Today the solo treatment for PTSD, major depression, and anxiety, in America (*) are prescribed chemical cocktails.
Master Sgt. Lance Supernaw
(*) Western Society
If we take a step back to last century and study the path from from shell shock to combat fatigue we can see that progress has been made:
PTSD is no longer blamed on a character fault or cowardice. The British Tommy court-martialed in 1916 has been pardoned officially thanks to Harry Farr’s 93-years-old daughter, Gertrude, who fought decades to restore her father’s honor. Although, Farr had been diagnosed as suffering from shell shock a year before he was executed, he was sent back to the front line. He was shot at dawn for cowardice “in the face of enemy” at the Battle of the Somme, after seeing half of his battalion die in Neuve Chapelle early that year.
Despite this 2006 pardon and recognition of the effects of PTSD, families and servicemen, first-responders, and health-care professionals, as well as civilians, have to endure the stigma linked to mental health injuries. Our highly judgmental performance society sees those who suffer mental breakdowns as though they were the ruin of the family and the community. In fact, they are quite the opposite. Highly sensitive people set the boundaries of injustice in a violent and dishumanized society. PTSD is here to remind us about our own human nature. AI is replacing many jobs with intelligent machinery. In many ways we are on the way of self-destruction. Are we doing anything in our power to say NO?espite the recent recognition, in 2006, families and servicemen as well as first-responders and health-care service, and also civilians, have to endure the stigma linked to Mental Health injuries. This performance society is highly judgemental and mental break down is seen as if you were the ruin of the family and community. When in fact it is quite the opposite. As highly sensitive people we set the boundaries of injustice in a violent and dishumanized society. PTSD are here to remind the human race about the human nature. AI is replacing our jobs with intelligent machinery. It will go fast. We are on the way of self-destruction. Are we doing anything in our power to say NO?
Take a look at tribal community rites of passage that mark a candidate’s transition to full membership. In another place or time, you would leave your village to go into the mountain for as long as it took to find yourself. Discovering your place in the greater web of life, you offered thanks for your gift and returned to share it with your people. Having moved through adolescence, you took up your new place as an adult in your clan. You became worthy of a chance to gain their respect. Your quest showed you a new purpose and a vision of what your life can be.
Soldiers who have a proper decompression period after combat, with the unit and not at home, are less likely to experience PTSD. In ancient times, marching or sailing a long distance would provide time for the healing process on the journey back home. In Joseph Campbell words: “The Hero has been resurrected, purified and has earned the right to be accepted back into the society and share the Elixir of the Journey. The true Hero returns with an Elixir to share with others or heal a wounded land.”
Modern psychiatry, with figures like British neuroscientist Dr Steve Peters and French psychiatrist Christophe André, and Stars and Stripes prof. Jon Kabat-Zinn, promotes mindfulness practices (guided meditation and breathing techniques, yoga and Trascendental Meditation) as coping techniques for anxiety and depression, alcohol abuse, and PTSD to restore resilience both to soldiers on active duty and veterans returning home.
Warriors provide our defense. If we don’t take good care of their wellbeing, who will protect us?
To make a positive social impact, following the Theory of Change, our Warriors Team wants to:
work in partnership with medical professionals, health-care, first-responders, the veteran community, and life coaches and counselors by through creative cooperation.
promote long-term solutions to heal emotional wounds and restore identity to those behind the badge and in uniform.
give a voice to Wounded Warriors and trauma survivors, supporting them while they transform their lives.
guarantee outcomes on a large scale by sharing our targeted resources and competences.
I had to do that. I find it cool here, I like playing with these blog pages and it took me a long while before I found my spark.
Now a pause is required. Nevertheless, I changed my mission, on the homepage, and I invite you to check the booktrailer I have put together to illustrate a storytelling of my books coming out soon.
Maybe I need some reorganisation in all the stuff I have put in. It was too much caothic with very little traffic and results; thou I am happy that I found you, the positive feedback I had in these months is real and motivating me.
