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Combating Post-Traumatic Stress: Coming back ''home''

Enlightenment - The Transcendental Meditation Magazine    Translate This Article
21 December 2011

Although Iraq war veteran David George had mostly healed from the physical wounds of combat when he was discharged in 2005, months after returning home he began to recognize the devastating impact of the trauma of war on his health and well-being. Here he describes how through his practice of the Transcendental Meditation Programme his feelings of constant anxiety disappeared and he became a more caring, helpful, and creative person:

I was injured in an attack that harmed me not only physically, but mentally as well. The car-bomb attack on my small compound that left a hole only a few feet deep in the road left a gaping hole in who I was. It was towards the end of my time spent in Iraq, so I didn't know the event had affected me until long after I returned home. I was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) several months after returning to the States and was given medications to deal with it, but they made me feel not like myself, so I never took them for long.

Returning to civilian life

My civilian life after the military was what it was supposed to be. The ''Army Man'' was back in town and he was trying to pick up the life he left behind. . . . I got my dream sports car and started working and going to school full-time. . . .

I realized after a couple years that something was missing still. After getting out of the military and trying to be the ''perfect citizen'' something happened. I snapped and officially recognized that something was wrong with the way I was functioning. I threw away everything I had worked so hard to achieve up to this point and began to withdraw myself from life. I began abusing substances and drinking to try to control my PTSD.

I went back and forth to the Veterans Administration (V.A.) to try to get help, but all they wanted to give me were the mind-numbing medications they prescribed while I was in the army. The kind of medications they would give me would rob me of my creativity and, in essence, of who I was. For example, I stopped playing my guitar, writing poetry, writing standup comedy, and experiencing the simple pleasures of life. This went on for almost three years, with occasional glimmers of hope. During one such glimmer, I was attending community college.

The road back: Healing from within

One day during my drive between the Montgomery County College campuses, I heard an ad on the radio that said: ''Capitol Clinical Researchers and Associates are looking for OIF/OEF veterans with PTSD to partake in a research study that looks at the effects of the Transcendental Meditation program on PTSD.''

I was IN! I had a friend whose whole family meditated. They had told me about the TM program years ago, and they are the reason I am getting my Bachelors in Media and Communications here at Maharishi University of Management (MUM) in Fairfield, Iowa. [I learned] how to meditate on April 20, 2009.

A fresh start

The first time I meditated I experienced this relief from the constant anxiety attack my life had become. When I meditated, it stopped. I just felt completely relaxed for the first time in five years. . . .

Global Good News will feature Part 2 of David George's story.

© Copyright 2012 Maharishi Foundation USA

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