The term, “embrace the suck”, is one that service members know very well, it is literally the motto of all the branches of the armed forces. You are taught very quickly in the military that the mission comes first, and every thing else comes second, learning how to manage your time for your family and hobbies becomes a balancing act. Not having time to give to your family is one thing, but we are taught to sacrifice for our needs as well. This mentality of the job coming first, creates a complex that if you have any issues that pulls you away from your job, you become a burden to your team/unit.
With many service members devoting many hours to their jobs when they are on active duty, working unusual work hours, and missing many holidays and birthdays due to the needs of the military to maintain coverage on your job and continue the mission. This standard is upheld across all branches, and it makes it difficult for people to take time off let alone ensure you are staying healthy and up-to-date with your medical appointments and being seen by your medical providers when needed. Many service members will have medical issues, or get hurt during training and not follow up with their medical provider from fear of having to take time off, or needing drastic medical attention and having to take substantial time away from work. In most cases, service members do not report all medical issues and will continue to work making some medical issues worst due to lack of attention to the issue.
Sometimes this mentality will carry over into the civilian world when service members transition out of the military, and it becomes difficult to change this mindset especially for service members who have spent majority of their lives not prioritizing their health and wellness. Many service members feeling the need to continue to, “embrace the suck”, even after they are no longer working everyday as a service member. What many service members find out is those years of sacrificing their health and wellness, to put the mission before themselves has left them with untreated healthcare issues that start to botheer them once they have transitioned out of the service. This is why it is pivotal that service members are offered the benefits they have earned when they depart the military, majority of which are provided by the Department of Veterans Affairs.
It is very important that service members that have transitioned out of the military are made aware of all of the benefits and resources available to them, whether it be local, state, or federal the benefits available they have earned and can help them in a smoother transition to civilian life. Teaching our service members to take care of themselves and not everyone else is the least we can do for our veterans who have selflessly answered the call in putting our country before themselves, whether it was for 4 years or 30. The Department of Veterans Affairs as well as many states have veteran organizations that prioritize connecting our veterans with those resources and benefits they have earned. Learning to stop, “embracing the suck”, and prioritizing your health and wellness is a huge shift but can help that veteran in redefining their new life and taking control.
“Our debt to the heroic men and valiant women in the service of our country can never be repaid. They have earned our undying gratitude. American will never forget their sacrifies.” – President Harry Truman