Saturday, 30 March 2013

Having a bad day?

We all struggle with life sometimes. But we might not always understand just what it is that makes us struggle.

We struggle with new situations; with challenges for which we are not prepared. And it feels worse if we think that others are seemingly dealing with it so much more easily. Don't let yourselves be fooled - some of us are just better at keeping up appearences than others; and that isn't always a good thing.

Filling in an application form doesn't get your adrenalin going the same way pre-deployment exercise did. Sitting alone in front of a computer can't give you what training with your mates has given you.

You are going through a major change in your life - having a bad day every now and again is okay. Even if you've been through combat and back - the struggle in civvie street can still get to you; especially if you've not been given enough training and guidance

Do you know what the most stressful life events are - outside the combat zone?
  • major changes in one's financial situation (gaining as well as losing money);
  • additions to the family
  • personal illness or injury
  • illness or injury of a close family member
  • children leaving home
  • changes to one's job (not just losing it)
  • family / relationship issues
  • going on holiday
  • moving house
  • separation from a partner
  • retirement
  • being made redundant
  • death of someone close
The above is deliberately not in any particular order - but ask yourself: How many of the events in the list apply to you? How many have you gone through in the past year?

There is only so much you can do in order to prepare youself. Moving house might become easier once you've done it for the forth time - but it's always stressful. The third broken bone doesn't make medical treatment less stressful. And the death of someone close - well, I don't think I'll ever get used to it.

Even changes which we choose to make will be stressful - but coping is much more difficult when we did not choose the change; for example, in the case of losing one's job. But you can do something about it:
  1. Accept that it is okay to have a bad day, occasionally, even if there might not be any one particular reason; sometimes we simply need to recharge our batteries and refocus.
  2. Don't try to keep up appearances - you will eventually act it out on the people around you; which is the last thing you want.
  3. Talk about what bothers you. Just because you no longer belong to a regiment doesn't mean you're now on your own.
It's amazing how many like-minded people you can find via social networking - people in a similar situation; people who have been there before; people who can help. Talk to them.

If you struggle: Don't blame yourself! Don't think you have to manage on your own!

If your "bad day" turns into a week - if "bad days" keep recurring - or if you experience physical symptoms which begin to interfere with your life and which you did not experience previously: please talk to your GP urgently.


  1. As someone who has been medically discharged after a career in the RAF Regiment spanning nearly 30 years, I am finding your blog a great source of comfort. My experience of the discharge process was not good, to the point that I felt the need to submit a Service Complaint to address how I was being treated. Looking at your list of stressful life events, I have experienced 5 of them in the last 12 months. Now I am working to rebuild a new life in Australia for my wife and family. The key thing is not to lose hope, life will sort itself out. I've learned to worry about the stuff you can change and influence now rather than the ifs, what's and maybe's. Please keep writing.

    1. Thank you, Paul, for your kind words. I'm sorry you had to go through so much - too many of you find themselves in similar situations.
      As long as there's anybody out there reading my blog, I will continue to write. Guys like you are my inspiration, so to speak.
      I wish you all the best for your new life! You have come such a long way (literally ...) - be proud of it.