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Moral Injury

A New Theory of PTSD and Veterans: Moral Injury
But as clergy and good clinicians have listened to more stories like these, they have heard a new narrative, one that signals changes to the brain along with what in less spiritually challenged times might be called a shadow on the soul. It is the tale of disintegrating vets, but also of seemingly squared-away former soldiers and spit-shined generals shuttling between two worlds: ours, where thou shalt not kill is chiseled into everyday life, and another, where thou better kill, be killed, or suffer the shame of not trying. There is no more hellish commute.
[more inside]
posted by the man of twists and turns on May 17, 2013 - 19 comments

"As the hymn says, you can lay your burden down."

The Things They Leave Behind. "When the Vietnam Veterans Memorial opened 30 years ago, something unexpected happened: People started leaving things at the wall. One veteran has spent decades cataloging the letters, mementos, and other artifacts of loss — all 400,000 of them." (Via.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Mar 15, 2013 - 26 comments

Photographic Immortality

The Burns Archive is a collection of over 700,000 historical photographs that document disturbing subject matter: obsolete medical practices and experiments, death, disease, disasters, crime, revolutions, riots and war. Newsweek posted a select gallery this past October, as well as a video interview and walk-through with curator and collector Dr. Stanley B. Burns, a New York opthalmologist. (Via) (Content at links may be disturbing to some.) [more inside]
posted by zarq on Apr 26, 2011 - 15 comments

to take brass and fire into his mouth

Army reports highest rate of soldier suicides for three decades in 2008. [more inside]
posted by batmonkey on Jan 29, 2009 - 20 comments

I Lost My Son to a War I Oppose.

Memorial Day orators will say that a G.I.'s life is priceless. Don't believe it. I know what value the U.S. government assigns to a soldier's life: I've been handed the check. It's roughly what the Yankees will pay Roger Clemens per inning once he starts pitching next month.
posted by geos on May 28, 2007 - 126 comments

I think I can't, I think I can't

"Things just happen, he had decided; they happen and they happen again, and anybody who tries to make sense out of it goes out of his mind."

For this reason, Tom Rath, the hero of Sloan Wilson's 1955 novel The Man in the Gray Flannel Suit, decides not to "make sense" of the the atrocities to which he bears witness during World War II. Instead, he accepts that war is in itself irrational, and that he must simply forget its horrors before returning to civilian life. This New Yorker article contrasts Wilson's 1950's stoicism with today's veneration of the grieving process and suggests that this change in attitude has led us to vastly underestimate our own capacity for coping with trauma. The author also draws some interesting parallels with a controversial study in which victims of childhood sexual abuse were found to be no more likely than others to suffer from mental health problems as adults. Intriguing stuff, to say the least, and as I read it, I can't help but think of Johnny Cash's "The Man Who Couldn't Cry"

(Note: Having thankfully never been subjected to war or sexual abuse myself, I am in no way attempting to demean the anguish of those who have. Rather, I'm more interested in the idea that people are stronger than they give themselves credit for, and how different upbringings affect our experience of trauma.)
posted by idontlikewords on Dec 28, 2004 - 41 comments

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