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Depression, Medication, and the Military
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Juggernaut
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:08 am    Post subject: Depression, Medication, and the Military Reply with quote

Will it disqualify me? Or rather will medication? I need to be on medication and I would like to join. I CAN function well, and the air force would give me structure and meaning in my life, but I don't know if I could do it without meds.

I have so much regret at not doing it--and yet I don't really want to--but since I got out of high school four years ago I wanted to have done it. My Dad and brothers are in it. I hate it and want it at the same time.

my girlfriend was in the air force too, but she just broke up with me when I told her I was going to join. It was fine for her at that time, but she is ready to not live that life style. I am ready to move on past it too, but I never got to actually be in it.
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Emoal6
Deinonychus
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

ITS NOT WORTH IT! May just be my opinion, but the air force will probably just make things worse for you. The loud noises and the people, it just drives you crazy. I understand you may feel a little guilt or jealousy that your father and brother are in, but it shouldnt be a reason for you to join.

IF however you do wish to still join, you need to never speak of any problems you have right now, and be wary of "complaining" and/or being in pain. You're only so old so any kind of physical or mental problem MUST BE that you're trying to get out of work. If you look healthy, you are to keep that image. I wish I was just being hyperbolic, but this is how it is in ALL the branches. I was in the air force for 1 year and 3 months. They fractured my neck and sent me on advancecd war excercises that no FIRST TERM AIRMAN would deal with well, especially not an aspie. They broke several regulations in order to save the unit/squadron's ass, they dont care about the singular airman. We've been proven expendable. If one falls out, the next will take his place, and he better learn fast.

If you wanna ask me some questions, feel free too, I can give you a real insight of what can happen to you in the air force.
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Willard
Graphic Autist
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Joined: Mar 24, 2008
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 12:22 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Emoal6 wrote:
ITS NOT WORTH IT! May just be my opinion, but the air force will probably just make things worse for you. The loud noises and the people, it just drives you crazy. I understand you may feel a little guilt or jealousy that your father and brother are in, but it shouldnt be a reason for you to join.


Agree. I can't imagine an autistic anywhere on the spectrum being able to cope with military life. You actually WANT to turn control of your life over to others, who will then be free to interrupt or alter your routines unexpectedly, or drop surprise demands on you from out of the blue? In fact, the only routines you will be allowed are the ones they force on you. If you express difficulty in complying with their demands, you will be abused, punished and eventually discharged, if not imprisoned. Yikes! Order and discipline are one thing, being ordered about constantly quite another.
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Zsazsa
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 1:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I had a friend who attempted to joined the military a few years ago after graduating high school (I forget which branch) but when they found out he had taken medication for ADHD as a child, they disqualified him.
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tharn
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 2:51 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've been where you are now.

At age 18, I joined the Air Force for much the same reasons. I had severe problems with depression, and hadn't yet learned how to live with my Aspie traits. Basic training was HELL - and I barely made it through. I can't even imagine what it would have been like in the Army or Marine Corp! Once I got the hang of it (and people stopped shouting at me so much), the structure was comforting... and my specialty was rather cerebral, so it was easier for me to cope. Still, it was a rough experience that could have ended very badly. You'd really do best to seek structure and meaning elsewhere.

The fact that on one level, you "don't want to do it" is a BAD sign. Do NOT enlist under those conditions. I think a depressed Aspie CAN make it if luck is with him... but unless your whole heart is in it, you're setting yourself up for trouble.

If you MUST find out if depression will disqualify you, and cannot find the answer online, here's how you do it. Go to a recruiter in another city. Some recruiters are upright, honest people, and some are lying sacks of crap. But in either case, a recruiter will not attempt to recruit you if they think your paperwork won't clear. Don't give your full name, just indicate your interest. Then ask if depression would disqualify you. Give details about your diagnosis, and whether you are on or planning to be on medications. If the recruiter is a dirtbag and suggests you "not mention" something on the paperwork, or gives you an honest refusal, depression will certainly be an obstacle. Whatever the feedback, you can use it to decide how (and if) to approach your local recruiter.
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flailure
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:12 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Military life is not for everyone, but the opportunities are undeniable.

