My collaboration with New England Veteran Liberty House (NEVLH) started on October 6, 2015. This is an open group for the veterans from different eras to get together and to share their success and difficulties in the transition from military life to the civilian life.
One night I was watching a show (Cedar Cove) and heard about this from the show. A veteran said this to his girlfriend:
Well, in basic training, it’s drilled into you that your survival is dependent upon the guy in front of you and the guy behind you. But then you return from serving, and all you do is shut everyone out. You need your buddies as much in peacetime as in wartime. It’s a total disconnect.
This is the goal for this group. No matter how you are doing, good, bad, or ugly, come to take your brothers and sisters’ hands or give them your hand.
My goal is to provide my insight from a therapist’s perspective based on the “theme” coming up from the discussion every Tuesday night. Please come and join us when you can.
Oct 6, 2015
We have very small amount of turn out today because it is our first meeting. JT, the founder of the NEVLH and I were very pleased for having someone showed up.
The theme of today’s meeting was “feeling as if I was still there.”
Every single day, our brain received millions of stimulations. Every single time, when a stimulation happens, four things happened: physical reaction, thought, emotions and action. However, during the combat, majority of the time, we only remembered action and stimulation but had no time to process the physical reaction, thoughts, and emotions. As the result, our body remembers those memories that were never fully processed.
When the similar “trigger” (small, sounds, scenery, etc.) stimulated our nerve system, we “unconsciously” went through the same physical reaction, thoughts, and emotions, to reaction. However, because the service members were trained to react to the situation so quickly, they never paid attention to the physical, thoughts, and emotions until the action has happened.
From the timeline perspective, that’s why the majority of the veterans have either anxiety or depression or combined diagnosis. As I explained to the group, anxiety is at the present moment worried about the past disaster/trauma is going to happen in the future again. Depression is at the present moment feeling sad about the past disaster/trauma and wishes those “could have, would have, and should have.”
What is missing?????
NOW, the present moment is spent on worrying about the future or regret the past.
That’s why therapy helps to “process” those memories that have not yet processed. When the therapist helps you to identify your emotions and thoughts process happened in the past, those memories are processed at the best they can be at this present moment.
So, what’s the takeaway point? “Live in the Moment.”
JT and I hope that you can join us on Tuesday at 6:30 pm at NEVLH for our weekly Vet-to-Vet group meeting.