Stories From Our veterans Who Have Been there

I am back with some more interviews with veterans for my book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.”

I would like to share some current military news first. I will call this Facing the Tasks of Life. It will have stories from all over the world where our veterans are, and some stories from those who are now transitioned into civilian life. Hope it is interesting to you.

  1. A Iraq Veteran is now an astronaut for NASA. Lt. Colonel Anne McClain, blasted off from Kazakhstan December 3rd for a six month stay at a space station. She is only 39. She was a helicopter pilot in Iraq.
  2. Thank a Vietnam veteran on March 29th. It is Vietnam Veteran’s Day.
  3. A new law signed by Congress will “create jobs,” for veteran owned businesses. It will allow veteran owners to have access to military equipment that the military has no more use for.
  4. Senators question the VA on unused suicide prevention funds. Congress OKed 6.2 billion dollars to the military and yet only $57,000 of it has been used for suicide prevention. (What’s wrong with this picture!!)

Now I will share one interview I have done recently for the book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” This is only excerpts from the interview. You will have to buy the book to get “the rest of the story.”

I was able to talk to a vietnam veteran a while back. It was very hard to get him to answer anything about his actual combat. I did find out he has a purple heart, because of a serious injury. He is battling PTSD, and battled alcohol addiction for several years after he got out. He however said he would like to tell a uplifting story about his time there.

His group of men had settled down in the jungle to make camp. It turned out they stayed there for a long time. One day my soldier was sitting with a buddy and he looked up into the trees. There were monkeys everywhere. He told his buddy that he wanted one of those monkeys as a pet. His buddy said “No sweat!” He got a coconut and cut a hole in it. He cleaned it out and put a quarter in it. He tied a rope to it and put it out in a clearing.

Soon several monkeys came up to it because of curiosity. One reach in to get the quarter he tried to pull he hand out and couldn’t The buddy slowly pulled the monkey over to the soldier and said, “Here ya go!”

My soldier loved that monkey. He took very good care of him. He even built a cage to let him sleep in. Made a bed out of ferns etc. The monkey got very attached to the soldier. They were real buddies.

However, some of the other soldiers didn’t like the monkey because he was coming to their tents and stealing food. One soldier got so angry he made a parachute for the monkey and threw him over a cliff.

This made my soldier very angry. He was depressed and missed his monkey. Then one day coming through the tents came that same monkey with the parachute still attached to him. He didn’t give up , and found his way back to his master.

This is just one interview of many I have done for the book , Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” The rest of the book are stories from my time in the military, and how I survived. Each chapter will talk about survival, especially for those who struggle with PTSD, TMI, Depression, Anxiety, War wounds, etc.

Check back here often to read more stories from veterans like yourself.

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Are you are a veteran and wonder why things are happening to you that you aren’t pleased with? You certainly are not alone. I was there. Millions of other veterans were there. The important thing is to realize you need help. Too many of our brothers and sisters hide their feelings and become part of the 22 veteran suicides EVERY day. Do not let that happen. Get help!! The 24/7 help line is 1-800-273-8255 Press 1.

You need to also remember.

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…Never, ever, give up!

Boredom and Loneliness Haunt Veterans

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Doug Bolton, the founder of the blog, Signs of Hope, which is at www.dailysignsofhope.com, has written a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the many military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, and the many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. Doug wants to help stop those statistics.  

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This is a new social network just for veterans. I joined it and made instant friendships with veterans who want to talk about what I want to talk about. Please check it out. You will be glad you did. 

https://www.rallypoint.com/join/spc-douglas-bolton

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One of the hardest problems veterans face is what happens after transition. This article may help you survive. 

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Veterans face a variety of problems once they leave the service. Whether it’s accurate or not, many veterans feel life is a little harder for them than for most people. But what if a big part of the problem wasn’t so much PTSD or poor transition assistance — at least not directly — but rather loneliness and boredom?

From being under a microscope to being unseen

The best and worst thing about being in the military is that it is all-consuming. It provides you with a place to be and a time to be there, pretty much 24/7/365.

You spend several months at a time deployed. When you get home, you work long hours, so that takes care of a good part of your day. Then you’ve got frost calls at the club on Fridays after work. Another weekend that month you have duty. The next there’s a mandatory fun event of some kind. Your next door neighbors are military too, so they invite you over for dinner every so often.

For better or worse, while you’re in the military, you’re always busy and rarely alone.

In the civilian world, after you walk out the glass doors, no one cares what you do. Outside of blatant misconduct that might discredit your employer, they generally don’t care much about how you live your life. They sure aren’t going to have you sit in an auditorium for eight hours on a workday to talk about why you should wear more sunscreen.

Shot gunning into civilian life is lonely in the best of times

Once you have that DD-214 in hand, your social network changes. Chances are you’ll get a job in a whole new city. Once you’re there, you’re no longer in that protective military cocoon. Your neighbors come and go silently to wherever it is they go. On one side, you have a college student whose parents pay his rent and who apparently commutes by skateboard. On the other, who the hell knows, because you’ve never seen anyone enter or leave — just vague signs of occupancy. You think there might be a serial killer with a torture dungeon living there.

It’s definitely not like the barracks, or even a typical neighborhood street in a military town.

