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The Invisible Wounds: Understanding the Mental Health Challenges Faced By Veterans

Some people romanticize joining the military. You can see commercials on TV that take on that viewpoint. They show brave men and women training for combat or standing up for the American way.

Veteran sitting on the couch

There’s certainly that aspect of being a soldier, but veterans also face mental health challenges, some of which can be serious. Veteran mental health is something that is sometimes neglected once soldiers return home, especially from combat roles.

Let’s talk about the mental health challenges that some veterans must overcome if they’re going to live as productive members of society.

Veterans Sometimes Feel Useless

If you’re a soldier, you learn many techniques that will potentially help you on the battlefield. You learn about physical and mental toughness. You need those things, particularly if you’re going to be in combat situations.

If you’re no longer an active part of the military, though, it’s easy to start feeling useless. The skills you have might not necessarily have any practical applications once you’re back home.

It’s easy to start feeling like there’s no place for you in civilian life if you start having that mindset. It can be genuinely challenging to find a job and hobbies that make you feel fulfilled.

PTSD

Some veterans also come back from their time in the military with PTSD. They might see a doctor or therapist who gives them that diagnosis. It’s quite common.

If you’re a veteran and you have PTSD, you may feel nervous or anxious some or all of the time. You may not do well in crowds, and you might feel distrustful of those around you. Loud noises may startle you. You may walk around with a weapon because you don’t feel safe without one.

The world might not necessarily be as threatening as you think it is, but it’s hard to get away from that idea. You will probably need some extensive therapy and possibly medication as well if you’re going to get to a better mental space.

You Might Miss Your Comrades

You may know some fellow soldiers who died in combat. You will probably miss them very much if you formed close bonds with them.

It’s not as easy to make meaningful connections with the other people in your life once you become a civilian. You might have friends and family members you reconnect with once you get back home. You may love them and care for them, but you don’t have that special bond with them that you only have with your fellow soldiers.

You can stay in touch with former soldiers who are now back in civilian life, and maybe that will help you stay on an even keel. If you can meet up with other veterans sometimes and talk about what you’re going through, that might assist you in getting through the challenges of daily civilian life with a better mindset.

Being a veteran isn’t easy, but hopefully, you can figure out some ways to get past the mental and emotional challenges that surface.


Photo Credit: DepositPhotos.com

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