Mindfulness for Warriors
Mindfulness for Warriors
By: Kim Colegrove
Mental health is a near and dear subject for me. We have lost and continue to lose too many of our warriors to an invisible enemy. As I struggle with my daemons, I am saddened by the soles in our community when there are tools that we can deploy to fight this enemy. Mindfulness has been an excellent tool that I picked up as a fellow in Team Rubicon's Clay Hunt Fellowship Program. Mindfulness helps me to recenter and focus amid the storm bringing me back to and helping me remain present and in the moment. This tool, like others, requires practice to master; learning when and how to use it can positively impact your mental health.
There has long been a negative stigma of seeing mental impacts as weakness in the warrior community that we have made some good strides to change but remains. We tend to see seeking mental health help as a vulnerability or even a liability to the team, which is ridiculous considering what it takes for an "alpha" to swallow their pride and seek help. I think leaders going through it should be transparent and share the process with their subordinates opening the door for them to seek help. Furthermore, we should make mental health part of our post-mission recovery/ re-set plan, like re-stocking the EMS truck, re-fitting the fire engine, and cleaning weapons to prepare for the next mission. Develop your coping tools early on, use them regularly and systematically, like another step in the mission process, and seek help when needed. This book has a lot of good tools for mindfulness that you can add to your toolbox, and it's small enough to keep on you to use as a reference as needed. When the fight is on, you never have to fight alone there are people and resources around you that you can call on to fight with you, never forget that YOU ARE SOMEBODY TO THIS WORLD, AND TO SOMEBODY YOU ARE THE WORLD, keep fighting warriors.
Don't think you are (or should be) ok because it did not happen to you; secondary trauma has real effects on us. What we see or hear (dispatchers) can affect us the same as if it happened to us and requires the employment of coping skills.
Verbally sharing our experiences of trauma can be healing for both the speaker and the listener. Sharing our stories reminds us that were not alone in this struggle.
To cope and survive in the warrior profession(s) we have chosen, we have to turn down or off some of the emotions "normal" people have. This can have an impact on our personal and family life; we should unpack our baggage daily and pick a physical location we pass to and from work as a trigger point where we choose to transition from work you to home you (and vice versa), this will take practice but its, they are worth it.
Tell your story. It can be helpful to your healing process and open the door for others to get help.
Prioritize your well-being!
Find a group of people with shared experiences with whom you can be open and vulnerable and check in regularly. You will find it to be mutually healing.
*I would like to thank Team Rubicon's Clay Hunt Fellowship Program for being there at an uncertain, transitional point in my life, acting as a sherpa showing me the way on this next unfamiliar leg of my journey. The program taught me how to tell my story and to see vulnerability as a strength, giving me the courage to embark on a segment of life that I wasn't always sure I would even make it to, and with the tools to see the journey through. Thanks, CHFP-BC5! for your stories, support, and courage.*