I am Recovered. I am a healthy, emotionally mature adult female who actually knows what she wants from life. It amazed me to really come to terms with these facts and the fact that they are facts.
At 25 years old, I am All that I can Be, and how fantastic! I never joined any military component of our countries promise to help you find your road to success. I came very close, so close in fact I am still receiving emails from the marines, the army, the air force, the navy and yes, even the coast guard. To imagine that less than a year ago I was so confused, and imagine just three years before that I was even more confused and four more before that... this was the first time I considered the military. My path was different. I never joined. For this I am grateful. Despite the ultimate gains that our many members of military society have had and for many continue to take part it in is a beautiful and wonderful gift. At what cost?
The commercial never tells you, Be all that you can Be, but change everything about yourself and who you used to be. This is NOT meant harp on the advertising, my purpose is much more simple. I have been reading Brain Bugs: How the brain's flaw shape our lives by Dean Buonomano and to see how we are so susceptible advertising, the promises we here and see and imitate. We naturally imitate those stronger than us. Evolution guides this.... after all there is no benefit for us to mimic weaker members of society.
So why join the military... it is proposed in more than few ways to be a force that pushes you to become the stronger members of our society. What went wrong that we have ALWAYS had men and women suffering from the neurological impact on their psyche after their time in war. Warrior Life Coaching LLC. points out how we train our troops to act in specific manner, to ReAct in specific ways... ways that keep them alive... ways that in turn protect our rights and freedoms, whether or not we recognize it. Veterans of war have literally changed their brain chemistry.
Before I continue, it is extraordinarily important to recognize the plasticity of brain chemistry, it is always changing. Our scientific knowledge of the titrated values of neurotransmitters is vastly undetermined due to the difference in individuals. However, we do know that changes occur when levels change. Serotonin is key to happiness, pleasure and even, possibly, spirituality. Each neurotransmitter has key roles that do impact personality and mood. If the chemistries are abnormal to an individual they may become depressed, psychotic or manic. (I have no citations as this is my understanding and thinking, not a scientific article.)
The journey to be Strong has its purpose, as stated, we would not indulge in a great number of freedoms if people did not offer themselves to these programs. But when they return and don't quite "fit in," we turn away, sometimes with sympathy other times with anger, and worst of all when we don't take notice at all.
Whether or not we understand what they've been through, they have gained experience and knowledge beyond our stories and books, they have become our stories in the history books. And they struggle, not all I am sure, but a great many. Having never understood the impact, I've had my eyes opened.
Before moving to Baltimore I didn't see much of anything military besides men on leave in NYC. But here I have met, seen and experienced a great number of people having come back form Afghanistan and Iraq, the ones that have touched me range from 24-35y/o, and not one of them after more than a 10 minutes of observation in unaffected by their experience. They are certainly strong, confident men, proud to have been a part of all they have. There appears to me, something that underlies their pristine outward presentation.
My Mom has had this comic strip on the fridge for years of superman sitting with a psychologist asking, "When is it my turn to be saved?" When Do you we save the SuperMen and Women of America... when do we give them what they have given us??
There is an increasing number of organizations forming to aid these vets to restore their brain chemistry, to learn to re-route their expertly trained minds to function in non-war society, but people have to want this change and must be willing. "How many psychologists does it take to change a lightbulb? Just One, but he has to want to change" Sadly, of the many I have met more than half of these men, think that it's all just fine, I've heard lines like, "He's been back for over a year, he's fine" meanwhile the painful drunken young man is spilling his beer on the bar and cussing and swinging about angrily over how someone looked at him. I truly cannot tell the entire story but please trust that I am not simply labeling him as "screwed up." For All I know, the story I heard wasn't real and he had just been dumped, or his mother passed away.... I do not begin to analyze the reason people hurt, because we ALL hurt.
My take home points:
-Veterans of War welcomed back into the Arms of American Society deserve our help, deserve our understanding and most of all deserve our support- because that is what they have given us, if not more; Many a life, many a limb, and many other incomparable struggles.
-But why can't we help each other to recognize this FACT: WE ALL SUFFER, WE ALL HURT... and we DO NOT have to alone. Perhaps in War (I hope I will never know) One must always be strong. But here, in America, in this land we believe to be free and wonderful... we are ALLOWED to be HUMAN.... to feel, to express (within reason). Reach out a hand if you struggle. Open up, face your fears.... and maybe just maybe find a better life.
-Lastly, this message is to anyone with internal struggle, whether you suffer from depression, from an eating disorder, from neurological diseases or from physical ailments that effect who you are, Find An outlet, find a place you can be open.... There is no need for any human being in this country to go on without help.