Hey, it’s safe to take off your armor: “Veterans struggling with civilian life are urged to join a new Peer Support Service.”

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Former servicemen and women who are struggling to cope with life outside of the military are being urged to sign up to a Peer Support Service, delivered by veterans’ mental health charity Combat Stress.

Led by veterans for veterans, it’s the first UK-wide service of its kind for those with mental health problems. The Peer Support Service, funded by The Royal British Legion, helps those veterans whose mental health has been affected by their time in the Armed Forces, and who are experiencing loneliness and social isolation after leaving the military.

For many former servicemen and women, the adjustment to civilian life can be confusing and distressing, leaving them struggling with changes to their identity and feeling that few people around them truly understand what they’re experiencing. This can be even more isolating if the veteran develops symptoms of mental health conditions.

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The Peer Support Service offers former servicemen and women a chance to share their experiences, receive support and socialise with others who have had similar experiences.

So far 28 groups have been established by Combat Stress in towns and cities around the UK, with more planned.

Veterans who have been supported by or worked for Combat Stress are co-ordinating the regional groups. They include James Saunders who served for six years in the Royal Artillery and overcame injuries associated with his experiences in the Gulf War.

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James said: “Mental health problems can make even the simplest things seem hard to do but this service is a way for veterans to easily access support and advice. Veterans have the chance to come along to small group meetings or to meet the regional co-ordinators individually.”

Carol Smith, Director Client Services at Combat Stress, said: “I’d like to thank The Royal British Legion for funding the Peer Support Service.

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“Research has suggested that social support has a positive impact on mental health and the effects of trauma. Peer support aims to help by increasing social interaction amongst individuals who may otherwise feel isolated or stigmatised.”

Veterans with mental health problems can call the Combat Stress 24-hour mental health helpline on 0800 138 1619 to be referred to the service.

 

With Courtesy of www.forcespenpals.co.uk

 

 

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The 82nd Airborne is changing its policy for memorial services — and it may affect paratroopers who die by suicide

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Soldiers who die by suicide may not receive full military honors in future 82nd Airborne Division memorial ceremonies, a spokesman confirmed to Army Times.

Going forward, commanders in the 82nd Airborne can choose from two different kinds of ceremonies: The regular ceremony with the usual complement of military courtesies, and an alternate ceremony, created for soldiers who died by suicide and those who died by misconduct, that allows units to omit a handful of courtesies.

 

Those courtesies include the final roll call, firing of volleys and sounding of taps, among others, according to a course of action decision slide provided to Army Times.

“The decision to allow for an alternate memorial ceremony in the event of paratrooper suicide was made in an attempt to reinforce the value of life and the reliance we place on one another,” said Lt. Col. Joe Buccino, spokesman for the 82nd Airborne. “This decision does not equate suicide with paratrooper misconduct.”

 Until recently, the division put on memorial ceremonies with full honors for all fallen soldiers, which was above and beyond what the Army requires in AR 200-1.

“There are a variety of options available to units when memorializing the service of a paratrooper who has tragically passed away as the result of suicide,” Buccino told Army Times.

The new alternate ceremony, which is described as suitable for suicide or deaths by misconduct, withholds those honors. There will also be no posthumous awards or promotions presented at the ceremony, and general officer attendance is not required, unless granted an exception by the commanding general.

Research has found that when responding to suicide, it is key for an organization to strike a balance between not glorifying the victim while also not stigmatizing the person’s struggle, a senior behavioral scientist at Rand Corp. told Army Times in a Tuesday phone interview.

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“It is a change, and it suggests that it’s coming from somewhere,” said Rajeev Ramchand, an expert in mental health and substance abuse in service members and veterans. “In the best of worlds, it’s coming from this effort that they don’t want to promote contagion, and in the worst of worlds, it’s saying that they’re thinking that these people are different or immoral or weak, and that’s what we don’t want.”

Contagion, he said, is the phenomenon that prompts suicides to inspire others to also take their lives.

“With respect to all of this, we know more about what not to do than we know what to do,” he said.

But the key, he added, is not to portray victims as heroes, while taking steps to assure their community that there are resources available and that the person’s life and service are important.

“From one perspective, one could say, so maybe we don’t give them full honors,” Ramchand said. “But if we do that, the problem with that is, it kind of chips away at this other goal, which is to honor their service and honor their family.”

