Many Americans are currently unemployed due to struggling through this current recession. Unemployment seems to be around ten percent or higher for most areas of the country. However, amongst the veteran minority, unemployment is higher. It is difficult to speculate what causes a difference between veteran employment rates and civilian employment rates. Because I am a veteran I believe I have some inside knowledge as to why veterans are struggling to find and keep jobs in America.
Veterans face a unique set of challenges compared to their civilian counterparts. These challenges are the direct result of the veteran experience. Service to this nation has left some veterans with different social, medical, and psychological difficulties. With wars still ungoing, veterans will continue to struggle with issues such as PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder),TBI (traumatic brain injury), substance abuse problems and wide range of serious physical maladies ranging from amputation, paralysis, and various forms of cancers.
The veterans that are struggling with these problems today share the same fight as their fathers and grandfathers. Take for example...my grandfather. He served with the Air Force in World War II as a navigator. Grandpa flew in B-24 heavy bombing aircraft over Germany during the close of World War II. He had a very difficult experience while serving his country. Grandpa was shot from the skies at least three times and survived multiple crash landings and was captured by the German Nazis.
My grandfather survived all of this but ten years ago he was diagnosed with cancer and the doctor strongly felt that his cancer was related to his military experience.
I also struggled with my own medical problems. I am still suffering from PTSD and a mild traumatic brain injury. For years I was chronically unemployed and in all senses of the word...I was “lost” for years. It was at times unthinkable to work and maintain employment when every morning I was struggling just to keep myself alive. Suicidal ideation was a terrible problem for me. In the mornings I would have to convince myself that I had to stay alive and not kill myself.
I only say these things because I know that I am not alone. I know that things will get better because they slowly have. Even though I continue to struggle with employment, depression and financial trouble, I feel that time has been a great healer. With each passing day I will get stronger just as other veterans will gain strength, find jobs and lead stable productive lives despite these unique challenges that each of us face.
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