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2014 MOAA Warrior Family Symposium Topic: Behavioral Health Issues and Their Affect on Military Families

Last week was a highlight for me. It marked the end of a journey that I hadn’t asked to be on, in fact it was a nightmare that I’m happy to wake up from. I’ve written about my son’s suicide attempts, addiction to prescription meds and alcohol and his struggles with PTSD, Depression and Anxiety. But until last week I hadn’t seen the “reason” behind our families experience. I couldn’t get past the why us.

Why Us?

Why did we have to almost lose our son to understand that military life (and life in general)  had become too much for him to handle. Why our son, our family? I now understand the answer. Because we are the perfect people to share our experience. I’m not saying this because of conceit, I’m saying it because we are the average military family: 2 kids (boy & girl), a cat, a dog, a mini-van and us. We vacation to visit our families and we move every 3 years. Our kids did well in school, both received scholarships that paid their tuition. They were active in sports, had lots of friends and volunteered.

So Why Us? Because if it could happen to us it could happen to anyone.

Last week my son and I were invited to speak about our experience and the Living Thru Crisis program we started a few months ago at the 2014 MOAA Warrior Family Symposium. The topic: Behavioral Health in Military Families. You can see what we shared below, but that wasn’t the highlight of the event. Sure seeing my son knock it out of the park and share something so personal in front of so many leaders, spouses, organizations and military brass was incredible.

But the thing that hit me was the countless times people pulled me aside saying “that could be my kid”, “he doesn’t look depressed”, “he doesn’t act like an addict”, “your family doesn’t seem like the type” – whatever type they had in mind I do not know.

No he doesn’t…and no we don’t. Which is the answer to “WHY US”.

Suicide,  depression and addiction aren’t selective. In fact the number of military families living thru these situations is rising at an alarming rate. And we have been asked to help change that. Whether by choice or circumstance we are in the fight to bring awareness to the growing crisis affecting teens.

You see until my son spoke many people assumed he was another expert. Suit, Tie, grin and all. The room was silent as we shared our story and he became the face behind the mission to stop the stigma and bring awareness to what’s really happening in military families. Our message that these issues don’t discriminate was heard loud and clear.

We changed mindsets and lives that day, and that’s the thing that will stick with me and gave me my answer to “why us”.

 

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Support The Wounded Warriors By Simply Going Shopping!

by Judy Davis on September 15, 2014

Wounded Warrior Shop Save Support e1410794038343 Wounded Warrior Savings Believe in Heroes As a military family there is always an underlying fear of “What if”…

“What if” my service member doesn’t come home? “What if” they are injured during battle?  “What if” my friends service member is injured? It’s a never ending dialog especially when my soldier is deployed. The fear that he will not return or the worry that he will be among the injured heroes – our Wounded Warriors is real.

We plan, prepare and await homecomings and hope that ours is much like those portrayed on the news. We envision well planned out surprises or a teary and long embrace that speaks all that we are feeling. But the reality is that not all homecomings signal the end of the battle.

Many of our heroes come home wounded – with their journey of healing just beginning. It is their stories and their spirit that show the real impact that war has on our community. It is their heroism that we must highlight, and it is their sacrifice that our nation must honor.

For these reasons and so many more I wanted (no needed) to share a fun and unique way to support our wounded warriors – those who sacrifice so much for each and every one of us.   I’m happy to announce and participate* in the 5th year that Believe in Heroes® has created a campaign to raises funds and awareness for Wounded Warrior Project® (WWP).

Believe in Heroes® was established in 2010 to bring grocery retailers, trusted brands, and shoppers together to raise funds for WWP, a non-profit organization whose mission is to honor and empower our Wounded Warriors. It has generated $16 million to date and has helped enable the expansion of its critical veteran programs that now directly serve more than 40,000 injured service members.

The cool thing is that YOU can participate and support these heroes doing something you do every week (ok maybe every day icon smile Wounded Warrior Savings Believe in Heroes ) and that’s GROCERY SHOP!!

Beginning September 7, 2014 through Veterans Day, November 11, 2014, Believe in Heroes asks Americans to show their support and appreciation for our service members and newest generation of veterans in a simple everyday way — grocery shopping. Participating Brands & retailers will help raise funds and awareness for WWP through this campaign and I invite you to be part of it!

How You Can Participate:

  • Download Coupons HERE and redeem them when you shop at your local grocery store. (Now thru November 11, 2014)
  • Visit the Store to purchase Believe in Heroes® merchandise and get awesome items such as a car decals, key chains, ceramic mugs and more!
  • Take it up a notch and tell your friends by sharing this post on social media
  • Tweet  “Shop and Save in Support of our Wounded Warriors http://goo.gl/BdfBQU” often between now and November 11, 2014 to help spread the word about this awesome way to support our troops!

*Disclosure: As a participant in the 2014 Believe in Heroes® blogger campaign I received compensation as part of the program. 

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The Real Story Behind New Military Spouse Resource: Right Side Up by Judy Davis

September 3, 2014

If I’m completely honest, the release of Right Side Up: Find Your Way When Military Life Turns You Upside Down is a bit overwhelming.  In fact today it is officially available for sale all over not only the military community but on Amazon, Barnes and Noble and so many other places. You see, being an author […]

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Military Life Challenges: Change and Choice equals Possibility by Judy Davis, The Direction Diva

August 28, 2014
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Tech Moment: 5 Personality Types That Will Stunt Your Growth in Social Media by Judy Davis, The Direction Diva

August 23, 2014

Social Media. What started out as a fun way to keep in touch with family and friends has transformed into so much more hasn’t it? For many of us social media has become our go to strategy to get news, information and tips to live our lives. From business icons and top brands to the individual starting their first home […]

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Do you have a plan?

August 17, 2014

Do you have a plan, or do you just going with the flow? Yes, I will confess, I am a more “go with the flow” kind of person, and that works for me…well for the most part. I love the energy of shifting gears, multi-tasking and doing what comes next, right up to the part […]

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