Tuesday, February 19, 2013

TBI After the Military: Loneliness

After many years serving in the Army, I can say that retirement is not close to how my days were while in the Service. Some would think that my days are frustration proof because I am attending school or involved in the Veterans community. Being in school and around Veterans is a very gratifying and I am thankful for it. The reality of things is that most of my days I feel some kind of frustration or anger. I want to say that the cause of these feelings are related to a new life adjustment. This new life more often than not, requires a high level of motivation and self-drive. Many days, I ask myself: what can I do to help others?

For many years all my days had a mission, which involved being around many people and involved in things that were impactful to the Army's mission. I do not have that anymore. I have to create my own daily mission, and motivate myself to be engage in life tasks. I have asked to fellow Veterans (OIF, OEF and Vietnam) about the feeling of loneliness. It has been common to hear amongst them that they have dealt with loneliness since the separation from the military.

It has been my personal experience that the feeling of loneliness turns into anger. Well... I call it anger, maybe it's something else. It is nothing related to violent behaviors, it feels more like an extreme feeling of being overwhelmed and being stuck at the same time.

Maybe Veterans that read this can relate to these feelings.

What has helped me deal and manage this feelings?
1. My faith in God.
2. I talk about it with my wife and with counselors.
3. Avoiding isolation.
4. Go out to a store, to dinner or to watch a movie (even when don't want to)

I have found very helpful to have situational awareness, which is knowing what's going on inside me. It is important to recognize triggers that if not avoided can exhacerbate the feelings. Reaching a point of being saturated with feelings of loneliness can turn into sadness, or even worse, can turn into depression. In my opinion, the key to success in surviving these feelings is to be watchful of not becoming isolated or alienated from society and from our support network. It might feel that these feelings overtake us but, I am a witness that there is light at the end of the tunnel. There will be good days and not-so-good days. The good days will always happen more often than not.

Talk about it. We are not alone!

1 comment:

  1. Oh Victor, this is not just a military thing. Tho I'm sure it is so much harder because of how your life was always on a PLAN
    or Schedule where mine was not. But me pulling away from the organizational part of BIC is like that. I feel kinda useless sometimes.
    Like I'm suppose to be doing more.
    But then I think " I have deserved a break.And I will always be involved in a small way" just a different way. Your JOB now, I think,
    is to be there for you fellow Head Injured. Weather they are soldiers or not. If there is ever anything I can do for you, Please let me know, cause like it or not we are in this together!