Are PTSD Symptoms truly at the root of distress for Veterans? Of course, living with PTSD is very difficult, as those who have been diagnosed with PTSD will confirm.
But in my experience, PTSD survivors are also tough people. These men and women were in war zones and had to deal with a lot more than stress symptoms. They are trained to move on and to be resilient.
After talking with hundreds of active duty personnel, reservists and Veterans, I realized that the most traumatic thing that the troops have to deal with is not stress or even PTSD symptoms.
In my experience, the most difficult thing a warrior has to deal with is his or her MEMORIES.
When I speak with a soldier, they hardly ever mention their symptoms, even though they are certainly aware of them.
But what truly bothers them are the eyes of the twelve year old they might have shot because she held a hand granate in her hand.
What bothers them is the memory of having to hold their best buddy i their arms while he died.
What bothers them is the memory of switching places with their best friend while scanning the jungle, and the bullet that hit and killed him in the place where they should have walked.
What bothers them is the memory of returning home after a horrific time in the jungle and finding themselves being spit at and called “baby killer”.
What bothers them is the fact that they believed in their mission and how they can make a difference to innocent people, only being forced to sit outside of Srebrenica commanded to not take action but watch the genocide unfold.
What bothers them is being raped by a commander and forced to remain silent afterwards because nobody would help or even believe them.
There are a lot of things that bother Veterans more than not being able to sleep at night, to be hyper vigilant and having flashbacks.
The memories are real, they are there. They are what is causing the symptoms, and they are still holding a charge.
If we truly want to help veterans heal, we have to find a way to take the charge out of the memories, not just tranquilize the stress symptoms.
We have to help restore honor, self respect and confidence. We have to gain insights into the Veterans world and mindset and relate in an appropriate and respectful way.
A skillful and insightful EFT coach can often do this and help heal memories .
Since EFT coaching is an approach that works with the charge of memories, that honors that the cause of all negative emotions is a disruption in our energy system, we can honor and work with the intensity of war trauma in a very new way:
We can detect where the intensity shows up, either as stress symptom in the body, as charged memory or as strong belief, and apply EFT to take the charge out of the memory.
Only when the memory has lost its charge is when a warrior can relax and heal.
And in my experience, a nightmare or flash back that has been “tapped” on stays away, an intrusive though looses its power and the warrior begins to make changes and choices that are working better for him/her.
While Veterans with PTSD need to get treatment from a mental health professional to deal with their diagnosis (which I am not), EFT coaching can help them relax by taking the charge out of their memories. I can’t wait to see EFT being the self help and coaching tool of choice for all troops and their families, as well as those who want to help them.