It has been 15 months since I last taught my aikido class for Vets with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and posted my last blog. But it hasn't been a wasted year and a half. I have written a book based on that blog, and the comments from many Aikidoka, a considerable amount of research and thought and the opportunity to reflect back on the person I was when I got out of Viet Nam and how Aikido enabled me to deal with trauma I didn't even know I had. The book is titled "COMBAT RELATED POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER - A HOLISTIC APPROACH." It is being published by Levellers Press and should be out sometime in late April. I have also done presentations at two psychology/social work conferences, one in Florida and one in Michigan, and have another coming up in Connecticut in April.
The research has been both rewarding and depressing:
there will be over 300,000 people coming out of the current mid-east mess who have, or will have at sometime in their lives, Combat Related PTSD [CRPTSD]
there will be more combat veterans die from suicide than from combat related injury
50% of women involved in the mid-east war will suffer CRPTSD, a majority will involve abuse and rape from their "comrades in arms"
And on and on ad infinitum ad nauseam.
What has been rewarding is finding a growing support for the kinesthetic, movement based treatment Aikido can offer a victim of CRPTSD, and that O Sensei's belief that Aikido can be a way of peace, and further, a way to bring peace to those whose reward for serving their country [they have been told] is an eternal hell.
All this has led to the creation of a web site [to be announced here soon] and most exciting, my starting a new Aikido program for Veterans at the Veterans Support Center in Springfield, MA. The Support Center is a part of the VA, BUT, not in any way associated with the VA hospital and the PTSD ward there. This is something I will try to go into in a later blog, along with how the issues of comfort zones and how critical energy [ki] is in enabling one to deal with PTSD. To recall Mary Malmros' comments, it can help you renew your "dealotrons". I will also go into how and why I started this round of classes differently, the relationship I established with the Center and how classes are conducted.
I want my efforts, and this blog to be a way of encouraging and supporting others in offering Aikido for Vets with CRPTSD, so I guess those last comment are what you'd call a cliff hanger.
(Original blog post may be found here