Depression would not preclude you from being accepted but you may have to be seen by professionals to be waived in if necessary. I had a very rigorous security interview, I joined to be an intelligence analyst and linguist, and I told them everything, even the part about the suicide attempt, the stelazine I had to take, and the psych ward I stayed at for a bit while I was in college. I was accepted without any issues. In retrospect it was the best thing I have ever done. I had been working 70 hours a week in food and retail just to be able to pay bills and eat peanut butter and bread sandwiches. I needed a plan, a direction, a goal set, and an actual function. The Army gave me that.

I appreciated the structured environment of the Army, and still do, and when everyone did their job (which can be rare) life was relatively uncomplicated. At the language school there were intelligent people and aspies in droves so I felt like I was at home for the first time in my life. Yes, we struggled with military life, but we were among our peers, which for us is a damn rare thing.

I only served for a short time - celiac disease caused me to balloon past weight standards even though my run times were exceptional for my age group and I accepted the discharge rather than fighting it when my unit first brought it up. However, after my VA status (40% disability) was secured I applied aggressively for civil service positions and was hired back in 2004. I've already fast-tracked through 5 GS grades and my income has nearly tripled since my pre-Army days. I have a great job I intend to keep until retirement, and it would not have been possible without first being sworn in to the Army almost 9 years ago.

The Air Force operates very differently from the Army. Things are sometimes even more structured, and the politics can be nauseating, but compared to life in the other services it is a cakewalk. Best food and housing out of all the services, period. Basic training is actually training and not some extended hazing ritual like it still is in the Army.

Things to keep in mind:
* Recruiters lie. Period.
* The cooler the job, the longer the enlistment contract.
* You're not obligated to anything until you've signed your contract.
* You will deploy.
* You will feel like you're working for free until you make sergeant, and then you'll know it for sure.
* Close quarters with losers and idiots.
* Some of those idiots will be your squadron leaders.

Good things to think about:
* Free housing and utilities, and in many cases food too. (Air force has the best dining facilities in all 5 services.)
* Career potential.
* Best benefits package anywhere.
* Travel.
* One month of vacation every year. (not all at once, of course)
* Technical skills and training that can convert to civilian sector jobs.
* Educational benefits.

Sorry for the long post but I just had to say that for me it was worth it. No regrets. Best move I ever made.
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flailure
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 3:14 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

tharn wrote:
If you MUST find out if depression will disqualify you, and cannot find the answer online, here's how you do it. Go to a recruiter in another city. Some recruiters are upright, honest people, and some are lying sacks of crap. But in either case, a recruiter will not attempt to recruit you if they think your paperwork won't clear. Don't give your full name, just indicate your interest. Then ask if depression would disqualify you. Give details about your diagnosis, and whether you are on or planning to be on medications. If the recruiter is a dirtbag and suggests you "not mention" something on the paperwork, or gives you an honest refusal, depression will certainly be an obstacle. Whatever the feedback, you can use it to decide how (and if) to approach your local recruiter.

Very good advice!!!
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Juggernaut
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 5:39 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Wow, Flailure, that is EXACTLY what I would do if I did it! I want to do either intel or linguistics. I'd love to go to the Defense Language Institute. I'd probably need to do active duty for that. I want to do Arabic there. I just hope a recent history of medication is not a problem is all, because I am making plans to START it soon, and of course start military soon. The only problem is that I assume they would not let you take meds at basic.

Unless perhaps you had another prescription for a legit and allowed medication and you put your anti-depressants in it. Of course that's illegal and a risk, but if my brain had the necessary chemicals working I COULD do great in the af, and it would be a shame to not be able to make it through basic for something like that.

I just want to enjoy life. I've tried doing that and can't. I'd hate the lack of freedom in the military, but really, as long as I was with people I respect (INTELLIGENT people, which is in my opinion, the exception rather than the rule in the military) perhaps I would not mind trading my "freedom" (which I am NOT doing anything with right now, and am not happy with) for security and structure.

