Wednesday, November 11, 2015

My Thoughts on Veteran's Day

Watching the Today Show this morning and seeing all the segments on Veteran’s Day triggered thoughts about a part of my life I try to forget. This is my story. I’m not an army wife, I don’t know many military families, but this is what I have experienced. Am I thankful for the sacrifices that people have to make to keep our country free? Honestly? I don’t know that I am. The military system makes me kind of mad. I posted an article on Facebook a few weeks ago, /10/28/451146230/missed-treatment-soldiers-with-mental-health-issues-dismissed-for-misconduct. I posted it because it is a story I closely relate too. I tried for years to help Conner’s dad. I encouraged him to get treatment, I talked him through countless panic attacks, I sifted through drunk text messages and voicemails. He went to a therapist or two, he attempted half heartedly to get some help. But as hard it was for him to take the first step, asking for help, he did not enter into a safe space. He was told that he didn’t have PTSD that it was his problem to fix. They didn’t care about his alcoholism. They didn’t intervene with the foundation of the psychology profession: unconditional acceptance and positive regard, meeting people where they are and knowing they are doing the best they can with their situation. So he faced his fear, pushed through his mental health barriers, and asked for help to only be disregarded and invalidated. If he took anti-anxiety medication to help with his panic attacks he would no longer be able to fly. His job was to fly, so if he received help for his anxiety he would be unable to do his job. If he would attempt to go to a therapist off base he would have to pay for it out of pocket. So he did what he does, he stopped trying to get help, he moved on, slept with another girl, had another kid that he can’t support, and I had to place boundaries around that protected me and Conner from his toxic tendencies. He ends up getting discharged from the army. He stops paying child support. He loses his benefits, his children loses his benefits. Conner’s father is a veteran. One that has been screwed by the system. One who’s ability to be a good father, to provide for his children emotionally, physically, financially, seems to be an impossible feat. So should we honor the veterans? Yes, these families have sacrificed so much. But don’t forget that the system is beyond broken and the image being shown on the news is covering up deep issues within the armed forces. For every child receiving health care and college tuition because of their parent’s service there is a child who is left with nothing because their parent’s mental health due to their service to this country was more then what the country wanted to face.

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