The active duty and retired military force are seen as heroes of their country, dedicating their time and service to their nation. While military personnel often receive thanks and gratitude for their service, there is a population that can be neglected from these thanks: military dependents.
Whether you are a military spouse or a military child, your life still changes due to your loved one’s status in the military. Even though the active duty member is the one who made the decision to serve in the military, everyone in their family faces the challenges that come with military life. Perhaps the hardest of these changes is having to move and begin a new chapter of life in a new place. Beyond the obstacles that come with finding a new home and establishing new connections, everyone shares the pain of leaving behind good friends. While a military life can allow families to experience new places and new cultures, they always come with the hard reality of leaving people behind. The process of moving can hold both excitement for the new adventures ahead and grief for the life and loved ones left behind. Military families can have the difficulty of not having a place to call home. Families may feel that they don’t have roots anywhere. Military children may have few, if any, childhood friends whom they still see or keep in contact with as they grow up.
Life as a military dependent is often overshadowed by life as an active duty military member, however, their struggles and challenges are just as important. Everyone faces mental health struggles, but those of military dependents are unique. Having someone to talk to and help process through these changes and challenges may be helpful for you. I believe that therapy can benefit everyone, especially military dependents. Despite the challenges that come from having to pick up your life and move every few years, these experiences also build very useful qualities to hold onto throughout your life: resilience, adaptability, and flexibility. I hope that despite the hardships you have faced as a military dependent, you can also find the joy and opportunities that only those in a military family experience, like seeing new places, meeting wonderful people, and being a part of something bigger than yourself.