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Chief's Corner February - Finally Home from Deployment

Carver, Fire

Portrait of Chief Master Sgt. Steven Carver

McLaughlin Air National Guard Base, W.Va. --

Six months is a very long time to be away from our loved ones. Before you left, you likely spent precious moments with your family and close friends. You shared a closeness with your spouse and your children which gave you the strength to make it through these difficult months away from all that is familiar and normal in your life.

At your deployed location, you developed a new routine, habits, special workout schedules and friends. You have a new diet, developed muscles where you did not have them before, well, at least not developed like they are now! You may have figured out running is not so bad, so you joined up with friends for sports and games you likely did not have time for at home. Your practices now have allowed you more time for yourself. You had time to enjoy all the new opportunities depending on your location.

From personal experience, returning home is not as simple as it may seem.  Transitioning from your deployed location to home can be extremely stressful. After you’ve returned, you will have to make it through in-processing, sit through a couple of briefings before finally being able to make it home to unwind. Finally, we find out our family has some plans for the next few days to catch us up on all we have missed, the kids want our attention, and friends we have not seen for months want to visit us.

It may seem that some of the things that were simple and familiar when you left, are now awkward and confusing.  Things we had always accomplished with ease before now required refreshing. Those who have depended on us for years may now be self-sufficient. Sometimes something even as simple as holding hands and exchanging affectionate gesture’s with your husband/wife and kids seem different.  For six months, you have been self-directed and only focused on one job and now all these emotions and stressors could be adding up.    

Psychological resilience is defined as an individual's ability to adapt to stress and adversity. Stress and adversity can come in the shape of family or relationship problems, health problems, or workplace and financial worries, among others. In other words, resilience is one's ability to bounce back from a negative experience and competently function.

Remember you are not alone, look around and do a self-assessment, ask for a little space and understanding. For me my faith in God gives me strength! Seek one of the many resources available to you; call our Wing Director of Psychological Health or call your pastor or a chaplain. Remember, others have been where you are and they are there for you if you just reach out. You have supervisors and chiefs that are not always as grumpy as they may seem! There are also options available through One Source.

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