On the morning of Sunday, September 27th, the Azerbaijani Armed Forces launched an attack along the full length of the Line of Contact with Artsakh starting the biggest war since the 1990s. In the past several days, local Armenians and diasporans quickly mobilized around one goal – stop the war and help Artsakh.
Given the scope of the attack, within hours, Artsakh announced a general mobilization of all males over 18 and Armenia announced a partial mobilization. In addition to men being deployed, there were a large number of volunteers ready to go to the border. It won’t be an exaggeration if we said that there is not a single Armenian who doesn’t have a family member or a friend serving in the army right now. So, how should you cope with the fear and the constant anxiety of having your loved one on the front line? We want to share with you some advice on how to handle the stress of separation and the fear of the unknown.
Don’t bottle up your emotions, give them space
Confusion, anger, longing, resentment, sadness, hopelessness, impatience – these are some of the emotions that family members, friends, and partners of soldiers feel. Ignoring these feelings and shifting the focus on work or volunteering may work short-term but it’s not an effective solution. In times like this, we recommend surrounding yourself with family and friends, share your thoughts and emotions with them, make sure you have a support group that will be there for you whenever you need them. You can also keep a journal to write down your thoughts and navigate your feelings. Journaling gives you time and space to express yourself.
Unfortunately, we don’t have a Genie that grants wishes or a magic wand to restore peace but there are a number of other ways we can help our soldiers and that’s a proven way of coping with stress and particularly the feeling of helplessness. Check social media, local NGOs, communities, and ask among friends how you can help others. There are hundreds of families from Artsakh who have been relocated to Armenia and need help, the diasporan communities continuously organize strikes to bring the media’s attention to the war, so there are ways for you to be involved. You can also initiate your own support group for families of soldiers and servicemen. Offer empathy and support to others going experiencing similar pain.
Follow reliable sources
We are all bound to our phones and laptops refreshing the Facebook and Twitter pages a thousand times to get updates on the situation. We are all longing for that one post – #Հաղթելենք (#WeWon). It is very hard, but if you can, try to limit your time on social media checking the news but if you do, make sure you are following only reliable sources. Right now, the most up-to-date and trustworthy information is posted on these pages:
Giving in to fake news and rumors can create unnecessary panic and trigger other emotions. So, rely only on official sources of information.
Prioritize their security
It is very tempting to call your soldier, share the updates you received with friends and family, or post about the success of our army on social media, but all these are potential threats for their own safety. There is not a single platform that is 100% secure and the information that you share or discuss can fall into the enemy’s hands and be used against us.
Additionally, please don’t post any photos or videos depicting the movement of soldiers, cars and buses with soldiers and the transportation of weaponry. It’s also important NOT to post photos of soldiers in general as it may make them targets for the enemy.
These are truly challenging times for the whole Armenian nation but we will emerge victorious as we always do. Our thoughts are with everyone serving right now.
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