From the Soldier side: As most of my readers know I spent last week on Vacation. Notice I used the word "Vacation" instead of "leave" because most of the time I'm in the civilian world.
I got to see my old buddy Sergeant Grumpy (http://sgtgrumpy.blogspot.com/ ) who just returned from Iraq or "Eye Rack" as some say. Grumpy and I were in Bosnia a few years ago and he's one of the best...so I was really happy to get to see him. It's important to keep in touch with old Army buddies. Grumpy and I are in the photo on the left.
I also got to meet a relative I've never had a chance to meet before...I'll call him "Bill". Bill was a WWII vet who fought in Italy with the 10th Mountain Div. He's a real hero and I'm glad I got to talk with him for a while. He's got some good stories and a purple heart to go with them. He also kept in contact with some of his buddies from the war.... that reminded me how important that is. Some folks may not understand it....but I think that's one of the best forms of therapy there is. When you can sit down and talk about some really bad things that happened long ago with someone who was there with you...it helps.
Just think of some of the differences between WWII and Iraq... they sent letters that took weeks to get home, we sent e-mail and could instant chat. They never had phone calls, and we could call from most of the camps once a week or so. They had some really good leaders and we.....didn't. OK, I'd trade the e-mail for good leaders any day.
So, if you're home and you need help and you don't have an old battle buddy to talk to...talk to someone. If you need help, get it. Take care of yourself and then you can help others.