The Morning Formation Podcast

The Mental Transition of a Canadian Military Veteran with Jacqueline Buckley

April 20, 2022 KP Season 2 Episode 17
The Morning Formation Podcast
The Mental Transition of a Canadian Military Veteran with Jacqueline Buckley
Show Notes Transcript

Warriors, Fall in!

Today we’re joined with a mental health professional who’s a Licensed Clinical Therapist-Candidate and has earned many other higher levels of education. More impressively, our guest today, Jacquelin Buckley, served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 20 years. 

She’s worked with the Canadian military, Veterans from both the United States and Canada, various law enforcement departments, dealt with situations in domestic violence, Post Traumatic Stress, Parenting, and issues with modern anxiety matters.

Jacquelin Buckley LinkedIn:
https://www.linkedin.com/in/jacquelinbuckley/

Website:
https://discoverbluealliance.com

KP:

This episode is powered by act now education, go to www dot ATT now education.com For free comprehensive educational resources and opportunities for active duty veterans, military spouses, and children.

Jacquelin Buckley:

But I still didn't feel like there was a lot of support I, for me, I had to kind of grow through the growing pains and figure stuff out along the way. So there was some struggles, getting support that way as well, but transitioning out, I felt that my unit particular at the time, didn't recognize the struggles that I was going through.

KP:

Warriors fall in. Today, we're joined with a mental health professional who's Weiss, who's a licensed clinical therapist candidate, and has earned many other high levels of education. Warren personally, our guest today, Jacqueline Buckley served in the Canadian Armed Forces for 20 years, she's worked with the Canadian military. She's worked with veterans from both of both sides from the United States and Canada, various law enforcement departments, and she's dealt with situations in domestic violence, post traumatic stress, parenting issues with modern anxiety matters. Jacqueline, I want to thank you for joining us today on the morning information podcast.

Jacquelin Buckley:

Thanks, KP. Thanks for having me.

KP:

Jacqueline, I think what I find most fascinating is that you served 20 years in the Canadian military. And I've never, I've personally never spoken to anyone who's retired after 20 years in the Canadian Forces. So would you mind sharing with our audience your transition story into the Canadian military and what it was like and why did you do it and talk about, you know, any family members that might have inspired you to do service? Sure. So my father actually served 28 years within the Canadian Forces. He was a military policeman. And I grew up in the military community. So I saw the leadership within the community. I saw how the community came together during difficult times. And growing up in that

Jacquelin Buckley:

was just inspiring to me. However, when I finished high school, I didn't have any plans to go into the military. And I went into nursing. And from there was left as a single mom. And knowing the community within the military, I decided that I'd not only use my professions, to move into the military, but also to give my children the stability that I saw within the community and the environment that that is and also to serve my country at the same time. So that was why I went in. It was by fluke by accident that it just came upon me to join I was actually at an airshow. And care in Canada, we have the snowboard, this snowboards the snowbirds air formation team. And I remember sitting in the grass with my son, and daughter and looking up and thinking, I want to join them, I want to be part of them. It inspired me it gave me this glow in my heart that I don't think I've ever had before. So I went down that weekend, signed, filled out the applications and stuff. And then a few months later got a call to start the medical process to go through with all the medical stuff that you have to go through, and the testing. And then that went I did that in November. And then in I believe it was march towards March, I got a call back to go get some more tests done. And then I got the call actually two days after my birthday asking me if I would be open to taking a position as a dental assistant for the Canadian Forces. So it happened fairly quickly, within a matter of months from the time that I decided and the time that I got my call to go. And then a month later, I was at CFB. Cornwallis when Cornwallis was opened at the time. That was our basic training base. And off I went on May 1.

KP:

Well, it sounds like it took quite a long time. Is it? Is it difficult for folks to get into the Canadian military? Because I know that it's a much smaller force up there. Are they more selective?

