I have to share a link and also some personal experience on working with alternative therapies for those who live with PTSD.
You may or may not now that approximately 2.6 million United States service members were deployed to serve in the military from 2001-2001. My husband falls in that category. And during the period of Operation Enduring Freedom (OEF) and Operation Iraqi Freedom (OIF) research suggests that 10-18% of veterans from those operations return home with PTSD.
PTSD is intense. It can be debilitating. PTSD can cause nightmares that force one to wake up drenched in sweat. PTSD makes one hypervigilant, always aware of surroundings and always “keyed up” for certain events that might seem life threatening.
I see this from time to time, and I get so mad, so annoyed with PTSD (as if it were personified), but I don’t want to give something else to PTSD. I want so desperately to change the narrative surrounding PTSD and mental health that I am interested in alternative therapies.
Many of you know that my husband Sam falls in the statistics mentioned above. He was a little reluctant to admit, or accept the diagnosis of PTSD, but he knew that his life had to change. He was surrounded by things that were constant reminders of war. He was also creative. He tried art therapy. He would draw. He would sculpt. He would take pictures.
Alternative therapies come in many forms: some prefer yoga, some prefer acupuncture, while others may find a creative outlet in painting or writing (and I bet you all know which one I am a fan of).
While there are a lot (and I mean A LOT) of clinical techniques, art therapy is a strong option.
Biannually, Sam puts together an art show titled “Weapons of Mass Creation” that showcases the art of Veterans from all over the US. It is simply amazing and breathtaking to see some of the work that is displayed.
But, did you know that nationally art therapy is ranked as one of the top five most helpful techniques to treat our Veterans with PTSD?
According to an article by Casey Lesser, art is helping veterans with PTSD. I would also add (just my two cents here, but) music, literature, and writing can do the same.
Please take a moment or two to read this article. I think you will be impressed at how these alternatives are working. You might also be impressed with the work that veterans can do in a creative setting.
PTSD has no known cure that I’m aware of. PTSD can be treated in a variety of ways. While medication is a route, some veterans (some, not all) are fearful of the medication and the dependency or fog that it can cause. I think if we had more alternatives like these, we might just take PTSD down a few notches.
Many thanks, Joanna, for the inspiring article.
These photos are from the second Weapons of Mass Creation. The event was held at the Surplus Gallery in Carbondale. I think we could add a cute, furry exhibit with the last photo posted.