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Decompression

Decompression can be difficult to understand, especially if you are sat at home waiting.

 

Prior to returning home after a deployment with a formed unit personnel will go through a period of decompression. This normally comprises of a formal break away from the operational theatre followed by a period of return to work within unit before taking post operational tour leave.

 

In English, it is the period when they leave Afghanistan and you think that they are on their way home, but in fact they are sat by a swimming pool in Doha or Cyprus!

 

But however frustrating it may feel, it is genuinely, a necessary part of their deployment. You only have to switch on the 10 o’clock news to see what their tour has involved and how absorbed they would have had to be to operate under those circumstances. It will have been a very difficult time for them.

 

They can immediately discuss their worries and fears with the Welfare Officer and Padre to put things in better perspective. These people and counsellors are available to also use upon their return and continues so that step by step they can gain stability once more.

 

It’s understandable then, that they are going to have to have a period of “calming down”.

 

Decompression is categorised as “the way to survive the extreme traumatic and pathogenic ordeal” from which they need to be eased back to normality. And if you have ever spent time with anyone who hasn’t been through decompression then you will definitely notice the difference.

 

Whatever you think, they do need it. It is perfectly normal to feel upset that they are not coming straight home. But, experiences show that home life is actually improved by enforcing these periods of readjustment.

 

And you might not think you do but you will also need your own period of decompression. You will also find it difficult to adjust to having them home and your life turned on its head again. You both have to find your way of doing things back in a relaxed mode together. Try not to resent this period

 

After all, you have endured six months of hell, which you hope and pray will not happen to you again too soon. Now is the time to enjoy each other and find some common ground again.