Jacquelin Buckley:

I think that it depends on what you bring. I've been out of the military for 20 years, so I'm not quite sure what the process is now. I Uh, I would say I would probably think that the, it's the same sort of procedures, maybe just a little different in some ways. But for the most part, the testing and going through all the interview processes in the medical, the biggest parts that I found that I was very similar,

KP:

because no here in the States, different branches are more selective than other branches. So for example, to get into the Marines, or the army is much easier to do than to get into the Navy in the Air Force, because the, the size of the overall element, and then the amount of people that want to get into those specific branches. So I've, over time have known so many people that wanted to get into one of either Air Force or navy, but then they ended up going into the army or the marine just because of the needs overall. So I wasn't sure if, if Canada was the same way we could be more selective. But how old were you? Because you were already a mother of two at the time, right? When you signed up? Yeah, it was in my 20s. I had to be difficult, how long were you? How long were you gone for basic and all your training and stuff.

Jacquelin Buckley:

So basic training at the time was 11 weeks, was gone from May 5 and graduated in July with my platoon. And then from there, I went to CFB. Halifax, which is a naval base and completed on the job training until my course for my Dental Assisting program had commenced, which was in September that fall of that year. And my parents took care of my children at the time i They said I was a single mom. And I was in board and from September until December finishing off my trades trading. And then I got my first posting to CFB Greenwood, which is an Air Force base. So one thing within the military is depending on the trade, or the occupation that you choose that a lot of times determines your element, which is Air Force, Army or Navy. And there are specific trades, of course, for each specific element. Except for in the medical profession, the support a lot of the support trades, you can be given a uniform according to that, however, for the dental unit at the time, now even its army, we're all army.

KP:

Okay, gotcha, man. That's one heck of a sacrifice right there to leave your two kids, with your parents for what sounded like almost an entire year. Right. Wow. Wow, that had been difficult. Making the big sacrifice for that. And I think it's fascinating to hear about other militaries from all across the world. Specifically, like Canada, you guys are so close to us. But yet, I know so little about about the military up there. Even when I was in the military, I don't recall ever training with Canadians. And I don't know why. Because you're literally right across the border. We trade with all these other units all across the world. But we really don't cross chain with the Canadians all that much from from what I saw, you know, you talked about your career transition into the Canadian military. Well, so over the span of the 20 years, if you had to summarize your overall experience, what would you say that was like?

Jacquelin Buckley:

For the most part, the biggest things that I really enjoyed was what they call the esprit de corps. I don't know if you guys use that term down there. Yes. The teamwork was really great. I think with every organization, there are some things that could be done better. Within, you know, leadership, there's certain things but it's, it's, I often find, or what I learned in the process is it's not so much the organization, it's some individuals within the organization that may be more difficult to interact with. And and, you know, so the struggles for me, were mostly in that department. And I can share a little bit about that afterwards in some of your other questions, if you want.

KP:

Yeah, sounds fascinating. And I was just wondering if the American military and the Canadian military faced the same issues when when leaving service from mental to career obstacles, would you mind taking us on your career transition out of the military?

Jacquelin Buckley:

Sure. So when I was coming up on my last year of my military career, I had gone through some extreme difficulties with my mental health and physical health. And I knew that because I was having struggles with that and feeling that the leadership wasn't backing me or supporting me in that process. I decided to put in my release and in the process of doing that release, I got a medical release. So there was there was a transition with our numbering system with certain releases, I'm sure it might be the same with you guys in different ways. So when I knew that I was going to, the biggest part about it was I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. And that was from the results of a military operation that I was part of. What I found was that during my release process, it was it was extremely difficult. The, at the time, we had a seminar, it was called a scan seminar, second career assistance network, which kind of goes through some of the things that you're going to encounter when you do do metal military release. However, I feel that there, it wasn't enough to prepare. Most of the stuff I figured out after my release, I you know, with filling out paperwork and trying to get things done, and making sure my pensions were on track and stuff that was things that I didn't feel that I had support with. We also have a program from members at the time that we're medically releasing as part of our supplementary I can't think of the word insurances that we pay into. So they offer to be able to go back and go back to school, and there's certain parts covered, and you're under the Veterans Affairs at the time on a medical release. And so I decided to go that route, and went back and finished my BA. But I still didn't feel like there was a lot of support I, for me, I had to kind of grow through the growing pains and figure stuff out along the way. So there was some struggles, getting support that way, as well. But transitioning out, I felt that my unit particular at the time, didn't recognize the struggles that I was going through, didn't feel like I had a lot of support in that area. So I transitioned out into a holding unit until my medical release, where I was placed in another location to finish out my job a couple of days a week, because my environment

