I'm going to keep this as short and to the point as possible. This isn't going to be about seeing if I can get in or not (that is what recruiting is for), but rather, a thread which will ask if any of the people viewing this if they know anybody who has served or who is currently serving with a prior history of child abuse / family dysfunction. I'm going to give a bit of my personal story below so that other people here (guests and registered members of this forum) can see where I'm coming from, understand me and potentially relate to me.
I have searched this forum for similar threads and was unable to find anything concrete like what I am currently posting, other than this: https://army.ca/forums/index.php/topic,80108
. However, that situation is not all that similar to mine. I also assume that there are those out there with backgrounds like mine who are interested in military service in this country, so this post can potentially be somewhat of a guide for them, should they stumble upon it while browsing this forum.
So, without further ado...
I myself come from a background of going through child abuse and social dysfunction within my family growing up. My family is lower middle class. I am now a legal aged adolescent (19 years old) and have long distanced myself from the bad apples of my family. My abuse was physical, sexual, psychological and emotional but mainly the latter two. It went on from around when I was 5 - 17. I partially removed myself from that situation in August 2015 as 17 year old (without legal emancipation; I lived with an abusive control freak and they threw me out. I house hopped in the end) and I am now fully removed as of June 2016 when I was 18.
I lived with a substance addicted relative for 10 months and worked on repairing my mind to the best of my ability despite my deplorable living accommodations. I physically moved away from that residence on the 10th month and have been away from it since June 2016.
I have had to pursue and reach many goals laid out for myself, required to break my family's cycle in order to prevent me from continuing it, over the past 16 months and I am going to keep powering through it.
I have one more goal in mind for fully breaking the cycle and that is to simply find myself a peer group and to get to know people in the locale in which I reside. Given how much I've been working lately, I've only had a work life; not a social life.
I have people who I grew up with and who met along the way who are supportive of me and are backing what I'm currently doing, as well as what I want to do with my life in the near and far future. I've cut all of the toxic people from my past out of my present life and they're never coming back into it.
I've been working for the past 6 months; I worked with a home renovation team for 3 months and then I worked at an automotive mechanic shop for the next 3 months. So, I've got work experience and financial stability.
My career goal to start me off is going into the Royal Canadian Medical Service as a Medical Technician in the Reserve Force, but if this does not work, I will look at other options (law enforcement agencies, EMS, fire rescue, etc, or simply studying psychology in university). I'd not only like to be a Medical Technician in the Reserve Force, but I'd like to become a PhD in psychology in the civilian world while serving so that I can get a career in healthcare going for myself. Helping people in the military with health issues as well as helping those in the civilian world who struggle with getting out of situations like mine greatly appeals to me.
I joined the Royal Canadian Army Cadets at 16 and only recently aged out with the rank of C/MCpl aka Cadet Master Corporal. I was in 2 cadet corps over a 25 month-long period and I was a section commander for one of my platoons. I've done numerous other things with cadets that include travel to two different CFBs, drill team competitions, FTXs, expeditions and I did a lot of foot drill (I touched base with flag party, but I didn't really learn much drill with the .303 Enfield rifles), among other activities.
My 1st Army Cadet corps was located at a Reserve Force armoury, so I was in and out of a defense establishment for the majority of my Army Cadet career. This has given me more of an inside look into how the Reserve Force operates. I also caught a glimpse of how the Regular Force operates while on 1 of the CFBs (the other one was actually decommissioned but had Reserve Force elements currently there).
Army Cadets was probably one of, if not the most best times of my life, given the darkness in all other areas of my life at the time.
I've never abused alcohol (I have been drunk only once underage and it took place outside of the context of alcoholism), tobacco products, marijuana or hard drugs. I have never engaged in reckless one night stands in places such as dive bars and I have never purchased the services of prostitutes or escorts.
I do not have a juvenile criminal record and I have never been arrested before, as a juvenile or as an adult. The only run ins with law enforcement that I have ever had were related to domestic violence incidents at home in which were the police were dispatched to my residence at the time in order to resolve the situations that involved not only me but other people there.
