Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Fear Of The Unknown

Fear of the unknown is ever present in my life and in the lives of my friends and family.  Feed a fear and go into a panic.  Starve a fear and overcome it.  Well that is something I say at least but I'm not always sure it is true nor am I sure it always works and for all situations.

Just today a friend of mine who is in her twenty-seventh week of pregnancy started bleeding.  I fear that she will have a preterm baby like the last one.   Can I do anything to prevent it?  No.  The only thing that I can do is make myself available to her via phone and web to help her cope with the stress levels.

I have a fear that yet again I won't be pregnant.  I have only two cycles left in which to conceive and then I'm done.  Yes I'll be done.  At forty-one years of age the military doctors don't like to have a woman keep trying to conceive.  If I was thirty-one things would be a bit different.  If I feed this fear that I'll never get pregnant I'll become depressed.  If I starve this fear I might do something foolish and risky that might accidentally terminate a pregnancy if indeed I am pregnant.  No exercising, no heavy lifting either with the round ligament pain I have right now.  I have to be cautious and its driving me nuts.  Sunday I should be able to test at home.  If its negative yet again I have to wait even longer before I can go get the blood work so I can start my next round of clomiphene citrate.

My spouse is going through his own fears of the unknown.  He has a lot of choices he has to make with only about two years of active duty left on this contract.  Does he stay in and pursue the career he always wanted as an officer, warrant or go the NCO route?  Does he get out and try to find a job in the economy?  Jobs are scarce and he told me just last night he doesn't want to get out.  He has his OCS packet all ready to go but others are telling him to hold off on submitting it until he makes one more rank.  Do they realize that would mean he'd have to start from scratch again on this packet?  It has taken him the better part of a year to get this packet ready since he started it when he was deployed to Iraq.  While references were easy enough to gather together the physical wasn't that easy to get with his busy schedule.  Last time he tried to get the physical he had to wait on chopper flights to the nearest MTF (military treatment facility) in Iraq.

I'm guessing his fear is of rejection.  He would make a great leader.   But if he continues to second guess what those around him are thinking about him he'll never try to excel.  Would you keep trying to better yourself if you felt as though the folks you work with have no confidence in your abilities?  They haven't told him they have no confidence and most likely he is just fearful of the unknown and looking for that reason to lose hope.  We've all been in those situations before.  Just like when a guy proposes to a girl the fear of rejection is there even if he believes its a sure thing he doesn't know what her answer will be but just has to hope.  However if the workplace situation isn't conducive to mental growth a person will not feel as though they are worthy enough to apply their skills and succeed.  Just as if a child were brought up in an abusive family that child would feel worthless and continue to harbor those feelings of self loathing through adulthood until assured differently that they are indeed worthy. 

The Army has changed greatly since when my dad was a soldier.  Back in his day, the 1960's, a guy could easily elevate himself through the ranks.  One day he'd be a sergeant and get into a fight lose his rank but within a month he'd have his rank back again.  Usually a soldier back then would make sergeant in under three years in the service but not now.  Now they have the points system.  Now a soldier who has the capabilities to excel is held back because he or she doesn't have enough points to warrant that extra stripe or brass marker.  What happened to be being judged as worthy? 

With two wars going on simultaneously one would think that attaining rank would be that much easier, but its not.  Now many soldiers are leaving the service after just four years and they are leaving as specialist.  Sure they leave with the GI bill for college but they didn't have the time that the recruiters assured them they would have to take classes while in the Army.  Benefits have been cut so deeply for the soldiers that not only are they receiving less money for housing, they don't get the computers for college they were promised, and now the MWR (morale welfare recreation) programs are on the chopping block too.  The MWR is what runs our commissary (grocery store) and exchange along with the wonderful discounted trip programs.  Why should our soldiers of all ranks care about helping the other guy get ahead and assuage his fears when they are feeling the economic pinch?  Not all NCO's (non commissioned officers ) are out for themselves but quite a few of them are from what I've seen.  "So lets feed the fears of the junior enlisted and make sure they stay where they are" is what I get from this system that is straight out of the feudal period.  Oh haven't you noticed that its quite close to the feudal system?  Right down to what the people are allowed to wear, eat and where they are housed.  Yes its a broken system but I don't see where it can be fixed. 

Sorry about the rant.  Back to where I was before it now.

Its just too easy for me to tell my friend to relax and for me to tell my husband to just go ahead and submit the paperwork for OCS (officer candidate school).  I'm not in their situations.  I'm not the one facing their fears.  I have enough fears of my own, self-inflicted fears, to face.  I made my own decisions in life that got me thus far and had to face my own share of fears.  All I can do is just be there for my friends and family with open arms and an open mind.  I just hope they do the same for me when I have to face my own fears.

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