The Guide to Coming Home

The Guide to Coming Home: February 2, 2010 Archive

Seeking help does not mean you are weak!

Posted at 4:31 PM on February 2, 2010 (2 Comments)
Filed under: Family & relationships, Mental Health, Other

From Manfred Tatzmann, Brooklyn Park
Works with veterans, has 30 years in mental health field, consults with states and national organizations on head injuries and traumatic brain injury.

Manfred_Tatzmann_pic.jpgVeterans need to recognize that even a short tour in a combat zone can have an effect on them. While it takes everyone some time to come back and recover, those who have seen, experienced or been directly affected by a traumatic or horrific event (using your own definition or generally accepted definition of such an event) need to be able to reconcile that it may affect their life and relationship to others after deployment.

Seeking help is not a sign of weakness, no more than asking your buddy to cover your backside. The body may heal from scars and wounds readily, but scars and wounds of trauma can last much longer and are more difficult to heal.

This is very important especially if you have been close to an IED or have had one or more concussions that have left you dazed or unconscious. The military tries to provide assistance immediately post-deployment, but it is family members and friends that become aware of the stress and struggle that can occur many months later. Then is the time to trust, and seek help from and with family members, religious leaders, and mental health counselors.

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Humble yourself

Posted at 4:45 PM on February 2, 2010 (0 Comments)
Filed under: Employment, Family & relationships

From Trista Matascastillo, St. Paul, MN
Served 16 years in the Navy-Marine and Army National Guard, husband returned from Iraq in 2008 and brother is currently in Iraq on his third deployment.

It is very difficult going from a life of service with a mission that every day someone depends on you to make life and death decisions to a life with civilians who are making decisions about what client to call back first, or what is the best outfit to wear to work.

In the beginning it feels like you are so much more experienced and in a lot of ways you are, but that kind of thinking will only further alienate you from others. Humility is the best possible advice I can give to help with reintegration into civilian life.

I promise in time you will see that your civilian counterparts are skilled and have a lot of experience and perspective that you may not have ever considered. And through that respect for what they do and what they have done, you will learn that you too are valued and respected. Just as you are on edge in the beginning they too are on edge and a little unsure how to treat you, and how to act around you. So, take the first step. Be patient, be nice and be humble and you will see that the transition is much easier.

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