Justin Eldridge's Battle With PTSD Ended In Tragedy Last Night
Waterford Police responded to a 911 call but were unable to prevent the former U.S. Marine from taking his own life at his home in Waterford.
Former U.S. Marine Justin Eldridge lived through mortar fire in Afghanistan but, tragically, last night, he lost his long battle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
At about 9 p.m. on Oct. 28, Waterford Police responded to a 911 call from his wife, Joanna, who feared her husband intended to harm himself. Waterford Police arrived at the family home at 147 Great Neck Road, where they learned Justin had a gun and that the couple's four children were also in the home.
As police surrounded the house, the Connecticut State Police Emergency Services Unit attempted to make contact with Justin, to no avail. When police finally entered the home, they found Justin dead of an apparent self-inflicted wound.
His final message, posted on his Facebook Page at about 9 p.m., "theres only so much bashing someone can take before they react........." A post to his Facebook about 12 hours earlier perhaps summed up his long battle with PTSD, "invincibility isn't a gift, it's a curse."
In an interview with Patch in June to promote a fundraiser to benefit the Wounded Warrior Foundation, Justin's wife Joanna detailed her husband's struggles. Justin served in the Marine Corps for eight-and-a-half years and served in Afghanistan before he was medically retired in 2008. He had severe PTSD, suffering from depression and erratic mood swings. He also suffered from a traumatic brain injury, which went undiagnosed for a long time.
After fighting for his country, Justin had to fight again to get the benefits and the specialized treatment he needed. His wife, Joanna, became his advocate and stayed home to take care of him and their four children. Justin's medical and psychological issues made it impossible for him to work, so he was a stay-at-home dad too, and Joanna said that the kids loved having him around.
"Seeing him go through all of this, trying to get better for his family — he is my hero," Joanna told Patch in June.
Now, sadly, another hero has been lost to a battle against an unseen enemy that proved to be so much harder to fight.
If you or someone you know is struggling and may be contemplating suicide, please know there is help available 24/7 at the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline: 1-800-273-TALK (8255) and at www.suicidepreventionlifeline.org. There is also a veterans' crisis line: www.veteranscrisisline.net.