Wednesday, October 09, 2019

Early Grim

In going through the old posts I found that I had commented about PTSD in response to something written by Grim over at Blackfive in 2007, long before I started visiting his site. I didn't know about his site until Texan99 had commented here a few times, at which point I clicked through and found out what blog she wrote for.  That may have been around 2011.


Grim said...

There are now several Veteran-focused equine therapy organizations. B5 helped set up one of the earliest ones, Heroes & Horses.

Grim said...

That post at B5 was written at a time when we were all trying to normalize the idea that it was ok to talk about stuff like that. Military culture sometimes can stigmatize showing pain or weakness, which can prevent people from talking when they need to talk. The friend I mentioned in that post who was hit by a mortar is retired now, but he still has issues from TBI. I don’t know if he has lingering PTSD. They’re hard to tell apart.

Telling stories at various levels of severity can help it seem like a common problem we are all struggling with, normal and not shameful. The other day I read about a Sergeant Major who made regularly scheduled visits to the psych doctor, at which he talked about golf or whatever. After a while the doc asked him if he wanted to discuss any life issues; he said no, he felt fine, but he wanted everyone in the unit to know that it was ok to go talk to the doc. Maybe it helps. But the horse thing, that definitely helps.

Assistant Village Idiot said...

Equine therapies are also used for some types of special needs children. Indo-Europeans are descended from horse-people. I wonder if that is part of a gift horses have long given us, under the radar, and if it is also true of peoples without a long horse heritage, such as New World and African peoples.

I think that a lot of WWII and Korean vets telling stories late in their lives about memories that had haunted them, often unknown to even their closest friends and relatives, helped solidify the acceptance that the Vietnam vets had been groundbreaking on. CS Lewis, on the eve of WWII, mentioned in a letter that he still had nightmares from time to time about WWI. But he didn't speak about it otherwise, to my knowledge.

There are other things, like hypervigilance, scanning the horizon, or expecting top performance from others at all times that are simply common upon return, but gradually recede. That makes complete sense. You can get stuck in the "on" position in any number of professions, but it gradually recedes as it is no longer needed.

RichardJohnson said...

Equine therapies are also used for some types of special needs children.

For example, read The Horse Boy: A Father's Quest to Heal His Son.
When his son Rowan was diagnosed with autism, Rupert Isaacson was devastated, afraid he might never be able to communicate with his child. But when Isaacson, a lifelong horseman, rode their neighbor's horse with Rowan, Rowan improved immeasurably. He was struck with a crazy idea: why not take Rowan to Mongolia, the one place in the world where horses and shamanic healing intersected?

THE HORSE BOY is the dramatic and heartwarming story of that impossible adventure. In Mongolia, the family found undreamed of landscapes and people, unbearable setbacks, and advances beyond their wildest dreams. This is a deeply moving, truly one-of-a-kind story--of a family willing to go to the ends of the earth to help their son, and of a boy learning to connect with the world for the first time.

When I discussed this book with a relative who has owned horses for 50+ years, she replied that when a special needs class visited her place-due to all the animals-an autistic boy formed an immediate attachment with one of her horses. When she told the school system honchos that the autistic boy had an open invitation to spend time with her horses, the indifferent bureaucratic reaction did not please my relative.