I've been fortunate to receive a few messages from vets who now are on the psyche side of the medical profession. I'll post their messages in subsequent posts. Here's one referring to this post about PTSD:
I tired of the pabulum that is passed off as journalism a long time ago. That is why I am a daily visitor to Blackfive and other alternative sites. Yours is where I get the military news and insight that most people just don't Get! That said, I read the recent post about PTSD, and I would like to contribute my humble opinion.
I am a former Marine, proud holder of a Purple Heart and a practicing psychotherapist. The focus of my work is, primarily, combat trauma, but I have worked with trauma from a wide variety of sources. I have been employed by the V.A. and the [location redacted] VetCenter. Of course, my personal experience of, having been there, allows me to work with veterans in a manner other therapists may find difficult to match. I'm not raising my own flag, but traditional psychology is ill prepared to effectively work with combat trauma.
In my years of work and study I have come to the conclusion that many of the therapies in use today for PTSD do not do the job. That is they do not help to restore the veteran to a state of harmony or even to the level of functioning the vet experienced while in a combat theater. In my opinion this happens because the focus of too many therapists is to revert the vet to who they were prior to their experienced trauma. This is impossible.
Combat irrevocably changes the person and this does not indicate a negative change. Combat is a super enema for the brain; it flushes out the toxins of illusory experience. More specifically, it shatters layers of your world view, peels away your fascination with petty thoughts and interests, and restores the natural state of living in the here and now. In fact, there are, and have been through the ages, countless people who devote time and energy in an attempt to achieve the inner state that the combat experience brings.
I believe that most of us are responding to an ancient, subconscious call to become warriors when we join the military. And the military will accommodate us, even calling us warriors, but that esteemed title usually only lasts as long as our enlistment. In truth, the warrior spirit has no expiration date. Once undertaken it becomes a life long calling, a way of life. This consideration is most important when applied to someone coping with PTSD. From personal experience, I know that combat and the discipline, the bond of brothers, and the learned capacity to live completely in the present, is actually very sustaining. Too often though, once the structure is left behind it's as though we have lost something that kept us spiritually alive.
The transition from the military to civilian life can be difficult enough, but add the complications of PTSD and it can then seem intolerable. There is, I believe, a way to ease the transition and that is to remember that because of our experience we are different, proudly different, and that our experiences have shown us our capacity to draw from an inner strength that we would have remained ignorant of without the hardships we endured.
When we embrace the warrior way of life it can give us a foundation to build on, especially when we feel that we have lost some or all of our identity. We can learn to adapt to PTSD by learning the signs and using the same strength that helped us to survive combat. Adapt and learn, understand anxiety and depression, be aware of your triggers, cultivate an inner peace and hold on to your warrior identity.
» Dawn Patrol 02/06/09 from The Dawn Patrol
Welcome to the Dawn Patrol, our daily roundup of information on the War on Terror and other topics - from the MilBlogs and other sources around the world. If you're a blogger, you can join the conversation. If you link to any of these stories, add a li... [Read More]
Tracked on Feb 6, 2009 2:28:42 PM
» Combat Veterans are Changed, but Not Victims (PTSD) from War On Terror News
And it is not helpful that those without experience attempt to make Victims out of Our Veterans. This is precisely what I've been saying: "In my opinion this happens because the focus of too many therapists is to revert the... [Read More]
Tracked on Feb 6, 2009 5:05:53 PM
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for more information and list of blogger/authors
Former Paratrooper and Army Officer, "Blackfive" started this blog upon learning of the valorous sacrifice of a friend that was not reported by the journalist whose life he saved. Email: blackfive AT gmail DOT com
Retired Special Operations Master Sergeant, Jim Hanson ("Uncle Jimbo") is now focused on writing about the military, politics, intelligence operations and foreign policy. Email: jimbo AT unclejimbo DOT com
Writer, photographer, and raconteur C. Blake Powers is the Laughing Wolf. He is independent in politics and covers topics including journalism, military, weapons, preparedness, space, science, cooking, food and wine, product and book reviews, and even spirituality. Email: wolf1 AT laughingwolf DOT net Laughing Wolf's Amazon Wish List
Bill Paisley, otherwise known as Pinch, is a 22 year (ongoing) active and
reserve naval aviator. He blogs over at www.instapinch.com on a veritable
cornucopia of various and sundry items and will bring a tactical naval
aviator's perspective to Blackfive. Readers be warned: any comments of or
about the F-14 Tomcat will be reverential and spoken in low, hushed tones.
