Since the Vietnam era, the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan have been the longest sustained US military operations. More than 2.2 million troops were sent into battle and there were an estimated 48,000 injuries and 6,600 deaths were tallied.
Many veterans coming home are unscathed, but there are also many of them who are still healing from injuries. Aside from injuries, mental health conditions appear to be present in some of them. This makes them have a hard time readjusting to the normal flow of things and even in reconnecting with family or finding work and going back to school.
This could mean that vets may need assistance with a few things. Part of the basics that you should know when you get back is what benefits and assistance you could get. The government has programs for veterans that you can check and there are also firms that have specific benefits for vets. You can check the Veterans Community for this.
The truth for some service members is that coming home may be as hard as going to war and this understandable. This is why it’s also important for friends and family members to adjust once a service member comes home.
For families and friends, it’s important that you don’t approach a veteran with so many questions. Especially if it concerns killings and their experience during the war. These are things that can be very traumatic for them and this can make them snap.
Wait for them to open up about this. However, know that some of them just really don’t want to talk about it and you need to respect that. If in case they do snap, don’t snap at them too. Know that he or she might be struggling to say what they really want and it could take some time for them to warm up.
Now, for veterans, there are also things to keep in mind or consider in coming home. What you should know is that things may not be easy when you get back. It usually takes a few months to feel like things are normal again.
Your experiences will have physical manifestations and some of them are things that your family or people you live with should know about. Usually, veterans who just came home still have trouble sleeping and eating. Sometimes, you could also experience a lot of headaches and night sweat. It’s also common to still experience shock, numbness, or unhappiness.
With all these also come mental and emotional reactions. You may have some nightmares, flashbacks, or unwanted memories happening from time to time. You may feel anger, nervousness, helplessness, and fear. Some would also feel guilt and shame.
It’s also reported that some of the vets appear to be easily agitated, sad, upset, and annoyed. They would also fear or be angry about rejection and abandonment. Feeling hopeless about the future is also common.
There are just so many things that you may experience once you’re home and it’s normal for your friends and family to be on the lookout. This is something that you shouldn’t feel bad about. It’s something that you should expect and know that they are also adjusting themselves.
Being on the battlefield may have trained you to become less trusting and always alert and uncomfortable. These are things that should be changed once you’re back. You need to be able to feel safe and comfortable again. You need to be trusting with your family.
Opening up about your experiences is not necessary, but if you feel like it could help, then do it. You don’t have to tell the whole story. If you plan to, you can do this at your own pace. You can just talk about what you’re feeling instead of your experiences if you don’t want to relive them. What’s important is that you start opening up to the people who care about you once again.
It takes your own efforts and the efforts of your family and friends too to make sure that you get you back on your normal routines. You should find and do things that will help you feel better. Some of these are as simple as exercising and eating well, getting enough sleep, and relaxation techniques like meditation and breathing exercises.
Find new things to explore or new hobbies that make you feel good. Spend more time with your friends and family. Eventually, you will no longer feel like you’re readjusting. This may take a few months to happen but all effort counts.