Shell Shock: Break Down in WWI. Now they are free.

29853909
An increasingly large number of men seemed to have simply lost the will to fight.

Well, before facing this topic I have been meditating and taking time for breathing, alone, in the woods. This is one of the most sensitive subject I am still willing to write about. For the side story, I am one of those who experienced panic attacks and tremors, neurosthenia, physical and mental break down, which led to occupational burn out, as a consequence of « Paris Terror », in january and november 2015. Still dealing with the aftermath. But I am confident, and I will sort it out or bust.

By the way, I lived a « fake alert », while terrorists were around the parisian region ; trauma is like you face your death, and I was still on duty when november’s attacks stroke. The hall of the hotel, where I was serving, was full of thousands of guests and some of them had lost a friend in concert hall « Bataclan ». Too much to handle for a little creature of the Universe, like me.

Our duty, my team leader told me, was to take care of the guests and their needs were priority. My hands were shacking and couldn’t make a sense of what was happening, so that I called my mother to say « It’s alright, Mum, I am okay ». In those morning hours I felt like I was experiencing a hospital battle camp. A lady firefighter told me about the girl who lost her friend, and a few minutes beside that, a guest, a spanish lady, breaks down to tears because her vacation was fucked up. How can you not go insane?

« Life is simple » a doctor of Occupational Medicine told me once, while signing for a sick leave between two temporary missions in the administration. « Something has broken ». He was refering to me and my Management. In fact, although my Manager in duty was pushing me to get back to my service at front desk, in order to boost my reaction, in a positive way, a part of me was struggling to avoid to go back, as Self preservation.

Back to 1918.

One century ago, in his office, Sigmund Freud meets the soldiers back from the war front, and he detects war neurosis or shell shock due to no-stop artillery bombing in the trenches. Men loose control of their senses, from speech to blindness, they can’t explain what they are experiencing, or want to see that hell anymore. They also develop paraplegia. Personally, I was in shock by seeing old pictures, in black and white, with soldiers hands on the ground. The Italian cinema shows a scene in the movie « The Great War » by Monicelli which shows comedien Alberto Sordi getting scared from seeing a « lost hand » in the trench. « What is that ? » he says. Italians showed to the world how to treat delicate stuff with humour, but still great poetry and humanity. Think about Roberto Benigni and « Life is beautiful » which won the Oscar touching such a topic with great bravery though respect. Humour in this case is meant to put a distance between our mind and horrific reality, as a shield or a filter of what would make you getting mad.

But WWI wasn’t just an Italian affair, of course, and we can see Germans against French on the western front in the movie « All quiet on the western front » from original book « Im Western nichts Neues » by Erich Maria Remarque, 1930. And eastern front, between Russia and Poland, when Austria – Hungary invades this territory. Personally, I have been in Mount Sabotino trenches, and mountains on the Carso, in Northern Italy where Ernest Hemingway has served and was wounded by a german artillery shell. 

In his own words, “There was one of those big noises you sometimes hear at the front. I died then. I felt my soul or something coming right out of my body, like you’d pull a silk handkerchief out of a pocket by one corner. It flew all around and then came back and went in again and I wasn’t dead any more.”

Hemingway’s wounding along the Piave River in Italy and his subsequent recovery at a hospital in Milan, including the relationship with his nurse Agnes von Kurowsky, all inspired his great novel A Farewell To Arm. His story “Soldier’s Home” conveys his feelings of frustration and shame upon returning home to a town and to parents who still had a romantic notion of war and who didn’t understand the psychological impact the war had had on their son.

 

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Shame and guilt.

In 1914, the contemporary scientists and medicine men are involved in the War, and ethically challenged. The therapy has the target to get soldiers back to combat and not to rehabilitate them. Psychoterapy is at the starting blocks and Freud, with his collaborators, mark a milestone in the human psyche’s understanding. Mental health starts to be recognised as apart from physical health.

First, what leads to modern PTSD, it’s recognising that an external event, like a shock, can damage the man’s mind, though brave, courageous and rational human being. Finally, sensitive officers can break down, after sending their men one by one to die under enemy fire to gain an uncovered lookout point. The risk to be seen as weak or wimpy was limited to a manlike system which still perdured in the military discipline. Big boys don’t cry, right ?

Second, not only there’s an enemy out there, but according to the german Psychologist, the real enemy is inside. There are the Peace Self and the Warrior Self, and second is one to watch out, the one who wants you to sacrifice and takes pleasure from it. Soldiers finally realize that they are going to loose their lives and it doesn’t make any sense any more. Their Peace Self wants to live and go home to their families. Many officers are just « boys ».

hqdefault

Shot at dawn.