I was, however, on prescription medication for a cocktail of psychiatric illnesses growing up. I was diagnosed with ADHD, OCD, Tourette's and mathematics disorder.
However, I have since got a letter from my current doctor (GP) which has declared my childhood diagnoseses to be invalid. I have spoken with the people who diagnosed me with those psychiatric illnesses and put me on medication for them and they told me that since it is a childhood psychiatric health record, it is only valid for 2 years (and I got it when I was 13 - 14, so it is already invalid). And finally, the Royal Canadian Army Cadets has cleared my need for medication and medical limitations from my Cadet service record in 2015 and 2016, respectively.
I should note that I was in the intake of a psychiatric ward for around 5 - 2 hours a couple of months ago after I forced childhood memories of abuse to resurface into my conscious mind. I began acting out in a rage and was taken there by EMS. I was never given medication, I was scanned and very briefly re-assessed for any psychiatric conditions and there were none found. It was determined that I do not have psychiatric illnesses but rather behavioral issues which were rooted in my rough upbringing. Self help and psychotherapy were recommended treatments; I have done the former and it has already worked wonders. I am still working on getting the latter arranged and I, as a matter of fact, already have an appointment set up for it in the New Year.
So, I have a few mental health professionals who have declared my illnesses to be misdiagnosed. The diagnosises have also been cleared from my Cadet service record. I never had these mental illnesses in the first place. I needed a lot of psychotherapy growing up, but my family took me to psychiatrists instead, and I was diagnosed with a bunch of bogus and subsequently pumped full of unneeded meds.
I have a scheduled appointment with my GP and a psychotherapist in regards to all of this coming up very soon. So, I will be discussing these matters with my GP and a person who is a professional within the field of psychological and therapeutic care. I will be able to get more documentation from them which will confirm what I have stated in this post.
Note: I have been off of any and all medications since August 2015, so it has been over a year since I last took them. None of my now invalidated symptoms have resurfaced. As a matter of fact, I'm doing a lot better in terms of eating more and sleeping more. Before, those two things were difficult to do.
I have job references lined up and I've got a CIC (Cadet Instructor Cadre) officer who has told me that I can use them as a reference for future employment and for military service, or for that matter, other civil service such as law enforcement, EMS, fire rescue and etc.
I went to a Reserve Force information session when I was still 17. I visited a Reserve Force recruiting detachment when I was 18. During my move away from where I used to live, I unfortunately lost all information paperwork from the information sessions and recruiting detachments which pertained to recruitment. So, I will have to travel to the city again after Christmas in order to get the information that I lost a while ago.
I plan on enlisting before I turn 20. I want to go somewhere with the military, other than Army Cadets, while I'm still a teenager. But given my medical history and my current predicament, I don't really envision myself getting in within a mere couple - few months time. It'll probably take years if I do find my way in but that's just the way it is.
This all really boils down to me trying to work my way out of the bad hand that I was dealt in life.
I laid down my initial footprint with the military in a sense by joining the Royal Canadian Army Cadets in 2014. I'm now trying to become known to the military, as an applicant to start off (irregardless as to whether I get in on the 1st time or not) so that I can actually try going somewhere with aspirations for a military career.
I've got career aspirations as it comes to the healthcare industry and I figure that the military is a great place to start.
So, does anybody else here have any experiences similar to mine, or know anybody who does? If so, do you know how it affected your service and/or their service? Did it ever come up during the recruitment process, specifically as it relates to medical? Is there not a Chaplain's service in the military which deals with family issues or something of the sort? Other than social workers, is it possible to become a therapist, counselor and etc in the military and/or Veteran's Affairs? Is it that uncommon for military personnel to come from backgrounds like mine? I saw the statistical study of Canadian Armed Forces personnel and their childhood upbringing, but I saw the thread about it on here and the statistics seem to be gathered from rather vague lines of questioning.