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Doctor’s Log - Star Date 23032020

“Always Together”

Resilience is universally understood and generally defined as either a form of positive adaptation in circumstances of risk or flourishing in the face of adversity and is achieved through the utilisation of various internal and external resources. Although resilience appears to be a common phenomenon, there is still a lack of clarity on how it is achieved on an individual basis. The importance of resiliency stems from evidence that, “As individuals grow older, greater resilience may lead to a more meaningful and satisfying old age”.

Two criteria are important in identifying risk: the first is the person’s exposure to a substantial risk, threat or adversity; and the second is that the individual experiences positive outcomes in coping with these adversities.

A burgeoning interest in resilience among the population from different cohorts and demographics allows for an opportunity to understand and identify coping tools and associated characteristics. More specifically, coping, a key component of the resilience process, is a universal human activity, for opportunity and adversity are universal human experiences. In addition, resilience allows us to better understand and identify the importance of spirituality as a coping tool, a way of being, or an expression of meaning and purpose.

It may be that following this unprecedented global event that as individuals grow older, greater levels of resilience may lead to a more meaningful and satisfying old age.

Care after Combat has and will continue to be operational but will obviously gear its activities in accordance with HM Government guidelines. We have a substantial number of ex -service personnel who were assigned to Phoenix whilst in prison and have subsequently been released. Whilst a proportion of those are now well past the initial 12-month post release period and are no longer in touch with the charity, in the event of wishing to resume contact, we are just a telephone call away. The out of hours service is manned 24 -hrs each day. If your call is un-answered please leave your name and number.

I spoke to several assignees over the course of the weekend together with some others who called in view of our other work with alcohol and substance misuse. Whilst we are unable to access available local services from a distance, speaking with someone who is familiar with service life, its language, humour and idiosyncratic manner is often just as valuable. One former soldier now living in Scotland said it markedly reduced his feelings of being isolated and mis-understood and he consequently rang back on Sunday evening.

I suppose these episodes bear some resemblance to the construct of helping through a common experience, that being time served in the Armed forces. I remember being allocated to the first aid party located in the galley onboard HMS Hermes in 1982 which as a medical assistant was generally “par for the course”, but when told that an Exocet is a heat seeking missile, I discovered that adrenalin was brown and ran down your trouser leg. Hence, I grew quite attached to brown corduroy trousers.

The proverbial way ahead is difficult to determine and will doubtless change each passing day. Some of us may not survive but the majority of course will. Let there be no doubt that Care after Combat will honour its commitment to both serving and ex-service personnel who, for whatever reason have either found themselves embroiled within the criminal justice system or struggling with either alcohol or drug induced problems.

Keep safe, keep well and keep in touch.

Dr Nicholas Murdoch