Disturbing Trend Relative to Soldiers With PTSD
I heard about a disturbing trend today on the radio on my way to work. Soldiers with PTSD being harassed or ostracized by other Soldiers. How can this be?! We have been told, after all, that we are to be “our brother’s keeper.” Relating to this, I offer the following:
“He [the angel] said, ‘It will no longer be said that your name is Yaakov, but rather Israel, for you have contested with both the Divine and with man, and have prevailed.'” [Genesis 32:29]
In each of our lives, there will come a time, or perhaps there has already been a time, or two, where we have had to “struggle with an Angel.” The Angel is representative of any deep-rooted spiritual conflict that we wage with Hashem. It may be that we are conflicted over, for instance:
– Why bad things happen to good people
– Why good things happen to bad people
– Why Hashem does not actively intervene (or so it seems) during events where people are vigorously exercising their evil nature (mass murderers, child abuse, etc.)
– Why death comes to some (it appears to us) too soon
– Why some are stricken with life altering disease, injury or destruction
This struggle may sometimes be so intense within us that it translates to our physicality in such ways to include acts of violence against others, self abuse, or even leading to thoughts of, or actual, suicide.
Through regular study of Torah and through a better (never complete) understanding of the nature of Hashem, we are better equipped to emerge from our spiritual struggles. It is likely that we will not always emerge unscathed, but rather that we may experience some level of emotional scarring here and there: our own “limp.”
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is the “limp” that many of us as Soldiers, Sailors, Airmen and Marines carry as a result of select experiences. But, with large doses of “tincture of time,” Torah study and with the help and support of our Rabbi’s and behavioral specialists, we can endure, overcome and emerge. We will definitely be “changed” as from Jacob (defined: the heel grabber) to Israel (defined: to struggle with G-d): stronger and better equipped to face the uncertainties that the future holds for us. Please do not hesitate to ‘self refer’ to your local Behavior Health Specialists if you believe you
are suffering from PTSD: losing sleep, recurrent disturbing thoughts or dreams, inability to concentrate.
May your “limps” always be small and your struggles few. We love and support you always. From your friends here at “Jews In Green” and www.thejewishsoldier.com