Email: wpaisley AT comcast DOT net
Mr. Wolf has over 26 years in the Army, Army NG, and USAR. He’s Airborne with 5 years as an NCO, before becoming an officer. Mr. Wolf has had 4 company commands. Signal Corp is his basic branch, and Public Affairs is his functional area. He recently served 22 straight months in Kuwait and Iraq, in Intel, PA, and senior staff of MNF-I. Mr. Wolf is now an IT executive. He is currently working on a book on media and the Iraq war. Functional gearhead.
In Iraq, he received the moniker of Mr. Wolf after the Harvey Kietel character in Pulp Fiction, when "challenges" arose, they called on Mr. Wolf...
Email: TheDOTMrDOTWolfAT gmail DOT com
Deebow is a Staff Sergeant and a Military Police Squad Leader in the Army National Guard. In a previous life, he served in the US Navy. He has over 19 years of experience in both the Maritime and Land Warfare; including deployments to Southwest Asia, Thailand, the South Pacific, South America and Egypt. He has served as a Military Police Team Leader and Protective Services Team Leader and he has served on assignments with the US State Department, US Air Force Security Police, US Army Criminal Investigation Division, and the US Drug Enforcement Administration. He recently spent time in Afghanistan working with, training and fighting alongside Afghan Soldiers and is now focused on putting his 4 year Political Science degree to work by writing about foreign policy, military security policy and politics.
McQ has 28 years active and reserve service. Retired. Infantry officer. Airborne and Ranger. Consider my 3 years with the 82nd as the most fun I ever had with my clothes on. Interests include military issues and policy and veteran's affairs.
Email: mcq51 -at - bellsouth -dot- net
Tantor is a former USAF navigator/weapon system officer (WSO) in F-4E Phantoms who served in the US, Asia, and Europe. He is now a curmudgeonly computer geek in Washington, DC, picking the taxpayers pocket. His avocations are current events, aviation, history, and conservative politics.
Twenty-three years of Active and Reserve service in the US Army in SF (18B), Infantry and SOF Signal jobs with operational deployments to Bosnia and Africa. Since retiring he's worked as Senior Defense Analyst on SOF and Irregular Warfare projects and currently ensconced in the emerging world of Cyberspace.
Major Pain --
A Marine who began his blog in Iraq and reflects back on what he learned there and in Afghanistan. To the point opinions, ideas and thoughts on military, political and the media from One Marine’s View. Email: onemarinesview AT yahoo DOT com
Uber Pig was an Infantryman from late 1991 until early 1996, serving with Second Ranger Battalion, I Corps, and then 25th Infantry Division. At the time, the Army discriminated against enlisted soldiers who wanted use the "Green to Gold" program to become officers, so he left to attend Stanford University. There, he became expert in detecting, avoiding, and surviving L-shaped ambushes, before dropping out to be as entrepreneurial as he could be. He is now the founder of a software startup serving the insurance and construction industries, and splits time between Lake Tahoe, Boonville, and San Francisco, CA.
Uber Pig writes for Blackfive a) because he's the proud brother of an enlisted Civil Affairs Reservist who currently serves in Iraq, b) because he looks unkindly on people who make it harder for the military in general, and for his brother in particular, to succeed at their missions and come home in victory, and c) because the Blackfive readers and commenters help keep him sane.
COB6 spent 24 years in the active duty Army that included 5 combat tours with service in the 1st Ranger Battalion and 1st Special Forces Group . COB6 was enlisted (E-7) and took the OCS route to a commission. COB6 retired a few years back as a field grade Infantry officer.
Currently COB6 has a son in the 82nd Airborne that just returned from his third tour and has a newly commissioned daughter in the 4th Infantry Division.