• Betsy Ross

Me Against the World

I remember when I first stepped out of Fort Bliss after receiving my DD214. All I felt as I stood in the sandy wind of El Paso, Texas was a stranger facing a world of unknown. Sure, I talked myself into believing "at least I don't have to wear a uniform anymore"; "at least I don't have to worry about anymore random barracks rooms checks". The list went on as I tried brushing off what I thought I hated about being in the Army.

After jumping location to location while juggling a failed marriage, full time classes at a junior college, and an inevitable drinking habit, my world quickly spiraled out of control. I had felt like a failure since being chaptered out of the service (honorable discharge, but still) and though my hometown was hours away from the nearest military base or post, I felt consumed by fear, guilt, and confusion.

I wanted to distance myself from anything military while embracing it because it felt like it was all I knew. I didn't serve very long, but I joined because of heart and passion, and now that was gone. Thoughts of suicide taunted me as the sense of anger and loneliness overwhelmed every aspect of my life. I didn't know who I was. I didn't know how to communicate with others about anything.

A few years later, I talked myself into calling the VA clinic to set up an appointment to speak with a behavior health specialist. I was told that because I was not medically discharged that the only way I would be seen is if I felt like I was going to kill myself in that moment. Through my anger towards the VA and the rep I was speaking with on the phone in that very moment, I wasn't feeling suicidal, per say. I hung up and felt perplexed in the moment of bewilderment I found myself in.....I had a husband who cheated on me, treated me like shit, told me I was a poser and worthless, had no idea where he was because I hadn't seen him in years at that point. I wasn't doing well in school; barely making ends meet because of only able to work part time, if able to work at all.

I hated my life and there wasn't one person I could vent to about it.


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