As a teenager, the only things I knew about military life were the basics. I knew that the Army was responsible for a lot of my heartache (saying good-bye to my now husband for basic training) but other than that I was ignorant as to what a life in the military actually looked like.
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It was this lack of experience that caused me to make assumptions and little did I know that this practice was the norm even with experienced spouses- the assumptions, the lies we tell ourselves, the stigmas we condone and ultimately the silence that hinders our ability to clarify the facts from fiction, and in a sense light a candle in the darkness. So from one spouse to another, here are a few things about military life that made me feel confused, insignificant, and above all alone.
1. Asking for help is a sign of weakness.
There’s a large sign displayed at our base calling for action for Veterans to ASK for help. Veteran suicide is catastrophic issue within our community. Military officials, friends, spouses, civilians and many others plead for veterans to GET HELP and we should, with all our hearts and souls we should pour our efforts into this cause. With such a great deal of attention drawn to veterans, some spouses may feel that asking for help for themselves is unworthy and even a sign of weakness. We don’t experience combat or leave home to venture to some of the world’s most evil places, so why would WE need help?
I’ll tell you why.
Because being alone and dealing with daily tasks, rucking through periods of unplanned tragedies with virtually no assistance for days becomes emotionally taxing. This role is assumed, but what SHOULDN’T be assumed is that the burden of the role was meant to be carried alone. Doing hard things alone during your life in the military and barely keeping your head above water doesn’t make you noble; it just makes you tired. There are people that will help, but YOU NEED TO ASK.