Hi Jim, I’m VA 100% P&T w/SMC, and SSDI. I regularly do counseling at the VA hospital. But I feel that I have no purpose in life anymore. Do you know of any online chat/communities for military retirees? Thanks for your website. It’s nice to have somewhere to go and talk, and help to find purpose again.
I have to be honest...I avoid most of the on-line chat communities. There are a lot of trolls and spam postings and to me it gets aggravating so quickly it isn't worth it. I have long referred to most of them as "Rumor Control HQ" and I just stay away. I tried 'chat' off and on with my VAWatchdog Dot Org site and it didn't work.
However, I do know of a community that does a fair amount of chat in a controlled and moderated environment. You must register and choose a user name and a password and from that point as you post you're totally anonymous. Trolls pop in occasionally but they're shown the door PDQ by moderators and then filters/'bots' control most spam.
The community is helpful, military courtesy is expected in the postings or they just go missing somehow. Nobody understands you unless they've taken the oath and put on the uniform, it really is that simple and there are every generation of vet in that little community too..newbs to retirees as well as a number of VA employees who help out. You'll be welcomed there. If you participate you'll help another vet learn...it works vet to vet. Your voice of experience is invaluable to the vet who just exited active duty and who is lost, lost not only to how to deal with VA but what to do with life. You can help!
While we're talking about feeling lost and not having a purpose in life any more...humor me another minute. I have the answer...volunteer at the VA. I did that for a few years and it is the best job I ever had. You make your own schedule. VA buys your lunch. You choose the degree of intensity you can put into the tasks you volunteer to do. Volunteering at VA, even full time, doesn't have any effect on your benefits. VA LOVES volunteers, you're treated like you're very important because you are.
The best of all...you get to help another vet. Really help...you haven't felt reward until you get an old guy into a wheelchair and to his appointment on time. I stuffed appointment letters into envelopes, helped unload wheelchair patients, answered phones, escorted blind patients around...it's really rewarding. I don't volunteer at VA any longer...I relocated and I'm just too far away. I miss it.
It's my understanding that VA isn't really sure what to do with volunteers right now because of COVID but do get in touch, the pandemic won't last forever and if you want to feel a purpose in life...your VA clinic or hospital is ready for you. Go for it.