- Jennifer Stafford
There are many times in life when we feel like we don't have the answers and have no idea where to find them. If we don't pay attention to these internal struggles, they can build up and become mentally overwhelming. Whether it's anger, guilt, sadness or memories of past pain, these emotions must be acknowledged so that the healing from them can begin.
Many individuals serving in our armed forces (i.e., military, police, firemen) are faced with overwhelming emotions on a daily basis. No one is exempt from being overwhelmed by emotions. It's learning how to effectively manage those emotions that's been consistently overlooked on a grand scale. Being in a constant stressed state, involved in war, being surrounded by weapons and heavy artillery can tap into fears and anxieties that can make our emotions run wild.
As an individual in the armed forces, being trained to protect your country or your community doesn't protect you from the guilt, sadness or anger that starts to eat away at you after you've been exposed to violence, chaos or constant upheaval. Stress kills. In the end, we are all human beings with emotions that need to be appropriately expressed. Not knowing how to identify, acknowledge and then effectively support oneself during highly emotional times can create problems and pain for everyone; not just the individual suffering. When we are suffering we make poor decisions, we lose our ability to be rational and disconnect from the idea of consequences or how our actions will impact others. We're hurting, we're in pain and we want it all to go away.
Asking someone how they're doing has become a question where the expected response is, "I'm fine or I'm ok." What many of us don't realize is that it's ok not to be ok. We don't always have to push through when it hurts. Stop and talk to someone or ask for help. There are counselors, therapists, teachers, good friends, people that have been there before; there is always an ear. Harming yourself or hurting others shouldn't be your best or only solution.
Military Crisis Line 1.800.273.TALK
Real Warriors Live Chat 1.866.966.1020
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline 1.800.273.8255