Opportunity For Transformation

Words from a friend and veteran
– To Returning Veterans

My name is James. You don’t need to know much about me. I will say this, I was a corporal in the Marines in Viet Nam from, 1966 to 1968, in and around Quang Tri Province, mostly at the DMZ, participating in a dozen or so field operations from Dong Ha to Khe Sahn, over the hundreds of days.

Along with my fellow marines, I learned a lot about war, earned a Presidential Unit Citation and a truck load of PTSD. Given that we didn’t have much help in those days for PTSD, it took me years to get involved in working on mine. During that time 50,000 veterans of Viet Nam, like me, committed suicide.

In today’s warriors it is even worse. Don’t ignore PTSD, it’s dangerous, but I promise you, it can be fixed. You have to help, it is your duty. Healing you, and others, is actually the positive side of being a warrior.

My war is far behind and most of us who fought it have come to terms with our PTSD, or we have been lost to it. So what I say here I say to those returning veterans and those of the more recent wars we have fought. I do remember the naked and almost violent sensitivity I experienced returning from war and realize the seemingly endless cycle it puts us into. Like a bad burn, it seems like the burning will never end. This is not so, it can and will go away and with some effort you can put a miracle in its place. Life supports warriors with an endless power including you as much as anyone who has ever lived. Not the power called will, but with another called love, Take advantage of it. We will help you.

So you have PTSD, welcome to the world of love and war. Without love there would be no PTSD. Without war love would have been snuffed out a long time ago. Now, using love, the greatest healing power you possess, let’s do something about it. Oh, and if you saw action and don’t think you have PTSD, guess again.

PTSD, it is all stored, unprocessed war. You gave it to others, they gave it to you, you gave it to yourself, it doesn’t matter. The buck stops here! You have to heal it.

Now, what about the healing power of love? It is the power that, in the end, redeems us all. You give it to yourself, you give it to others, they give it to you, it matters. As a veteran, with PTSD you may think you are far from love. Not true, you are closer to it that anyone. You have earned it.

The whole nine yards! Horror, fear, hatred, loathing, guilt, confusion, pain, loss, hopelessness, shattered identity, scrambled feelings, physical loss, pain and more pain, and more, much, much more. An endless stream of uncoiling, recreating, imaginary harm, based on our memory and the images of real harm; on-going, causing you and others around you, harm, long after the events. Yep, that pretty much sums PTSD up.

In our full realization of PTSD often we are so filled with so much of that horror, that we do not feel it is right even to be close to others, especially those we love, as if just being near us, can somehow harm them, somehow infect them, somehow make them create what we know can be so destructive to them. This toxicity is real. So is your power to get rid of it.

It makes you dangerous to yourself, dangerous to others and life often not worth living. In an attempt to self-medicate, to get away from it, it produces addiction in any form capable of separating us, for a few moments, from the close company of our PTSD.

Using drugs, as forms of numbing our sense of self, we can become separated from our higher self, our inner nature, the wounded conscience, love, our own soul that, by its awareness, brings us constant pain. When we push it away with drugs, we walk a dangerous path.

Stranger yet, somehow, in this total negativity, is our very real, understanding of the precious value of life, what its loss means to us and to others. We somehow are able to see the enormous beauty, grace and loving value of what has been lost, of what, in a perfect world, could and should be and what could and should never happen. It is PTSD and it belongs to us. It is also capable of being dissipated and healed in us, leaving us far stronger than we were before.

Well, if we want to get rid of PTSD, really want to, let’s do something about it. Let’s not just dump it, let’s transform it and replace it with its complete opposite. Let’s fix it. If we cannot completely fix our bodies from terrible damage we can at least fix the emotions, mind and restore the soul to us in a way that, believe it or not, in the end can make us grateful for the experiences – all of it!

You are in a perfect position to do that. You have nothing to lose, everything to gain and you have earned and paid for the lesson – good and bad. Now is the time to give yourself the reward.

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