Overcoming depression with family support


I think one of the saddest parts
of a Serviceman getting out of the Service is they don’t
take any orders anymore. People might not realize this,
but military people have been conditioned to take orders. It is almost like when you get
your discharge papers you are even asking the last time,
are there any orders? It’s amazing, because it didn’t
really hit me to any significant degree until I got
out, that here I had these military discharge papers,
honorable discharge, given a address to where the VA services
were, and to go on my own, find out if I
need to check in. But nobody was telling
me anything to do. And that was probably one
of the most depressive periods in my life. I think a lot of soldiers might
not ever admit that as honestly as they need to, but
we look for more orders. So there I was was coming home,
and at this time my grandmother, who had had
experience with my father who was in the Army, who was a Korea
Veteran, who had had problems in the Service and they
didn’t even have those kinds of support bases. And she took care of my father,
got him stabilized, and made sure he understood that
the support base was at the family first. And I think she saw it in me. Because my mother, again,
had had a relapse. She was ill. So my depression was growing
on me, to the point where I probably would have gone
back to the drugs. I probably would have gone back
to the streets, so to speak, was where I came from. And at that point my
grandmother, one Wednesday, with a cane, she was 81 one at
the time, took me to the local church around the corner, where
I came up as a child. I hadn’t been there in years. And they had a Wednesday
night bible study. She sat me down, she said,
I want you to stay here. And I thought we were just going
to stay there because she gave me an order. And a soldier is listed
for orders. And when she said, stay
here, I sat there. Then she said, my knee’s
hurting, and I’m going to go back to the house. I got ready to leave, she
said, stay there. And when she said stay there I
looked kind of puzzled, but I was still following orders. That was one of the best orders
that I ever followed, because what happened was she
recognized I needed to be in some kind of group
of discussion.

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