Archive for June, 2011

27
Jun

This website has introduced me to many wonderful people who have shared their journeys of healing from either their own trauma from combat or from their parent’s trauma. One such person is Richard Lawrence, a United States Marine Corps combat veteran of the Vietnam War from 1967-1970 . While suffering from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder during the 1980’s, he began drawing and painting expressive observations of the war. His work is part of the permanent collection of the Vietnam Veterans’s Art Museum in Chicago, Illinois.

The painting below is “We Still Remember.”

You can see his work on his website: www.richardglawrence.net 

Here is what Richard emailed me:

“I now have my Vietnam pieces in boxes in my basement and only get them out if students want to see them and have me talk about my experiences in Nam. I’ve spoken several times and took some of my work to area colleges around Lancaster. My eye balls usually sweat when I talk about my memories.

“My Father, who is still living, was a combat Marine and wounded three times. My brother was also a Marine but not in combat. My son enlisted in the Air-force and I thank God for that.

“All my three children suffer with some form of PTSD. They were all little when I was in the VA hospital for many years but they remember how I was  then. It still hurts when they talk about the things I did.  We have grown closer because I now try to tell them everything about the WAR.

“After my divorce many years ago, I remarried.  My wife is older and understands more, and we treasure each moment.”
 
Richard’s work is inspiring. He presents us all with the possibility of finding relief and even healing through art.

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
23
Jun

Post traumatic stress disorder has become a household term, especially in the context of combat. Every day some media outlet in the country talks about the PTSD of our veterans and troops returning from Iraq and Afghanistan, the number now estimated to be 95% rather than the 20% previously reported. But what we aren’t talking about as a country is the long term consequences of that trauma. Michelle Obama and Jill Biden have created “Joining Forces” to help the families of our service men and women, the program’s concerns being “employment, education, wellness and public awareness.” Ms. Obama gave as an example of the outcomes she’d like to see “better career opportunities for veterans and their spouses.” Though a good job is essential, the prerequisite to one is a veteran’s physical and mental wellness. That wellness is also essential for a family’s most critical concern: their children’s prosperity.

Our children’s prosperity demands that we talk about their vulnerability to their parents’ invisible wounds. In a terrible and cruel irony, when a member of the service returns home from combat, what they most want to achieve– safety and sustenance for their children– becomes elusive. The trauma of combat not only persists in tormenting the veteran, but the ghosts it creates haunt the entire household, infecting the children with the veteran’s melancholy, the depression, the anger and unresolved grief.

Can we be taking care of our veterans if we don’t acknowledge this vulnerability of children to their parents’ trauma and extend care to them as well?

My generation of babyboomers provide a concrete example of how this dynamic between veteran parent and child plays itself out over the child’s lifetime. Over four million of the Americans who enlisted or were drafted to fight in WWII saw combat. And we, their children, grew up in homes haunted by the ghosts of that war. My posts for Huffington Post and the talks I have given in the past four months about the multigenerational consequences of war have received passionate responses. The topic resonates deeply with children of veterans of WWII, the Korean War, and the Viet Nam war. Time and again I hear back from many of these people about how my words caused them to see their families in an entirely new light and to realize that what they had suffered from– their fathers’ silence, distance, and anger– had been manifestations of unhealed trauma.

Last week a Huffington Post blogger reposted a recent piece of mine that quickly began a multi-day long conversation among many people. Some of the comments are significant indicators of the fall out of war for the children of veterans.

“My dad only told us about his time under Gen. Patton after he came out of a coma, the result of his fifth heart attack,” one woman wrote. “He had previously only told us a couple of stories like how they were given their uniforms, guns, boots and walked across Europe, stole food to survive – many Germans were very kind to them and gave them food. That was the only time my father ever talked to us our whole lives! My father drank for many, many years. Then at one point he just stopped. I blamed him for so much until I finally understood. Now I want to retrace his steps during the war. He was in the Battle of the Bulge, took me to see the movie when I was a kid. That was so strange: both my father taking me to a movie and the fact it was a war movie.”

Another person told us: “I only learned my father liberated Dachau a few years before he drank himself to death. It was during a trauma at the end of his life. He was a sensitive man who taught the romantic poets at Dartmouth. A therapist told me that as a child tried really hard to carry my father’s pain for him! Her insight overwhelmed me. I always just thought I was the observer.”

“My Dad didn’t drink,” someone else said, “but he was the loneliest soul. He worked hard and hid within himself. My family members hated him for not being the great American family man. I was the only one who connected with him on a soul level in the last six months of his life. And they distrusted me for it– for being Dad’s girl.”

One woman shared how her grandfather was a veteran of WWI and suffered survivor’s guilt. “And my poor father, who served in WWII, had learned to mimic a father who suffered from PTSD.”

The words of one participant expressed for all of us the fundamental dynamic of our families, seemingly different on their face, but underneath suffering the same pain. “The not talking about it held us pretty much in emotional hostage…all of us frozen in silence, not feeling, not supposed to feel it, until not feeling and not talking and just doing became normalized. Frozen from our humanity, not aware of our needs or even our right to need connection, respect, and safety to be who we are.”

As a group we agreed how critical it is to have this conversation, to realize that our families were not some bizarre anomaly but a piece of a huge pattern of passive aggression and disfigured emotions. If we are committed to healing our veterans, we must first be honest about the fall out from war within our own families. Then we will recognize how much is at stake in helping our veterans. Otherwise, our blindness will allow the wake of trauma to swallow another generation.

The Multigenerational Ripple of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD

Category : Uncategorized | Blog
مبلمان اداری صندلی مدیریتی صندلی اداری میز اداری وبلاگدهی فروشگاه اینترنتی گن لاغری شکم بند لاغری آگهی استخدام آگهی رایگان تبلیغات کلیکی آموزش زبان انگلیسی پاراگلایدر ساخت وبلاگ بوی بد دهان