Phenomenon of positive self-attitude on the way of post-traumatic growth of the veterans of combat operations

Lesya Inzhyyevska

PhD in Psychology, associate professor of the department of psychology and personal growth of the Educational and Scientific Institute of Management and Psychology of SHEI “University of Educational Management “of NAES of Ukraine, Ukraine

Introduction. Today the dynamism and transience of modern life, when the country is shrouded by a hybrid war, makes people feel difficult, discomfortable and inconvenient in adapting to it. Since the human psychics is a complex natural system that changes over time and responds to the incident and uncertainty of the outside world, it also naturally possesses the ability to use stressful situations for self-improvement. Triggers for the activation of the reaction of this complex system are unpredictable events that have no analogues in previous experience, which entail large-scale effects in external conditions and cause the system to undergo fundamental internal structural changes.

Purpose of the article is to research the phenomenon of positive self-attitude on the way of post-traumatic growth of the veterans of combat operations.

Methodology. The analysis of the phenomenon of post-traumatic growth was reflected in the scientific works of domestic scientists  V.O. Klymchuk, O. A.Shelugus and S. L. Chechko (Cherniei V. V., Kostytskyi M. V. & Kudermina O. I. (2016), Chachko S. L. (2010), Sheliuh O. A. (2014), and pioneers of the research of this phenomenon, R. Tedeschi and L. Kalhoun, determine post-traumatic growth not as a static result of an injury, but as a continuous process enriching the narrative-personality life story (Tedeschi R. G. (2004). The narrative method is used to describe the events and the substantiation of the life-story. The processing of the story was conducted using content analysis.

Results. In our opinion, a striking example of the phenomenon of post-traumatic growth is the narrative story, a brief description of own experiences of the veteran of combat operations in the East of Ukraine O. Ch .: “The end of October 2015. I have been sitting almost motionless in the kitchen in front of the window for more than two hours. From the window of my old two-story building, a part of the street and school can be seen. On the street are moving single passersby, the courtyard of the school is empty - lessons started.

The weather is warm and sunny - these days often occur mid-autumn.

I'm dressed in “pixelka” - the military form of the Armed Forces. The army boots were thrown at the door, there remained a heavy military backpack. I was demobilized like a third-wave mobilization soldier, who two hours ago left the train at his station, not far from the house. To return from the war in the East to a peaceful life, it seems to me, quite simply from a technical point of view. The long-awaited release order was finally received by the crew of our unit. We started to go home in small groups of 8 to 10 fighters. We replaced the new accession of the fifth wave of mobilization.

One hour of a jerky road in the body of the tent "Ural", a night to Kiev, two hours by train. When the train of Kostyantynivka-Kyiv ran through my station, I did not believe my eyes. Everything was the same as a year ago. No mortar shells, destroyed bridges, empty buried huts. As if I went through the portal and found myself in a different dimension.

While I was getting home, I inadvertently listened to human conversations. About exchange rates, another rise in prices in shops, work, study, rest. Not a single word about the war, which was my reality. This sudden jump passage pushed down. Something difficult did not allow me to move, to leave the house, to communicate with pre-war friends and relatives.

The understanding that something wrong with me came gradually. I was irritated by the the social world. It was mutual - the society also did not like me.

Already a month after my return, I was not ready to force myself even to change my military uniform from a civilian.

There was no talking about a job at all - it was even difficult to get out of the house at the store. I had no more readiness to practice the design (the case of all my previous life).

I was disturbed by the consequences of overcrowded contusions and other military injuries.

The situation did not suit me at all, and I began to study it. So I learned about PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) and discovered almost all of its signs. Stress - Acute Response to Stress - PTSD - Stable Personality Change. This general scheme of the International Classification of Diseases seemed to me to be quite natural.

Several programs on social and psychological adaptation, which I got later, added to me some knowledge and skills. The most significant for me was a shock training in the organization “Pobratymy”. It was built on the principle of “Equal – to Equal”. Experienced military psychologists and veterans who have been trained beforehand taught me what they already knew. Namely, the methods of overcoming the consequences of military trauma.

During and almost immediately after the training, I became confident in the possibility of positive changes. I became acquainted with the theory of post-traumatic growth. Also, I realized that the first step towards this growth was the desire to study the problem rather than give up. I made the decision to continue to learn to share knowledge and skills with other veterans whose experience of the returning was similar with mine. So I have an idea to study psychology at a higher educational institution, and I passed exams in the magistracy.

At the same time, I began to work as a coach in the “Pobratymy” organization.

The end of October 2015. I'm sitting still in the kitchen near the window. I'm suppressed and depressed. I feel an intolerable desire to go back to the war. I am covered with sticky depressing shame from the fact that I am already at home, and my brothers are still there in the East.

It turns out that then I never came back. My return has expanded in time - and it still continues.

That autumn day I did not dress, I did not call my mother and sister. Upon arriving at the window by the evening, I took a backpack and went to the station. There I bought a ticket and sat on an evening train to Kharkіv. In Kharkiv, I had to meet with the girl of my deceased brother. I was hoping to bring her some of the photos that my friend always carried with her in his pocket.”

Conclusions. Post-traumatic growth is not a return operation after the traverse of a mental trauma - this is the experience of deep self-improvement, qualitative changes and the transformation of the individual, the acquisition of new meanings, and the growth of its optimism. As a result of post-traumatic growth, there are significant changes in patterns of human behavior. Post-traumatic growth occurs because of the traverse after some traumatic event, the development of a new post-traumatic reality (Tedeschi R. G. (1996), Tedeschi R. G. (2004).

Key words. post-traumatic growth, narrative method, life-story, human behavior.


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