The Warrior Project is a warm, welcoming drop-in center for those living with extreme emotional and/or physical pain coupled with hopelessness, and a resource for families and friends fearing for the life of, or grieving the loss of, the person they love so much.
My husband was a true warrior, fighting demons no one else could see. I thought he was the strongest man in the world, but unfortunately, the demons got the better of him. The name of this project is in no way intended to be reflective of, or piggy back off, Wounded Warriors which serves those wounded after September 11, 20o1. Like too many others, Johnny was a warrior long before then.
The Warrior Project will offer useful activities, quiet space, on-site therapists, and staff trained in supporting warriors and their warrior families.
Our first drop-in center is located in Lewiston ME. The need is far greater than in just this area, and it is expected that more Warrior Project drop-in centers will be added in other communities.
Fighting the Deadliest Foe: The Demons Within
The Warrior Project is about the terrible battle some of us carry on inside ourselves, fighting our own personal demons… a battle that is far more dangerous than it seems on the surface, because it is often silent, and unfelt and unseen by others… yet is is such a painful, personally violent battle that it can – and too often does – end in death.
That death destroys many lives…not just the life of the one seeking to end an existence devoid of hope. Those left behind are crushed, heartbroken and filled with horrendous pain, guilt and longing for it all to change back.
Because of this, some believe that suicide is a selfish act. However, those who’ve been on that precipice will tell you it is not selfish; it is an act of desperation, of believing there is no other choice to stop the pain.
Too often those fighting this internal battle are unable to tell others – even those they love the most – how much they hurt, how much pain they are in, and how hopeless they feel that things will ever get better.
For some, like my husband, the impact of a lifetime of sadness and depression in which he believed he was responsible for every bad thing that happened to those he loved, coupled with physical pain (from back and leg injuries), an electric shock in 2005 (480 volts of 3-phase electricity) that left him with blinding micro-headaches and anxiety attacks, COPD and emphysema, nearly dying in 2011 from a chipped tooth that led to endocarditis, pulmonary emboli and sepsis, and then being monitored for the last 15 months for possible lung cancer (no biopsy because of the placement of the masses in his lungs, and his extremely compromised health), were all too much.
I knew he hurt. I did everything I could think of from loving him fiercely to kicking his ass when it seemed warranted. But although he loved me too, he couldn’t tell me how bad it was. The few times he tried, he was unable to get across the depth of his despair. Maybe I didn’t listen hard enough; I don’t know. I thought he was the strongest man in the world. And maybe he was. But he couldn’t continue.
Could I have prevented his death? I don’t know. The survivor guilt in me screams YES! It’s your fault, you should have done more!! The rational part says that he was on a self-destruct course, that he made choices every day not to find alternatives or answers.
So how will The Warrior Project help those who are so very hurt?
The Warrior Project is built on the premise that everyone needs 4 basic things in their lives: a home, a job, a friend – and hope.
A Home means a place that one can call one’s own. It doesn’t have to be a traditional house with yard and a white picket fence – for some people, it can be a single room in a boarding home or a tent in the woods. It just needs to be a place where one can have privacy, keep one’s belongings, and feel like it’s their very own space, their escape from the world… their haven.
A Job means a sense of purpose. It can be anything from a demanding high level executive position, to being a stay-at-home mom, to volunteering for a cause near to one’s heart. We know that one of the riskiest times for men is when they retire from years of work and suddenly feel like they have no purpose. We hope to engage such men in helping with The Warrior Project.
A Friend is someone to share thoughts, hopes, dreams and feelings with. That friend can be a beloved spouse, a sibling, or even a favorite pet dog or cat… a being we can love and who will love us back.
Hope is the belief that there will be relief … relief from chronic physical and/or emotional pain, from chronic depression, from chronic illness… hope that the future will not always be as bleak as it is today. Hope is the hardest of them all because we cannot give another person hope. That person must find it and believe in it for themselves. However, we can teach ways to cope with psychic and physical pain, provide examples of others who have found hope, and offer unconditional support even while expecting those suffering to take responsibility for their lives.
The purpose of The Warrior Project (https://warrior-project.org) is to save lives, and help make life worth living for anyone affected by suicidal thoughts, suicide attempts, and/or the completed suicides of someone s/he loves.
The Warrior Project’s primary purpose is help to those at risk of suicide to develop the skills they need to obtain some relief from their emotional and physical pain, thereby improving their quality of life, and reducing the likelihood of suicide attempts and completions.
The Warrior Project’s secondary purpose is to provide support & information to family members and friends of those who may be at risk of suiciding, to give them an increased awareness of the signs & symptoms of suicidal thoughts so they can have the chance to intervene appropriately, and – we hope – never have to go through the hell that the suicide of a loved one leaves in its wake.