Hello to my ADHD peeps and ADHD loved ones,
You may ask “why don’t you hang out with veteran friends or meet friends that went through the same experiences that you went through?” That’s a great question and you would think that in most cases that would work, but whenever I went to things like the local school clubs for veterans, I ended up being around people that served in office jobs, which though an important aspect of the military, these people are not like me. I also went to the local veterans hall but the people there are 30-60 years older than me.
This is why I don’t tell people about my veteran status. I have been asked “Did I kill anyone?” more times than I have been thanked for my service. The military isn’t a fun place, it’s a job and people need to do it and it is extremely important, but I believe that with TV shows it’s so glorified and people see veterans on the extreme sides of the spectrum. You have the individuals who are crippled with issues from what they did all the way to people who sat in an office chair his entire career but he is going to tell you how he went on a mission and shot 327 people because orders is orders (always use a random number to throw people off the scent.) Most of us are going to end up somewhere in the middle of these extremes.
Since I got out of the military, I have been extremely careful who I tell I’m a veteran. The main reason is not because I am ashamed of my time in the military. It isn’t because I think I am better than the military. The main reason is because being a veteran puts you in a weird position in society. When people find out you are a veteran most people will treat you differently, whether they realize it or not.
I believe it is also extremely difficult to come back from a deployment and not many people talk about what it is like coming back. I came back from my deployment to Afghanistan and I was on top of the world. That first week was bliss. I went to a bar and my buddies would tell the bartender we just got back and this bartender starts pouring shots and shouting “these boys just made it back from deployment!” Random individuals are coming up and telling you that you are the coolest person in the world. Old friends are calling you asking to hang out whenever you get home because they missed you. Don’t forget, these are the same people that never bothered to send you a message asking you if you were doing alright… eh at that point it doesn’t matter you are the hottest VIP in the area, and everyone wants to talk and hang out with you. Fast forward a month or two and its quiet. You call up a friend and just want to talk because you haven’t talked to another human all weekend. He doesn’t answer probably, doesn’t want to talk because he is busy with his life. My VIP status is gone and I am down to a few friends because I am “different” after coming back. Instead of being active and the life of the party I get sad after a couple beers. People don’t get it, so I get frustrated. I don’t blame them, and I never will, I did come back different. The boy that went to Afghanistan came back a man with issues that can’t be resolved overnight. I feel a lot better now and I don’t know if he knows it but one of my best friends J.F. helped me get past a lot of my demons. I know that he felt bad about not deploying with us, but I think him staying back was probably one of the best things for our unit. I know he ended up helping a ton of people and he probably saved more lives than anyone did on that deployment. So shout out to him and as always much love to you bro.
Yes, I am proud that I served in the Army, but I am more proud of the man that I am today than I ever was while in the military. I never wanted people to glorify me, I don’t want movies made in my honor. I want to be treated like everyone else. Yes, I had a job that is not very typical, but when you are asking questions from people, think about what you are asking. We don’t go around asking fire fighters how many charred bodies they have pulled out of buildings. Why do you think that is? The reason is obvious, that is a screwed-up question that probably haunts that man or woman day in and day out. So why is it okay to hound me about how many people I killed or what other crazy things I saw/did in Afghanistan? Being in the military is a part of my life, I learned a lot and grew a lot as a person. In the military I went from a boy to a man. But I am no longer that person, the military has nothing to do with my life anymore. Since leaving I have earned a bachelors with a minor, gotten married, and am going to start medical school in August. My time in the military helped me to get where I am, but it is not who I am. So am I a veteran, yes, but it is not my identity.