January 10, 2009

Dedicated Soldiers, Combat Values and the Shattering of a Mind

Without dedicated soldiers we could not enjoy the freedoms and way of life that we experience today. They lead on when all seems to be the contrary and the insurmountable becomes their triumphs. Testaments to the Corp, the Queen of Battle and to moral imperatives most will never understand.

That does not mean that there will be no conflicts, just that more will see their struggles as a way to grow instead of digress. For the veteran or soldier whose mind has been compartmentalized from complex PTSD, recovery can take years. I had to learn coping skills to deal with my mind wanting to constantly shut down, zone out or detach from emotions, people and life in general. By becoming aware of this automatic emotional response I can generally reverse the effects most of the time, unless I have been experiencing severe stress which I do not always realize.

In a combat environment overcoming the initial emotional crisis takes an ability to close off our humanity to engage in combat. We must develop a combat-values system with a preset conditional internal guidance system pre-programmed to engage within the "troop-organism." Being removed from the protective feeling that this state of mind, the troop can develop a deep feeling of loss and guilt combined with a profound solitary disengagement from others who they now cannot identify with. Going from a deep sense of belonging and protection the troop gets the feeling of facing the world alone.

Some of our soldiers become stuck in this combat-mind state, and they seek behavior reminiscent of that combat edge, usually without realizing why. The combat-mind is one of survival and instantaneous decision making without much consideration to consequences. In society individuals stuck in this dysfunctional mode can find themselves having to deal with serious consequences.

None of this is an excuse for his behavior, but a foray into my behavior and an understanding of my actions. Thinking patterns and processes underlying our everyday activities and greatly influence our beliefs and emotional states. If we cannot examine them we will be led by them. By constantly challenging our beliefs we can become free from the rigid ideological military indoctrination and can engage in a meaningful exchange within our communities.

This is the beginning of a mental health epidemic for our Iraqi and Afghanistan veterans. Check out my blog as it chronicles my journey with PTSD and its effects on my life as it relates to what will be coming for our veterans coming home. We will see more of our veterans succumb to addiction, put in prison, commit suicide, or institutionalized, all a growing national trend that we need to face and overcome.

No comments:

Post a Comment

Please share your comments, stories and information. Thank you. ~ Scott Lee