It feels good to have our troops back after serving the country. The family and friends feel happy that their loved one is finally home, safe. But the life after may not be a smooth one for most of the veterans. They need your support in different ways. However, some of the things that we do or say trying to show our support may end up hurting them in one way or another. Below is a list of 10 things that the veterans wish you knew about life after serving. Please read on.
- They Need Help Once in a While
PTSD is a common disorder with most vets after serving in the military. This disorder may be very difficult to get over in most cases. However, talking to someone can really help ease the effects of this disorder and give the vet some reason to live. Talking to someone who’ve gone through the same experience can also be very essential. But vets are humans, just like you and anyone else. This means that it can be very difficult to identify a fellow vet inside the civilian world. Luckily, vets have had different forms of identifying one another, challenge coins being one of the common ways. You can read more about this to understand how they work.
- They Hate Being Asked If They Killed Anyone
This is a very difficult question for any vet to answer. While you may be thinking it’s a yes/no answer question, there’s more to this than that. To a vet, the stereotype of shooting at and bombing bad people is perpetuated whenever this question is asked. Their experiences involving lasting anxiety and boredom make it difficult to discuss some of these happenings with friends and family. This is among the last questions any vet would not anticipate being asked after their service. Life gets easier if they’re allowed to talk about such experiences on their own.
- They Hate Being Asked If They Have Friends Who Died
This is yet another ill-advised question that civilians normally ask the vets as they try to show they care for the vets’ wellbeing. While this is a good sign of being compassionate with a loved one, the vets see it differently. It makes them feel bothered and dehumanized, especially if they’ve PTSD. If you want the vets to feel human and vulnerable, avoid asking them such questions unless they decide to open up on their own.
- Getting a Job is Not That Easy
Perhaps you’ve heard about the “poor soldier” myth before. This may also apply to any vet as some believe they joined the military as their last option and can be a problem after serving. Most of them struggle to adapt to the civilian lifestyle where everything has to do with “What’s in it for me?” This is different from what they’ve always been taught right from training and during their service. They often feel out of practice when looking for a job during the resume writing and job interviews. Barriers are also common with civilian companies as they may not understand the value of the vets and their certification classes. They experience different types of employment opportunities as well, probably depending on the rewards they received.
- Transitioning Can Be Very Challenging
Some vets, when being questioned about life after serving, have expressed mixed feelings. While others feel glad coming back to their families, others find the relationship with them quite strange. Take, for instance, a veteran who has been away for quite some time without seeing his family, especially the children. Coming home, at last, may be very stressful. Where will they start? What can they do to make the kids feel they are back home, for good? How best can they communicate with their kids and spouses? This transition may take a lot of time and efforts as well. The vets, therefore, wants you to be patient with them and help them to make things work out well.
- They Are Regular People
You probably have seen ex-military politicians, lecturers, bloggers, business persons, designers, or artists. Veterans have different life ambitions after serving that they’d want to accomplish. They want to be a contributing citizen once they’re out of military service. They’re just like any other human who would want to have some accomplishments apart from their primary responsibility. They’d watch and play some game with friends and family during their free time. Therefore, you should learn to see them as regular people each and every time.
- They Feel Good Being Appreciated
Veterans are human beings. This means that they’re not perfect people. They have fought and sacrificed for the country with one heart. Thanking them for their service does them good and makes them feel appreciated. A simple ‘thank you’ and different rewards for their service can also enlighten them. However, life could get worse when people overdo the thank you messages and try to give praises to their heads. They feel bad when people think they owe them something for their service. They volunteered and took an oath to serve the country.
- It’s Hard Getting Attached to Anyone
Every vet has a different understanding about getting attached to anyone. While you may be thinking it’s very essential and should always be encouraged, to them they have always known that “the people you love” get hurt or killed. They try to avoid facing the pain as much as possible and that’s why they’re mostly instinctual even after they’ve bid goodbye to military and service. This makes it hard to embrace their social life.
- Sometimes They Feel Out of Place
Often times, the vets tend to feel they’re the only ones who feel that way. They may think you can hardly understand them. After all, understanding them could mean you experienced the horrible situations together – which is a completely different case. They, therefore, appreciate if you remain innocent and not talk about their experience at all. Lest you might spoil their mood and willingness to socialize with anyone at all.
- They Like Being Consulted Before Doing Anything
Often times when vets are returning home from serving the country, we tend to throw in a welcome-home party for them. It’s a way that family and friends get to express their love for the vets. However, not every veteran would like coming home to a Budweiser parade. Most of them see the experience as an overwhelming one rather than being happy being home. Therefore, they’d prefer that you involve them in any future plan before making a decision to know if they’ll be comfortable. This will serve to reduce unwanted surprises that could affect their peace.
Our troops volunteer to serve the nation and take an oath before beginning their service. When they’re out of the service, we need to support them in many different ways lest they feel out of place. These are some of the ways that you can show love and support to the troops to make their life after serving convenient and enjoyable. Also, look out for other relevant themed blogs about veterans and life after serving.