I am a therapist.
I listen, reflect, and respond. I pause, think deeply, and try my best to give meaningful advice to those I am either working with professionally or talking to on a personal level. I never planned to be a therapist but rather fell into it and saw it unfold before me. Talking to people was not necessarily easy for me, but it’s not easy for most therapists. Helping people though– I’ve always enjoyed that. Helping people combined with the small amounts of gratification every therapist gets when they watch the “ah ha” moment shoot across their clients face- as they understand what happened to them as a child is indeed affecting their love life today, what daddy issues really mean, why there are communication issues in their relationships, why the love they have for their dog borders on unhealthy and obsessive- is why I do this.
I’ve worked with parents, families, and children. I’ve worked with those struggling with alcoholism and drug abuse issues. I’ve worked with youth that are gang affiliated and coming out of the juvenile justice system. Although I am young, I am seasoned, and am not new to the therapy world. I have made mistakes, I have learned, and I have taken every job as a chance to grow and evolve.
However, I am RELATIVELY new as a military wife, and that has changed things for me again. I was ready to leave my area and move to a whole new place. I wanted to actually leave the country and try to counsel in a completely new continent! I wanted to not only expand my language ability, but better understand and see how I would be as a therapist in a whole new world. Obviously my life didn’t turn out that way, and I am living in this town, working in this town, married in this town. And I am still a therapist in this town.
Marrying into the military world has shown me something that I never would have understood before. Don’t get me wrong- I may have been able to read about it, and I definitely could have found evidence based studies about it. I’ve seen television shows and movies, watched clips on youtube and felt empathy towards people walking past me on the street. But I had no connection and therefore felt no understanding until I married into this life-understanding about how complicated, how many layers to the onion there are to being a soldier’s, a sailor’s, an airman’s, a coastie’s wife (or husband!).
There are MILLIONS of layers, and so often people assume it’s all about deployment. Sadly, so often people assume that the struggle only comes when the people you love packs up and leaves for however long. The assumption doesn’t include the struggle that there is for the people who pack up their lives every few years and move to a new state, leaving behind friends, jobs, schools, and social lives. That assumption doesn’t include wives who have to be both parents to children when their significant others are working insane hours and not getting paid nearly enough (salary of a Private in the U.S. Army with about two years of experience is $18,194. Salary that Derek Jeter, shortstop of the NY Yankees received in 2013 is 17 million. Love the Yanks, but was DJ out there risking his life, missing important family moments? I don’t think so!)
I’m not the first military spouse to rant about this, but I do know that I am tired of being a number, of just another Navy wife. My whole point to this blog is to say that after writing to Navy wives, giving them my phone number, telling them that I am a trained therapist with multiple masters, I’ve realized that I would love to just work with military wives and their children. I don’t want to work with soldiers or sailors. Just the families. I want to help the people who I can empathize with. I have spent years learning how to create boundaries; I am confident about that. Now it is time to utilize my skill set and make this happen (and if anyone has any ideas how, LET ME KNOW!) J