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Episode 5: The Real Struggles of Transition

Change. You hear this word and sometimes it can send some exciting flutters in the pit of your stomach. But for some, it may not be the case. If you’ve lived a life where everything had a system and rule and then suddenly were put into a world where systems and rules weren’t always followed how do you adjust? Who do you go to for help?

How do you transition into a new life that you never had before the life that you were used to living in?

Mike, a retired Naval Veteran and the current Director of Readiness for Soft Transition Program can provide some guidance. Mike has served in the Navy for 22 years. Retired in 2013, he is currently serving as a government service employee. Mike decided to join the military because his parents were immigrants from the Netherlands who had suffered through World War II.

A little fun fact about Mike is that he wanted to join the AirForce because he wanted to fly. And what better military academy to join than the AirForce for this passion. Unfortunately, after applying Mike was medically disqualified for breathing issues he had as a child. While studying at Cal State, Long Beach, Mike joined the rowing team. Before he knew it, his crew coach was best friends with the Naval Academy and he was able to get recruited. As Mike and Amanda liked to call it the ‘Top Gun’ Generation.

Living life as a military person comes with its struggles. But what about the struggles, the transition, after leaving the military? That we don’t hear much about. How do veterans transition from military life to a ‘normal’ life? These are the questions that should be tackled. Did you know that within the last 15 years there were more than 4 times as many troops that have died from suicide than those that have died from combat? Knowing this, how are they being helped transition to a life that society sees as normal? 

Transition is not just about mental health issues. Transition is also the process of going from a world in which you had support to transitioning out without a direction or a way to go. 

Listen to Mike and Amanda talking about the struggles that veterans face when it comes to transitioning out of military life and the kinds of help he is offering naval personnel and how he tries to connect and cater to the appropriate resources.