Is it Possible to Lead a Productive Life While Neglecting Self-Preservation?

How Emotional Intelligence Impacts Suicide

5 min readSep 12

Young woman with black smudged eyes holding a piece of paper over her lower face with a smile drawn on it. Trying to hide her true emotions.
Photo by Sydney Sims on Unsplash

September is a significant month for the US. It is Suicide Prevention Month, and today is the 22nd anniversary of the bombing of the Twin Towers. It may be coincidental they are celebrated in the same month, but what happened on that day was the tinder to 20 years of military operations, and subsequently, in my humble opinion, heavily impacted the current unadjusted overall 2020 suicide rate of 31.7 per 100,000. (pg. 10)

I was listening to a podcast a few months ago. The discussion was with a Veteran who had a mental breakdown while still on active duty. It was his journey of how he crawled back from the darkness, was able to stay on active duty, and now sits on advisory boards to remove the stigma of mental health. (If you like real talk, check out Suzi Landolphi’s podcast, Be Crazy Well. Check out episode 43 for this specific podcast.)

The Veteran, Tom Cruz, (the retired Army 1SG, not the actor) made a comment that pretty much blew my mind.

If you ask me, I don’t want to be here. It wasn’t my choice to live. I live because my wife was able to talk the way she talked, and did what she did, and cared. My son is a huge motivation for me. they are actually the stars of the show. They are the ones that have to deal with me 24/7.

When we think of someone who is suicidal, we may have the image of someone depressed, self-absorbed in their trauma…who cannot see any light and is in complete despair. We do not think of a functional person, participating in life, giving back to their community, and engaging with others.

Yet, Tom is that person, and statistically speaking, if there is one, then there is a high chance there are many others. What makes them different? What makes people like Tom say, It wasn’t my choice to live.

I can’t tell you the answer. I’m not a researcher, however, I do have a few thoughts.

  1. Emotional Intelligence.

The Merriam-Webster Dictionary definition:

the ability to recognize, understand, and deal skillfully with one’s own emotions and the emotions of others (as by regulating one’s…


Hi! I am a Veteran, Mom, nurse, writer, educator, blogger, and podcaster. Here to share issues impacting military transition. (Which impacts civilians too.)