It’s often said the best way to solve a problem is to first admit that you have a problem. However, for many young veterans returning from combat areas, admitting that they are having problems readjusting to civilian life is difficult. They have been taught to be strong and to “suck it up.” That there is no place for weakness in the military. Difficulty admitting to having flashbacks, or to countless sleepless nights, or to constantly being on alert (hypervigilant), or to unexplainable outbursts of anger, or even drinking excessively or to taking drugs, is to acknowledge, in their minds, that they are weak. Some returning veterans recognize, on their own at some point, that there is something wrong. They are different from others. That they are not the same person they used to be. Either they recognize it themselves or someone close to them tells them they that they need some help. Yet, getting help is not that easy. Many veterans don’t want to go to the Veterans Administration because to do so means there will now be a record of their psychological issues. And for those just entering the workforce, many veterans are concerned that it could hinder future employment. Whether it does or does not, they perceive it as being detrimental. Many veterans are not interested in taking drugs administered by the VA, or to visiting with VA Psychologists or Psychiatrists. So, what are they to do? Many just try to “suck it up” and try to move on with their lives.
After a time many begin to realize that “sucking it up” or compartmentalizing traumas or just avoiding their issues is not working for them or those close to them. There is something wrong. They become the “emotionally wounded.” Able to function in the world, not necessarily at their peak, and not really living the life they would like or being the best they can be. Many older Veterans, merely because of the passage of time or they have reached some financial and job security in their lives or other reasons can, and often do, admit to having symptoms of PTSD. And begin to seek help. After years of suffering from symptoms of PTSD many realize that it is time to seek the help they should have sought many years ago.
The challenge for us, who are trying to work with these veterans suffering with symptoms of PTSD, is to convince them it is best to address their issues now and to not wait. To work on acknowledgement of their issues and gaining control of their lives. PTSD symptoms never just go away. Can never really be erased. But instead can be worked on in the hope that they can lead more full and productive lives.
Yoga and meditation is one way to begin to work on combat trauma in a safe, non threatening, non judgemental way. It helps combat traumatized veterans deal with their issues and possibly live happier, fuller lives. If you know of, or live with a veteran needing help readjusting, encourage them to seek the help they need NOW! We can be reached through this website.
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