Processing Transitioning Out of the Military

In episode 47 of the Women of the Military, I am sharing my experience of going through the stages of grief. I lost a part of myself when I transitioned out of the military. The more I learned and reflected on the process of transitioning out of the service I realized I had gone through the four stages. I spent a lot of time stuck in the second phase because I was unaware I needed to deal with how I was feeling. So I discussed how I did that and where I am today.

The four stages of grief are Reeling, Feeling, Dealing, Healing. As I was transitioning out of the military and became a military spouse and mom. I really struggled with the loss of identity and the loss of purpose the military had given me. I had gone from knowing who I was and following the orders, I had been given. To become a mom and military spouse where I no longer had orders. I was still directly tied to the military community but in a totally different way. I thought if I just kept pushing forward. And if I didn’t stop to look back I could find my new purpose and have an impact. That is what I had always done before, but transitioning isn’t easy.

Listen here.

Transitioning out of the military

But the reality was I truly couldn’t find myself after transitioning out of the military until I dealt not only with the loss of my identity but also some of the challenges that I faced while serving in the military. I stayed in the reeling phase of grief for years. I was stuck.

When people asked me if I was glad, I got out I wouldn’t have a solid answer because my identity was still wrapped up into being in the military, but the reality was I wasn’t in the military anymore. It wasn’t until I went to get help through Celebrate Recovery. That was when I was able to take the first step in the second stage (feeling). And stopped feeling stuck and could begin to move through the next stage of grief.

Are you leaving the military? Are you unsure what comes next? Struggling with what do next? I can help. I served in Air Force for six years before becoming a military spouse, mom and blogger. The transition from military to mom was a hard one for me and the one thing that helped me was finding purpose again. I want to help you navigate the transition of life after the military and help you thrive. I created a workbook with the tools I have learned the past four years. Leading me from lost, lonely mom to momprenuer. #militarylife

Once I was able to realize and acknowledge what I was feeling I was able to start dealing with the emotions that had left me stuck and living a half-lived life.

If you have transitioned out or about to transition out of the military don’t miss this episode. It is powerful to think about how full of a life I thought I had. But in reality, I was still stuck in the first stage of grief as I mourned the loss of my military identity. And what I have today is so much better than I could have ever imagined six years ago.

If you need someone to talk to please email me at airmantomom [at] gmail [dot] com.

Check out the post that inspired the idea of talking about grief for this episode of the podcast: Mourning the loss of military service

Resources to help:

Celebrate Recovery

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One of the hardest parts of transitioning out of the military is that you are not prepared for the loss of identity you can feel when you leave. This loss needs to be processed and if you don't process it you can get stuck and not move forward after the military. #military #leavingthemilitary #transitioning

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