Friday, November 13, 2009

Healing after a traumatic crisis

Taking a look at what humans face in our daily lives that involve times of crisis may help us understand why soldiers end up suffering so much more.

Levels of crisis in our own lives.
Loss of a pet, we are told, get a new one
Loss of a friend and feeling totally lonely, we are told, go out and meet someone else.
Loss of parent for an adult child, we are told, at least we had them as long as we did.
Loss of a spouse due to death or divorce, we are told, you are still young enough to find someone else.
Loss of a child, we are told, you can have more.

We lose jobs and are told we are better off and will find a better job, but no one seems to be able to tell us how to pay our bills, find our pride when our identity was connected to the job we did everyday. No one can tell us why it was us getting let go of while others were still on the job no matter if we were better or not at ours. Companies close their doors and everyone is unemployed but no one seems to be able to tell us how we an tell our kids we have to move out of the house because we can't find a job and pay the mortgage anymore.

Illness that comes and we are told we will die soon then we have to decide if we want to fight it, put a financial and emotional burden on our families or if it would hurt them more for us to give up.

Perhaps the worst thing we go through is when we believe we did the best we could, did what we were intended to do, did the right thing and still had to carry a heavy load away while others seem to be able to just go off on their merry way without ever having to pay a price for anything.

Now that it is in more common terms, this is what the go through. They deal with the rest of the crisis we all do but then they get to have to watch their friends die, strangers die all around them and too often have to be the one to take a life to save the lives of those they serve with.

Now maybe you can understand the following a bit better.

Trying to find an eraser.
Trying to dismiss Maj. Hasan as "not one of our own" instead of acknowledging that he was but turned against them is like trying to think of it as a total stranger coming onto the base with weapons and deciding to kill off some soldiers. Having a picture of that in their minds will only make it worse. Hasan was one of their own but not worthy of them, the rank he held or the fact he was put in the care of their mental health. The result after trauma will still be there but without facing the truth behind the suffering, they will be filled with absolutely no reason for the pain they are carrying.

Hasan "Not One of Our Own," Soldier Says
1st Responder to Scene of Deadly Shooting Says "Soldiers Do Not Do This to Each Other"; Fort Hood Seeks Return to Normalcy

(CBS) Updated 6:48 p.m. EST

Soldiers at Fort Hood continued to display a mix of anger and disbelief at Maj. Nidal Hasan's alleged role in the deadly shooting rampage that left 13 people dead and dozens more wounded.

"I can't really say this was done by one of our own. Soldiers do not do this to each other," said 1st Sgt. James McLeod, a first responder to the scene whose unit suffered three fatalities.

But for the first time in almost a week at Fort Hood, there was a homecoming of troops from war - a bittersweet time for the post still grieving last week's shooting. Nearly 300 members of the 1st Cavalry Division returned home Tuesday night after a year in Iraq - the first such reunion since last Thursday's deadly rampage, reports CBS News correspondent Don Teague.

"It's kind of bittersweet to me," Jennifer Goetz, the wife of returning soldier Specialist Sean Goetz told Teague. "So much loss and then just so much happiness right now and love and joy."

Meanwhile, military officials at the base are focused on ensuring the mental health of soldiers as Fort Hood slowly returns to normal after a fatal shooting rampage last week.

"The mission at Fort Hood continues," Col. John Rossi said Wednesday, a day after President Barack Obama joined other officials in a memorial for the fallen.

Mr. Obama denounced the "twisted logic" of the attack and vowed their "killer will be met with justice - in this world and the next."

Rossi would not address the specifics of the case against Hasan, an Army psychiatrist.

Instead, Rossi said all the units affected must use a combination of "friendship and leadership" to help any comrades psychologically affected by the attack.

"We expect leaders to be invasive. You need to know your soldiers. It's OK to ask them how they're doing," Rossi said, adding that "battle buddies may know each other better than anybody else" and can be a valuable resource for identifying any emotional problems.

"Let's find it from within and then seek help if they need it," Rossi said.

Fifteen wounded in the attack remain in the hospital - four in intensive care - according to Rossi. He could not confirm whether any scheduled deployments would be delayed in the wake of the attack.
read more here
Hasan "Not One of Our Own," Soldier Says

Battle Buddies aid so that soldiers can have someone to talk to and have someone watching their backs. Problem is, are they trained to know what is the right thing to say, the right thing to do, when to call for more help? It would be great if they simply took their own life experiences and then used their hearts to see the need. Then they would automatically know what to do and how to respond. Untrained, they could make things worse. They need to be there to listen, be quiet when needed and speak when needed but they also need to know what to say.

Imagine a well meaning chaplain trying to explain the worst thing possible and come up with a reason for it. While the do not intend to do harm their mouths can do more harm than good simply by a choice of words.
Death of a friend, "God needed them more"
A loss of a friend, breakup of a marriage, death of a family member or severe wounding, "God only gives us what we can handle"
These kinds of statements do as much harm as when they ask "Have you thought about killing yourself?" which may in fact put the idea into their head as a solution to their problems.
There is so much that goes into this and we need to be asking if and how well these battle buddies are trained especially when there was yet another report of the suicide rate going up again.

Young Fort Hood Soldier Reacts: 'I Wanted To Cry, But I Couldn't'
Joshua Chaney Contributor
Posted: 11/10/09
Glen Jolivette, 19, of Coshocton, Ohio, had the day off from his job as an Army signal support systems specialist at Ft. Hood last Thursday when the accused gunman, Maj. Nidal Malik Hasan, started shooting.

"I found out about everything going on over a public announcement system," Jolivette said. "It said word for word, 'Seek shelter immediately, close all doors and windows, make sure all ventilation is closed.'"

Looking out the window of his room, he saw about a dozen civilian helicopters in the sky. He got on the Internet and found out what had happened. As he refreshed the page, the death toll continued to rise.

Out his window, he saw "the creepiest thing in the world. The busiest post in the world was totally dead, no one in sight. I felt a rock just build up in my chest and I wanted to cry, but I couldn't."
read more here
Young Fort Hood Soldier Reacts

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