The invisible Airman

  • Published
  • By Mike Sanford
  • 934th Airmen and Family Readiness
Over a century ago, H.G. Wells wrote a famous story about a scientist who found a way to make himself invisible. This is the classic tale of "The Invisible Man". It was a successful story that led to several remakes and various television shows. The story was about a scientist who was successful in making himself invisible, but unable to revert back to being "normal". He struggled with his new "self" and eventually had many problems that led to his demise.

In some cases, we have Airmen who are invisible. They are invisible because they either choose to be or they don't know how to reach out to others when they are in a bad situation. We can't do much for those who choose to be invisible, but we certainly can assist someone who is in a bad situation, yet keep it to themselves.

Regardless of who it is, we all have problems and adversities throughout our days. The invisible Airman may be your next door neighbor, your coworker, your friend. They may be going through some serious problems, yet you have no idea what's going on. If they don't tell you, how do you know they need help?

The most common thing to notice is a change in behavior. This may be subtle but you can notice them if you pay attention. Maybe they are drinking alcohol more so than before. Or maybe they make subtle comments like "If only..." or "I should have..." or "I wish..." Or maybe they stop showing much emotion, if any at all. They seem preoccupied with other things rather than the task at hand. If you're unsure, simply ask. In most situations, and if the person believes you are trying to help them and can trust you, they'll want someone to ask them. Sometimes that's all it takes.

Being an invisible Airman doesn't necessarily mean things aren't going well. But I would argue being invisible is not that healthy for you. We all need social support in one way or another. Therefore, if an Airman is choosing to be invisible and not be recognized, more than likely someone needs to ask them how they are doing and what's going on. My recommendation is not to remain invisible but share your successes and frustrations with someone. It's the healthy thing to do.