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August Chaplain's Reflections

MCENTIRE JOINT NATIONAL GUARD BASE, South Carolina -- "But the Holy Spirit produces this kind of fruit in our lives: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, 23 gentleness, and self-control." - Galatians 5:22-23

Welcome home, Swamp Foxes! Having recently returned myself, let me share a few important tips for those who have recently returned or will return over the next few weeks. Reunion is an event, but reintegration is a slow process that involves various stages. Remember, you have changed, and things at home have changed while you've been gone. Avoid the "who had it worse" talk; both you and the loved ones left behind worked hard while apart.
While you are physically home now, you might sometimes be emotionally or mentally back at the deployed location you just left--this is normal! Continue or resume healthy habits that decrease stress (diet, exercise, sleep, intimacy). Avoid alcohol abuse!
Most thoughts, feelings and behaviors you might have had during the deployment were probably normal, considering the circumstances. However, things to watch for: significant anxiety or depression, nightmares or flashbacks, significant avoidance or withdrawal, exaggerated startle response, alcohol abuse, chronic insomnia.
If you find yourself struggling, draw on our support resources: any chaplain or chaplain assistant, our Director of Psychological Heath Jeff Rose, clinic staff, Military One Source, Military Family Life Consultants, a close friend in the unit or community or someone at your place of worship. The bottom line: a strong warrior always seeks help when needed.
Again, welcome home and be a good Wingman by taking care of yourself, your family and those who deployed with you. Thank you for your sacrifice and service!