Now, I feel I have to restart from zero. WordPress will keep the good work despite I won’t resubmit.
Last time I left it for one year, almost, and it survived. That means all blog articles are available and I will use it as archive for my next web activity.
In case you want to join me you can reach my email contact firstname.lastname@example.org
Saturday 10th gone, and could not see any conference. Any big event. It took me a life-time to put all together. Double work with the double language. It’s divine time calling here. I finally took the microphone and a glass of french wine and just started….
The podcast is available on Deezer, Spotify, Google Podcasts, Apple, Tune In and Stitcher.
Thank you for supporting me and all the community here. we are just started.
How do I know transition if I was not military? To be honest, I have been in a very similar phase during my life, too. Well, in 2015-2016, I lost my job which gave me a reason to get up in the morning and felt accomplished for bedtime, too. At that time it was enough for me. I was not eager to find any purpose in life or job carrier. I felt safe in my community and I could pay the bills doing what I was supposed to do. I was an hotel assistant who never did a proper career because it was not my priority. First, I did not have enough charachter to put me MORE value respect to my co-workers who were my friends too. Teamwork was my deal. Second, I was too much selfless and completely unaware : others came first like loyalty could not agree with leadership or hierarchie yuck! This neglect of my priorities and needs led me to burnout in 2016. It was not only a matter of trauma, I was feeling exhausted and overwhelmed. That’s one of main reasons I was not at all prepared when events occured and shattered me. Since then I went through a transition stress too. In France and US changing jobs is easier than in Italy, maybe, there is a culture of moving faster, nevertheless I needed support and mentoring which I could find in my physician (who is a retired Medecin sans Frontieres – world humanitarian doctor) and other motivational coaching both on the web and in real life. Counselors were there to guide me and staring into my eyes in order to make the big questions: “Who are you? What do you want to become? What do you want to do now?”
“FInd a purpose” was the recurrent quote of my doctor.
In the moment my life was falling apart, I finally found the right persons who would guide me until today. It’s humbling. I wish you, all guys (and gals), you find your spark.
And if you want to share your story or questions and suggestions with me, you can write me to email@example.com as author and self-help writer. my work will be out in november 11th first volume my story and keys to resilience and coping with ptsd + december 24th second volume with veterans stories.
This article by James Clark originally appeared on Task & Purpose, a digital news and culture publication dedicated to military and veterans issues.
While post-traumatic stress disorder has become a much-discussed affliction, a seemingly more prevalent problem is going largely overlooked: transition stress. Think of it as a clinical-sounding diagnosis for that sense of alienation many veterans feel after they leave the military.
That’s the theory behind Beyond war and PTSD: The crucial role of transition stress in the lives of military veterans, a recent essay by George A. Bonanno, a professor of clinical psychology at Columbia Teachers College, and Meaghan Mobbs, a PhD student at the college and a former Army officer. They contend that though only a relatively small percentage of recent veterans develop PTSD — somewhere between 11% and 20% for Iraq and Afghanistan War-era veterans in a given year — the disproportionate attention given to PTSD overshadows a more pervasive problem among vets. (In the essay, Bonanno and Mobbs argue that the rate of PTSD among post-9/11 veterans varies dramatically, with studies “employing methodologically rigorous design elements” reporting rates under 10%.)
“There’s been a tendency to use the treatment of PTSD as a catchall,” Bonanno told Task & Purpose in an interview, citing an anecdote from his time as a therapist at a Veterans Affairs hospital.
“A guy I was treating years ago, I can’t go into specifics, but the problems were really not at all about behavioral symptoms,” Bonanno said. He explained:
The problems were that this man had gone off to war. It was the most exciting experience he had ever had. Then coming back to a small town where he didn’t have as much fulfillment, and life seemed kind of dead to him. And that was really the problem he was struggling with: His life had lost its meaning. It was nothing remotely related to the symptoms you see of PTSD.
