Why I Quit the Army
As I sank deep into depression, I became overwhelmed by my National Guard duties—and underwhelmed by the military’s mental health support system. Walking away may be against the law, but I just couldn’t take it anymore.
Illustrations by Chris Kindred
Back in 2010, joining the Virginia Army National Guard didn’t sound like such a bad idea. I had just been rejected from Virginia Commonwealth University and needed to set up a way to pay for college…when I eventually got in. Plus at the time I thought the National Guard wasn’t the real Army, so I had nothing to lose.
After enlisting and sweating at a couple training camps, I was assigned to a truck platoon out in the country. I’d report there one weekend a month and two weeks in the summer, during which time I would just exist for a couple days. The tasks were menial and my only real duty was to turn a wrench, refuel some trucks, and pass my physical fitness test. It helped me get started in art school. It was a good deal — before I started feeling restless.
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