After being immersed in military culture for a while, you start to feel quite separate from civilian life. You often find yourself calling the other place, “the real world.” If you’re back home on leave, you groan as you have to eventually go back to the real world. If you’re on a deployment or looking to ETS, you say things like, “Man, when I get back to the real world I’m immediately drinking a beer.” There are two distinct worlds, or it least it feels that way–the world of the military and the civilian world back home.

A lot of people tend to deal with their issues with that mindset. A Martian would approach an Earthling with a level of caution–they know they don’t understand each other. It’s not the Martian or the Earthling’s fault, it’s just the way that it is. Combat particularly seems to separate you, drifting you further away at sea from the mainland of regular Americans.

This is a major contributing factor behind the difficulties of reintegration. It’s also why veterans tend to find it healthy to seek out and chill with other veterans. A sense of community has helped veterans time and time again in feeling like they aren’t an alien stranded among foreigners, unable to relate to them in any meaningful way. So many find success in these communities, and they build families and/or careers and get on with their lives.

And then the new problems introduce themselves.