I wish I'd joined at 18. Can't change it now. I kept regretting and thinking it was too late to join, since my career would soon start. Now that I'm 22 and just finished college, I would HATE to turn thirty or forty, and REALLY regret it, since I have the freedom to do it now. I mean, its not optimal, but I honestly have a real opportunity now IF it works out.
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Emoal6
Deinonychus
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:25 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

If you already have finished college, you may be better off just going the officer route. That is unless you dont want that kind of responsibility. If you have a degree already in a job field the military needs, you make A LOT OF MONEY.
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silly_rabbi
Toucan
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PostPosted: Thu Jun 26, 2008 11:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

You have to have at least two years clean from medication. And if you don't disclose something like that you will be charged for lying (I forget what the actual charge is). Speaking from experience here, joining up if you're somewhere on the spectrum is a bad idea. Finding out that you still have meltdowns (from having my routines disrupted, being screamed at by the DS, etc), while in the military is not the best place to make that discovery. (I hadn't had a meltdown/panic attack in 8 years). It took me six months to get back to normal (post medical discharge) and not be extra-jumpy at everything, not have a meltdown/panic attack the minute my routine was disrupted.

If you have good coping skills in real life, the military generally won't let you use them, because in the first few weeks of boot their object is to break you in order to rebuild you in their mold.

You cannot be on medication in boot camp. They won't even let you have an aspirin without a doctor's order.

Not saying don't do it, but be fully aware that it will be hell for a "normal" person and much more so for someone on the spectrum.
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tharn
Toucan
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PostPosted: Fri Jun 27, 2008 12:45 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Juggernaut wrote:
Wow, Flailure, that is EXACTLY what I would do if I did it! I want to do either intel or linguistics. I'd love to go to the Defense Language Institute. I'd probably need to do active duty for that. I want to do Arabic there. I just hope a recent history of medication is not a problem is all, because I am making plans to START it soon, and of course start military soon. The only problem is that I assume they would not let you take meds at basic.

Unless perhaps you had another prescription for a legit and allowed medication and you put your anti-depressants in it. Of course that's illegal and a risk, but if my brain had the necessary chemicals working I COULD do great in the af, and it would be a shame to not be able to make it through basic for something like that.

I just want to enjoy life. I've tried doing that and can't. I'd hate the lack of freedom in the military, but really, as long as I was with people I respect (INTELLIGENT people, which is in my opinion, the exception rather than the rule in the military) perhaps I would not mind trading my "freedom" (which I am NOT doing anything with right now, and am not happy with) for security and structure.

I wish I'd joined at 18. Can't change it now. I kept regretting and thinking it was too late to join, since my career would soon start. Now that I'm 22 and just finished college, I would HATE to turn thirty or forty, and REALLY regret it, since I have the freedom to do it now. I mean, its not optimal, but I honestly have a real opportunity now IF it works out.


If you're looking for a place where an Aspie can be at home in the military, Air Force is your best bet. And cryptolinguist training is ideal. I was a Russian crypto myself, and I knew at least a few airmen who were likely Aspie. It's still not easy, of course. Oddly enough, Defense Language Institute has an unusual number of soliders (airmen in particular) who get discharged for being gay. They don't like it, of course, because your training costs so much, but you'll find that there too.
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flailure
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PostPosted: Mon Jun 30, 2008 9:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I was 30 when I enlisted, and prepared for it for a whole year before signing up, but I had been off of medication or a long time, even though I probably should have been taking them back then. True DLI does have a high gay population, but the attrition rate is high, period. About 67%. People struggle with the heavy coursework tacked on to the "you're still a recruit, not a Soldier yet" attitude of the military leadership. Many people in my company did come out of the closet to get discharged, but many homosexuals stayed on and finished their first enlistments without issues. Great Soldiers and trustworthy battle buddies. Many people got out on the "food for freedom" program. lol Get fat, get out.

If you can go into it bearing in mind that you're in the military, and it is going to suck no matter what, you'll be ok.
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technologyforever
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 04, 2008 7:54 pm    Post subject: NO MILITARY. Reply with quote

They are looking for fire in the cannon.

I tried to do this, but they said I would have to go off my meds.

If someone says that to you they don't give a shit about you.

Stay away.. From the military.. "They are looking for fire for the cannon."

Plus it isn't really that good of a deal, pay sucks and you have roommates you don't get to choose.
I was told by a friend that they steel from you, and it is similar to jail, every one takes what they can get.

Me and my other AS friend couldn't figure out if we would go to hell for killing someone.
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