Why do Veterans find it difficult to adjust to daily life when they return home from war?
Probably beacuse of a combination of the routine and discipline in the army, the constant life-threatening danger and the resulting close comradeship which creates a very different kind of life from the one most of us lead. Everyone finds change difficult and I suspect that having lived in something of an alternative reality in the army it is almost impossible to readjust in their minds - especially if they are living around people who have no idea what they have been through.
I think when a person is trained to kill, and is on edge daily for years sometimes, it is as hard for them to de-program their brains to know they may not be in danger of being killed any moment. But then, there are people living in ghetto war zones in America who live with the chances of being killed daily too. I'm not sure how I'd react seeing people killed with regularity.
It really depends on what you experienced. In the cases where a veteran has experienced a lot of killing and death on a frequent basis, he or she adapts to a world with a different set of rules...kill or be killed. They live with the adrenalin flow of avoiding death, the stress of confronting it...all of which eventually reside in the subconscious mind as there is little time to dwell on it. By the time they return home, they want to forget much of what they have seen but people keep asking and wanting to know...making them relive it at times. They also have to regear their mind and wash their subsconscious mind of the idea that they need to kill or be kill, to be alert for danger at every moment...to stop living on the edge. All that decompression of those instinctive emotions takes a lot of time and effort to manage back into place. If life takes a bad turn in the interim, it become overwhelming for many of them. WB
This is a huge deal. Almost EVERY soldier coming back from Iraq and Afghanistan is having some kind of a problem. My son's unit returned from their second deployment (one year in Afghanistan, just before Christmas. Many of the guys are still having difficulties...and it is not just psychological. Many soldiers have problems with their benefits, red tape issues with medical matters, etc.
One of the soldiers in my son's outfit posted this on facebook...
"THE UNITED STATES GOVERNMENT BETTER START TAKING CARE OF ITS VETERANS - OR STOP MAKING THEM.
It depends on which war? The Nam Vets did. Mostly because their fellow Americans treated them terrible when they returned!
During my service, my standard of performance was to make no excuses and just get the job done by almost any means necessary. The consequences could vary from being withheld from promotion, being formally charges like 'dereliction of duty', or perhaps a physical beat down and certainly an excess of psychological manipulation, again 'by any means necessary.' The stakes are very high, your ability to get results is literally a matter of life and death. By the end of the first enlistment, it all becomes very normal. In a combat zone it's more intense, yet also more rewarding. Seeing the fruits of your labor, both good and bad rather quickly feels gratifying in ways the civilian world can never offer.
The gap between standards of military and civilian can really mess with a person in many ways.
1. Many of us join up to escape a bad family situation or poor hometown. Do you suppose they were any better support system when I 'came home'? I was actually told "you really put your family through hell."
2. Civilian employment is fickle and doesn't automatically recognize the quality of work and personal responsibility the service person has demonstrated. I have actually had to dissect each of my deployments and duty stations as if each were a new employer and job description. You really have to explain yourself well.
3. On the ground, we live and die for the sake of the American to his left and right, but when the game is over, and the adrenaline wears off, there is nothing to take the place of that job except perhaps a "security contractor" position. It's not the same, not even close.
4. The soldier may get blamed for war but he's the guy taking orders. When we see our civilian leadership for the isolated ivory tower dwellers they really are, it's more than a little demoralizing. It's schizophrenic! Iraqis were only my enemy because someone ordered me to make them my enemy. Remember, you cannot take back a bullet once it's been fired.
5. Speaking for myself, I cannot believe I put my life on the line for the defense of people who live for reality TV and a family who wouldn't welcome me home from war, nor will they even help me search for a job to support myself. They're too busy watching NCIS marathons over and over again like some brain dead zombies. God bless America.
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