KP:

was toxic to me. Got it? Got it. Yeah, it kind of it kind of puts you at odds, when something like that happens, I dealt with a toxic unit as well, when I was deployed. And on one hand, you're proud of your service. On the other hand, you had to deal with all this, all this bull crap, you know, and I think it kind of puts you at odds overall with your overall time and your overall experience. And so I I kind of understand what what you're saying with that. And I just wanted to ask you, did you have any specific events during your time in the military, that you'd like to share with us? Maybe some, some of our listeners can connect with or maybe, you know, some of our listeners might be able to identify with with something that that you've had to deal with? Like, for example, I know a lot of times in the American military, in his historical times, we've had issues with women being kind of separated and isolated into separate areas we've had been taken advantage of and things like that. Does the Canadian military also deal with the same issues?

Jacquelin Buckley:

Yes, actually, there's a current class action suit against the military for sexual harassment that women had encountered throughout the military. That's ongoing right now in our federal court system. But yeah, um, one thing with regards to the military and I talked about this, even in counseling is there's a specific culture that comes along with it. And as a woman in the military, when you are coming through that culture, there tends to feel for a lot that you go along with what's going on, and are sort of made to believe that things that are happening around you are normal, that's the way it is that's how we do business and all that. So I did encounter sexual harassment while I was serving but never really recognized it until afterwards. Yeah, you know, because I, the biggest thing is what I found and this doesn't happen for everybody, my My overall experience with in the military was great. The organization was great. Like I said, there's certain individuals within the organization that happens. So my experiences, I had a lot of great experiences. I have a lot of great mentors within the military and my time, but I did encounter those feelings of sexual harassment instances with sexual harassment feeling that when you spoke up to talk about it, you were the squeaky wheel. You were ousted? You were ostracized? You know, so you tend to do what you need to do. To not be those things to fit into. One of the guys Yeah, survive and thrive. Right.

KP:

Right. I just spoke to someone recently had an interview with a lady who was in the Coast Guard. And she said the same thing, that at the time, she just kind of blew it off, and it was really inappropriate. But anytime that something would happen, she just blew it off. And then down the road, the the person that was doing the sexual harassment, and borderline, you know, sexual assault type stuff was ended up getting in trouble for actually hurting someone. I guess it was assault, rape. And it kind of made her go back and think like, like, maybe I should have said something. Because this was kind of in the works, there were signs that something like this could potentially happen. So yeah, it's really, it really sucks to hear that kind of stuff. Because I was a leader in the army. And I recently connected with a former soldier of mine, she was one of three females that I had when I was in Iraq, in my platoon. And she described to me some of the things that were that were happening that had happened to her prior to me arriving there that I didn't know anything about. I just knew that her attitude was not where it should have been. But I didn't understand why I myself was a young leader, I was brand new into the army. And not only that was thrown into the, into the war at the time. So I had a lot going on with myself was doing my best was what I had. But it kind of sucks to go back and hear about some of the harassment that she had received prior to me getting there. You know, and I hope at some time, I can have her on the show to talk about her experiences, you know, specifically because she was within my ranks. So Jacqueline, you know, you're transitioning out of the military, you know, you're now working in therapy, counseling, and, you know, what's what's in store for you moving forward? Do you have plans to start working with a different category or demographic of the population? Sure.