 

Honor, not glory.

A memorial ceremony should be an outlet for a unit and its leadership to grieve and remember the person’s life, he added, but it can be problematic to pick and choose who receives which honors.

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“… Within the 82nd Airborne Division we actually expand on the Army policy for memorials, even in the event of paratrooper suicide; the Army merely recommends leaders’ remarks, reflection, moment of silence, and benediction, while these are mandated for a paratrooper suicide, with the commander allowed the flexibility to include the final roll call, firing of volleys, and sounding of taps,” Buccino said.

The ceremony also includes a moment of silence, while the chaplain’s memorial reflection will highlight the value of life.

“Within the 82nd Airborne Division we pursue a culture wherein our paratroopers and their families are encouraged to seek help,” Buccino said. “Asking for help is not weakness; it is a sign of strength.”

Fallen soldiers are still able to receive full honors at a funeral service, Buccino added, which is different than a memorial. Memorials focus on fellow soldiers, while funerals are given for families.

With courtesy of Armytimes.com

CID warns about social network Scams.

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The Army’s Criminal Investigation Division posts a long-overdue article at army.mil about the scams we see almost daily at TAHHQs in regards to people pretending to be members of the military in order to separate you from your money;

Be extremely suspicious if you are asked for money for transportation costs, communication fees or marriage processing and medical fees.

Many of the negative claims made about the military and the supposed lack of support and services provided to troops overseas are far from reality, check the facts.

If you do start an internet-based relationship with someone, check them out, research what they are telling you with someone who would know, such as a current or former service member.

Be very suspicious if you never get to actually speak with the person on the phone or are told you cannot write or receive letters in the mail. Servicemen and women serving overseas will often have an APO or FPO mailing address. Internet or not, service members always appreciate a letter in the mail.

Be very suspicious if you are asked to send money or ship property to a third party or company. Oftentimes the company exists, but has no idea or is not a part of the scam.

Be aware of common spelling, grammatical or language errors in the emails.

Be very cautious when placing your personal photographs on social media sites.

I’d add that real members of the military will never scan and send you their ID cards.

CID strongly recommends that Soldiers, civilians and family members who come across any known suspicious social networking or dating site profile or are solicited in this fashion from a person posing as a U.S. Soldier, immediately email CID at Army.CID.Crime.Tips[at]mail[dot]mil.

With courtesy of This ain’t hell 

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In january 2018, I got surgery and spent two weeks home. At Christmas time I usually go for some volunteering, and my choice, for this year, went to US Forces Penpals.co.uk.

Not bad. I could tchit tchat a little bit with welsh vet soldiers, but it’s quite exploited worldwide. And what makes it more interesting, it’s their fund raising, for Combat Stress Foundation.

To be honest, I wasn’t there to flirt with men in Uniforms, despite I admit their charm on my girly psyche, which sometimes believe still in the Unicorns. Forget about it.

My research on military websites was kind of a revelation. First, it’s full of scammers and that’s a fact. Second, how about all those lovely warm hearted ladies looking for their hero? Not only, I guess this comes from our nature as women, it’s this compassion living and driving force which lead us – remember the Red Cross nursery and Vera Lynn – to support the troops moral.

 

From 40s in Britain to 50s in the US the step is a little one.

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So, basically this post is not devoted to military, this time, but to us as massive supporting and leading forces to this world’s macho-oriented global world. To that nigerian scammer I have been penpalling with, suspiciously enough, I say “good job” ! Pity that you use your talent to fraud vulnerable and caring ladies positively sharing their unconditional love, and this explains me also why all those black women, who I met in 90s while going to school, on the train, in the morning, on the Adriatic Coast, came from Nigeria. Poor women, … poor men. Wait, I am not a kind of racist, since my best jobmates ever come from Ghana, Senegal, Congo and Mali. Got it?

You are poor men because your mind is so talented and clever that you put your skills on a scam business which give you certainly money and power, among your Country, but at the cost of your moral integrity. Now, go and wear proudly your Nike, put your classy tshirt on and live a happy life, preaching God on the mess. And don’t forget to ask for pardon, because these women are so kind that they will surely allow you. Don’t you know that we, the so-called white westerners, are the first victims of this capitalist crazy state of mind?

