If you look at all sorts of social pathologies and their statistics, it seems that, for the longest time, veterans of the US military service have been getting the short end of the stick. No joke. Real story. What’s going on?
Well, you have to remember that if a person is a combat veteran, they have seen things and experienced and thought things that few civilian people are exposed to. Unless you live in an urban war zone in the United States, you would probably never ever come into contact or experience that kind of trauma.
Now, when you come back into civilian life with that trauma in the back of your head, even though you are not suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, you have a heavy load on your shoulders. There’s really no other way around this.
And if you cannot express it or if you feel that people are not willing to give you an open ear, you feel deeply, profoundly, and almost hopelessly alone. You internalize all of this and, just like a balloon, it can have all sorts of unintended consequences.
When was the last time you tried to push on a balloon? Logically, we would think that when we push on one side of the balloon, there is a predictable area of the balloon that would swell up. After all, for every action, there is a reaction.
But, as we all know from the experience of poking a finger into a balloon, that this is not the case. We cannot predict which part of the balloon will swell up. We cannot predict the exact shape, timing and condition surrounding the swelling. We know that there will be a swelling, but we’re still clueless as to every other detail.
The same plays out with the life of a veteran. If they’re internalizing all these stress and trauma, it’s anybody’s guess how it would be manifested.
Ideally, it would be great if we live in a world where people see action on one side of the planet, they go back home, they fully integrate into civilian life, and life proceeds smoothly. But it doesn’t work out that way.
That’s why a lot of our veterans end up in the streets. That’s why too many of people who have served in the military at some capacity or other end up with all sorts of drug addictions. This is why veterans have a tough time in the US. It’s all about that internalization process.
Unfortunately, there are no hard and fast rules to put that on a grid. It’s not like you can slice and dice all that data and actively monitor people so that they can be protected from themselves as well as from the stresses of society.
This is the reason why veterans have a tough time in the US, and this is why moms need to be extra supportive of them. They need our prayers, and they need extra doses of our love and patience and understanding.