The greatest battle for veterans may start when service life ends!
As you walk out the gate for the last time you experience mixed emotions, hope, elation and a little anxiety. At the end of your terminal leave the final day arrives (your TX date) and you become a civilian.
The word ‘terminal’, as an adjective means ending, in medical connotations it evokes life ending thoughts. For some ex-service personnel cut off from their support networks it can feel as if life has indeed ended. Read about resettlement here. Maybe ‘terminal’ should be better thought of in its noun form, as a station where vehicles are loaded or unloaded; service life ends but you can board another life and start another journey.
It is the adjusting that is difficult. A new journey means associating with others who have no idea beyond news items or action movies what service life is like. One incident that brought it home to me as a newly qualified teacher was when I had a local authority mentor visit. There was a discussion about my future development and I mentioned something along the lines that I would use the many ‘transferable skills’ of service life in my new profession. I was asked ‘what skills could you have that would be useful in a school?’
The point is that many civilians think all we do in the military is run about shouting at people, ordering them about in a hierarchical system going about things mindlessly doing as you are told. Clearly my teacher mentor had this view and I remember the feeling of alienation, nothing I had done before becoming a teacher was of any use. Of course this is nonsense, but for a while I retreated within myself and refrained from mentioning anything about my service past.
How many other people, potential employers or friends hold this view? Do they understand the many skills veterans can bring with them?
If you are a veteran and feel anxiety about the future and need help with any aspect of your life, a boost in self-esteem to maybe dealing with an alcohol problem, hypnotherapy or counselling can help. See what I can do for you. Speaking to someone who has make the change and understands the feelings will make all the difference