Healing Invisible Moral Wounds and Injury… “A Fort Worth center takes on some of war’s deepest injuries.”

by | Nov 6, 2013

Please support my mission of helping families who suffer from PTSD and moral injury…order my book, Reconciliation: A Son’s Story.  Click and order paperback or download Kindle version.  Buy my book at Barnes & Noble as well… Thank you! 

Healing moral wounds…  Quote from this website…

“The Soul Repair Center, which Keizer co-directs, does work to help veterans with the injuries they sustain in war. But the hurts are the unseen kind — pain that goes even deeper, perhaps, than closed-head physical wounds or post-traumatic stress disorder. The purpose of the Soul Repair Center is to help veterans and the rest of society recognize and deal with moral injury — the wound that so many veterans of war feel inside for years or decades afterward, from the things they have learned, seen, kept quiet about, or done.”

The Rev. Rita Nakashima Brock focuses on helping people whose actions in war have shaken their deeply held moral beliefs…Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War by Rita Nakashima Brock can be purchased from this website by clicking the book cover…

I am a big fan of Rita Nakashima Brock and Brite Divinity School.  I exchanged books with Rita some months ago.  I consider her book, Soul Repair: Recovering from Moral Injury after War, one of my favorite reads.  It was a big moment in my own journey of healing to understand clearly that the “sense of right and wrong” is a spiritual and innate quality of we humans.  Our “soul” to put it in a more spiritual context keeps our moral compass in balance so that we make better choices on the right side for ourselves and the greater good.  This discussion does not need to be in the context of religion.  Religion is certainly a way to facilitate maintaining a healthy soul, however, human spirituality starts with the way our brain is wired.  Simply stated, we are not wired to kill fellow human beings or even animals for that matter, especially domesticated pets.  I believe after years of observing my own animal friends, that there is a spiritual side of man’s best friends…

When we train our warriors to kill without a second thought we are able to build the strongest fighting forces and technology on the planet, protecting our freedoms for the greater good.  Defending America at home and abroad is a potentially soul damaging business for the warrior as a spiritual being.  But we now know clearly that once our warriors come home the emotional baggage and the war arrives on our front door steps to wreak havoc in life after war.  I am a strong believer that getting one’s soul back should be a top priority even before returning home from the battle field.  Even the military now believes the “suck it up” mindset is not a good bet when soldiers show symptoms of trauma and PTSD while deployed.  We found out long ago that sucking it up at home definitely doesn’t work and tends to exacerbate the symptoms of PTSD, including affecting loved ones and caregivers to the extent that the same symptoms start to appear as secondary PTSD.

The “too terrible to remember 50’s” in my childhood home represents the worse case scenario of ignorance and virtually no treatment for moral injury and PTSD.  We have made much progress since WWII in mental health science and alternative treatment strategies.  But the stigma of mental health challenges is alive and well to this day.  No one wants to be considered “nuts” or “crazy” at anytime or anywhere.  Breaking through the stigma for me has become very healthy and positive.  I believe we can survive and thrive exponentially better if we are aware of the implications of mental health with the same focus and value placed on other matters of physical health.  We pay attention to our diet and we know that keeping a good exercise regimen are both highly beneficial.  But we remain fearful and in denial about mental health for the most part.  Those of us who make the breakthrough to improved mental health wait until we are older, like me, so the risk of talking about it and seeking treatment is minimized.  Younger soldiers and families often shy away from treatment until there is a crisis or life threatening circumstance.  Children are often ignored and suffer in silence while inhaling the pain of their parents who are preoccupied with their own emotional challenges.  Consequently, our kids leave home as young adults carrying the same untreated emotional baggage forward.

We continue to make progress with a strong campaign of awareness with multiple mental health strategies and organization support.  Social media has been especially beneficial in getting the word out.  The challenge of moral injury and PTSD is huge and complex.  We can fix it faster by thinking about how it affects our families, especially children.  Once we understand the damage to our kids, we tend to be far more motivated to seek out treatment.  I worry most about the children affected by traumatic events, including war.  We should all start to worry more about our kids than ourselves.  Just knowing your children are getting hurt by the circumstances of PTSD should be enough to motivate any parent to seek out mental health treatment immediately!

Steve Sparks
Reconciliation: A Son’s Story  click to order…

About the author

Steve Sparks is a retired information technology sales and marketing executive with over 35 years of industry experience, including a Bachelors’ in Management from St. Mary’s College. His creative outlet is as a non-fiction author, writing about his roots as a post-WWII US Navy military child growing up in the 1950s-1960s.
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