Companionship for Disabled Veterans
“I have learned that to be with those I like is enough” -Walt Whitman
Wounded soldiers have always been a byproduct of war, and since World War I, the picture of a wounded veteran has been of a man with a traumatic limb amputation. On the other hand, exposure to toxicants is distinct since the wounds are not immediately apparent, and – perhaps most significantly – veterans who served on military stations polluted with toxic chemicals claim that their exposure resulted in a variety of diseases and disabilities.
Many of Our Nation’s Veterans Are Now Fighting an Uphill Battle
Many persons who suffer from chronic medical illnesses lament the loss of their identity, their sense of self. Their medical condition has taken control. How are we to tackle this? We remind them of their uniqueness and the areas of their life where they find significance, worth, and pleasure. These are the features that characterize them. Not their illness. Not their chronic pain.
A significant proportion of the literature on the mental and physical health issues faced by men and women who leave the Armed Forces is research-based, with a particular emphasis on deployment, combat conditions, and health consequences for those who have served. Veterans may have been exposed to a range of chemical, physical, and environmental risks while serving in the military, including asbestos and polluted drinking water, as well as radiation and mustard gas. It might take years for the consequences of these hazards to become evident. A veteran’s health and well-being may suffer considerably as a result of this. Cancer, respiratory issues, and neurological disorders are just a few of the health concerns that veterans who have been exposed to chemicals may have.
A veteran may find it difficult to stray from their previously identified abilities. In the military, concealing grief is an unspoken discipline. It may take some time for a veteran to admit and accept that they need assistance. Veterans are expected to play a predetermined role. They may be apprehensive of expressing themselves or expressing unpleasant thoughts and emotions. Caregiver assistance that is consistent and trustworthy is essential to the physical and emotional well-being of veterans who are dealing with a life-threatening disease or major health event. Knowing they can rely on someone they can trust helps them to have open and honest dialogues about how they’re feeling.
Why Companionship is Important for Disabled Veterans
Companionship is the state of being friends, but it extends much deeper than that. It is intimacy or familiarity, a real fellowship between two individuals who have sincerely linked for whatever cause. Companionship care may look quite different from person to person, but it is typically intended to lessen or avoid loneliness in older people who could otherwise grow isolated. A person who would be completely alone may benefit greatly from this sort of care, which can range from several hours a day to just a few hours a week and can make a significant difference in their day-to-day attitude. Being lonely is a major concern since it may lead to depression and aggravate preexisting ailments. The ability to engage in social contact is something that everyone desires, whether they are introverts or extroverts. The network of friends and family that surrounds them allows them to feel appreciated and supported.
Companionship satisfies a fundamental human need and fosters a feeling of belonging. Having a companion in life, whether a family, a friend, or a caregiver, helps to keep the mind engaged, and prevents social isolation. Someone to talk to, even if just for a few minutes, fosters brain stimulation and good thinking, as well as recollect memories.
Whatever brings you together with your group of friends, merely feeling included – as though you are a part of something – is beneficial. As reported in a Psychiatry journal, belonging serves a crucial emotional health need and may help reduce feelings of despair and hopelessness in the participants.
Companionship may be especially beneficial to those suffering from service-related health conditions by:
- Reducing their anxiousness while also improving their mood
- Providing company and comfort, thereby alleviating feelings of isolation or loneliness
- Distracting the patient’s attention away from the pain
- Motivating them to get better
- Stimulating positive thoughts and interactions
- Increasing socialization and encouraging communication
- Increasing the feeling of security
- Increasing a sense of purpose
You’re Not in It Alone
Being diagnosed with a life-threatening or terminal disease can be devastating and may elicit strong emotions that are difficult to manage on one’s own. A caregiver is someone who assists a person in doing everyday duties and functions that have become unavailable to them for a variety of reasons. A caregiver is characterized by a desire to serve paired with the nature of the specific responsibilities they do, regardless of whether this is a friend, family member, community member, or even a devoted animal companion.
The military service put a premium on qualities that benefit the whole unit. This involves bearing discomfort without complaining and diligently adhering to commands. It also entails self-sacrifice for the greater good and deprivation of personal needs. These characteristics are instilled in them from the start of their training. When faced with their own challenges, though, they may struggle to express themselves. They may find themselves at a loss on what to do. This is especially true when they are dealing with major health issues. What were previously advantages are now obstacles to finding the proper care.
Recognize the companionship’s importance. A life-threatening or terminal disease may be challenging to deal with on one’s own. Keep in mind that relatives and friends may assist you just by being there. These family members are often observed patiently waiting in corridors for radiation treatment sessions or sitting next to a patient having a lengthy chemotherapy infusion. Having someone close to providing support might serve as a valuable reminder that you are not alone in your struggles.
Emotional Well-being Support From Man’s Best Friend
Many veterans may have suffered from combat-related post-traumatic stress disorder, which may manifest as chronic anxiety and depression. Another traumatic incident, such as a physical health problem, can aggravate these underlying feelings even more.
Emotional Support Animals (ESAs) are companion animals that are recommended by a mental health practitioner to help a person cope with the symptoms of their impairment. They are either trained to alleviate the emotional or psychological symptoms associated with a person’s condition or trained to do a task that is particular to that person’s impairment. From physical disabilities to a post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety, depression, and everything in between, an emotional support animal offer a purpose-driven chance to rely on a companion that does not judge and who delivers unconditional love to those who need it most.
Being diagnosed with a potentially fatal disease is going to fill you with utter fear and sadness. The psychological anguish experienced is determined by a variety of circumstances, including the disease’s stage, prognosis, side effects, social support, and communication. It is now more important than ever to surround yourself with supportive connections and systems – whether they are four-legged or human-based.
Guest Writer Bio
Jonathan Sharp is the CFO at Environmental Litigation Group, P.C., a Birmingham, Alabama-based law company established in 1990 that specializes in cases involving injury and death related to toxic exposure. Environmental Litigation Group, P.C. is dedicated to assisting patriots who have placed their life on the line to keep our nation secure, and they work to guarantee that no veteran goes without the compensation they deserve.