Returning From Ops

Discussion in 'Army Reserve' started by BIGBAPS, Oct 8, 2008.

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  1. Hello all

    Would value any advice/experiences on returning from a tour, from those that have been there and done that.

    At moment I'm a few days into POTL and can't seem to relax. Plus family and friends here just seem to irritating and are frankly boring. I'm sure this will pass, as I start to chill out a bit. (same as the urge to mini flare on coming traffic).
    However, I am concerned about fitting back into work, esp as I appear to have developed a very low BS threshold. I used to be so polite and diplomatic too :D
    Anyone who has to put up with middle managment meetings will feel my pain I'm sure.

  2. It does pass fireworks night might be a bit unpleaseant would avoid displays to be honest.Exercise eating heathily and talking with family friends does help but basically give it time.Got the leaflet on ptsd if you notice symptons in yourself seek help .
    Unless you have access to a rifle then do the world a favour and at next middle management meeting go postal. :twisted:
    I wanted to do that long before I ever went on tour .Getting head cut off
    by taliban or 3 hour quality assurance meeting :? At least taliban could only do it once :D .
    Seriously you will notice a inner rage monster .Expecting things to be done without question ,Moaning like fcuk but getting on with it etc Not really
    what civillians do .Unfortunatly unless the laws changes to allow you to cull
    the surplus kunts you have to work with.You will just have to take a deep breathe and deal with them .It will pass but it is a wierd time.
  3. From 2 POTL's:

    1. a) Kick back
    You've probably been caning it for 6 months (If not, where do I sign up). First two weeks, sleep in, don't shave, do all those things you dreamed of doing when you were on the tour
    b) Get a routine
    As much fun as lounging around refreshing ARRSE every two seconds to see if anyone has posted anything on any subject, its a slippery slope to passing the 7 weeks in a flash. Doing stuff around the house will also keep your other half happy

    2) Enjoy your family
    a) Spoil them with your time. They've missed you. I know they don't understand what you've been doing, but take the time to listen to that dull stuff about the garden, uncle peters piles etc
    b) Don't be a "when I". They will want to know what you've been up to, but not right now. This can take years.

    3) Go back to your unit socially
    You will allmost certainly find someone you know who has experienced a similar tour to you, who you can talk about places common to you both

    4) Organise your happy snaps
    Our company managed to pool 1 DVD of photos. Looking back at them now I've forgotten half of the names.

    5) Don't force yourself to chill out
    Thats why its 7 weeks. It will come, honest.
    However doing 5s and 20s in the supermarket car park will make you look strange

    Just my 2 pennies worth, I hope the transition back to civvy goes well
  4. Have you had your post tour stress briefing? If not, get on to your CoC to get it sorted. It's a valuable thing to do. Speak to your unit welfare officer if you are concerned. It does get better.
    When I first got back I hated going into town where there were loads of people around me. My hands also didn't know what to do with themselves as they wanted to be holding a rifle. The urge to put in blocking moves at road junctions does pass...
  5. Welcome back to the world. The first few weeks are definately the worst. I went from a 7 day working week (14 hours a day) to doing feck all. Really busted my hump.
    Couldnt settle, noises that would normally not bother or even interest me caused some interesting reactions. Trying not to swear every 2nd word, even in front of my parents was difficult, and when I went back to work, well that was a whole load of other issues.

    Then to top it all off, after 6 months being home - here comes a breakdown.
    The leaflets on PTSD? Dont make me laugh. Face up to the fact the system wont be interested, and wont do a thing to help

    Enjoy your leave, you've undoubtedly earned it, and more. Chill, relax, and try to enjoy life.

    Personally, I cant wait for the brown envelope so I can get away again.
  6. msr

    msr LE

    That is arrant nonsense. The system is there, if you want to use it.

  7. And of course you are fully aware of my personal situation then? My unit was fully aware, and nothing was done. It's only since I had a chat with my RSM last week, nearly 2 years after the fact, that any assistance has been offered.

  8. Well i think you have answered your own question. I hope you now get the support you need mate, really. PTSD will not really come to a head for many years. Heard an article on the radio from the charity that deals with this, the average time for someone to seek help is 14 years!

    In answer to the original post, working with the military in an Op theatre changes you forever. Not in a PTSD way, but your eyes have been opened to what is really important. Good luck mate
  9. msr

    msr LE

    I am not going to get into a slanging match here but when I came back through Chilwell in Jan 2006 for my demob, we were all handed a stack of papers and phone numbers / contact details on the mental health provision.

  10. The help is there (now - I recognise it might not have been before - or may have seemed that way if you got back on a friday evening and the duty senior was on a promise elsewhere) - you have to ask for it though. Maybe still a bit early for you to be worried though - but only you will now how different you feel - nobody on here can tell you that.
    Most of the advice offered here I would agree with - well there is nothing so far I wouldnt.
    Chin up - humour always helps - I have a recording of the attack alarm I use for an alarm clock - it really gets newly returned chaps out of their beds in the morning (and under them :roll: ).
  11. RP578

    RP578 LE Book Reviewer

    I returned through RTMC a few months later and whilst I don't recall a stack of papers, I'm pretty sure they gave us a pamphlet with some contact details. No idea what I did with mine, but I suspect it got deep-sixed as soon as I got home.

    As per the original post, I'd second the comment about giving yourself a couple of weeks off. I didn't and went straight back into work. Being self-employed I didn't have much choice, having been out of the loop for 8 months meant that I had to take any work offered so when a mate found out I was back and threw me some work, I jumped. I never had a full day off during my tour (apart from R&R) and working straight through my POTL exhausted me (though did also force me to face the reality of being a civvie in London with all the madness that entails).

    Apart from the usual and transitory 'nervous in a crowd' feeling, I can't say that I had any dramas at all. Then again my tour was a pretty good one with only a couple of contacts, which were both fairly brief.

  12. What he said.....and keep in touch with the lads you were out with you start to pine for them soon... :wink:
  13. Keep yourself busy don't dwell on things. Even if you have sod all to do for the day drag yourself out do something/anything.
  14. Is suffering in silence courageous? Asking for help and advice seems a sensible approach.

    "The social stigma of PTSD may result in under-representation of the disorder in military personnel, emergency service workers and in societies where the specific trauma-causing event is stigmatized..."

    PTSD is not overdiagnosed
  15. We had a good tour, apart from one suicide bombing which changed all of our lives forever, when one of the lads was killed in the blast, and three others seriously wounded. Bizarrely (or maybe not) that one incident brought the rest of us together like nothing had before, always a close group, now we were truly united. A number of the lads benefited from this, as we were encouraged and given the opportunity to talk, and get things off our chest. This 'self-help' welfare worked for many of us, and it still continues today. Some needed extra support on return. Some chose not to accept it.
    The thing that made the return to the 'real' world easier, was keeping in touch with each, going out for a pint, or a bite to eat somewhere.
    I personally found the abrupt change in the pace of life difficult to handle, and really appreciated being able to socialise with the lads I was away with.
    You have to talk to people, but remember, unless they were with you they will never understand what you have been through, seen or done, and sometimes it's better if they don't! But will probably appreciate you opening up to them.
    Apart from that, chill out, watch crap TV, and enjoy being alive and safe (and don't feel guilty about it).
    The novelty of having a foaming bath still hasn't worn off!