Deep in the Heart of Texas

Silhouette of a soldier against the sun.

Talk-y, Feel-y, Live-y

Today’s piece is a brief one, out of the heart of the second-largest state in the US, the always-independent, always-living-life-out-loud state of Texas. Even more, it is out of the city of Killeen, the home of Fort Hood, one of the largest installations of the United States Army. Its message is a simple one: talk. The title of the article, “Simply Talking About It Is Best Medicine for PTSD.”

Before Christmas 2015 Jacob Brooks, a staff reporter for the Killeen Daily Herald, visited a peer-support group in the Killeen area that had been organized by a local veteran organization with the great name of Bring Everyone in the Zone.

In the brief article, he reveals no deep truth that he learned there, nor does he find the final answer to War’s aftermath. Yet over the fried chicken and green-bean casserole of a potluck (all right, I assumed those, but what American potluck doesn’t have them?), he saw what he saw, heard what he heard, and reported it: “they learn from each other, and…can…perhaps even be inspired that hope and healing are possible.”

Not a bad, after-dinner take-home lesson: for a combat veteran, for a reporter, for all of us.

According to Mr. Brooks, a former Army sergeant major wrote the following in support of Bring Everyone in the Zone:

“I have served in the Army for 26 years. I have been to combat twice in Iraq. I have been dealing with PTSD ever since 1984, and have been in denial ever since. … However, I have never been able to tell my wife. …. During the training, I realized that I had many of the symptoms we had discussed in training. That is when I realized that I needed to tell my wife that I have PTSD. However, I never knew how to tell her. I really did not know how she would respond, or if she would see me as a monster. … I was so nervous and afraid to tell my wife, but when I finally got the courage to start talking, my wife was very understanding and compassionate. The most shocking thing was that my wife thanked me for sharing my feelings with her.”

What could I possibly add to that? The truth, the hope, the healing, they’re all in the connections, in what is said and what is unsaid, in what is lived through, lived out, and lived together. They are in reminding one another about still having what it takes to do what needs to be done. They are in “talking the talk” being “walking the walk.”

A surprise to most action-oriented types, I know. Some surprises, though, turn out not to be half-bad after all.

So find those willing to listen, my friend, and keep on talking.

Until tomorrow, be well,

Doc

To learn more about Bring Everyone in the Zone

click here.

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