If you do stay around your old duty station, your military friends will still have the demanding schedule you just left — plus you’re probably a sellout contractor, with the logoed polo shirt to prove it. Even if you decide to go back to your old hometown, you aren’t the same person as when you left. Unless you’re picking up that dead-end job right where you left off, you no longer fit in there, either.

Your new coworkers generally scatter to the winds after work. Unlike your previous semi-homogeneous band of mostly young male brothers, now you have a diverse group with lives as different as their backgrounds.

If you’re single or divorced, it’s even worse. You can’t party with the Friday night crowd unless you want to be the sad old guy in the club. If you don’t have children or they don’t usually live with you, you probably aren’t plugged into the whole kids soccer scene (and it would be a little disturbing if you were). Most of your peers are married, so if you aren’t, you probably aren’t going to be hanging out much. No one likes a third wheel. As far as meeting other middle-aged single folks, that guy who spotted you on the bench press at the gym was really cool, but it seemed weird to ask him to hang out after staring up at his crotch for 10 reps.

Falling into a cycle of self-isolation

When you get home you usually have nothing to do. At first, that fills you with sublime joy, but after awhile, having nothing and no one to fill the off-time becomes old. Some people handle that better than others.

Unfortunately, charming old-fashioned solitary pursuits such as painting, solitaire, and playing soulful jazz piano at dirty gin joints are far less common pursuits than things like excessive drinking and internet use. Both of those things are addictive, but they do temporarily relieve boredom and loneliness.

In the case of drinking, without anyone else to watch what you’re doing, that couple of beers after coming home from work easily becomes 3 or 4, maybe even 5 or 6. You aren’t trying to get shitfaced. You’re just hanging out, watching Netflix or playing video games, while sipping a beer. But sipping beers for several hours quickly adds up, even if you’re not trying. Vets have much greater rates of alcohol abuse than the general public.

Then there’s the internet, that great time-suck. It’s the refuge of the lonely, offering instant connections with people around the world. But that virtual companionship can destabilize your remaining relationships in real life.

For vets in particular, there’s a temptation to rekindle camaraderie on any number of vicious and misogynistic social media pages. An online life devoted to mocking civilians and treating women poorly is even more isolating — after shitting on every non-vet, and even vets who don’t live up to your standard (oh good, another POG hatefest), are you really going to go out, be friendly, and find new friends in real life?

Though I’ve wasted too many hours on social media, I’ve never thrown in with the vitriolic Facebook groups. But I see enough reposts of those groups from many of my old colleagues to know that it’s clearly a thing.

As far as alcohol, I’ve had more than my share of beers in a sitting enough times to know that I need to keep an eye on that, if for no other reason than my waistline. Along those lines, there are many other unhealthy time-killers, like overeatingsmoking, and dipping that vets are especially prone to.

Admit you’re lonely. But you’re not alone

The plural of anecdote isn’t data. But it’s indisputable that loneliness and boredom have profound effects on health and wellbeing. I can’t help but wonder if a large portion of the acute mental illness and substance abuse problems among vets might really be just the long-term products of poor social networks after leaving the military.

Some of the military’s and VA’s organizational efforts would be well spent in finding earlier interventions on that front, instead of waiting until vets’ lives go completely sideways.

And on the individual level, it’s just another good reminder to take care of each other. Taking an interest in each other’s lives isn’t a cure-all for our issues, but it does help remind us: We’re not as alone as we think.

If you are struggling with life after the military. You are never alone. We have your six. Get help. Here is a toll free number you can always go to to get help:

1-800-273-8255

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Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all….never, ever, give up!

A Veteran Needs Help Like Everyone Else

Thanks to all of you who have been joining us here. The response has been wonderful.  We just past 3,640 new subscribers. That is a huge increase in 2016. We only had 1,000 a year ago. Help us to make it to 4,000.  Could you be the one that puts us over the top? Just need 368 by the end of December. We can do it! Help us continue to grow by subscribing today if you haven’t already. Just click on the icon right after the title of this post to do that.

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Doug Bolton, the founder of the blog, Signs of Hope, which is at www.dailysignsofhope.com, has written a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It will be reaching out the many military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, and the many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. Doug wants to help stop those statistics.  

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If you follow Twitter, join me by following @heavenencounter. Many veterans are starting to follow and we hope to have many more to share thoughts and ideas with. You can also connect with me on Facebook by putting my name in the search area. A third place to connect is: 

www.rallypoint.com/join/spc-douglas-bolton

It is a new social network just for veterans. I am a member, and I made hundreds of new friends that have served our country. Try it out!

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If you are a veteran, thank you for your service and sacrifice. Also, please click on the link above and at least check out RallyPoint. It is a new social network for veterans only. There are over 450,000 members ther. All have stories about their time in the military. I have made some wonderful friends through this network.

As a veteran myself, I often get discouraged about the lack of support some people give the Military. It seems it is one of the first places that Congress does cutting from. Officers are sent packing to lower the amount of military on pay.  The equipment s getting obsolete, and moral is at a all time low.

To prove that last sentence, 22 veterans end their lives every day!! That is totally unacceptable. Many are veterans who are trying to get help with their help through the VA. The VA is a disaster.

If you are a veteran and are struggling, please seek help. There are many resources you can use, by searching Google.

Don’t let the dark side overcome you. Face the winds of fear, and win the battle. Be strong for yourself, and those around you. Your example could change a life.

 

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!