The Guide to Coming Home

The Guide to Coming Home: February 19, 2010 Archive

Things I wish I did when I returned

Posted at 1:45 PM on February 19, 2010 (0 Comments)
Filed under: Accessing benefits, Employment, Family & relationships, Mental Health

From Daniel Price, Minneapolis, MN
Captain, Infantry, Minnesota Army National Guard, Company Commander, served in Iraq from March 2006 to June 2007.

Suggestions that I have that I wish that I had known when I returned:

1. Seek counseling with a mental health professional immediately upon arrival home. Even if you don't think that you have any issues, it will be good for returning soldiers to talk things out with a mental health professional instead of having things carry over to home life. This destroys marriages. I know from experience.

2. Seek marriage counseling immediately as well. Being away from spouses is very difficult. Seeking a marriage counselor is a great way to open up the lines of communication. One may think that the lines are open and everything is fine, but MAKE SURE that this is the case. Once the "honeymoon" is over, things can come crashing back to reality.

3. Get enrolled in the VA system. It can be a discouraging process but take advantage of them when you can. I have enrolled in the VA but maintain civilian providers because appointments are difficult to attain at the VA, especially for emergency or urgent situations.

4. Find a hobby that feeds your adrenaline rush...and learn how to mitigate the risks. Riding motorcyles, playing paintball, skydiving are different ways. All can be dangerous, but if you do them responsibly all can feed your appetite for adrenaline.

5. Do NOT sit idle and feel sorry for yourself, especially if you are unemployed. There are organizations out there that are waiting to help veterans find jobs. Use them. That's what they get paid for.

6. Know the phone numbers for the National Suicide helpline. 1-800-273-TALK.There is a disturbing trend of OIF/OEF veterans committing suicide. Do not become a statistic. There are people out there willing to help you, who know what you are going through, and will not let you spiral out of control until you reach the point of desperation.

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