Struggling After Service
A Missouri native who grew up adventuring around the rivers and swimming holes of the Ozarks, Michelle had a clear vision of what ‘home’ meant as a child. Like an unsettling number of service members, however, she struggled to regain a sense of ‘home’ after leaving the military. Michelle returned to the States from her 8-year tour as an Army Medic with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), a feeling of “uselessness,” and a sense of uncertainty about what the future held for her.
Challenges such as these impact countless Veterans in the months and years following their service. Unique to Michelle’s situation, however, is that within six months of returning home, she separated from her husband and her mother passed away. Like many Veterans struggling to find a path home, the former Army Medic turned to alcohol to help navigate through her sense of emotional displacement. This sense of emotional displacement then took a physical form, and Michelle bounced across the Prairie State of Illinois, the cornfield plains of Iowa, and then the golden rolling hills of California where she entered a rehab program.
Things were looking up for Michelle after she completed rehab. The recovering Veteran found a temporary place to stay, but it wasn’t long before the mental toll of difficult past experiences caught up to her. Distressing symptoms and emotional pain associated with PTSD are heavy burdens to bear. For many of our country’s heroes, alcohol can temporarily numb or dull their feelings, providing a brief escape from intrusive memories. A relapse sent Michelle back to a dark place. Like many Veterans, she needed a helping hand to guide her.