Unless you’re in total denial or live in Antarctica, you’re probably wondering how your family, long term, needs to address the Covid-19 pandemic. As a good military man or woman you’re likely putting a good face. You may even use a bit of bravado to keep yourself focused on your duties. Yet you know that your friends, parents, spouse, and kids are being deeply affected.
In fact, this uncontrollable pandemic is causing its own kind of PTSD throughout the world. So it’s better to respond to it now, rather than to react later. I offer these five points to help.
Point 1: Veterans and their families are generally used to changes and challenges, such as:
- Meager salaries and sometimes relying on government food programs;
- Working spouses (many of whom have now lost their jobs in the economic downturn);
- Overseas deployment separating loved ones;
- Combat injuries;
- Moving around, due to state-side postings;
- Kids having to make tremendous adjustments.
- Keep up with physical fitness routines or risk failing important physical tests.
Point 2: You’re trained to respond well to external circumstances, so:
- Covid-19 is just another external reality for which you need to craft a workable strategy;
- You need not fall into a ‘victim’ or ‘poor-me’ mentality. It goes nowhere;
- You have already found personal growth trauma and adversity; you can once again.
Point 3: Here are some immediate choices you can make:
- Be realistic about viral pandemics. They’re not new but are unfamiliar and can last for years;
- Expect infection spikes anywhere and everywhere; there’s a reason a story or song “goes viral”;
- Stay away from social media and news that is not science-based and that plays on stress and panic;
- Be careful; you know how good hygiene, masks, and physical distancing will help protect you and your family; forgo large family gatherings.
Point 4: Even the pandemic has gifts to offer:
- Improved relationships and a greater sense of belonging in society and family;
- Greater compassion for those who are suffering;
- Greater sense of cooperation, purpose and appreciation…all hallmarks of the military.
- A chance to teach the rest of us how better to live with change, crisis, and distress;
- An opportunity to deepen your spiritual connection with the Universe and all creation, keeping you focused on what really matters.
Point 5: Steps to take if you’re still in the weeds over this pandemic.
- Admit your anger, hurt, or dislike for whatever and whoever has hurt you.
- Forgive, which means letting go of judgment of yourself and others.
- Be grateful even for small things.
- Remember you are the most important gift God’s given you.
- You can love others only if you love yourself first.
- Get rid of magical thinking that somehow your distress will just disappear.
- Remind yourself that you have done all you can do.
© 2020 Michael Parise