Returning Home After Living Abroad.

Oh well, I was actually having same conversation with Rosa, a Sicilian girl working at same place. Although, she owns her family, here, blond husby and kids, lovely picture, except she doesn’t feel that she belongs here, in this new eastern Parisian region, nor Sicily.

Giulia, another friend of mine, from Treviso, Veneto, in Northern Italy, sent me this article this afternoon. And I felt a need to share with any other foreigner living abroad on this Planet.

By Corey Heller
This originally appeared in Multilingual Living Magazine.

As many of us know and have experienced, living in another country changes you forever. You will never be the same and will never see things the same way again.  I mentioned this to a friend after having lived abroad for a year. She looked at me confused and responded, “Oh come on, don’t be so depressing!”

Yet, for those of us who have lived abroad, this is simply the way it is.

The first time I experienced what experts call “Reverse Culture Shock” was after returning home from a Year Abroad Program in Galway, Ireland. My home town, which before had given me a sense of comfort and belonging, upon returning seemed stifling and bereft of warmth. I moved about my days feeling that something was missing but I had no idea what it could be. I eventually came face to face with the starling reality that my home would never, ever again feel the same as it had before. I had sealed my fate the moment I had boarded that plane the year before.

I don’t think there is really any way to describe this feeling to those who haven’t experienced it themselves.  It’s a little like free-falling.  It feels as if we are floating aimlessly on restless waters.  We feel distinctly ungrounded.

What, exactly, is it that causes us to feel this way? Why is it more pronounced when living in a different country than just living in a different city? Does the degree of difference between our home country and the target country determine the degree of change we will experience upon returning?

Many descriptions of Reverse Culture Shock describe it as part of a continuum whereby eventually we’ll feel at home again in our native country and the vestiges of the “shock” will slowly wear off.

Although it is true that those initial feelings of strangeness have subsided, I still feel that something will never be the same even now, so many years later. What I constantly contend with now is a continual pull to go back; a pull to go back anywhere as long as it isn’t here. Yet when I am back there, I feel the pull to return here, the place I call home. It is as if I am living in a kind of suspended reality, never really here and never really there; restless.

The joy of having spent time in another country is that you slowly become a part of it and bit-by-bit one of its people. Our attention to detail is heightened and we make a concerted effort to understand and fit in until we become one with our new location.  What I have seen and felt and heard and smelled in each of the places I have lived has made me who I am, like a wine having picking up its surrounding elements.

I would never want the clocks to be turned back to the person I was before I set foot on that first airplane. Instead, what I want more than anything is to have my favorite elements from each country right here with me now. I want to have an Irish pub around the corner here in Seattle, full of laughter and music and incessant chatter. After all these years, I still crave the smell of burning peat in the air and delight when I hear an Irish lilt.

But I also want to have the sights and smells and family and friends from Germany and Italy and France. I want to experience Tasmanian joviality and mainland Australian kindness on a daily basis. I want to somehow piece them all together into a patchwork quilt of sorts; to wear it day in and day out to bring me a kind of multicultural comfort of my own making.

Ultimately what I have lost in hometown comfort, I have gained in international familiarity. Whereas once boarding an airplane was an amazing feat and arriving in another country 10 hours later unthinkable, I now feel a safe sense of deja-vu when we are snuggled down into our seats for our long flight. I have a pretty good idea of the sequence of events whereby we will get from here to there and I cherish this opportunity to head to my “other home” of Germany for an extended visit. And after being there for a while, I can’t wait to snuggle back into my bed in my home in Seattle.

Thus, the final question I ask myself is no longer whether I will ever have that complete sense of home again, that sense of knowing I belong in one place above all others without doubt.  I now ask myself how I can feel at home where I am at this very moment, in this place, with these experiences; each moment finding my way back home.


Next Mission: PTSD at home. Veterans breaking the Silence.

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Actually, I am living this situation at work. Yes, I am the weak link.  And yes, I was the first and only one to break the silence. So, what?

Do you know the story of someone who is sitting on the edge of the river waiting for his dead enemy’s body passing by?

Image result for chinese proverb quote enemy

Seriously, it took me 1 month and a half to take an appointment with a psychologist after my burn out. Sometimes it’s life or death.

***

“ah, post traumatic stress disorders, what a wimp, the weak link and then, you are not promoted anymore, you are not going on the next tour ….”

“So, how do you save your self?”

First step, you come forward and admit you have a problem;

second step, finding the right people to listen to your concern and be able to point out the right direction to get the help you need;

step three, finding the right therapy; either a pills prescription or whatever.

“Delay, deny and die.”

Hey, it’s safe to take off your armor: “Veterans struggling with civilian life are urged to join a new Peer Support Service.”

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Former servicemen and women who are struggling to cope with life outside of the military are being urged to sign up to a Peer Support Service, delivered by veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress.

Led by veterans for veterans, it’s the first UK-wide service of its kind for those with mental health problems. The Peer Support Service, funded by The Royal British Legion, helps those veterans whose mental health has been affected by their time in the Armed Forces, and who are experiencing loneliness and social isolation after leaving the military.

