Struggling After Leaving The Armed Forces? It’s Not Always a Mental Health Issue

Note: I’m not a mental health professional and this article should not be interpreted as medical advice. Seek professional or medical help immediately if you are experiencing a mental health crisis.

We talk about the Armed Forces a lot in my family, and we had a conversation recently about why veterans miss service and war.

My son is in the army and ancestors have served as professional soldiers through the Boer War, Great War, WWII, Aden, Malaya, Suez, Rhodesia … you name them. Because my husband specialises providing marketing and business consulting to help service leavers and veterans, and his grandfather lost so many brothers in the Great War,  he follows the Royal British Legion and other forces community pages on Facebook.

We all know that help from the NHS and many charity organisations are not perfect, but he was dismayed at the online comments and complaints he saw, hitting out at everything. Little positivity, all “me me me”,  and “I am entitled”.

So anyway,  just after writing a post about how service had helped my son and so many thousands of young people transition from being self-centred to so soul-centred, I questioned where all this egocentric behaviour from the Armed Forces Community, that we viewed online comes from. It seemed in contradiction with values taught in the Army, Navy and Airforce.

I suspected a big part of the problem is that the focus in our schools and society at large, is only on physical and mental health  – so a crucial element, hard-wired into our DNA is missing – spiritual health, emotional health, consciousness, intuition, the divine, connectedness, soul – whatever you want to call it.

It seems that it’s acceptable for athletes and professional sports teams to use visualisation as a tool, but not acceptable to apply the concept of clear intent and vibrational energy matching to everything else in life – different words but “exactly the same thing“.

I’m going to use an extreme example to explain this missing element – those who have experienced the intensity of the battle...

Why Soldiers Miss Battle and War

How do I Explain

The human brain Plays some curious tunes upon it’s baffled owner

For when I gather with my friends who were there

It is usually not the corpses We summon up in memory

We dwell upon laughter share, on jokes we played

And how we showed that snotty Captain up The night we walked in through the hills

Even more Peculiar Still

When I sit alone and jump back down the years to the day

The landmine gripped me in its greedy fist

The day I heard my rifle shout. I catch a tantalising flash

Of that bright clean world, you reach When your life is given back

And then… and then – I grow nostalgic for the war.

Chas Lotter in his book Echoes on an African War

How eloquent in explaining the intensity of bonding and richness of life after the fight.

Journalist Sebastian Junger shares his experience embedded with American soldiers at Restrepo. In other words, he says that one reason Veterans miss war is that there can be no greater awareness or consciousness of your fellow human being, of the importance of the clan, the team, the group, your brothers in arms, than during the intensity of battle. It’s something that can never be replicated in civilian life, especially in a country and culture where the words spirituality, inner-self, etc get confused with conservative religious dogma and are shunned not spoken. It’s absolutely no wonder that the crucial spiritual element of being human is lost to many after service going into civvy street and very sorely missed.

Physical Health Mental Health Spiritual (Intuitive) Health – All 3 are Mandatory

We aren’t given the tools to develop this inner well-being, and like I said mass media tells us everything comes down to mental health, so that’s all that’s really on offer. The example given in battle is extreme like I said, and Mental Health Issues like depression, PTSD etc are real and serious, but that’s not what we are talking about there. We are talking about acquiring knowledge and developing one’s intuition so we are able to clear intent, positive energy, become more conscious and draw on an immense well of inner strength and life skills learned, in order to flourish, become better leaders, husbands, wives and members of society. Just 250 years ago before the industrial revolution, our ancestors were probably a hundred times more connected and aware that we are in this noisy world today, a hundred times less distracted, more able to focus and get things done.

Some modern Science alludes to an even simpler explanation of why service and the military environment is missed. Social grooming is a behaviour in which social animals like dogs, gorillas and humans, interact, play, clean and maintain one another. As humans, we work to be able to social groom and our thus our social time is precious. Service with your group, troop or section must be the ultimate in social grooming, and again difficult to maintain in civilian life. Social Media interaction doesn’t cut it.

So take your physical health and mental health seriously, but be sure to educate yourself, become wise, develop your intuition and don’t miss out on that crucial third element.

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