Archive for February, 2010

5
Feb

In December 2005, four months after I returned from a trip to Germany to visit the site of the concentration camp my father helped to liberate, I discovered a book published a month before: War and the Soul by Dr. Ed Tick.  This book became my North Star, guiding me to understanding that enabled me to forgive my father- and myself. Dr. Tick’s view of PTSD brought together all the pieces of my mystery: why had my childhood trauma not only occurred but then become invisible?

It would be a disservice to you and War and the Soul to pretend that any summary of it would suffice.  Please, buy a copy and read it from front to back.

After working for over thirty years– first with Vietnam veterans and then with veterans from all the wars of the last century– Dr. Tick does not see PTSD as a mental illness with symptoms of stress/anxiety.  Rather, it is a disorder of the soul that results from witnessing or partaking in violence lacking any transcendent meaning and violating the soldier’s moral code. The soul’s response: to flee the body as the encounter of terror makes safety impossible.   Rather than assigning the words “post traumatic stress disorder” to the acronym PTSD, Dr. Tick assigns the words “post terror soul disorder.”  The soldier has become a “psychospiritual” casualty, violence and terror having shattered their identities.

Dr. Tick uses mythology and ancient European and Native American wisdom to explore what the soul is- the source of our will, our aesthetic and ethical sensibilities, our consciousness and identity, as well as of our shadow desires.  To approach healing PTSD through traditional psychotherapy and medication alone ignores and denies what happens spiritually to a soldier.

“Society disowns the suffering war creates for its soldiers,” Dr. Tick writes, and this “abandonment of veterans is as much a cause of PTSD as the war itself.” To heal PTSD, Dr. Tick says we must “surround the trauma with soul.”  He lays out how that might happen: public storytelling, witnessing of the veterans’ pain, holding retreats for veterans after they return but before they re-enter their families and society.  At the retreats, elders would create a container for the veterans’ traumas and sanctify and purify their consciences, enabling a new identity to emerge.

This past weekend I had the great fortune of not only meeting Dr. Tick, of not only attending a training on how to put into practice his ideas, but of participating in a “talking circle” for veterans and family of veterans.  Twenty-three people– Vietnam vets, children and spouses of Vietnam vets, OIF vets, a fiancé of an OEF soldier, children of WWII vets—we took turns speaking our truths.  As I write this, gratitude wells up in me as I think of the pain, the grief, the loving kindness, the compassion and empathy people expressed and contributed to one another.

This was the first time in my life that I have felt joined in my deep pain, the pain I have spent much of my life covering over or ignoring because it never found acceptance.   Here, at last, I found a community, and through these people– who only that morning had been strangers– I found support for healing. The piece of my soul that has never quite believed it could be safe is now willing to believe safety might be possible.

The next day, as I entered the Atlanta airport, I saw everywhere I turned women and men in uniform, waiting for planes that would take them to Afghanistan.  Over three hundred of our service people are deploying every day from Atlanta alone.  Yet no one on Sunday seemed to see them, as if the soldiers were just ordinary people going to ordinary destinations.

Please, buy a copy of War and the Soul, and when you next see a man or woman in uniform, go up to them and express your gratitude for their serving us, express your wish for their safety and well-being.  Let them know our thoughts and prayers accompany them.

The Multigenerational Ripple of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
مبلمان اداری صندلی مدیریتی صندلی اداری میز اداری وبلاگدهی فروشگاه اینترنتی پاراگلایدر زیورآلات آگهی استخدام آگهی رایگان تبلیغات کلیکی آموزش زبان انگلیسی پاراگلایدر ساخت وبلاگ