PTSD In Combat War Veterans
The Official Secrets act forbids speaking about PTSD in combat veterans in any detail, so I can only speak in general terms about the time I spent in therapy with the veterans.
The main body of therapeutic info we have to work from is the Ruskin & Talbot 1996 studies. Trauma has been labelled the “Soul of Psychiatry” (Van Der Kolk & Mc Farlane 1996) and trauma is said to be that “which alters our experience of reality suddenly and against our will”.
A new construct in stress development has been acknowledged which is late onset trauma and is specific to combat veterans re-living or re-experiencing the earlier life trauma, this is also seen in severe cases of child abuse, road crashes and like the combat veterans most of these do not meet the present clinical threshold for a full diagnosis of PTSD, which many of us feel is unfair.
So many of these war veterans are left in Limbo, they have different traumatic experiences not just the stated loss and guilt, this interferes with interpersonal relations, doing work, their sleep patterns and can actually take control of their whole lives. A recent study in the UK showed many of those living rough were veterans.
The British army would actually punish men and there was a stigma applied to those men with “shell shock, ” part of which could be the withholding of any diagnosis of sickness, and even their army pensions, many of those shot at dawn in W W 1 for cowardice, were not cowards but sick men, the freedom of information act shows the army knew this but hid the fact that men were sick, the real cowards were the officers who knew but stayed silent.
Things have improved especially in the USA but have a long way to go and the current labelling as Combat fatigue and war neurosis still does not acknowledge the needs of the men for recognition and therapy. The psychologist Erikson suggested there is an increased likelihood of awakened trauma in the life review as we age and elderly veterans of Vietnam are experiencing problems in great numbers, The re-emergence of traumatic symptoms seems to peak at the time of the male menopause or Andropause and after, flashbacks particularly when women and children were needlessly killed.
Here In the UK the government ignored marches by millions of people in every English city against a war on Iraq, most people realised that Saddham Hussein had nothing to do with 9/11, he was installed by the USA and there were no WMDs, in fact the people told the soldiers “do not take part in a war on Iraq ” and there was little sympathy for the wounded mentally and physically when they came home, technically the men who took part in the illegal wars on Iraq are war criminals and they know this.
So how do we recognise PTSD from the hand ?
Gesture is very important when the hands are kept close to the body or drawing in toward the body movements, hand wringing gestures or fidgeting can be signature signs.
(1) Thumb kept close to the hand, this is often seen with acute anxiety.
(2) Shorter first or Jupiter finger shows low self esteem which can be a fertile ground for inferiority complex self blame and poor confidence
(3) The third or Apollo finger has always been seen as the emotional finger which is why we have a wedding ring on this finger, this one leans right over to the Saturn finger showing emotional difficulties, when the lean is from its basal axis as this, it tells of deep long term disturbance.
(4) Fragmented headline descending to Luna, indicating depression and confusion. Three endings to the headline is known as the “the sign of the temple” but pointing toward Luna is not a positive signal.
(5) The Mercury finger is the finger of all communications from verbal to physical, and when standing away tells of events which have made the subject feel alone and not part of any close relationships.
Singly these markers may have other meanings but the cocktail effect of them together is unmistakeable.
* Note that the fate or Destiny line, known as the Luck line in our picture example stops at the headline showing an intellectual decision to make a change in the destiny, that this is an ominous sign is echoed by the lack of any Apollo line through the Apollo mount and the poor conductivity of the life line after the approx. time of the Andropause as indicted on the lifeline.
These classic signposts tell us of long term PTSD, some people gain from counselling but for others it just awakens and brings to the conscious mind things they cannot deal with and can make things worse. If you know anyone who you think may have PTSD please treat them with understanding and kindness.
” Every tree, every growing thing as it grows,
says this truth, you harvest what you sow” – Rumi
© T Stokes has seen over 55 years in palmistry during this time has written for 70 magazines worldwide and this is the basis of his new book “50 case histories in modern palmistry” order your copy today.