How do you feel right about now? how about when you look into Your Eyes when looking in a mirror on the wake up call (if you have any)?

Deep in my heart, I know, that you are better than this. You only failed to prove it.

Until now. Blessings, to all Romance Scammers. Amazing grace, it’s Easter Time.

***

If you want more, check also this website where you can report scammers and find many suggestions on how dealing with Nigerian scams 

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9SB9SEHcR4E

The Pursuit of Happiness vs Search of Meaning.

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When I started to look for my purpose, I was recovering from occupational burn out, and PTSD ( except I didn’t understand it ). My doctor played a mentor’s role in the story and he pushed me to my life questioning. Before that, I was completely unaware and in so-called hamster wheel.

In february 2016, I lost a camerade, at work, for a stroke, at 7 am. He was, apparently, quarelling with his manager when he fell down on the ground.  They brought him to the hospital by a first aid helicopter, but it was too late. A stroke requires fast help, and perhaps, unhappily, it was not the case. When I arrived in the morning, I passed by the direction office, and heard the executive director preparing his speech for the team talk.

He was calling, on the phone, for all the team staff and occupational doctor, in order to announce that R. my brit camerade, aged 43, was lying in a hospital bed, waiting to cut his hoxygene off. They were just waiting for his parents to come from the UK. He left 4 children and a wife. Sure, you first wonder how it would be like if you were at his place. The fact is that in the early morning, at wake up, 6h45 am, I did my routine mindfulness meditation, and I remember addressing my Self to “above” to submit my service into something bigger than my ego, and my own will. If you see what I mean. We often ask and beg for what we want for us and we never put our selves in a humbling position.

Don’t ask what your Life can do for you, but what you can do for your Life“.

As soon as I stepped into the corridor of the management office, I had the gut feeling that I got my answer or, at least, for just that day. No more excuses, I needed to talk.

So, for the very first time, fearless, I crossed over the door of my executive director, in order to speak out loud and we finally had a powerful, understanding, conversation.  He was in dispair, it was his third loss in a few months, and right after the november attacks, which had such an impact on our workplace, and our spirit. To minimize, my manager tried to tell me that all of us have personal situations which put our health in danger. Work issues wasn’t concerned. Invisible wounds and stress disorders cannot be taken seriously – at a work environement – as a proof of stroke, heart attack or any other health disease, because if you survive, there is a clause of confidentiality. They keep it as a secret. You’d better not talk about. That’s how people get depressive and suicidal, what the hell.

“They say that your purpose is what you struggle with.”

So, the promise I have made to my Self, in that dark upsetting morning, was precisely to take responsability for Me and My own Life. To be honest, from 2015 to 2017, I’ve been writing a memoir in my mother language, that I have tried to get published, but no one showed up unless ahaha! some editing publisher from Rome who complimented me and, as offer, asked me 1500 euros to get my work published. Never mind. What’s the main purpose of all this writing, I wondered, if not healing and sharing? 

***

 

In her book “The Power of Meaning,” Emily Esfahani Smith rounds up the latest research — and the stories of fascinating people she interviewed — to argue that the search for meaning is far more fulfilling than the pursuit of personal happiness.

 

Our culture is obsessed with happiness. Even though we devote vast amounts of time and resources trying to be happier, many of us feel aimless and alienated nonetheless. With depression and loneliness trending upward for decades and the suicide rate rising around the world — recently reaching a 30-year high in the United States — it’s clear that something is wrong. In recent years, social scientists have been trying to understand what exactly the problem is. What they’ve found is striking. What predicts the rising tide of despair sweeping across society is not a lack of happiness. It’s a lack of something else — a lack of having meaning in life. In fact, chasing and valuing happiness, the way our culture encourages us to do, can actually make people unhappy.

This set Smith on a journey to understand what constitutes a meaningful life. After extensive research and reporting, she came to see that there are four pillars of a meaningful life — and she lays them out in her TED Talk. Ultimately, she discovered that the search for meaning is far more fulfilling than the pursuit of personal happiness — and we all have the power to build more meaning in our lives.

With courtesy of Ted Talk’s Ideas worth spreading

PTSD and Gene Kelly’s Lost Wartime Star Turn.

