A Mental Shift, The Demilitarized Mind
No one could have ever told me years ago that my focus today would be on individual health and wellness. Nor would I’d been able to understand the full effect of my current environment on my future. How the military moved, ate, thought, trained, and lived was different, and very much unhealthy. Even the definition of healthy—making it to every chow time and up-to-date on vaccinations—was different during my time served. Just living the truths of what was taught to us, we mostly strived to be the ideal soldier (or better), not really questioning the short- or long-term effect of what was being done and what we were doing to our bodies. Truly living in the moment and waiting for the next command to be given, we lived day-to-day, breaking our bodies down with no real plan for long-term wellness. I still find myself asking from time to time, what was I thinking? And I can honestly say, I wasn't thinking...for myself. There was no need, nor room, for that. Learning the true value of good health and well-being has taken over my demilitarization process and revealed many of the false truths that I lived by for so long.
Joining the military was a choice to live better and financially stable, so I thought. Though the damages still linger, “serving this country” has been more beneficial post-enlistment. The military offers more holistic treatment options for veterans looking to heal from physical and mental ailments, but it’s still very new and missing specific components for people of color and women. That’s why I'm sharing my space with you, holistic healing options for us from us. Deciding to leave the military was hard and scary for me, full of uncertainty and unfamiliarity. So I know there’s many others with more responsibility for more people that need and want assistance healing from their military experiences. Life as a civilian is very different from what was explained. Even the exiting process was filled with false truths, leaving most vets with high expectations of what life and work should be like once we were done.
Ultimately it comes down to this: We must find safe spaces to heal for ourselves, as well as create a supportive community to exchange information, experiences, and holistic healing options with those who are seeking.