Getting told you’re one of the lucky ones from other vets can be grating. I didnt get out with any visible deformations and I was barely unemployed. When I separated, I made sure I got out with a plan. I’ve known too many people who got out and took their benefits for granted. Sadly, I knew that if I was going to transition successfully, I would have to capitalize on their mistakes.
I tend to be a very private person. The fact I’m on social media is surprising. While in the Navy, I came out of my shell. I was all about expanding my horizons while still adhering to the standards of the uniform. It was a good time, but looking back it was filled with shit I would rather forget. That’s the problem with having such a strong memory, no matter how much you drink, its permanently embedded in your head.
This lead to a pretty bad case of anxiety and it’s the type that can generally keeps me up most nights. I tend to stray away from crowds and I have been known to disappear from time to time. Being confined to a 500ft ship with 250 people can do that for you. It doesn’t help that I’m an emotionally closed off person as well. But, at least I can say with certainty that I ensured the personnel under me were well take care of.
This, according to a number of my colleagues is a character flaw of mine. I tend to be pretty selfless when it came to leadership. I was never afraid to shoulder someone else’s burden, regardless if it required me to work overtime. I was well aware of how the military can take advantage of its junior personnel, I never wanted anyone to be eaten up by the system. Now that I look back on it, I think being a non-supervisor was my favorite thing about being in the Navy.
Do your job and go home.
Seems like a simple concept and yet, people still struggle with the fact that the military for the most part is the easiest job you’ll ever have. The hours can be long and your supervisors are hit or miss, but the benefits are top notch. If I wanted to make it a career, I could’ve, I was considered a fast riser, but in the end, I wanted to have a head start on my next chapter in life.
Financially, I’m doing just fine. I found a job the week after I got out and was working toward finishing my degree to reinforce my experience. Mentally though, I’m in a weird place. It took 5 years for me to swallow my pride and see a therapist. You really dont know you’re being an asshole until you hear a recording of your own voice. You also never realize that this denial is a contributing factor to why some of my relationships fell apart. It was tough, but it’s been refreshing, in fact it’s the reason I got back into writing.
This shit is actually therapeutic.
Every time I talk to an old friend from the Military, I tend to see two things: either they’re struggling to cope with civilian life or they’ve accepted that their on the outside and aren’t looking back. You arent guaranteed shit in life. I’ve learned that you will have to suffer before you make nothing into something. It will feel like you’re swimming upstream, but that’s better than treading water and going nowhere.
Truth be told, I dont consider myself one of the lucky ones. Luck would indicate that I ended up where I am by chance. One of the benefits to having anxiety is that I am an immaculate planner. I just like to have all my bases covered. Or I’m fucking crazy, the jury is still out on that one.