Transitioning from military life can be an overwhelming experience. In a matter of months, days even, you go from being surrounded by an ever-present support system, to in some cases being totally alone. A good way to combat that feeling of loneliness is to create a sense of community for yourself.

When you think of community, do you think about that being solely a group of people who live within a certain distance of one another? What if I told you that community isn’t just the people around you, it is also people who have things in common. There are multiple organizations that link people together not only based on geographical location but also based on desire and abilities. Organizations like The Mission Continues, focus on combining the talents of Veterans across the US to positively impact society.

“The Mission Continues … empowers veterans to continue their service, and empowers communities with veteran talent, skills and preparedness to generate visible impact. Veterans possess the drive and desire to serve others, but without access to the tools needed, their potential to make a meaningful impact at the local level remains untapped. On the other end of the spectrum, growing numbers of communities in this country are under-resourced and being left behind.” For more information on how you can join The Mission Continues https://missioncontinues.org/.

Finding groups of not only individuals with a common interest, but specifically finding other Veterans with common interests can alleviate that feeling of loss. Organizations, like motorcycle clubs, focus on the combination of hobby and freedom. We are all well aware of Memorial Day this month, but did you know that there is a tradition for many motorcycle clubs, called Rolling Thunder Run? Rolling Thunder created this event back in 1987 with the first run occurring in 1988, and each year since it has grown exponentially. This is just one instance of a large group of veterans coming together to not only support one another but to also encourage and educate generation after generation.

“Rolling Thunder … mission is to educate, facilitate, and never forget by means of a demonstration for service members that were abandoned after the Vietnam War. The Rolling Thunder First Amendment Demonstration Run has also evolved into a display of patriotism and respect for all who defend our country.” For more information on Rolling Thunder please visit https://www.rollingthunderrun.com/

We can’t forget the regular support groups, or internet-based groups either. Organizations like Give an Hour or Hope for the Warriors, create a safe place for veterans to discuss difficult topics and find help through each other. If you feel like you need to talk to someone, or if you are wanting to find a place where you can talk to people who understand you this is a good place to start. Social media platforms allow you to connect with people from all over the world with the click of a button. There is no longer any reason to feel alone or without community. For more information on finding support near you, visit https://www.ptsd.va.gov/gethelp/peer_support.asp.

Finding a sense of community doesn’t have to be looking right next door, or looking for the obvious groups. Sometimes the best support comes from those you don’t even know. The biggest thing is to take that first step in creating your own sense of community by finding 1 or 10 groups you would like to visit or talk to. See what works best for you through trial and error. Who knows, you might just learn something about yourself.

Posted in Advice, Transition on May 23, 2019