In the last couple of months we have been presenting some challenges and discussing some possible ways of dealing with them using the skills and attitudes of resilience. These challenges are part of a game called "Bounce Back" that we developed a few years ago to teach the skills and attitudes of resilience. We are finalizing the electronic version of "Bounce Back" that can be played off of a website that will present these challenges to players and provide them with some immediate feedback regarding the skills and the attitudes of resilience that we think might be useful in responding to the challenge.
So again in this blog, assume that you are playing "Bounce Back" and you have just been dealt this challenge.
Your company commander calls you into his office and tells you he is worried about you and possible post-traumatic stress disorder. He gives you a direct order to see the base mental health officer. You begin to argue, but he cuts you off. How would you deal with the situation using the skills on the attitudes of resilience?
For the sake of this challenge we would assume that you have been in the military for a number of years and perhaps served a couple of tours of duty overseas. We would assume that at least one of these may have been in Afghanistan or Iraq.
As I've said in previous blogs, everyone is different and what we're going to give you now are just suggestions as to the skills and attitudes that you might think about applying to the situation.
This challenge requires that you take a close look at yourself. Unfortunately, human beings often lie to other people, but more frequently lie to themselves. We often deny the problems that we have and sometimes even project them onto other people. What has just happened with your company commander may clearly bring up some feelings in you. Members of our Armed Forces often don't seek help for the problems they know they may have because of fear and stigma associated with doing so. Those who live with you 24/7 may know things about you you don't know about yourself. This may be a time to listen rather than argue; to ask questions rather than to dismiss or deny.
Connect with others. Talk with others. What do they see that you don't. What do you see and feel that you have been unwilling to admit? This is about taking care of yourself. Hopefully you will follow through with the Commander's orders. You will probably be in a great deal of difficulty if you don't. Be honest with the mental health officer and with yourself. Make a realistic plan to deal with this issue and follow through.
We are sure that there are other ideas that you may have or others may have about how to deal with the situation and how the other skills and attitudes of resilience could be applied. We would encourage you to think this through and to talk with others about how they have dealt with a similar situation or how they believe they would deal with a similar challenge. Communication will be key in responding to this challenge. Don't behave as if you're 10-feet tall and bulletproof. You're not.
We will present another challenge in our next post.
Ronald L BREAZEALE PhD
Author: Reaching Home and First Night