Though it may be hard to imagine before you’re actually deployed, a very large number of veteran soldiers have a difficult time rejoining their families after an extended time away. This doesn’t mean that your family isn’t as important to you, it simply means you’re having difficulty adjusting to “life as usual” after coming home. No doubt your comrades became family when you were overseas, and you developed a survival routine that you grew to embrace – maybe even love. So… where and how does it all fit into life back home? You’ll more than likely need to talk to someone if it all seems difficult to do. But, who?
A Counselor with Experience
You’ll benefit greatly by talking to a counselor who has been in your shoes previously. You should have access to these counselors, whether you’re still in Active Duty, whether you’ve been discharged honorably, or joined in the Reserves. These counselors usually have credentials to help in a number of ways, but their experience in the field and coming home is just as important – you’ll find that you trust them, and you’re encouraged by their progress in hopes that it may mirror your own in the future.
A Pastor or Spiritual Leader
Oftentimes a lack of spiritual life can add to any unrest, so consider that when you’re trying to settle back in, especially if you’ve had a spiritual life in the past. Prayer and meditation teach you to rely on a higher power for peace, which takes pressure off of you in a time where you’re struggling. Pastors and spiritual leaders will help in guiding you to a greater sense of spiritual peace during this difficult time. They’ll provide you with advice and insight that steers you in the right direction, when maybe you’ve been lacking the will or motivation to push that way.
Don’t leave your spouse in the dark, this can and will make matters worse. Be open and honest, albeit sensitive to the fact that he or she certainly may not understand. Though it may not be something that they can help you through directly, they should understand that supporting you is more important than them understanding or justifying your current state in their mind. If nothing else, the honest words spoken in this tough time paired with the unwavering support of a spouse who may not completely get it, will serve to strengthen your marriage years down the road.
At the end of the day, you may just need to speak with a doctor, and there is no harm or wrong in doing that if you’ve exhausted all other options. If you’re struggling with depression or anxiety, as long as you’re seeking long term solutions aside from medication, a prescription to help may be what really helps you adjust in your time of transition. You should talk to your counselor, spouse and doctor about whether or not a medication to help with anxiety or depression is right for you.
Though it may seem impossible to imagine normal life again, you will adapt over time to a new normal and find peace. Communicate with your counselor, pastor, spouse and doctor to get yourself on the right track.