I had the good fortune to meet a high-ranking lieutenant colonel, who had served many tours in the Middle East. He explained that many soldiers found it stressful to be home. That may seem counterintuitive. One would imagine that it would be easier for soldiers to be home, to be in the presence of their friends and family, but that’s not necessarily the case. The lieutenant explained that when soldiers were stationed with the military, they had a definitive job. Virtually every moment of their day was structured. After returning home, that structure was gone. There was no longer a definitive role for them. For many soldiers, they were much happier when their day was structured and they had a definitive role to fulfill.
Perhaps part of your struggle may be lack of structure. The lieutenant also explained how difficult it was to interact with others in the way that he had prior to his being deployed. He was no longer sure how to behave.
Many soldiers, he also explained, never felt more alive than when they were fighting in war. That feeling was difficult to match or recapture upon their return.
You feel out of control and your behavior has led to trouble with the law. I’m not certain what disorder you may have. I would recommend being evaluated by a mental health professional. Many soldiers are struggling with similar issues and have been helped by mental health professionals. Check with your local veterans hospital, your insurance company or local community mental health center about what services are available to you. The lieutenant I spoke about above was a social worker and was in the process of setting up a private practice to focus his work on individuals struggling with the same problems you have described. Consider working with a therapist who specializes in the problems of working with soldiers returning from war.
Dr. Kristina Randle
Mental Health & Criminal Justice Blog