DCoE Blog

  • Feeling Overwhelmed by the News? You’re Not Alone
    U.S. Army photo by Spc. Tracy McKithern

    Do you feel overwhelmed by the recent reports of violence in the world? From international terrorist attacks to national civil unrest and violence, social media feeds and news outlets are flooded with powerful imagery, videos and heated debate.

    For our warriors, terrorism and violence are not new topics. Strong opinions and images of violence can be emotional triggers for those who have served in conflicts or for family members who have lost loved ones in similar attacks.

    Posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and intense feelings can resurface when something unsettling happens. When you start to feel overwhelmed, we want you to know that we understand. We offer these tips and resources to help you manage those situations:

  • You Can Manage Holiday Stress, These Apps will Help
    Manage Holiday Stress!

    The holidays don’t always go as well as I’d like. Based on the story below from a Washington Post annual online sharing of holiday horror stories, that’s true for a lot of people:

    “We were doing a southwest theme so I was making a tequila lime turkey. I'm used to using wine for cooking and will often just dump more in if the sauce needs it. I checked on the turkey, realized the sauce needed a little more tequila, poured it over the turkey, mixed the sauce in the roasting pan, and put it back in the oven. About five minutes later I was standing by the sink. The oven door went flying open, there was a very loud WHOOOSH noise, and a giant fireball came shooting out the oven door.”
  • Don’t Let Current Events, News Take Control of Your Feelings
    News in Afghanistan

    A week ago tragedy struck Paris when it was attacked by terrorists. A disrupted city, dear to so many, created a ripple of despair worldwide. It seemed that the world was in mourning.

    At the same time, controversy grew, particularly on social media. Was it fair to only recognize Paris? What about the other attacks and violence around the world? Would the United States accept refugees from Syria and other countries with terrorist ties? Almost immediately, social media feeds and news outlets were baited into controversy and debate.

    We don’t have the answers to these questions. But, what we do know is that for our warriors, terrorism and violence are not new topics. Strong opinions and images of violence can be emotional triggers for those who have fought in conflicts or for family members who have lost loved ones in similar attacks.

  • Does Your Life Feel Like ‘Groundhog Day’?
    Soldier in battle fatigues talks on phone in field

    Feb. 2 is Groundhog Day—a day when we look to the shadow of a groundhog to predict an early spring or more winter weather.

    While you may know some history of the annual celebration, it’s more likely that you are familiar with the popular movie “Groundhog Day.” The movie focuses on a know-it-all weatherman who is forced to relive the same day over and over, no matter how he tries to change things.

    If you are trying to cope with psychological health concerns, such as posttraumatic stress disorder (PTSD), depression, anxiety, or with traumatic brain injury (TBI), on your own, you may relate to the misfortune of the unpopular weatherman. You, and your family, may feel stuck, forced to face your days with no relief.

    Unlike the character in the movie, you don’t have to figure out how to move forward on your own. There are people and resources available to help you get unstuck.

  • Bah Humbug: Do You Need a Break from the Holidays?
    President delivers toys to JBAB, helps sort Toys for Tots donations

    If you find yourself occasionally disliking the fuss and furor around winter holidays, you’re not alone. Sunday marks Bah Humbug Day, a day when it’s officially OK to vent your frustrations.

    Even if you love the holiday season, sometimes it’s good to step back for a bit, experts say. It’s important to have time and space that isn’t already programmed, according to Jeffrey Rhodes, spiritual fitness program manager at the Defense Centers of Excellence for Traumatic Brain Injury and Psychological Health (DCoE).

  • Stress and the Holidays: What would the Griswolds Say?

    In the holiday comedy movie “National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation,” Clark Griswold (played by actor Chevy Chase) wants a perfect family Christmas; however, things go awry quickly.

    We think movies like this are funny because most of us can relate to the tales of holiday stress (aka holiday traditions) as spun on our viewing screens. Most of us have had something go wrong during a holiday gathering, particularly during a family holiday gathering.

    “You set standards that no family can live up to.” – Ellen Griswold

    Webster’s dictionary defines “holiday” as a special day of celebration... a day when most people do not have to work… as a period of relief.

    No work? Relief? In reality, and in quite a contrast from the traditional definition, we’ve come to view the holidays – basically the time between mid-November to mid-January – as a period of great stress and anxiety with more work to be done.