Thursday, February 24, 2005

Warrior Training

A sign that my little trip is almost to a close. Today I went to the Warriors Transition Brief. It's a class that reintegrates us back into regular civilian society. Today's class was smooth compared to some of the earlier briefs that I went to. All of the speakers actually had the hard questions included on each of their speels. If you have gone through many military classes, difficult questions were mostly pushed off till later. You either had to ask them after the class, email them or visit them in their office so they would look it up. Medical went over Leishmaniasis and Gulf War Illness (along with all the major illnesses possible out here) and told the Marines the proper questions to ask to get the correct follow up care. Legal went through wills, rights that deployed troops have and taking care of credit. The Chaplin's speech didn't change that much from prior speeches, today's Chaplin was a pretty good speaker, most of the same stuff covered prior classes about suicide prevention, Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, anger management, counseling services offered by a bunch of different agencies and getting along with co-workers and family. Each person had 800 numbers to call and websites to visit if more questions popped up in the future.

My only beef with the brief was watching the same suicide prevention video again. Every time I see video, it makes me want to choke myself. I feel like I'm a kid watching Blues Clues, those of you with kids know what I'm talking about. Five days a week they show the same episode (like living through Ground Hog Day over and over but instead of having cool people to hang out with it's these depressing people who want to kill themselves.) I've seen the video 11 or so times in the last year and a half. It's a video made of skits of people that are showing the warning signs of suicide. Half of them turn into pricks and the other half do something self destructive. Some of the reasons they give for screwing up are because their wife leaves them, they're stressed out about finances, their girlfriend ran up their credit card then dumped them (I blogged about that subject after leaving here last time, actually it was after watching the damn movie, it made me paranoid) or they got a DUI because their home life sucks. All of these are real problems that I've seen more then one time or other, none of it's fun. Then someone in their chain of command intervenes, the member gets counseling to handle the problem but what the video leaves out is what happens then. If the member had done something wrong or broke the law, after they go through all the good counseling and support, they're going to get roasted over the coals, money taken away, maybe loss of rank, possible discharge. This is going through everybody's mind that watches this video. Maybe that's the subliminal message behind it. If you're going to wig, do it in a calm manner and talk to somebody before it gets out of control, don't get in trouble doing it. I know suicide is a very serious subject and with my job, it's something I deal with on a regular basis. I just think this video gives mixed messages or maybe I'm just tired of watching it and I'm being overly critical, but this movie does give me the serious eeebeejeebees. Maybe it's time for a new one that doesn't give me more nightmares then combat? Mental illness is something that never has a clear or clean answer because of its objective nature, each case is different. At least we're getting over some of the stigma that has been attached to it.

PS Congratulations to my cousin Phillip and his wife Kim for their new baby son, Kyle Cooper!

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