“I didn’t want to burden anyone with my baggage. I had to handle it on my own.”
As an operator in a high-stress environment, team members rely on you to be effective and switched-on. If you mess up, people die. Baggage accumulates over time; either stress from each call burdens you with the weight of the world, or a small piece of you is chipped away at each incident until you are left feeling empty and alone.
Scenario 1. Bryce is a once effective member of the team who is now coming in late and stumbling in his work performance. The job he remembers having passion for no longer satisfies him, and the position he once enjoyed is in jeopardy. Worse off, it is only a matter of time until he puts himself or someone else in danger.
Scenario 2. Though Dale still manages the stress of his high-paced work environment, his relationship with his family is starting to break down. He is more distant and detached from his wife and children, and small iritiations move his mood from flat to full out rage within a moment. Dale isn’t the same guy he remembers being years ago, and his wife and friends would say the same.
Bryce and Dale both started using ineffective coping strategies such as social isolation (I just want to be alone), increased substance use and binge drinking (I just need to take the edge off), and participation in high-risk behaviours (I just want to feel something). While both felt that they understood proper self care and had reported multiple chats with their critical-incident stress counsellor, something was not working. Unmanaged work stress had transformed them into the type of men they did not want to be.
If there is a familiar tone to either of these stories, understand that you are not alone. A Thive Consultant will work with you to first contain and navigate work stress, before creating new opportunities for growth and forward movement.
What about making the transition out? For some who have recently retired, been released, or are preparing to get out due to personal choice, life circumstance, or medical discharge, this represents a brutally challenging period of transition.
You might find that those on the civilian side can’t relate to the challenges of leaving your team, your family, your brothers and sisters in uniform. While concepts in your workplace such as reliability and integrity meant everything, you may find yourself noticing your levels of frustration and angst rising when those around you fail to perform.
“Is it them, or is it me?” If you have found yourself wondering this, it may be time to equip your interpersonal toolkit with some new, more effective tools. Working with your consultant at Thrive lets you plot a new bearing and find rewarding and powerful connections to the world around you.
Even heroes can't carry everything alone.
Let us help shoulder the burden.