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Resilience: There’s an App for That: Episode 034 - Transcript

Air Date: May 8, 2013

 

Learning coping skills can help individuals build resilience and manage stress on the home front and on the battlefield.

 

NARRATOR:

This is Real Warriors—Real Advice.

Everyone experiences stress at one time or another. Resilience is the ability to withstand, recover, grow and adapt under stress and challenging circumstances. To build and maintain resilience, it's important to be aware of and monitor your behavior and performance – particularly during difficult situations.

If you perceive changes in your behavior or performance, taking steps like identifying people you can talk to for emotional support or breaking challenges down into smaller, manageable steps and then tackling them head on can make it easier to cope with major stresses, such as traumatic events that occur during combat or challenges you may experience when you return home.

Retired Army Capt. Adrian Veseth-Nelson, who earned the U.S. Army Bronze Star for Valor due to his actions while deployed to Iraq, returned home with symptoms of PTSD, including anger, hyper vigilance and trouble sleeping. He began drinking heavily to try to cope, but his condition worsened. Eventually, he reached out for professional psychological health care—a move he encourages other warriors to follow.

CAPT. (RET.) ADRIAN VESETH-NELSON:

I think it is very much a sign of strength and of personal awareness to say that you're wounded and you need help. That's what it is, I mean posttraumatic stress is the invisible wound, it's still a wound, and it's something with which you just need help. So, there's nothing wrong with, just like if you're shot in combat, with taking a knee and saying, "Medic," it's the same thing.

NARRATOR:

There are many tools and resources available to warriors today to help heal invisible wounds and assist service members in building and maintaining resilience. Capt. Veseth-Nelson emphasized the importance of seeking professional care when needed. He highlighted specific tools and techniques that are helpful in addressing combat stress, which include:

  • Identifying people you can turn to for emotional support
  • Avoiding alcohol and drugs
  • Breaking problems down into smaller, manageable steps and then tackling them head on, which can help you maintain a sense of control and accomplishment.

CAPT. (RET.) ADRIAN VESETH-NELSON:

I think that I absolutely have the tools to deal with PTSD, however it's always an ongoing process. Sometimes I have my good days, sometimes I have my bad days; sometimes I have good weeks, sometimes I have bad weeks. But, with the tools that I have now, instead of just maintaining the status quo – or worse, angling down, which I was for a while – now I've at least angled it up so the good days are more and the good days are better, and the bad days are fewer and they're not as bad.

NARRATOR:

Additional information about building and maintaining resilience is available on the Real Warriors Campaign website, including the article, "Behavioral Fitness: Coping Skills Build Resilience." There are also several online or mobile resources available to help warriors cope and sustain total force fitness, including smart phone tools such as the T2 Mood Tracker and Breath2Relax apps that are designed to help you better manage stress.

Along with these resources, you can find out more about psychological health concerns and how you or someone you know can get needed support by accessing information and resources 24/7 at realwarriors.net or by calling the Psychological Health Resource Center at 866-966-1020. If you or someone you love is having thoughts of suicide or experiencing a psychological health crisis, contact the Military Crisis Line at 800-273-8255 and press 1.

In an earlier podcast, we asked listeners what advice they would share with peers for coping with stress and building resilience. Tips included: Keep your battle buddies close—you need that connection for your sanity. Seek help when needed. And don't take resilience training lightly—it gets easier with daily maintenance.

Looking ahead to future podcasts, we want to hear from you, our listeners. Every month we will feature tips from Real Warriors Campaign podcast subscribers, Facebook fans and Twitter followers. So, sound off. How do you find support through your unit, installation, Veterans organization, or support group? Post your thoughts under Episode 34 at realwarriors.net/podcasts. You can also find and subscribe to Real Warriors podcasts on iTunes.

This is Real Warriors—Real Advice.

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