I’m out here in the trenches and I’m listening…and from what I see I think it’s time someone starts talking candidly about what’s really going on in our military community before it’s too late. There is a crisis on the horizon and we need someone to stand up and let the country know what’s happening with respect to military life. Perhaps one day this crisis will be over, but for now I’m just hoping that someone will listen. I know if I were to address the nation and every military family I surely wouldn’t start off by saying that the state of our military community is strong; because that would be a lie. I would start by saying that as a community we are in trouble and I would go on to say that we need to take action before things get any worse. I wonder how long I would be allowed to continue on? My guess is not long at all.
Frankly as someone who spends time living, breathing and focusing on the truth of what our military families are going through I’m worried. Not from the perspective of whether or not we are strong in our ability to win a military battle, but from the perspective of what being strong has done to those of us in the trenches of military life. What I see day in and day out is more than just a war-weary community. It’s a community that is struggling to keep afloat emotionally.
Our community has been asked to take on too much. We have had to deal with challenges beyond our wildest nightmares and it’s becoming harder and harder to have faith in our leadership. We are struggling to find hope for our future and we are emotionally exhausted. Our troops, spouses and dependents continue to sacrifice their own health and well-being without asking for more. In fact they continue to fulfill their commitments in spite of the budget cuts and decreased support resources.
It’s no wonder we are struggling. It’s no wonder we are no longer a community that focuses on the future; we are forced to do whatever we can just to survive and take care of our own. Our fight is no longer just on the battle field it’s in our hearts and our minds and it’s taking its toll emotionally.
When we initially went to war, as a nation we cared. Our administration cared. Our congressional and senate leadership cared. Civilian communities cared. But as the battle continues it feels as though the people who cared have begun to forget that we are still in the fight. They have forgotten all that we sacrifice day in and day out and the cost it has on ourselves and our loved ones.
We have service members still at war, vets and wounded warriors in a daily fight both physically AND emotionally. We have families trying to cope with it all. It’s a perfect storm that has resulted in a crisis that many did not see coming. A community with a mental/behavioral health crisis the likes of which we have never seen before. A crisis that will grow exponentially in the years to come as our children grow and our service members transition back to the civilian world. The stage is set and a perfect storm is brewing.
Don’t believe me? Consider this:
Service members have been in the deployment cycle for years now and the challenges they face physically and emotionally are having a ripple effect on our spouses and families. Our children have grown up in an environment with a huge amount of stress and anxiety, and frankly many are struggling. Our spouses are emotionally exhausted and our troops aren’t fully able to heal before going back into combat.
In the last month alone our installation had 2 known dependent suicides; a spouse and a young teen. Are we talking about it, NO. Are we combining this data with similar situations around the country, No. Are we discussing the looming crisis before us, NO. Heck we aren’t dealing with the fact that there are 22 veterans that take their life every day, so how can I expect that we shed light on the crisis that is occurring within our dependent population?
What is it that I see but our country’s leadership doesn’t?
Don’t they see all that our service members and their families have endured doesn’t end just because the media highlights the “withdraw” of troops. Don’t they see the permanent emotional scars that a military child carries from seeing their parent suffer from Post Traumatic Stress? What about the teen who can’t handle the roller coaster ride any more and loses all hope?
When faced with the challenges that military life brings, our military dependents need more, our children need more, our spouses need more and our vets and wounded warriors need more. But instead of giving more, we as a nation are hell-bent on giving less at a time when the entire military community is dealing with the residual effects that years of service brings.
What’s wrong with us?
How can we as a nation ignore the fact that so many dependents and service members are fragile and at risk because of the situation that our nation put them in? How can the moral and well-being of the entire military community be dismissed?
When as a nation did we stop caring for those who protect us and all we stand for?
The mental and physical well-being of the entire military community is at a critical tipping point and we need to come together and take care of the people who have given so much to our nation. The crisis is here and mark my words it will get worse if we don’t do something quickly. And I for one will do what ever it takes so that another child, spouse, service member or veteran never becomes a statistic.
Our children need us, our spouses need us and more importantly our service members need us. They are in crisis and we must take action.