In March 2005,PBS aired A SOLDIERS HEART where a physician on that show reported that every soldier in Iraq is forever emotionally changed after serving in combat .
This can actually become a hardening of the heart whereas the soldier eventually becomes seemingly incapable of giving and receiving love and retreats into a lonely and impenetrable shell .
So, in essence, this is a Post Traumatic Heart Dysfunction and many people suffer the same symptoms when they have been rejected, abandoned or hurt in a love relationship.
Post Traumatic Stress Dysfunction, or PTSD, is a psychiatric disorder that can occur following the experience or witnessing of life-threatening events such as military combat, natural disasters, terrorist incidents, serious accidents, or violent personal assaults like rape. People who suffer from PTSD often relive the experience through nightmares and flashbacks, have difficulty sleeping, and feel detached or estranged, and these symptoms can be severe enough and last long enough to significantly impair the person's daily life. But, I would argue, people can suffer these very same symptoms when they are seemingly separated from love.
As such, Post Traumatic Stress Dysfunction is actually a Heart dysfunction where psychic pain, fear and guilt often override joy and love.
To many, suicide becomes the only choice, as Dr Gary Kohls writes ~It is often said that 200,000 Vietnam vets have committed suicide since they came home from the war, although, with 30% of the huge US homeless population being nameless and homeless Vietnam veterans, the precise number is unknown and actually may be larger !
In my experience as a practicing psychotherapist ~ A person will take their own life only ifthey feelthat the dark loveless tunnel of alonenessthey existin is theirONLY CHOICE. My role, as a therapist, is to help bring them to another life enhancing choice~ and I maintain that cannot be accomplishedwithout awakening their hearts through love. Only then willthey begin to see through clearer eyes and realize that they indeed have ANOTHER CHOICE.
The PBS film, A Soldiers Heart, depicts a Marine Sergeant who opened fire on and killed an Iraqicivilian woman who was reaching onto her bag for a white flag as she approached their checkpoint. When he realized his mistake he broke down crying and was emotionally unable thereafter to carry out his duties.This is not an unusual incident .
P.T.S.D is occurring now at an alarming rate in Iraq and Afghanistan and the military can no longer sweep it under the rug by calling it battle field stress or cowardice.
There is only one logical explanation for this phenomenon and it is this ~ deepest in our hearts we have a need to love and be loved and it extends to all our brothers and sisters throughout the world. Longfellow called it The thread of all sustaining beauty that run through all and doth all unite.
I call it a Unified Fieldof love and soul consciousness that exists not only beyond time and space but alsodeepest within us all~ and most certainly beneath our deepest fears and pain.
When we take someone else's life in combat ~ we destroy a part of our own heart in the process and we may never psychically recover from this incidenton a soul level.
The same things happens when we consciously hurt someone we love or consciously withhold love from someone we love. We, in essence, are saying NO to our heartin the process and we can suffer significant psychic damage on a soul level.
But when we kill someone ~ our heart becomes hardened with guilt and it is almost impossible to accept or give love carrying this burden ~ which many of our Vietnam, Iraq and Afghanistan combat veterans now bear.
When we close our heart we enter a dark prison cell where our own bars of fear and unworthinesskeep us from fully experiencing ourselves as well as others. Each of us can free ourselves from that self imposed lock down of the hear tand the magic key is gratitude ~ beginning with ourselves
In my work, as a psychotherapist, with clients with P.T.S.D ~ I concentrate, with great success, on opening their hearts~ initially through gratefulnessto the people and friends who have been there for them and finally to love and they eventually forgive themselves in the process.It can happen rapidly as it did in Frank's case ~ see FRANK'S STORY / A PTSD SURVIVOR CONQUERS UNWORTHINESS http://blogs.salon.com/0002255/2008/03/31.html
I experienced something similar after a nine month cruise as an all-weather Navy fighter pilot on the USS Ranger in the early 1960's.
I was never in combat but I was trained to kill on command and would have fired my lethal missiles at a Chinese MIG if ordered to ~probably without hesitation.
When I returned I had lost much of my innocence, my heart had hardened to some degree and my loved ones noted it.
Eventually my heart opened~ but it may have been much more difficult if I had taken someone's life.
Perhaps we have reached the point in our evolution where we will begin to see all men as our brothers and realize that non violence must be a universal spiritual practice ~ if we are to further evolve.
Martin Luther King Jr said it best;
Nonviolence means avoiding not only external physical violence but also internal violence of the spirit . You not only refuse to shoot a man, but you refuse to hate him .
I am now increasingly concentrating on healing these wounded members of our torn society ~ so please do not hesitate to call me (707) 935-1908 if you know of anyone who needs this help.
ONLY LOVE UNITES AND HEALS
Allen L Roland