Please consider looking closely at this flag, on this #VeteransDay. It shows ppl of all backgrounds – service men/women as well as everyday citizens, making up the Red, White, & Blue.
Because my diagnosis was/is PTSD, & I didn’t serve, every time there is a holiday honoring our brave men & women, I feel compelled to bring attention to this topic, & find a way for us to feel closer to one another, as one connected group, as opposed to separated by labels of disorder.
Mental health lives on a continuum. As such, trauma that we live through can move us back & forth along that continuum. For some of us the trauma comes in the form of “common” life events such as: losing loved ones, getting into accidents, breakdowns in relationships, getting let go from work. For our service men/women, trauma can come via way of more intense events they witness firsthand, in an instant – losing brothers & sisters in arms, destruction of civilian villages, etc. On this day we honor their bravery, that they knew those consequences going in, along w many others, & STILL chose to defend us.
Although what those who serve our countries witness can often cause more intense symptoms – & more intense versions of complications like PTSD – the trauma we ALL live through, on ALL levels, should be what brings us TOGETHER instead of separates us.
It breaks my heart to see veterans come back & be labeled as “unfit” or misunderstood & unable to find a job, or made to only feel comfortable talking & spending time w others who have served.
We are all a LOT more alike than we are different. Our traumas – although taking place at different levels & different spans of time & on different stages – actually bind us closer together in more ways than they separate us.
Next time you see a veteran, today or any day – yes, thank them for their service, but also welcome them to your circle of friends, invite them to chat, hear their story…you’ll find we’re all a lot more alike than we are different.