"The truth of war is constantly being submerged. But it’s our responsibility to reach for ways to deeply understand these stories, these veterans, before their moral injuries harden into isolation and despair. “ - David Wood
The truth of war is something that weighs veterans down with awful knowledge that we ourselves have avoided. While much research and education focuses on post-traumatic stress, moral injury is another realm of consequence that veterans and first responders live with.
Moral injury can result from experiences of purposeful violence, witnessing harm to the innocent, tragic mistakes, feelings of not having done enough, witnessing wrong-doing, breaking one’s moral code, having expectations betrayed.
Moral injury cuts deep and can have enduring psychological, spiritual, social and behavioral impacts.
True healing of moral injuries will only come from community. Central to many veterans' recovery is sharing their stories, to experience someone listening without judgment, being present and creating space for these stories to be told. Research has also demonstrated that veterans who feel that they have the public’s support are more prepared for the challenges of reintegrating into society than those members who feel that their sacrifice was not recognized.
We need to do better as a society in understanding what happens to people during war and to honor what they have gone through. Creating space to honor their stories is a vital aspect to healing, not just for them but for all of society. War affects all of us, and its social, behavioral and spiritual impacts are passed down through generations.
Here are some books to help us understand Moral Injury:
-What Have We Done: the Moral Injury of our Longest Wars by David Wood (Pulitzer prize winning journalist)
-Recovering from Moral Injury by Kent Drescher, Katerine Juhasz and Robyn D. Walser
-Adaptive Disclosure: A New Treatment for Military Trauma, Loss, and Moral Injury by Brett Litz,
I also did a podcast episode on this (Season 2, Episode 12).
In that episode I cover how:
- forgiveness and flexibility help us activate highly sophisticated and evolved neural mechanisms
- the mechanism of morality improves energy efficiency and resilience of a system
- brain activations are different in trauma compared with moral injury
- the human species is an interconnected network of nodes that requires social signaling for trust and cooperation
warriorsheartfoundation.com (IG @warriorsheartfoundation) helps veterans on their journey. They integrate many different healing modalities, including cutting edge neurotechnology. There is a fundraiser on November 25 to help with their mission.
The heart of a warrior never gives up their vision of freedom
from what binds us and holds us back from our highest potential
With Love From Me to You
#healing #invisiblewounds #warriorsheart #resilience