lack of vision that leads to suicidal thoughts. And believe me, drugging oneself, be it through prescription or by abuse of other types of substances, is simply not the answer. Suicidal people – at least, those in my situation – can’t be cured with a doctor’s note. Curing depression is easy, as far as that goes. A few aminos here, a St. John’s Wart there, and you’re done. But those things never fill the gaping hole in the chest that lead to the suicidal depression in the first place. There’s no pill that can cure a lack of vision.
I was thinking about this again after reading Adam’s article and I remembered a verse in Romans:
For we are saved by hope: but hope that is seen is not hope: for what a man seeth, why doth he yet hope for?
No matter how many times I begged God to give me a new, lasting, vision for my life, He’s ignored me.
Maybe this is why?
Restore vision to the white working classes – give them their damned dignity – and the high rate of suicides will quickly drop. I’m convinced of that. But how can we have hope in a vision we can’t see?
Other people might be able to do it, but I can’t and that’s probably why I’m having a hard time with the Christian faith.