Updated: Jan 22, 2019
After so many emotions flooded my inner being, he was gone. My husband, Nik, was off to a distant land with limited communication, while I was about to become a young mother. I did not have a job or a degree at the time, so I decided to start taking college courses online. However, this seemed to occupy only a small part of my ever-fearful mind.
I didn’t have any friends in the area, except the couple that lived in the apartment above me. Unfortunately, when the husband deployed, the wife moved back home. I on the other hand did not want to leave my apartment, even after Nik deployed. I felt that this was my home with my husband, so I waited day in and day out for phone calls and letters, with no support aside from family and friends back home. I was unaware that there were groups and other support resources available to help me through this difficult time. If I had known, my experience might have been slightly easier.
Nik finally came home and two months later we had our daughter. The stress was overwhelming at times. Between being awaken many nights to Nik having nightmares or speaking in foreign tongues, and an infant who did not feel sleep was necessary, I was really feeling the pressure of Nik struggling to transition to home life and being a first time mom. This led to many fights between us and we even separated for five months.
I had no idea how to help Nik and felt helpless and hopeless. I decided I had to let him work much of this out on his own, while doing the best I could to be supportive. When Nik initially came home, I do not recall being given any information on potential resources for military families transitioning back into civilian life. Much of the information we received was through word of mouth by other military veterans.
Eventually, Nik decided to go to college. He worked hard and was very successful. I remember there was a mix up with his GI Bill and it led to the funds suddenly being taken out of our bank account. There were claims of overpayment, which was devastating to us because this meant the end of Nik's college career until we could afford for him to continue. We were desperate to get this resolved and we had to contact the American Legion and our state representative to get it resolved. Thankfully, it was eventually resolved to our satisfaction and Nik was able to continue his studies.
Slowly but surely, we made some changes that led to our life now. We both graduated college, worked towards better communication, with the help of therapy and marriage counseling. We were forced to make choices that pushed us outside of our "normal" because our normal was not working. Nik and I had to spend countless hours researching how to get the assistance that we needed to get to where we wanted to be. Anytime that we needed assistance with paperwork, school etc. it was always stressful just trying to figure out the most basic of steps we were supposed to take. We would research online and make several calls to eventually receive the correct information.
I truly believe an APP like OP-Siix has the potential to eliminate much of that hassle. Military transition is not something that everyone will understand and this is an opportunity for military brothers and sisters to help because they do understand. This tool could be a wonderful reference point for military, extended family members, or anyone in general that are searching for a better understanding of how to help our military. Having knowledge and resources available at our fingertips are important factors in supporting the cause and helping our military have the potential to focus on the issues at hand instead of the wasting of time spent researching.