It is never easy to ask for help. No one wants to admit that they “can’t do it” or that something is “too hard.”
This trait isn’t reserved to service members and veterans, it is a human affliction. Sometimes though we simply can’t do it alone. Things are too heavy, the distances too great, or the work simply too much for one person alone.
Mental health is no different.
After almost eight years of struggling to cope alone with my innermost thoughts and a constant dialogue in my head that things would just be better if I were not here, something inside broke. I finally knew that if I didn’t get some help I wasn’t going to make it through. It was the start for me of a long and painful road to stability.
It is not comfortable to admit that we need help. It feels like saying I am not enough, or that something is outside my abilities. As a veteran this is contrary to a way of life cultivated over many years of training, comradery, and esprit de corps. The reality is though that in those times I did have help. I had my brothers and sisters in arms standing beside me, a chain of command looking out for me, and a community of people in similar circumstances.
As a veteran, I am no longer surrounded with that support.
Only 7.3% of all living Americans have served in the armed forces. That means that rather than 80-90% of your current associates having similar life experience it is likely now less than 7%. That means that we are without the support that we were once accustomed to. So now the unspoken support and understanding is hard to come by, but you are not alone.
There are people and groups out there ready to help. For some it is the VA and their services, for others it is private insurance providing mental health services. For those not served by the VA or insurance help is available from amazing organizations like The Soldiers Project.
As a veteran living with PTSD, depression, and anxiety, I was nearly killed by my burden. I finally sought help and through medication and counseling I have found the strength to share my story though my project Expedition Recovery.
If you have the ability to help others in need I urge you to donate to The Soldiers Project here so that others can receive the help they truly need.