Karla Seijas

Everyone you meet is fighting a battle you know nothing about. Be kind. Always.

What are your biggest challenges as a caregiver?

A big challenge is meeting and connecting with fellow post-9/11 caregivers. At times, being a caregiver can feel lonely. It is reassuring to communicate with individuals who are relatable and understand the military lifestyle without explanations. It’s even more important to connect with fellow military spouse caregivers, and for my young children to connect with other kids in military caregiver households. Living in a rural area, away from a military installation or resources, makes this harder. It is also difficult to find access points to support and medical services. I have not been successful in finding health care providers who can understand or relate to our family’s military experience, which I think is essential for a provider.

Tell us who you are outside of your role as a caregiver. What interests you? Do you go to school, work, or volunteer? Are you an entrepreneur?

I am a PhD student in the department of Anthropology & Heritage Studies at University of California, Merced, where I research the effects of public policy on post-9/11 military and veteran families. I was successful in creating and getting legislative support to pass a bill to enhance educational benefits for disabled veterans and their families living in California, my home state. I also volunteer with various community, youth, and veteran organizations. I have always been dedicated to giving back to my community and enjoy staying active.

What have you learned about yourself through your role as a caregiver?

I have learned that every day is different. When I am stressed, I take a break and focus on something that I enjoy. In navigating my journey as a caregiver, I have hit roadblocks in areas of care and support, but I am resilient. I have learned that it is important to be vulnerable and share one’s story because it may help someone else. Having conversations is what drives change and that is what I enjoy doing.


My Story