Since a young Italian girl, the impact of the aftermath of WWI and WWII, into music and cinema took my attention. It goes without saying, that also justifies why I am running this website in english, British and American cultures still have a huge influence on the Italian mood.

Something that was so evident, for example, was the massive musicals after WWII. Gene Kelly, Debbie Reynolds and Fred Astaire were the leading Hollywood stars of a joyful, but yet moving and educational movie making. They were made to convey a message of hope and spirit up lifting after misery, loss and grief.

Today wars are dispatched all over the world, and governements name them “Peace Missions to bring democracy“. Words are important, they give a meaning to thoughts. Modern wars are lasting fifteen years? Ok, I will keep my thought silent for respect to deployed, right? But my reflection goes to music then. Which impact do these ‘missions’ have on our social and civil environement, today? None.

Movies …very good for action which guys are keen on, and then videogames. Outburst of violence which lead fragile minds to no sense. True story, I was driving through a Normandy highway, visiting Omaha, and Sainte-Mère-Eglise, when my ex boyfriend (for a reason) told me excited as a cow “Look at that, I have already been there!!!” “What you mean?” “Yes, I fell out an helicopter with my riflegun and shot all those fu*kers around on these plains.” He was serious, and seriously damaged on his cells brain. This is it. Parisian region, and especially suburbs, are made of young vulnerable minds lost in a combat videogame. What’s the purpose? None.

Before there was PTSD there was shell shock and combat fatigue and Gene Kelly’s Combat Fatigue Irritability.

Circulating Now from NLM

by Michael Sappol

Gene Kelly, in a flotation divice stands in front of a bank of gauges looking up.Before there was PTSD there was shell shock and combat fatigue and Gene Kelly’s Combat Fatigue Irritability.

Combat Fatigue Irritability was made during World War II as a “naval training film” (although, unlike most military training films, there is very little training going on in this film). First screened in 1945, it was probably only shown to two select groups: men who were being treated in military facilities for what was then called “combat fatigue” (a category that eventually gave rise to our term, “post-traumatic stress disorder“); and to health professionals who treated such men. It was a “restricted” film, only for military viewing. After the war it was forgotten. It has never received any attention from film historians, and very little from fans (a few of whom did know of it but never got to see it). It is missing from the Gene Kelly…

View original post 1,061 more words

What’s PTSD?

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If you agree, we – as human beings – were born to be a wholebalanced, and strongindividuals. Greek philosophers, and physicians, say that the natural state of things is calm and, sophrology – the science that studies the Consciousness – promotes body, mind and spirit harmony (SOS = free from diseases, balances. PHREN = diaphragm, emotional heart and by extension, spirit, conscience. LOGOS = Science, study, speech).

So, naturally, PTSD occur as a consequence of a lack of it. The fact is that you don’t realize at which cost, until your life becomes a mess, when you finally admit that something has broken, and you need help to fix it. It can be a physical wound, or invisible, when it concerns heart and soul, or if you are blessed enough, as brits would say, both.

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Before 2015, I used to practice Yoga, once a week, basically to keep healthy, in a good shape and mood, it was relaxing, and I could fully stretch my body, especially my neck, happily turning 40.

After the 2015 events (january and november), I got completely unbalanced, both emotionally, and physically, put on weight, panic attacks, anger outbursts, no way to do my job anymore, like dealing with typical visitors problem solving (e.g. lost baggages, fully booked restaurants,..), or simply baring mood swings of my bipolar colleague. As soon as someone started crying or yelling for any reason, my self defense felt in danger (“that freeze, fly or fight thing”).

In february 2016,  I was diagnosed obviously inadequate to my position, until today.

For the short storytime, I knew panic and fear on a terrorist attack at workplace and PTSD soon started with insomnia, poor emotional intelligence like Hulk’s syndrome,  inability to put words on my own feelings, anxiety and fear of going crazy, exhaustion and chronique fatigue disease, after sleep burn out, tremors (mouth, legs, hands), tachycardia, and memory loss, just to mention a few. Others symptoms you can’t just describe, like a sort of electrochemical pinching in your veins, especially in legs, or warmth flames in the back, which give you the right sense of burning inside.

“A short circuit of your soul.” 

It goes without saying, my health was severely damaged, as you know stress is quite dangerous for neurons, once they are gone, they don’t regenerate, so you start aging earlier, that’s also why, today, it’s not so rare to see stress effects in people who suffer Alzheimer’s syndrom much younger than 60, or stroke and heartattack victims.