Jacquelin Buckley:

Yeah. When I, when I transitioned out, like I said, I went back to school, I completed my BA in Justice Studies, and I want it to be a probation officer parole officer that didn't turn out. But along the way, I was guided into doing counseling. So I finished my Master's in Counseling Psychology. And looking back over my years within the military, looking back, going through my programming, working with different individuals and different demographics, what I recognize is that members in the military because there is a different culture, because there is a difference. They struggle a lot within the family unit. You know, most families don't understand that when your spouse is away for 11 to 12 months of the year, you've got another spouse at home that's dealing with everything. And then that other spouse comes back from their deployment. And where do they fit in? Because you've got one person that's been managing and dealing with something in my own experience, you know, as a single parent for so long. It while I was serving, there was times I had to sacrifice and for my family, you know, the operation that I talked about with regards to the PTSD, the Swiss air crash being part of the dental forensic team, as a dental assistant during that operation, it affected me greatly. And to the point where I couldn't recognize myself, I became sort of a shell of myself. And that leads with parenting difficulties because you're checked out, you're not able to parent effectively. So I'm hoping that with the programming that I'm taking for parenting, that I'm able to pay that forward into our military families and to be able to help them out and bring them together. To be able to create stable family unit rather than having two people at odds with each other, because you might have someone coming back from a deployment that might be affected with an operational stress, injury.

KP:

Right, right. And, you know, speaking of the Swiss Air 111 flight that crashed, which I understand you were a part of that critical incident where 229 airline passengers were killed. Can you talk to us about what happened? Explain to our listeners about what happened and what was your role during that catastrophic event.

Jacquelin Buckley:

So the plane had crashed just off the Peggy's Cove, which is a huge tourist attraction just outside Halifax, Nova Scotia. And I was actually living on military in middle of military housing it CFB Shearwater was an Air Force base. And that night, heard, you know, a lot of sirens, and so on, so forth. And then the next day, learned about the crash. And from there, we were brought in the military brought us in to help out with the identification through the dental process. So I would have been assisting the dental officers identify through different, you know, antemortem dental records and post mortem dental records. But our job as dental assistants were that when the remains came in, because there was no, there was no individuals being brought in, you know, if you consider that this plane probably crashed against the water surface at about 300 miles an hour, you're not getting a lot of anything back. And I'm sorry if that's triggering for some people that might be listening. So we were identifying pieces of remains. And I can still remember the turning point in my life where I was sitting on our dental van stairs, getting ready to receive some things to X ray. And thinking to myself, I wonder if any of these people actually had the time to say that they loved their loved one before they left the house? Was there any time that they were arguing before they left the house? Were they able to make peace? Like how did they leave home that day, not knowing that they were never going to so then the families that were affected by that? It was I think that was the point that kind of was a huge turning point with me with regards to how I looked at life afterwards.

KP:

Yeah, yeah, I tell you that. That's the one thing that I I wasn't expecting when when I went to war was how people process death. We dealt with casualties. Every so often, you know, whether it was you know, third country, national or insurgent, or whatever it was, it was difficult. Because it was what I found difficult was, for me, my coping mechanism was just to say, well, this is war, whereas other people process processed the way you did, where they would say, well, this person is someone's Dad, this is someone's mom, this is someone's sister, you know, brother. And I just thought, Man, I can't think of it that way. Like, if I think of it that way, I'm gonna go crazy. You know, if I see myself or my family, you know, in this person, then I'm not going to make it for a whole year. I found that really, really interesting about war. And what I also found interesting was how, you know, in a lot of people that I run into that talk about stress, anxiety, combat, who are really open about it, really open about it, and almost talk about it in a fanatical fantasy type of way. I have found that many times, the folks that were really in it, don't talk about it, because it's not. It's not sexy. And it's not cool to be in a situation where you've got stress, anxiety, confusion, you know, you're scared, like, that's not cool to go back to. So a lot of times when it comes to folks who dealt with traumatic events, like what you've dealt with, and traumatic events in combat and things like that, man, it's it's just not easy to talk about. And I appreciate you sharing your story with us about that, because, you know, 229 airline passengers. It's a lot. It's a lot of people. It's a lot of a lot of identifications going on and I know it's probably still a little bit difficult for you to talk about even now. But as far as what's going on with you, Jacqueline, I want to pivot to talk about what you've got going on currently. I understand that you're rebranding your website, you're rewriting the book, I have the storm. So can you share a little bit about what's going on there?

