Operation Warrior Wellness – Helping Veterans Overcome PTSD and Heal the Hidden Wounds of War
May 24, 2014
Memorial Day is potentially a difficult and always solemn event for those who have lost loved ones in the line of military duty. Every year I honor my dad, Richard Dale North, a Navy pilot who was killed in a military jet crash when I was six years old. Though I have had a lifetime to overcome the loss and I have worked on the issues I brought with me into adulthood from my very difficult years as a child, I have learned that there are losses that are consolable and losses that are inconsolable.
In previous blogs I have mentioned my work with a local men’s group called “Breakthrough for Men” which provides a safe place for men to work on their personal emotional issues. Losing my father at an important developmental stage in my life has been an issue for me. There have been many issues that I have worked on and achieved resolution with, but every time I work on this one, I cry like the child I was when my dad died. I have come to understand from a visceral level what the instructors at Breakthrough mean by inconsolable.
Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) develops after a terrifying ordeal that involved physical harm or the threat of physical harm.
It is very sad that over a half million U.S. troops deployed since 2001 suffer from PTSD, yet, less than 20% will receive adequate care due to the lack of effective treatment, fear of stigma or insufficient government resources. Left untreated, PTSD places veterans at great risk for violent behavior including alcoholism and drug abuse, depression, anxiety and suicide.
“Operation Warrior Wellness: building resilience and healing the hidden wounds of war” (OWW) is a division of the David Lynch Foundation, a leader in research and education about the many health benefits of TM. According to studies, this simple, easy-to-learn evidence-based approach results in:
- 40-55% reduction in symptoms of PTSD and depression
- 42% decrease in insomnia
- 30% improvement in satisfaction with quality of life
- 25% reduction in plasma cortisol levels
- 47% risk of cardiovascular-related mortality
- Decreased high blood pressure – on par with first-line antihypertensives
(Though PTSD was first brought to public attention in relation to war veterans, it can also result from a variety of traumatic incidents, such as mugging, rape, torture, being kidnapped or held captive, child abuse, car accidents, train wrecks, plane crashes, bombings, or natural disasters such as floods or earthquakes. I can attest to the many health benefits I’ve gained from my TM practice for thirty-eight years, and chronicled my own inner journey in my book, True North-The Shocking Truth about “Yours, Mine and Ours”.)
As we remember those who have given their lives for our freedoms, let us be kind and respectful to those who have returned from war and in are in need of our love and help.
With so many service people returning from Afghanistan and Iraq with physical wounds that will remain with them all their lives as well as suffering from PTSD and related disorders, it is important for all of us to treat them with respect and honor the sacrifices they have made.
Though many of their traumas may be inconsolable, there is help for all. Thousands of veterans and their families are waiting eagerly—often desperately—to gain the very real, practical benefits that come from TM, this simple, stress-reducing, health-promoting technique. Please share this blog with all you know. Please help sponsor a veteran today.