Avoid a Transition Rut
August 16, 2022 | 2-minute read
Some Veterans enjoy life after the military because they can fill their days as they choose. But that freedom can be stressful for other Veterans as they transition back into civilian life. Without the structure of the military — from daily duties and clear hierarchy to predictable pay, housing and even uniforms to wear — they may find the endless possibilities of being a civilian intimidating.
Life Loop (PSA – 60 seconds)
At that crossroads, facing major, life-shaping choices, some Veterans freeze up, worried about making the wrong decision as they find their footing on a new path in life. But postponing decisions or lacking goals can leave a Veteran in a rut that feels like a hamster wheel.
The dullness and routine of that life, depicted in a new video from Make the Connection, can cause Veterans to feel angry or depressed. At the other end of the spectrum, the routine drives some Veterans to seek the adrenaline rush of the dangerous physical or life-threatening situations they experienced in the military, leading them to engage in thrill-seeking, reckless behavior.
Whether you served in combat or at a desk, your experiences in the military — both positive and negative — changed who you were before your service began, including the way you view your life and deal with people. Stressful or traumatic situations may have altered your behavior and reactions in ways that can be misunderstood or problematic outside of the military.
Reintegrating into the civilian world can be challenging, and every Veteran works through it in their own way and on their own timeline. But when any of the following symptoms interferes with your enjoyment of daily life, it’s time to speak with your VA provider:
- Feeling isolated and alone
- Frequently feeling on edge or tense
- Having difficulty concentrating
- Feeling angry or irritable
- Having trouble sleeping
- Feeling down for weeks or months
Most Veterans go through some period of adjustment while transitioning from military life, but you don’t have to do it alone. VA can help.