By the way, I lost three colleagues between 27 and 43, in 5 months, does it count for stress disorders statistiques? Of course, it doesn’t, except if you can prove it. And you can’t. Occupational joke between Medicine and Managament states that it’s confidential.

During my journey, back from burn out, I have been told several times that this is the illness of the strong. And this is one of the main reasons why I feel a proud trauma survivor, today. Of course, you have to consider a deep cleaning of your personal life, as well as a full transformation of your jobcareer and lifestyle. 

You can’t figure out coping with PTSD and holding on the same life schedule than before trauma. It involves stop overthinking, letting go, and modulating negative emotional responses compared with the healthy controls.

“You need some yoga in your life.”  

Yoga practice really made a difference for me. It brought “justice” to my body and mind, especially since I am doing it regularly, almost everyday.

Check out Ted Nevins’s story “a soldier’s surprising journey to becoming a yogi” on the following: Warrior Spirit Retreat

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Thanks to a welsh penpal, and army brit, nicknamed Salad Dodger, my attention was caught by an association for Combat Stress, and reading an article I was quite shocked, because some of my burn out symptoms were perfectly matching with war vets PTSDafter battlefield.

This study led me to another article written from the american journalist, Sebastian Junger, published by Vanity Fair, who experienced PTSD on his way back from Afghanistan, where he spent 15 months on a mission with a Battle Company.

“Sometimes, we ask ourselves if we can save the vets, I think the real question is if we can save ourselves.”

To resume up, PTSD symptoms can be:

  • Depression
  • Anxiety
  • Dissociation
  • Flashbacks
  • Nightmares
  • Irritability and outbursts of anger
  • Suicidal thoughts and suicide
  • Alcohol misuse and dependence
  • Sexual problems and confusion about sexuality

Other effects:

  • Eating disorders
  • Self-injury and self-harming behaviour
  • Transient psychotic episodes
  • Borderline Personality Disorder
  • Dissociative Identity Disorder
  • Somatisation – Emotional distress experienced as physical pain
  • Increased rates of physical conditions like heart disease and cancer
  • Homelessness Re-victimisation Prostitution
  • Criminal behaviour (including, for a small minority, sexual offences)
  • Low self-esteem
  • Lack of confidence
  • Sleep problems
  • Parenting problems
  • Relationship problems
  • Trust issues

 

 

via What’s PTSD?

Understanding is the key to trauma healing.

Brendan Obyrne speaks out about his alcohol addiction, and what really helps healing back from combat. Talking to other veterans, or alcoholics, more than VA associations or other civilians.

Yes, I might repeat my self, but I really appreciate the work of this journalist, and completely support it. I find that he gives finally back humanity to the troops, behind patriotism propaganda, politics, and bla bla bla….

And, dealing with trauma, of course, I feel concerned.

Btw I am on the “War” reading, and the book starts with a visit to a veteran interview,  from Sebastian and Brendan. Here, in this video, you can see both.

Achilles in Vietnam and Odysseus in America.

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Are you searching for your soul? Then come out of your own prison. Leave the little stream and join the river that flows to the ocean. Like an ox, don’t pull the wheel of this world on your back. Take off the burden. Whirl and circle. Rise above the wheel of the world. There is another view.” — Rumi

Over 20 years ago, Dr. Shay, then a medical researcher studying the biochemistry of brain-cell death, suffered a stroke. During his recovery, he moved from research into clinical work, taking a temporary job substituting for a vacationing psychiatrist at a Department of Veteran Affairs clinic in Boston. When that doctor died, Dr. Shay stayed on, challenged and inspired by the terrible psychological injuries of the combat veterans.

During his stroke recovery, Dr. Shay also began, as he put it, to fill in the gaps in his education by reading the classics: “The Iliad,” “The Odyssey,” and “The Aeneid.” And it was clear to him that his patients at the V.A. clinic were echoing many of the sentiments expressed by the warriors in those ancient texts: betrayal by those in power, guilt for surviving, deep alienation on their return from war.

I realized that I was hearing the story of Achilles over and over again,” said Dr. Shay.

Following documentary from “The Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Charachter” by Jonathan Shay.

