Sunday, August 15, 2010
THE DISTANCE FROM YOUR HEART TO YOUR MOUTH
They sat in the shadow of the Center for the Intrepid at Brooke Army Medical Center on a wooden bench. He in his blue plaid pajama bottoms and a tshirt. She in her fur coat.
To anyone passing, it appeared as if they had been best friends for a very long time. The way he looked at her - the rapt attention with which she hung onto his every word. It was evident there was love, commitment, and responsibility to each other, but more importantly a trust - a trust that included true listening and hearing. There was no betrayal, judgment, or lack of acceptance. It was simply a pristine, peaceful place in time for two friends who had met only moments earlier.
Social isolation is a problem with warriors returning from Iraq and/or Afghanistan with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. They tend to avoid people, friendships, social support, and emotional closeness. Which simply exascerbates the on-going issues of loneliness and helplessness and ends up allowing more time to worry. Having the unconditional love of a dog can be, in many situations, an answer. The dog doesn't judge the warrior, nor ask anything of them. It is simply there, providing a basic necessity that all of us yearn for - someone who loves us no matter what. In essense, the dog validates the soldiers and appreciates them. So often they return home a different person from the one who left. How could they not? Many return emotionally numb. This is a common reaction to trauma. It is not deliberate and it is not controlled. It just happens. With a dog positive feelings are rekindled and happier times remembered. It can help the warrior to begin to express feelings once again.
The grueling memories associated with war may last a litetime, but PTSD doesn't have to be a life sentence, if your best friend is beside you.
The distance from your heart to the mouth may take time. But when the person you sit with on a bench loves you unconditionally, doesn't judge you, is paying attention to your every word, and listening intently, this is a very important step in the right direction. Talking to a person, or in this case a dog, that you can completely trust might just possibly hold the key to easing some of our warrior's feelings of hopelessness, fear, anxiety, isolation, and depression.
When it hurts to look back, and you're scared to look ahead, you can look beside you and your best friend will be there.
"Don't walk in front of me, I may not follow. Don't walk behind me, I may not lead. Walk beside me and be my friend."
- Albert Camus
"Everyone hears what you say. Friends listen to what you say. Best friends listen to what you don't say."
PLEASE HELP SUPPORT PENNY'S FROM HEAVEN FOUNDATION, INC. AND ITS
TRAIN A DOG - SAVE A WARRIOR PROGRAM
In this program, shelter dogs will be specially selected, rescued, and obedience trained by our dog trainer for a donation to a warrior with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as a Comfort/Support Dog.
This will make a difference and you can help.
$250.00 will help sponsor our first dog for a very special Marine with severe PTSD AND TWO TBI'S (Traumatic Brain Injuries).
Your donation may be made anonymously if preferred.