Jacquelin Buckley:

So yeah, I recently got my licensing with the province that I live in. So I have decided to leave the organization that I was currently working with, it was a not for profit, and going out and going into independent practice for myself. And through that process of working is to be able to facilitate groups on parenting to be able to help, like I said, folks, and individuals that are struggling in their relationship, parenting relationship, maybe through divorce or separation to be able to come cohesively. So their children aren't suffering through the process. And then with the book, I wrote that book in 2014, very shortly afterwards, I just wanted people to know that they weren't alone in if they were struggling with operational stress injuries, if they were, you know, diagnosed with PTSD, whatever it was that they weren't alone, I've lost friends to suicide, because they were had been diagnosed and just had, you know, couldn't bear through it. So I decided to rebrand the book and to redo the book, but coming at it from a perspective of the parenting, the part of me that was lost in the parenting, and why that happens through trauma, and how I've kind of shifted it back and, and, you know, my daughter suffered with an addiction, she's recovering from addiction. And that's taken a whole toll. And I, you know, I understand that I'm not the sole reason for that. But I can look back now and say, she's struggled probably because I wasn't able to be there emotionally for her at times when a parent should be to give that safety to their child. So this is stuff that happens. And I see it so often with individuals within the military and their families. And it's just such a passion with me to kind of help them out and to hopefully make a difference, or to give them the tools to make a difference for themselves.

KP:

Yeah, I think that's excellent. And that's really what we need his his books and resources to help folks identify and not feel alone when it comes to feeling a lot of the thoughts and, and experiences. I don't know, I can't even imagine. I mean, here in the United States, I think they say around 8% of the entire US population ever served in the military. So the chances of you actually knowing someone else's served in the military can speak your language and understand your culture is very rare. I can't imagine in Canada, it's a probably a lot less. Because I know that the Armed Forces is of much smaller unit up there. So the chances of you Jacqueline running into someone else that was also in the military is probably very rare, isn't it?

Jacquelin Buckley:

Oh, no, it's greater. Oh, it's great. Yeah, I find that it's greater than the community because we are small. Yeah, I think that the community is, you know, I could I could go out west. And you know, I'm here on the East Coast, I could go to the West Coast, and I be guaranteed to run into somebody who's in the military.

KP:

Oh, wow. Well, that's that's, that's refreshing to hear. So hey, Jacqueline, any for anyone out there listening who'd like to connect with you or follow you on your platforms? How can they get in touch with you.

Jacquelin Buckley:

So if they go over to my website at discover blue alliance.com, there's a Contact Information page there, they can reach out to me we can talk about the course that I am providing the active parenting course for separation and divorce. If they're struggling with that, I'd be happy to talk to them. There's no charge for your military community. I'm, I'm, you know, I'm not coming in as a therapist. I'm coming in as somebody who's lived through the experience with them. So walking beside them in that platform, because I can't do it on the other side just because of regulations and stuff. But I'd be happy to connect with them, talk with them, have a chat with them and just be there with them.

KP:

I think that's great. And for anyone that has listened to this episode, what's the one thing that you want them to get out of it? Or do you have any advice or anything that you like to talk about before we finish up the episode?

Jacquelin Buckley:

I think the biggest thing is still the same thing that I've been saying for years. There's always somebody A that, that may. We're not, we're not going to know each other's stories, because each other stories is different. But we will relate on some aspect of the story about what you're feeling in it. And to know that you're not alone to know that there are resources out there to help you connect, to be able to get the help that you need. If you're struggling with mental health, then it's it's the same. I have that same message every time. Just knowing that there are there is somebody else out there that can kind of walk beside you in that.

KP:

Yeah, I've heard you speak in clubhouse before about mental health. And I really appreciated all those times that you joined us in the military mix up to provide your your own advice and your own support as well. So thank you for that, Jacqueline, and I appreciate you being on the podcast today.

Jacquelin Buckley:

You're welcome. KP. Thanks for inviting me.

KP:

For everyone else out there and make sure you connect with Jacqueline, I'll make sure that all the things that were mentioned during this podcast are going to be down in the show notes. So scroll down to the bottom of the I guess podcast cover front and scroll all the way down and you'll find all those links down there as well and you can connect with her on her website which will be on there. And until next time, I want you to stay tuned, stay focused and stay motivated. Warriors fall out