May is Mental Health Month

  • Published
  • By Capt. Lesley Friedoff
  • 96th Medical Group
Have you ever had "the rug pulled out from under you?"  Have you ever been blindsided by bad news, or maybe realized an important relationship was coming to an end?  Perhaps you've experienced a number of smaller stressors piling up over time? 

These kinds of things seem to happen at the worst possible times. Then again, is there ever really a good time for things like that?  You cannot predict when the rug might get pulled out from under you, and worse yet, sometimes terrible things just happen for no perceivable reason.

It's not necessarily healthy to constantly worry about the unpredictable future because more likely than not, terrible things will not happen.  However, it is also unhelpful to assume you are immune to having the rug pulled out from under you, or unfortunate things only happen to other people.

This type of thinking may lead you to be defenseless when something challenging comes your way. It may also lead you to underestimate your own vulnerabilities, which could prevent you from being proactive. 

We should take comfort that we have some control over our well-being at any given time.  After all, isn't it easier to manage life stressors when you've slept well every night, had a balanced diet, had a strong social support system, and a number of stress-relieving activities in which you engaged?

I'm sure you can think of times that setbacks were really not setbacks at all because you were in a good place mentally, physically, emotionally, and spiritually.  It is times like these when we are truly at our best... when we're at our most resilient.

In the last few years the Air Force has emphasized resilience. Resilience is described as the personal characteristics and positive coping skills that allow us to bounce back from adversity. 

It's important to understand bouncing back is not just something we do independently. In fact, one of the most important aspects of resilience is early help seeking.

It's about asking for help at the right time.  This can be difficult to do as many of us want to manage things on our own.  However, with that strategy, we risk waiting too long to get help; waiting until things are out of control before reaching out.  I recognize it takes courage to ask for help, but in many instances, assistance from others is what aids us in bouncing back.

Team Eglin has a number of helping agencies available. I urge you to look at the "Helping Agencies" icon on the Eglin AFB website, where you will see many of the resources available to you and how to access them.

Asking for help is resilience.  It is a sign of strength, and it can be the difference between a hopeless dilemma and a workable problem.  Reach out. Let's put the rug back under your feet to give you the traction you need to live the life you want.