For many former servicemen and women, the adjustment to civilian life can be confusing and distressing, leaving them struggling with changes to their identity and feeling that few people around them truly understand what they’re experiencing. This can be even more isolating if the veteran develops symptoms of mental health conditions.

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The Peer Support Service offers former servicemen and women a chance to share their experiences, receive support and socialise with others who have had similar experiences.

So far 28 groups have been established by Combat Stress in towns and cities around the UK, with more planned.

Veterans who have been supported by or worked for Combat Stress are co-ordinating the regional groups. They include James Saunders who served for six years in the Royal Artillery and overcame injuries associated with his experiences in the Gulf War.

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James said: “Mental health problems can make even the simplest things seem hard to do but this service is a way for veterans to easily access support and advice. Veterans have the chance to come along to small group meetings or to meet the regional co-ordinators individually.”

Carol Smith, Director Client Services at Combat Stress, said: “I’d like to thank The Royal British Legion for funding the Peer Support Service.

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“Research has suggested that social support has a positive impact on mental health and the effects of trauma. Peer support aims to help by increasing social interaction amongst individuals who may otherwise feel isolated or stigmatised.”

Veterans with mental health problems can call the Combat Stress 24-hour mental health helpline on 0800 138 1619 to be referred to the service.

 

With Courtesy of www.forcespenpals.co.uk

 

 

Canadian Army Vet’s Story: Ron and Ryan Anderson’s PTSD treatment and homecoming.

This article may hurt the Sensibility of someone; mine, for sure, but this is my duty here.

So, I let you check details of the painful homecoming of this two brothers, back from their last tours in combat zone ( Afghanistan, the last ) and no more capable to deal with a normal family life.

My deeper Compassion and higher Respect go to the whole Family of these guys like they were my own brothers.

By the way, my work here is not a campaign against pills, right?, I won’t take the risk to go against any Big Pharma here, ok? Fuck them, that’s a fact. New York Times staff knows what they do and denounce, but I am Nobody, and I am really not interested in doing any fights against nobody.

What I can do, here, is merely reporting facts and stories, to take example from as well as mine, of course. Many of WP readers just throw up words from nowhere, sorry, because they feel relief with doing it. That’s ok. Do it. The fact I put on my beautiful face, here, it means that I am taking the Responsability of my Words and Actions. And that I am ready to talk about all this mess, and shit, in a public domain like internet or anywhere else, anytime.

Pills took a part of my life and memory, when I was in my 20s. But Nineties are gone, now. Remember how Depression was treated in 50s like Ernest Hemingway. Lobotomia was practiced as cure and therapy. Electroshock, … yes, indeed.

We have turned the century, so, there is no more reason to treat Mental Health with chemicals, guys ! Sure, I know it’s tough, cos I’ve been there, but you are not alone. And I can just suppose that pressure in a military family is very high as well as feelings like Shame and Guilty. Forget the sense of Honour; you did your best, that’s fine, now focus on your Life after combat and your Wellbeing. You do deserve it. Paragraph.

What you can do with your silver cross medals, now?

The first step, really, the hardest one to do is taking this fuc*** First Step and Talk about it and ask for help to someone who is not JUDGEMENTAL. YOU CHOOSE WHO and WHICH PHONE NUMBER. I did it. And things went better and better.

Gotta say that. Done.

***

Ok, I’ll leave you with the link to the full article right here. And bless you, both, Ron and Ryan’s spirits. I wish that if there are other guys like you, they will take the chance to talk about their anger outbursts, lack of control, depressive thoughts and negative stuff with the right person, Right Now.

You won’t do it for YOU? Ok, do it for your Mother, or your Dog. Do it for next Sunset, or Sunrise, that you will enjoy, within your Heart.

Do it for your Self, not your Ego.

The Anderson’s expect that something is done by the governements or the system for preventing suicide. Don’t wait until anything is done from The Outside, darling, pray that something is done from The Inside.

“Knock that door.”

Luv

xx

 

Thoughts on: “Tribe” by Sebastian Junger

Thank you for reviewing top number One book for me in 2018. Btw I finally got my Instagram account, let’s see what else can we share. Great to see odd people are increasing on my network.

Cheers
xx

Poor Bjorn's Notes to Self

“Tribe” started as an article for Vanity Fair and was later expanded on and turned into this book. It revolves around how at odds the structure of modern society is with our tribal instincts and how people directly, or indirectly, affected by war have problems readjusting to normal life.

——

What really stuck with me with this book was how people in war torn nation look back on war with nostalgia. Many even preferring war times to what they are now experiencing.

——

📝 Genetic adaptation takes about 25000 years to accumulate in humans.

——

📝 Modern society perfected the art of making people feel unnecessary. “How do you become an adult in a society that doesnt ask for sacrifice?”

——

📝 People need 3 basic things in order to be content:

– Feel competent in what they do.

– Feel authentic in their lives.

– Feel connected to others.

