Afghanistan Vet Needs Some Guidance
I'm not sure what to write here or even what the response I receive will be, with that said, hello, first time writing to ya.
I suppose I should start off at the beginning of what put me into my current situation, just a few years ago I joined the US Army, went through the training, deployed to Afghanistan once, got back to the states and did some bullshit for the next few months and eventually left the military with an honorable discharge.
After this I moved in with my folks and spent some time off just living on the money I saved up in the military, then started looking for a job, couldn't find one, money dried up, parents asked me to move out. The trailer I was living in on their property didn't have heat anyways and winter was approaching quickly, I heard of a homeless veteran shelter and moved in there.
Its not a bad place, its clean, safe and has food available, its just, still can't find a job, last couple months I've been pretty depressed about my situation, enough that I have had certain thoughts that I would prefer not to mention here but I am sure you will suggest I seek a "licensed professional."
Honestly I prefer not speaking to one, reasons being that with the current state of the country, and the fact that if one of these "licensed professionals" can legally strip me of my second amendment rights if they feel my mental state is not within a certain standard. I do not want to wake up one day with a police officer knocking on my door demanding my firearms because of some bout of depression I was treated for. I wouldn't be surprised if I am on some type of government watch list for the sole reason of serving this country.
I suppose that is all I have to write for now, maybe you have some advice for my situation.
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I would like to start my reply by giving you a big “Thank You!” for bravely serving your country and all of us who remained at home. That was a selfless thing to do and must be acknowledged. I think it is pretty awesome that there are furries in the military (I assume you’re a furry and that’s how you found my column.)
Papabear can understand your reticence about seeking professional help. I often suggest to writers who contact me that they do such, but more important is that you reach out to someone when you are troubled. And I think it is a very good sign that you have written to me that you are thinking clearly and have not sunk so low as to be a danger to yourself or others.
It is also understandable that at this point in your life you would be depressed. Who wouldn’t be? You have put your life on the line only to come back and find yourself jobless and kicked out of your parents’ home.
It is a dirty shame that, for the most part, our federal government has fallen down on the job when it comes to helping veterans, especially when it comes to getting jobs and reestablishing themselves in mainstream society. Nevertheless, if you haven’t already done so, I would recommend you contact Veteran Affairs at http://www.va.gov/. The VA not only has medical assistance to those who need it, but also job training and job search programs. That would be a good start.
If you have already done that, then you can also look into private veteran organizations like the National Veterans Foundation (http://nvf.org/) which has chapters throughout the country. A big part of what they do is help vets find work. There is also AmVets (http://www.amvets.org/), which does have training and grant programs, though admittedly a lot of their focus seems to be on helping vets with medical and other financial problems.
On the next level, start connecting to local and war-relevant groups. Since you served in Afghanistan, you are eligible to join the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (http://iava.org) for free. The IAVA is focused on assisting with health, training, and employment of veterans of these wars.
Finally, you can search for local organizations in your state, county, or city. Search under “veterans for veterans” and see what you can locate using Google. Or, you could probably get recommendations from the IAVA if you asked their office.
Oh! And don’t forget your furiends! Connect with military furs at such places as http://militaryfurries.livejournal.com/ and http://furry4life.org/forum/topics/military-furs. This might not lead to a job, but it will give you some social support that you might need.
As you can see, Rob, getting help and reaching out doesn’t necessarily mean looking for a mental health professional. My instinct is that you are not crazy or a danger in any way; you are simply depressed because of the southward turn your life has taken. I hope that some of the information above can put you on a course toward helping you find your way out of your present situation.
Papabear Salutes You!
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