Serving in uniform can provide easy answers to heavy questions. A mission brings purpose; your rank and job provide a place in the hierarchy; your squad provides camaraderie; and shared hardship reinforces that bond.
That easy sense of belonging, Bonanno and Mobbs say, doesn’t exist — at least not in clear-cut terms — when service members leave the military and return to the lives they left years before.
Given that transition stress has gotten so little attention, a quick primer is in order.
What is it?
Transition stress encompasses a number of issues facing transitioning military veterans, which can lead to anxiety, depression, and other behavioral difficulties. They include a loss of purpose and sense of identity, difficulties securing employment, conflicted relationships with family and friends, and other general challenges adapting to post-military life.
Loss of Identity May Be a Root Cause
Transition stress is not as simple as missing the adrenaline-fueled highs of war-time service, though that can be a factor. More commonly, it’s a nostalgic longing for that sense of place and self that many within the military felt, regardless of their MOS or theater of operations.
“For our generation of veterans, for us being an all-volunteer force, we all go in during a period of emerging adulthood,” Mobbs told Task & Purpose. “We’re typically asking ourselves the existential questions: Who am I? What do I want to do? What’s the meaning of life? And the military provides a really ready answer for that. They tell you: You have purpose. What you’re doing is meaningful. You matter.”
The Questions Don’t Stop When You Get Out, but the Answers Do
“[The military] gives you all of these really concrete answers that are very appealing in a variety of ways, and that becomes such a salient part of your identity,” Mobbs said. “And then when you take that all away… how do you reconcile that discrepancy?”
The disconnect between war and “The World” isn’t new territory, of course. In a 2010 article for Vanity Fair, author Sebastian Junger observed that recent veterans “return from wars that are safer than those their fathers and grandfathers fought, and yet far greater numbers of them wind up alienated and depressed. This is true even for people who didn’t experience combat. In other words, the problem doesn’t seem to be trauma on the battlefield so much as re-entry into society.”
Lack of Research in Transition Stress
Vets affected by transition stress are “just simply struggling, and they’re struggling with a variety of issues,” Bonanno told Task & Purpose. Though the essay suggested that post-9/11 veterans faced higher levels of stress when they left the military than their forebears, a lack of research into these stressors makes it hard to know for sure if this problem is growing more severe, or if it’s always been there.
“We don’t really know… the extent that it’s new, or a characteristic of GWOT veterans,” Bonanno said.
Civilian-military Divide Seems to Be a Factor
Roughly 80% of military recruits have family members who served in uniform; between 22% and 35% have parents who are veterans — depending on which branch you look at, according to Slate. The result is that our all-volunteer military has grown more insular over time, while the majority of everyday Americans have little understanding of what service, wartime or otherwise, looks like.
That gap in experience and exposure, can lead those who have never served in uniform to develop a skewed perspective of those who have, which makes a military transition — already fraught with existential questions — more difficult. Take the still pervasive stereotype of the dangerous PTSD-addled veteran, whether it’s in film, television, or news.
The ‘Broken Vet’ Stereotype is Alive and Well
A 2016 survey by Military Times found that roughly 40% of civilians think half of all post-9/11 veterans — that would be roughly 1.4 million Americans — have a mental health disorder.
“Civilians commonly think that veterans are mentally ill,” Bonanno said. “And veterans are very aware that civilians have that perception, so to acknowledge stress and difficulties, you’re kind of saying ‘I’m mentally ill,’ and the only option is to say ‘I have PTSD,’ and that’s highly stigmatized.”
We over-invest in making soldiers, airmen, sailors, and Marines. We under-invest in transitioning veterans.
“We spend millions of dollars and weeks and months indoctrinating and transforming civilians into service members, and they spend their entire enlistment or contract having all those behaviors reinforced, through training, or deployments, or any number of things. And then you transition out,” Mobbs said.
