... that is the question. A veteran of Vietnam was talking about his experiences in Vietnam, about coming home and about the trauma he experienced and about how others believed he should react to that trauma. The mental health professionals, the V.A., his family and his friends all wanted him to "heal". But what they meant by "heal" was to forget, to stop talking about it, to move forward as if nothing happened. But he disagrees. He doesn't want to "heal". He wants to remember.
I listened to this veteran of the "war" in Iraq and understood what he meant. I've seen this with abused children and victims of domestic violence. It's a curious feeling - unless you've been there.
This is a sad story, but we should have seen it coming. This is the price we pay for war. Why don't we ever learn that?
This weekend I watched a poignant film about a soldier who is captured in Afghanistan and the devastating effects it has on his wife and children and his family of origin. The movie also does a nice job of illustrating the familial roles of hero and scapegoat and how these roles might be reversed.
Trauma, or PTSD, is usually viewed as something that only affects the person who experienced the trauma. This is simply not true. Trauma can not only affect the client, but their current family, their family of origin, even their friends. How?
A Washington Post article puts the projected cost of the "war" in Iraq at $3 trillion. But this is just the monetary cost of fighting the war. The human costs of this war are less tangible and possibly more daunting.
I've been reading articles about the effects of modern medicine in the war on Iraq. Soldiers who previously would have died from serious injuries to the head, skull, and brain are now being saved from death. The Washington Post reports there are currently more than 4,700 casualties of the war on Iraq and the reason the number is not larger can be attributed to the marvels of modern medicine.
Why might this be a problem?