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Day by Day Cartoon

Friday, May 28, 2021

Memorial Day Guest Post by Shannon Ross aka Gun Girl @gun_girl_2211 on Instagram


Memorial Day and What it Means

I can remember that as a child Memorial Day meant the beginning of summer break from school. It meant parades, barbeques, long summer days were here to stay, and lazy afternoons were just around the corner.

As an adult Memorial Day has such a more complex and deeper meaning to me. I grew up in a military rich family, with members having served, or currently serving from every generation. This has not changed as the younger generation are now beginning their military careers.

As a Veteran advocate in my spare time, I have amassed a vast and wide base of virtual and real friends from all across the globe. In our interactions I’ve had occasion to discuss the state of Veteran suicide prevention as well as many other topics.

Some say that Memorial Day is relegated to those who have lost their lives in service to their country, and I agree with this statement, however, we differ on what “in service” truly means.

Memorial Day is a day for reflection, for showing respect and regard for those who have given the ultimate sacrifice, their lives, in order to provide or maintain freedom for others.

This Memorial Day and all others call to mind the 22 Veterans a day who take their own lives as a result of mental health issues mostly contributed to their time in combat and service to others.

PTS and TBI are the main causes of Veteran suicide. There are many misconceptions in that these diagnoses are inclusive and complete as a simple label and description of these mental and physical illnesses. That is not the case. There are so many complexities and levels of degrees in which individuals are affected by these illnesses. The first step in recovery is recognizing the symptoms.

PTS presents as

Flashbacks Unwanted memories Negative self-image Emotional Distress

Avoidance Sense of threat Intrusive thoughts Isolation

Nightmares Anger, guilt and shame Excessive blame

Hypervigilance Dissociation Easily scared Self-destructive behaviors

Loss of interest Self-medicating Thought Avoiding

TBI presents as

Headaches Light sensitivity

Dizziness Amnesia

Confusion Forgetfulness

Shared symptoms of PTS and TBI

Lack of sex drive Emotional disconnect Depression Mood instability Anxiety

There are many effective treatments for both PTS and TBI, no one will work for everyone.

Since 2016.5 I have been administrating an Instagram page which used dank humor peppered with resources in order to reach Veterans suffering from PTS; since it’s inception we’ve confirmed that nearly 200 Veterans have sought help simply because something made them laugh and helped them turn the corner to seeking out more of “that” through provided and outside resources.

This Memorial Day, let us also remember those who have taken their own lives as a result of their service and their struggles with PTS and TBI.

As a tribute and in honor of these brave souls, I want to share some resources in the hopes that more warriors will reach out and be around to honor their fallen brothers and sisters next Memorial Day and for many more to come.

Active Duty and Veteran Suicide Prevention Hotline


Addiction Hotline


Eating Disorder Hotline


Self-Harm Hotline


Sexual Assault Hotline


Poison Control Hotline




Reach out to reputable organizations on Instagram and Facebook such as



Camp Hope


To find shelter for homeless Veterans nation wide


For Veterans and active-duty military in need of emergency financial assistance - Emergency Financial Services for Military Families

Come visit me @gun_girl_2211 & @gun_girl_2211_ for some laughs, resources, camaraderie and support from the community on my page, and start being kinder to yourself.

Shannon Ross AKA gg

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