Often, leaving the military involves attending a short transition assistance class that focuses on things like how to write a resume and what to wear to a job interview. “You sit in a classroom for a week and you check a box,” then grab your DD 214, and hit the road, Mobbs said. “By the time you transition out, it’s too late. The horse has already left the barn.”
What Can Be Done?
“We really need to study these problems before we leap into interventions,” Bonanno said. “Part of what we’d like to see would be a mentor-based approach, with mentors assigned to veterans as they leave the military to just help with the daily things of life and understanding the transition process. Some of the difficult things are just reintegrating with friends and families and managing those relationships.”
Yes I did. I connected all the dots. I found my spark, as someone would say. I let you guess from where I took that spark of inspiration. I will post tomorrow the translation of my first pod in french ….how will they react? Oh, well, they are French… so ….I really don’t mind. Je m’en fou !!!!!!! lol
“IN RESEARCHING TREATMENT OF VETERANS WITH PTSD IN THE U.S., I WAS SHOCKED TO FIND THAT MANY SOURCES AVOIDED THE QUESTION. MANY WEBSITES ONLY RECOMMENDED MEDICATION FOR PTSD, INCLUDING ZOLOFT, PAXIL, AND PROZAC, ALL OF WHICH HELP TREAT DEPRESSION AND MOOD SWINGS. THE SIDE EFFECTS, HOWEVER, INCLUDE HEADACHES, PAIN, INSOMNIA, TIRED, TREMOR, VISION CHANGES, AND LOSS IN APATITE.” –EVERETT HARRISON
The U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs website states that “We do not provide diagnosis or treatment of PTSD.” these are some symptoms people with PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder) could have. Depressed mood, irritability, fear, severe anxiety, self destruction, flashback of trauma, and avoiding situations that bring back the trauma.
PTSD can develop at any age. Women have a higher chance to develop PTSD than men do. About 7.7 million adults are affected by PTSD in the U.S., military members exposed to war/combat or other high risk jobs (within the military) are in danger of developing PTSD. There is some evidence that PTSD can run in families. People with PTSD have depression, which leads to substance abuse, or other anxiety disorders. https://medlineplus.gov/magazine/issues/winter09/articles/winter09pg10-14.html
In researching treatment of veterans with PTSD in the U.S., I was shocked to find that many sources avoided the question. Many websites only recommended medication for PTSD, including Zoloft, Paxil, and Prozac, all of which help treat depression and mood swings. The side effects, however, include headaches, pain, insomnia, tired, tremor, vision changes, and loss in apatite. For a country that claims to respect our veterans, why are we not helping them? Why do the majority of resources for vets point to medication, instead of a more sustainable treatment?I sat down with my mother Charlie Harrison who teaches trauma-informed yoga and asked her some questions about her teaching and the people she works with.
Everett Harrison: What is it that you teach? Charlie Harrison: I am a yoga teacher, I teach trauma-informed yoga. I work for the Veterans Yoga Project we specialize in teaching yoga to people with PTS(D) and TBI. Our method is a very specific, it’s called mind full resilience. We have five pillars of our method the first one is breathing, the second is metastatic, the third is mindful movement, the fourth is guided rest, and the fifth is gratitude. We end every practice with a gratitude practice, we want to encourage people to very specifically think about things in their lives that they feel grateful for and the more you do that you build synapse in your brain and these patterns in your thinking that cause you to look for things that are positive vs what they are used to; probably, which is looking at how things don’t function well because that is the condition their brain is in at this point.
