Whether you are a civilian, law enforcement or military, this is for you; but it’s not about what you think. There is a twist. If you were to look up the definitions of both cover and concealment, you would find that they have similar meanings. However, in law enforcement and the military, each word differs significantly from one another. Concealment would be any object that prevents us from being viewed, such as a set of bushes or a trash can, but a projectile can easily pass through it. Cover is an object that also can shield you from you, however, it cannot be easily penetrated, such as a brick wall or the engine block in a car. During an assault, which would you rather get behind to survive the attack?
Let’s switch gears and apply this to any given problem or issue you may be having. Not just something that bothers you, but a true problem. This could be PTSD, TBI, obesity, it could be anger management, anything that prevents you from truly being able to live freely. Have you identified it? This problem is the enemy force that is trying to take you out. It is your adversary and you are trying to find a way, not only to deal with it, but to be protected form it until you find a solution. So which option do you choose? Although cover is the obvious answer, 99% of the time, we unknowingly choose concealment.
In terms of psychotherapy, each of us has already discovered how we deal with certain issues and feelings. Some people fall into drinking or working excessively, gambling or some other outlet. The bottom line is almost all of our coping mechanisms are only concealing the real issues. It may appear as if we really have a grip on the issue but just like medication, in time the effect dissolves, and if you use the medication long enough, you end up building an immunity to it and either have to increase your dosage or move on to something much stronger. What we should be searching for is true cover, some activity or element that can sustain long-term, positive effects on your mind and body, such as exercise, true friendship, therapy, worship and fellowship. These things offer genuine protection. This article is written to encourage each of you to conduct a brief reflection about how you spend your time coping with your issues: the deep issues that haunt you daily and keeping you from getting a good nights sleep. Sometimes you can’t go to family or your “friends” aren’t there. If you’re fortunate enough to have a spouse or special partner that is really in your corner, even then, sometimes we don’t want to burden them with what bothers us the most.
So where do we turn? As a police officer, I realized early on that I had subconsciously surrounded myself with all cops. In my mind, no one else could relate to my job. Then, I fell deeper and deeper into a culture that supports emotional suppression. Don’t get me wrong: I needed this to survive the streets of Detroit and Baltimore. However, it wasn’t until I lost my partner that I realize that I needed to expand my support network. So I made some new acquaintances, I became a Chaplain, and I searched for sources that would add a layer of protection that prevented internal destruction, and, at the same time, also offered a source of healing from incidents that scarred me emotionally and mentally. In my growth, I also learned that whether you are working in health care, corporate America, a Starbucks or a stay at home parent, there is no escaping life-changing confrontations.
Those of us who have faith or are spiritual can find some immediate assistance. However, since not everyone is in this position, it is critical to seek out avenues that allow you to express your frustrations and challenges, so that you can release the negative weights. If you don’t get anything from this article, I would hope that you can at least appreciate the relationship between the things you use to try to hide problems from yourself and others versus the tools used to truly find the solutions we desperately need. We now know that there is scientific evidence to support the fact that stress can kill you. If and when you need it, no matter if it is 2pm or 2am, I am here to listen.