Soldiers Return with Invisible Wounds
Soldiers are prepared for combat operational stress. The Army has drilled them, trained them, polished them.
What happens when they come home and have to adjust to the “surreal” world of civilian life? Once you have lived next to life and death as your daily reality, and perhaps gotten so familiar with the stress of combat operations, returning to mundane life can make everything feel out of whack.
Retuning warriors often feel out of sync with family or civilian life, after what they’ve experienced. With prolonged exposure to high-stress, the brain may actually adapt to this lifestyle of danger — so that danger brain messages feel normal. The harder part of what they’ve experienced may be coming home!
I teach classes in media and communication at Chaminade University in Honolulu, which offers classes on all the military bases. I work with all branches of the military, as well as their spouses.
Many students walk into class in high states of stress. While I am not a therapist, and I don’t do any treatment or diagnosis, as a teacher I need to make sure that students are fully functioning and engaged, in order to make the classroom experience as positive as possible.
Sometimes students come to class after just hearing traumatic news, witnessing something terrible or even have just been a part of something very disturbing. Continue reading “Helping Soldiers Adjust to Civilian Life”