During WWI, shell shock is also a way to escape from the frontline battles. Sometimes, at the cost of your own life. The officers in charge of their command are often so greedy and vanish to execute their soldiers who couldn’t or wouldn’t face the bombing anymore. The sentence states cowardice. The case of Harry Farr and Jimmy Smith, to mention just a couple of these young heroes, speaks out loud. After Somme, Gallipoli and other bloody battles, they just couldn’t take it anymore. In case, shell shock victims were supposed to be commuted by the martial court. Not in that instance. They were put a blindfold to cover their eyes, cognac from the evening before, and a round of paper on their heart to mark the target. « What a way to get leave. » Wait, Private Farr, refused the blindfold, actually. And I spare other details in deep respect of those who left, and also the ones who « gained the leave » for shooting to their camerades. Pardon was given in 2006 by British Governement, to those who deserted and were executed at dawn. Will the others ever forgive them selves ?

images (1)

Inner Self.

Isn’t that a sort of « karma » ? Well, I mean, shell shock today is haunting our minds as cultural heritage and stigma makes it hard for anyone to take a sick leave, at work, just to have a rest, saying no to team leaders or managers when the task is simply too tough and we are running out of time and co-staff. The Peace Self says it clearly that we can’t take it no more, but the War Self forces us to sacrifice for the good cause. We fear to loose our job and the boss confidence, while in the meantime nobody is taking care of your healthy conditions at workplace. Sometimes we live again that nightmare of those who left their heart in a foreign trench. « Who is the real enemy ? » Listen to the inner voice, the Wise Men say, and you will get it.

With courtesy of Ryan Williams from CURE UP.ORG

Article published on 27th june 2018

 

Advertisements

Terror victims study proves our resilience.

Floral tributes outside the Bataclan Theatre in memory of the victims of the Paris attacks1

Floral tributes outside the Bataclan Theatre in memory of the victims of the Paris attacks

Patricia Casey

On Friday, November 13 2015, a series of terror attacks erupted in Paris. They were mercilessly launched on people gathered at various social outlets and events in order to maximise the carnage. A football match was the first target in this co-ordinated killing spree. This was followed by shootings at restaurants and cafes and finally a metal concert in the Bataclan Theatre. Hostages were taken there also. A total of 130 lost their lives and over 4,000 were injured, almost 100 seriously. These were the most serious attacks on the city since WWII. Isis claimed responsibility.

It is no surprise that the impact of these attacks on the psyche of those involved, both directly as victims and less directly as observers, has been studied in depth by psychiatrists and psychologists, as have attacks in other locations. The London bombing and 9/11 attacks in New York have both generated large volumes of research information. In the April issue of the British Journal of Psychiatry, a paper exploring the impact of the Paris attacks, headed by Dr Stephanie Vandentorren, of the French Public Health Agency, has been published.

Two groups were studied. First responders were fire officers, rescue workers and so on exposed during the first 12 hours after the events. The second group were witnesses – those who were themselves under threat of being killed, held hostage or injured or had seen somebody in that position, or heard of a close relative in that predicament. These could be either directly exposed or have witnessed them from their homes. Seeing these events only on the media did not constitute exposure. Various face-to-face structured interviews were administered and over 400 people were interviewed.

Among rescue workers, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was diagnosed in 3pc and an anxiety disorder in 14pc. Among civilian witnesses, more than 15pc were significantly distressed, 25pc had possible PTSD, while 18pc were diagnosed definitively with it, and 10pc had depression. As expected, those indirectly threatened had lower levels than close relatives of victims, and the highest rates of mental health problems was in those directly threatened.

Almost half of civilians had more than six months treatment for a mental health problem, compared with a third of first responders. However, most had returned to work six months after the attack. These results show that first responders had lower rates of mental health problems than civilians and they required less professional help.

This study shows that people witnessing traumatic events are more vulnerable to mental health problems than are first responders. It may be that the training those in rescue and first response teams receive helps them withstand the distress of their direct involvement. It is also likely that if they had concerns about mental health difficulties developing after the attacks, they pro-actively sought help as a preventative measure and needed it for a shorter period.

During their training, they will have been made aware of the help that it available should they ever require it. Civilians on the other hand may feel less entitlement to such help and may defer seeking it until their distress is much more incapacitating.

The positive finding, that all but 6pc returned to work, shows the power of healing. Similar results were described following the 9/11 bombings and the London attacks. Either time or therapy seems to have benefited those who were suffering in the aftermath. This surely proves the resilience that human beings are endowed with, enabling them to deal with major traumas and to emerge from the quagmire of distress that engulfed them.

Resilience is determined by several factors. The personality of each individual is probably the single most important element, while the presence of support from family, friends and the community is next. Having a person to talk to is undoubtedly beneficial. The scientific literature on resilience has been developing in recent years and it also describes the value of positive coping, religious coping, having a sense of purpose in life, and altruism.

It is comforting to know we are not long-term victims of the events that befall us. Rather, we are strong and can emerge from the suffering of terrible events with more compassion and a better understanding of life.

With Courtesy of The Indipendent.ie

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

Image result for empathy

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.

Image result for compassion

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.

Related image

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.

Image result for empathy
“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

 

 

CID warns about social network Scams.

images (1)

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 

scam

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.

tumblr_inline_mj2h6dfIc81roa3gu

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