 

Soldier’s woundwort, if Achille suffered from PTSD, anyone can do.

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Greek Mythology never end to amaze me. Not only because it’s psychology in disguise, but further more because it’s so modern, that you could use it to explain today’s society to your children (like Fulvio Terzani, Tiziano’s son, says in his conference about Ultra Marathon).

To say it all, this article was supposed to start with a gengitivis, yes, I wanted to put an example of trauma in our body. The last time I have been at the dentist, he told me that my gums were not infected, but they kept the memory of an ancient gum disease. Oh my gosh, I admit that teeth brushing wasn’t my fave sport until quite late, and that I have been neglecting this must-have habit for too long.

So, how can I send the message to my gums that it’s okay, war is over… or is it? No, it is not. My self defense system is prepared to striking news, at any moment of the day. Consider that, on 13th november, Paris terror attack I was watching Star Wars on streaming. The day after I went to work, as I usually do, by train, and I was taught about the situation (8 attacks, 13 kamikaze, hundred wounded and dead, doctors called back from strike to help with rescue operations) only once over there. Yes, terrorists won their cause, with my brain cells. For me, the real fight starts now, with goals like regaining confidence, trusting other people, and building hope for the future by taking actions (and moving forward from freezing).

Before I go to the topic “14th november” (the awake after attacks), in another article, I would like to finish what I started. Gum disease, I said. Ok, let’s go.

Yarrow-cultivar

Yarrow is commonly called nosebleed or soldier’s woundwort because the juice of its leaves and stem can stop bleeding. Many North American tribes chew the leaves as a remedy for a toothache as well as a number of other ailments. The anticoagulant, anti-inflammatory, and analgesic, effects of yarrow can help with receding gums at any stage.

Sorry, if I skip the part where you are suggested to chew on the leaves and stems or gargling. If you don’t want to mess with the herb, you can use the essential oil of yarrow. This blue-colored oil is very potent, so mix in a few drops of coconut oil or another carrier oil before using it as a gum paint.

If you don’t know where to buy essentiel oils, please, contact me, and I will be happy to give you some ideas, for free.

Yarrow’s latin name, like a thunder lighting, sounded too familiar. Achillea Millefolium… go away. No kidding. Because I am already used to another powerful plant, which helped me with bipolar disease, mood swings, St. Johns Wort, Hypericum perforatum, I am very eager to test this plant on my gums.

Hypericum is worth a full other article, but if you have any questions, don’t miss and go to contact, or leave a comment. Hypericum leaves have got deep wound-healing potential, as anti-depressant, especially in seasonal change.

My Spirit-Self is a being of pure Light.
A shield of radiant light protects me as I travel in Starry worlds.
I learn to trust my own inner Light.
The Sun is shining in my Soul.

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Now, back to our greek warriors, and PTSD

“Beyond the universal soldier: combat trauma in classical antiquity”, have now retrospectively diagnosed ancient Greek fighters as “traumatised by their experiences of war”.

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American infantrymen grew up in a society based on “Christianised norms and values, stressing peace, mercy and the sanctity of human life”. They largely “served in military units comprised of complete strangers” and often had to fight round the clock for extended periods. They could do little more than “seek safety in cover and concealment” on battlefields “traversed by red-hot, razor-sharp shrapnel and high-velocity gunfire”. Sleep deprivation, lack of social support, enforced passivity in the face of lethal danger and a sense of going against their underlying values all combined to make war deeply traumatic.

None of this, Dr Crowley’s paper goes on, applied to Athenian hoplites. They lived in a “profoundly pugnacious” society that “venerated war”, and where “battlefield bravery” was “considered an unqualified social good”. Soldiers “mobilised, deployed and fought alongside” those from their local communities in “a close-order formation predicated on mutual protection and tactical interdependency”. “Largely protected against progressive exhaustion and sleep deprivation”, they faced a limited range of threats from “warriors armed with muscle-powered weapons”.

All these factors, Dr Crowley’s paper concludes, protected ancient soldiers against the dangers of PTSD. The whole idea of feeling bad after harming an enemy is totally alien to Greek culture,” says Dr Crowley. “Grave markers include tallies of the numbers a soldier has killed, something very hard to imagine today.”

With courtesy of Battle scars: Did Achille suffered from PTSD?