Dr. Heidi Horsley talks about military post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with Dr. Ed Tick, an expert in the field. He’s the author of “War and the Soul” as well as four other books. He’s the director of Soldier’s Heart and has worked with military members and their families for several years. There’s a difference between military PTSD and “regular” PTSD. Trauma from military PTSD is impacted by traumatic accidents, illnesses, and deaths, but also involves being an agent of death and destruction. Veterans are asking for help feeling forced to be perpetrators. Training military members means training killers, and you can easily get overwhelmed by the death imprint.
You may touch more dead bodies in one year of military service than you will touch living people in your entire life. Veterans are immersed in death, cause death and destruction, and are often broken hearted. They need spiritual and community health to recover from this. Many people don’t think about everything vets are asked to do—and do—in the name of serving their country.
We need to be ready to hear floods of pain and suffering according to Dr. Tick. These people are charged with protecting us, both literally and by staying silent about their experience. Overcoming the aftermath of war can take a lifetime. It also depends on the culture the warrior comes from. Serving and returning requires ritual and ceremony to mark the degree of death. The responsibility also needs to be transferred from warriors to the whole society.
Holidays like Memorial Day need to become a ceremony of loss. Know that warriors who take life become responsible for the souls of those they killed. Understanding this can help warriors undertake proper grieving.