DVIDS – News – A spouse’s experience with mental health in the military

I have spent the last ten years of my life living with a mental illness, but my first experience with a mental health crisis comes to mind so clearly that I feel like it could have happened yesterday. .

I had just started my sophomore year in college, didn’t get into a class I wanted so badly, and I fell for it. I called my mom, but there wasn’t much she could do. Neither of us understood my reaction to a seemingly minor hiccup. Her intuition must have sharpened when she said, “Go to the health center and tell them you need to talk to a counselor. I’m not hanging up this phone until you’re with an advisor.

Looking back, this singular moment probably saved my life. And so began my navigation in the world of mental health.

There is still a lot of stigma around mental health around the world. At first, I was embarrassed to have seen a therapist. I didn’t want to be on medication for the rest of my life. I just wanted to be “normal” whatever it was.

It took me a few years and some wise advice from my sister before I stopped being ashamed and embraced the steps I needed to take to take care of myself. “If someone had heart disease and needed medicine they would take it every day, how is that different?” ”

I promised myself that I would never switch my health insurance to TRICARE. By the time I married my husband, an active-duty sailor, I finally had the perfect therapist and the right combination of drugs.

My depression and anxiety were manageable and I didn’t want to play with a good thing. After all, like many other new spouses, I had heard horror stories about how the military cared about behavioral health. I worried that I wouldn’t have access to a therapist of my choice or medications that I knew were already working for me, and that I would constantly hit the wall when I needed treatment.

Fast forwarding four years, and transferring my care to the military was one of the best decisions for my sanity.

Being a part of the military community has really done wonders for my sanity. The care I receive from my local military clinic is better than I expected. My primary care manager, therapist and psychiatrist all have access to my file with each other’s notes, which takes the stress out of care as I no longer have to constantly repeat my life story. at each visit. Honestly, I feel like I’m receiving care as a whole person, as opposed to doctors treating one problem at a time without looking at the big picture.

This year’s theme for Suicide Prevention Month, “Connect to Protect” resonates with me because it is the connections I have with the people around me that keep me through my most difficult days. . It took a while, but I’ve learned that it’s not only okay to reach out when my symptoms are increasing, it’s necessary to take care of myself. Being open and honest with myself and those around me about how I really feel makes difficult days a little more manageable.

While the traditional health care aspect of the military community continues to exceed expectations, it is the people I have met along the way who have helped me the most. Some of my best friends are military spouses. They don’t judge me when I need a little extra love or confidence when I’m going through a depressive episode. They watch me when my husband is deployed or goes for training. Most importantly, they understand the unique situations that come with being in a military family.

Really, the same can be said of the people I work with. I have been a civilian in the Army Department for a year now. I love my job, plain and simple, but it was the soldiers and civilians I work with who made juggling a full-time job, a prolonged separation from my husband and my mental health needs. manageable.

Some people will never understand what it is like to have such a disconnect between your logic and your emotions. But keeping those feelings close only makes it worse. It has been a long road, but I have learned that there is no shame in needing mental health care.

It’s no secret to those around me that I see a therapist on a regular basis. I proudly take my medication and share my experiences on it. I mean, can you really be someone’s best friend if you haven’t compared your notes on which anxiety medication is best for you?

It might seem like a talking point when the military says people are their number one priority, but it has been more than a checkbox in my life.

Learn about the people you care about. Don’t wait for someone to be in trouble. Let the people you love know that you care. Not everyone will ask for help when they need it, and not everyone may know they need help. And if you have a hard time with anything, no matter how trivial you think it is, don’t let fear of stigma keep you from accessing the resources you need.

Whether it’s your spouse, your best friend, your combat companion, or even your commander, the people around you care about you.

Date taken: 09/14/2021
Date posted: 14.09.2021 14:20
Story ID: 405190

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