Feb 3, 2009

Paying It Forward... Repaying a Priceless Debt...


I worked the streets as a Paramedic in the inner-city for almost 8 years. I have been shot at, cut, beaten, cursed at daily... and for that I gained an appreciation of what our service men and women face overseas, fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. My own experience has only been a tiny fraction in comparison to the terrors and violence these brave souls face -- DAILY.

Most regular every day folks don't realize how truly traumatic this war, and past wars, have been on our military personnel. Many come home with pent up emotions, anger, stress, hidden fear, panic attacks, nightmares, chronic and acute depression, suicidal ideations... even worse... violent outbursts and blackouts. This is all from a very real response called POST TRAUMATIC STRESS DISORDER. In some it is very subtle. In others it can be very obvious. Either way, it can be crippling to their daily lives, and damning to marriages and families.

PTSD had not even really been recognized, much less be diagnosed as a very real issue relating to mental health, until after Vietnam. Before then, many families whispered quietly about their older veterans who would panic or freak out when a car backfired or fireworks went off at a holiday celebration. They once called this response "shell shock", and sometimes these older veterans would have very real flashbacks that instantly put them back into a combat scenario, and they would go off on tangents about enemies close by, or run and dive for cover.
Even the everyday person can suffer PTSD from such common causes as near death experiences, surviving rape or incest, surviving a violent attack, surviving domestic or child abuse, etc.

Today's service men and women are given debriefings aimed at reducing the likely hood of this response. I am on the Georgia CISD team that does the same for cops, firemen, and EMS providers. However, many military personnel are in denial about their needs in this field. They think that because they are "Army Strong" or "Proud Marines" that they don't need counseling, or that wanting or needing counseling is a sign of weakness or inferiority. Or even when they recognize the warning signs, they won't reach out... because debriefings and counseling will significantly delay them from going home to their loved ones when their tour is done. I can understand this. The same stigma exists in public safety.

For returning military personnel I will extend my services as an secondary means of stress management. I am in no way advocating the refusal of professional psychiatric services offered by the military.

All returning military personnel (with proper ID and documentation) will receive their first reiki appointment, including a one-on-one consultation and review of medical history - FREE!!! Subsequent sessions will be HALF-OFF.

I am also extending this same benefit to public safety personnel to reduce job stress or manage diagnosed PTSD... AND to the everyday person who has been diagnosed with PTSD.
THIS IS MY OWN WAY OF SAYING "THANK YOU" FOR PUTTING YOU ASS ON THE LINE, EVERY DAY... FOR MY FREEDOM, MY RIGHTS AS AN AMERICAN CITIZEN, AND FOR KEEPING AMERICA A SAFER PLACE TO LIVE.