I don’t think any of us knew what went through his mind after deployment. I think many of us were thankful to have made it home safely. There were some of us who had nightmares or reacted to loud noises with startled motions and looking around for any bombs. This was my experience anyhow. It took time and talking about my experiences with trusted comrades who had deployment experience to ease the nerves and to stop the wild dreams. I was one of the lucky ones. My faith in Christ and the prayers of many friends and family no doubt helped me stay safe and to settle down once home. I appreciate all of the support I had.
I can’t speak for Villers, in terms of his support. Perhaps he had support but did not use it. It was early on in the war deployments for much of the public to know that veterans were suffering silently. It seemed common that if someone didn’t talk about their deployment experiences, then it was appropriate to presume the service member was okay and did not need help. We now know this is not the case.
There was talk that alcohol was involved at the time of his death. Perhaps his inhibitions were so low that he found the courage to pull the trigger. I don’t know as none of us were there. I think my main point here, is that we can all do a little better at talking with others, especially those who have had life changing experiences. Not that all people react the same to these experiences, but to make sure people know we care, and that they do not have to be alone in their experiences. There is help out there. There are highly trained people who do great work in helping people cope and understand their experiences, so that hurting people can find hope and healing. This world has a lot of problems. Suicide does not have to be the answer. It creates troubles for all of us who are left behind, wondering “What could I have done better?” and the often unanswerable question “Why?”. “Why did this happen?”.
How you can help!
Standing by a veteran in crisis is a courageous thing to do. Check out Veteran Crisis Line for tips on helping veterans in particular, and the Suicide Prevention Lifeline for non-veterans. They even provide confidential chat if you are too nervous to make a phone call. The phone number is the same for both veterans and non-veterans at 1-800-273-TALK (8255). Press 1 for Veteran specific help.