In the concluding episode to April's story, she touches on the difficulties for the partner at home with the reduced contacts that go with deployment. “Any tips for listeners Andy asks from the perspective of the partner at home who hasn’t served to ease this space?”
April shares her own experience of that disconnect, phone calls few and far between and the desperation not to miss them. Staying connected to the familiar, in April’s case, Bens military circle kept her closer to him. Where that’s not possible get on with fulfilling your own goals in life and don’t let your disconnect define your living she advised. What’s her impressions of then and now partnering when Bens away in his current role Andy asked. The context is different, the worry is different and transitioning out of the Army, April gives her views. Again, knowing Bens environment both as individuals and a highly trained team, April has squared away thoughts as a partner to a First Responder and explains her thinking.
With a change of lens, Andy asks April (who today holds a Masters in Psychology, Batchelor of Science and a wealth of experience with diverse people in high stress jobs or suffering trauma,) as a clinical psychologist, what are some of the common techniques that come to mind? April explains the environment of trauma that she works with, mostly first responder as apposed to military presentations. She defines Complex Trauma as big T and little t as Trauma. Also in there are early trauma and repeated trauma. So the usual presentation is the stoic “holding the cracks together.”
Inside there may be turmoil. Flash backs, disassociation, panic attacks, overwhelmed, overstimulated by noise, anger etc with a common theme of feeling powerless and no control. People don’t always open at the first session and trust has to be developed. They may fear not being able to shove emotions back in the box. It takes courage to step up and be vulnerable. Next they realise they can have tools to short circuit the triggers.
Andy presses for common techniques and tools to help our listeners in the moment of a trigger. April kindly gives specifics for our listens to try. They discuss these at some length. Calming the body, grounding tools, breathing techniques including 54321 and 478 and how to do it. Out and about in public? If your triggered, what you can do. Most important takeaway TELL SOMEONE. If “that someone” reaches out to you, how to respond. April acknowledges people can be “shits” but are by far very responsive to distress.
Contact - April Kane
Help Lines Open Arms (VVCS) | Lifeline | RedSix app
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