by Britta Reque-Dragicevic
This first appeared in Britta’s blog, “Life After War” on May 28, 2012, and is republished with the author’s permission.
War hurts the human spirit. That’s why you can be physically whole and unharmed and still feel pain over your experience. Or you may simply feel that something just isn’t right. You can’t quite pinpoint it. And you may tell yourself that you’ve come away (gratefully) unscathed.
But you haven’t.
War – no matter how deeply or distantly you are involved – has an impact on the human spirit. And it should. We weren’t made for war. We train for it, but we weren’t made for it.
You can honor your inner warrior and be proud of your service and still embrace the concept that the human spirit wasn’t made for war.
And you should.
One thing I see is that warriors are trained to excel at fighting, trained to tap into inner reserves, to push farther, to keep going, to win. But they aren’t trained to put that same sense of preparation and empowerment into mending and healing their spirit wounds afterward.
That’s because no one really teaches you that part of war. The life after. How to survive after war as well as you were equipped to survive during war.
You need to remember that while you may feel as if you’re in unfamiliar territory, the key to your return to feeling whole lies within you.
You have the power to heal. You have the power to face the dark places within and choose to walk toward new meaning, new purpose, new wholeness. No, it doesn’t mean that you’ll return to who you were before war. That’s not possible. But you can move forward.
If you’re not a warrior, but are on the warrior’s team of loved ones, you also need to know that there is hope. It’s dark, it’s scary, it’s not where you ever thought you’d end up, but don’t let anyone tell you there’s no hope.
Be as strong in your fight to recover as you were in your fight to survive on the battlefield and the homefront.
You can do this. You’re not alone.
As the Voice of the Veteran Community, The Havok Journal seeks to publish a variety of perspectives on a number of sensitive subjects. Unless specifically noted otherwise, nothing we publish is an official point of view of The Havok Journal or any part of the U.S. government.