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Achilles in Vietnam and Odysseus in America.

ulisse

Are you searching for your soul? Then come out of your own prison. Leave the little stream and join the river that flows to the ocean. Like an ox, don’t pull the wheel of this world on your back. Take off the burden. Whirl and circle. Rise above the wheel of the world. There is another view.” — Rumi

Over 20 years ago, Dr. Shay, then a medical researcher studying the biochemistry of brain-cell death, suffered a stroke. During his recovery, he moved from research into clinical work, taking a temporary job substituting for a vacationing psychiatrist at a Department of Veteran Affairs clinic in Boston. When that doctor died, Dr. Shay stayed on, challenged and inspired by the terrible psychological injuries of the combat veterans.

During his stroke recovery, Dr. Shay also began, as he put it, to fill in the gaps in his education by reading the classics: “The Iliad,” “The Odyssey,” and “The Aeneid.” And it was clear to him that his patients at the V.A. clinic were echoing many of the sentiments expressed by the warriors in those ancient texts: betrayal by those in power, guilt for surviving, deep alienation on their return from war.

I realized that I was hearing the story of Achilles over and over again,” said Dr. Shay.

Following documentary from “The Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Charachter” by Jonathan Shay.

 

Willie Gillis, an ordinary guy, on The Satuday Evening Post.

Because I found these two articles so pertinent, and relevant, I would like to thank this cowboy, who is not posting since 2012, so I assume he might be somewhere else. If he is still alive, he can contact me, and ask me to delete his posts, or leave them, with his courtesy.

During the WWII years Norman Rockwell created a character named Willie
Gillis — an ordinary guy from a small town who joined the army.
Rockwell chronicled his experiences in the war in a series of Saturday Evening Post
covers.  After the war, he showed us Gillis returned to civilian
life — above you see him in college, on the G. I. Bill, having
survived and put on a little weight.

It’s a poignant image, for all it doesn’t say.  Gillis is
preparing himself for a “normal” life in post-war America, with his
pipe and his golf clubs — but the war souvenirs hanging over his head
suggest that he will always be haunted by memories out of place in a
“normal” world.

One of the virtues of Ken Burns’ newest documentary The War
is that it addresses the sort of post-traumatic stress disorder that
returning vets, and the whole civilized world on some level, suffered
in the wake of WWII.  For the vets it was peculiarly disorienting,
with feelings of triumph, guilt and shame all mixed up together.
It was not something that could be talked about in the world Willie Gillis was
trying to become a part of.

All of this I think reinforces my notion that it was in art, in film noir
particularly, that such disorientation could be engaged in a safe way,
a socially acceptable way.  You can read more thoughts on
the subject here.

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A Norman Rockwell for today

POST-TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER AND FILM NOIR

World War Two was a “good war”.  America and its allies pulled together
and destroyed the Axis powers.  On balance, and in retrospect, it
has to be considered one of the great achievements of
humane civilization.  But human beings don’t live on balance or in
retrospect, particularly where war is concerned.  They live inside
the horror of it and it takes a toll on individuals and on societies
which can never be fully measured.

The upbeat spirit of American propaganda during the war, and the
genuine satisfactions of victory, veiled the true experience of the war
for millions — not just for those who fought it on the battlefields of the
world, but for those at home who lived in terror that their loved ones at
the front might never return . . . and of course, most especially, for those at home whose loved ones didn’t return.  On a broader level, anyone who simply witnessed
the spectacle of total war on a global scale, from whatever distance, had
to have experienced a soul-shaking anxiety about the fragility of all
social structures and cultural norms.

After WWII, the whole planet experienced post-traumatic stress disorder
— localized in this case by the fact of the atomic bomb, which ended
the war but left the world with a paradox that wouldn’t go away.
It took an act of colossal horror to finally “win” this good
war.  And the prospect of this horror being again visited on the
world was far from unimaginable.

We now know a lot more than we used to about post-traumatic stress
disorder and the ways it can be treated.  In the immediate post-war era, the
phenomenon was more elusive, and often unrecognized.  We made
meaningful social restitution to the veterans of the war, with measures like
the G. I. Bill — we reconstructed the devastated nations we
conquered.  But that just scratched the surface.

It was in art that the true psychic cost of the war was exposed and explored — nowhere more pointedly than in film noir.  The sort of trauma that engenders PTSD is identifiable by several characteristics — a sense of being out of control and confused, a sense of terror, a sense of being outside the normal realm of human
experience.  Is there a better description of the usual
predicament of the protagonist in a classic film noir?

PTSD on a broad cultural and societal level is what best explains the phenomenon of film noir, which on its surface is so mysterious.  Why should a triumphant
nation, after a great collective victory in a good war, have been
gripped by that mood of existential dread which informs so many Hollywood films of the post-war era?  Why should the most spectacular achievement of American arms have led to a crisis of manhood, a sense of impotence, a fear of powerful women
incarnated in the morbid fantasy of the femme fatale?

femme_fatale_by_kaceym

Film noir was a dream landscape where the buried costs of WWII could be recognized, reckoned and mourned, as a prelude to psychic recovery, or at least psychic survival.
Veterans of combat often report the difficulty of dealing with people
who have not shared their experience of it — people who can never
really know what it’s like.  Film noir, far more than the WWII combat film, was one of the few arenas of American life where the true legacies of war, its lingering moral and
psychological dislocations, could be engaged without apology or shame.

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