Having thoughts of being lonely or depressed is not weakness. Not getting help when you do, is. Because loneliness kills.
Yesterday was Veterans Day, and as a vet, it is a day I appreciate. But this year, as I was thinking on this day, an issue came to mind that I think has a ton of relevance, particularly with veterans. And that thought was this:
I was reading Brene Brown’s book, Dare To Lead, and a part in the book specifically talks about military members admitting to being lonely. I get it. Being a vet can be especially lonely. It’s a different experience, and at times it can be really hard for anyone who hasn’t been through it to understand. It’s equally difficult to explain.
As military personnel, we are trained to act and execute and not question. To shoot and move and communicate but only to communicate in as few words as needed and sometimes without words because lives are on the line and speed and efficiency are what is required. Bravado and posturing are high. Constantly pushing and leading without showing weakness is rewarded. Showing any emotion or sign of compassion is more a sign of weakness and a path to career stagnation rather than promotion.
You don’t talk about it; you stuff it inside. As the saying goes you DRIVE ON. Until driving on doesn’t cut it anymore. To the point that we turn inward and blow up the thoughts we have inside ourselves and make them truer than the actual truth. We continue to hide or mask with behaviors that are extremely destructive or we wear this mask of everything being great on the outside with no one knowing how bad we are on the inside. We continue down that path until the mask is so heavy that we can’t keep wearing it without it starting to fall off. Ultimately, many decide that this world would be better off without us in it.
All because of this feeling of loneliness. Feeling lonely leads to or is tied to depression and ultimately depression and/or loneliness leads to suicide. There are too many today—definitely in the military and veterans’ community—committing suicide. And it needs to be addressed. Vets need to know that they aren’t alone and that they can reach out when they need help.
I don’t have any answers. I’m not personally reaching out, but between Brene’s book, and Veteran’s Day, the experiences I’ve had, and the moments I find myself going inward, made me think to write this post. If you are feeling depressed or lonely or resonate with this message and find yourself withdrawing from those who are close to you, you can send me a message. I’m not a therapist or a professional trained to deal with these issues but I am human and I’d be happy to talk. No judgment. No shaming. Just lots of listening and love.
When we have thoughts of being lonely or depressed it’s not weakness. To talk with a loved one when you do feel this way is actually the exact opposite of weakness; it’s pure power. Don’t go it alone. Reach out and DRIVE ON with someone who cares about you by your side.