EH: Who started the program, what was their motive? CH: Dr. Dan Libby, he is a research scientist that did a small study at yell about yoga and PTSD and how it affected people (the yoga) the results from his studies were remarkable. He was compelled to continue trying to figure out a more specific way that this could be utilized. He wanted to train people to teach a certain group of people in a specific style of help. So he fine-tuned yoga teaching, because it’s not like a regular yoga class we do things differently we have our rooms set up in a certain way. We use a specific style of speaking our language is very invitational. We don’t move a lot, were in most yoga class your teacher is all over the room. We never touch our students because that can be triggering and uncomfortable for people. We do things so that our students have a clear sight to exist, we start off each class with saying “you have the choice to leave at any point.” So if things become overwhelming they can step out. This makes it so that it is their choice to be there and their choice to make every single move with their body. At this point, we currently have over 800 VYP( Veterans Yoga Project) trained teachers throughout the united states. We run over 290 programs throughout the country and Germany, we are in VA’s, Veterans Centers, American Legion, VFW, and we are in yoga studios.
EH: What made you join the project, and how long ago was that? CH: I have been teaching trauma-informed yoga for three years. I started teaching at the vet center right before I was certified because part of my certification was to do some voluntary hours, so I called the vet center and asked them if they wanted a volunteer teacher and they were like “yeah!” so I came and started teaching there, then got my certification about two months later and have been teaching at the vet center for about three years now. Meanwhile, there was another teacher at the VC (Veteran Center) who was VYP. (Veteran Yoga Project) He contacted me and asked me if I wanted to go to the training and see what they had to offer. I had been reading up on trauma-informed yoga and different things and studies about trauma. I was reading this book by Emerson, he was talking about how to handle people and your class from a trauma-informed perspective. Every single thing he said made sense to me. I guessed this is what I should be doing because it all made sense. So that’s why I joined. I am in the process right now of finishing a training with a domestic violence system, which again this is a group of people who have undergone highly stressful situations and in many cases’s are dealing with PTS(D). I have gone through level one training with VYP(Veterans Yoga Project) and I have taken a week of advanced training.
EH: Can you tell me what a class is like and how is the atmosphere in the room? CH: So one of the things people always say when I tell them about this is, “oh my god that must be so intense, and stressful.” It’s actually not because I am a yoga teacher, I am not a therapist so we don’t get into what caused their PTS(D), TBI, or their experiences in war. We don’t talk about that stuff. They come in and they want a yoga class where they can feel better. we don’t do a yoga class where it’s hot and sweaty, there is plenty of that out there and it’s good/useful but in different settings. Most of these people are military people who know how to work out to make themselves hot, sweaty and amped up. What they aren’t necessarily as good at is calming themselves down and finding that mellow space. So our classes are designed to activate your parasitic nervous system. That is the opposite of your fight or flight, that is your rest and relaxation. We are trying to help people get in the zone so that they can into the zone in the outside world. We begin each class with some breath work, a little bit of centering and quiet so that you can get yourself in the room and let go of the things that brought you there. We do some movement that is generally seated and opening. Then we ended up in some standing positions, then we end up back on the matt usually doing some twist to kind of clear out the system. Then we ended our class with final pose which is a resting pose, so I will talk the students through, head to toe noticing their body, how they feel, how they can release and let go. Then we sit up, have a moment of gratitude. I am very clear we have to think of specific things. Because we are trying to help people rewire their brains, they have been in this state where their go to is pain, negativity, or discomfort. we are trying to help them find a different go to. That rest, relaxation, steady breath, gratitude, joy, noticing the small things that give them peace.
Dr. Lauren Cook is a therapist, speaker, and author that advocates for mental health in all that she does. Even though we can’t be together in person for World Mental Health Day, Lauren believes in the power of joining our heads and hearts in a virtual community that is just as powerful.
Lauren specifically helps those who are struggling with decision making. That’s why she created TheDecision Principles online curriculum to help people make values-based decisions. Whether you’re struggling with whether or not to stay or end a relationship or begin or leave a job, Dr. Cook helps you make decisions efficiently and effectively.
We’d love to have you join us so that you can get to know Dr. Cook better as well the amazing community of therapists, healers, and mental health experts that she’s invited for World Mental Health Day
We have been very intentional about the speakers that are sharing. Some of the topics covered by our thoughtful speakers include: