What do you miss most about the military?
Let me guess… camaraderie.
It’s the most popular answer. We all saw it. Service members can be seen drinking together, working together, and supporting one another.
In the Marine Corps, our Physical Fitness Test (PFT) involves a three-mile run. Which is crazy to me now, because I get winded after one mile.
Most Marines I served with could complete their run in 19 to 22 minutes. Of course, there were plenty that fell beyond that time. During many of my PFTs, I would see Marines finish the three miles in 19 or 20 minutes, catch their breath, and then run back to motivate the slower Marines.
It was inspiring. Actions like that are what made it an honor to say I served in the United States Marine Corps.
Our community-wide push to address PTSD, mental health, and suicide prevention among veterans needs to have a similar response. We need to realize that once we’ve overcome our own adversity, that it’s time to go back and help the others through.
There’s one stipulation, though. They have to be willing to move forward.
No one wanted to help the guy that gave up. If you become dead weight – and showed no effort to improve – you were criticized, ridiculed, and not taken seriously.
The reality is, the same applies to mental and emotional health. When we find ourselves stuck in depression, we need to extend our hand so someone can grab it. We have to continue pushing forward and create our own motion.
No one can reach into your soul and pull you out of the darkness by him or herself.
They need your help just as desperately as you need theirs.
Timothy Lawson, USMC