Psyches Iatreim

This week marks the birthday of two of my favorite writers, Edna St. Vincent Milay (born 2/22/1892) and Anais Nin (born 2/21/1903). I appreciate Milay for her combination of free spirit and dedication to the sonnet as a poetic form. Likewise, I admire Nin’s openness to ambivalence and ability to articulate her experience in her diaries.

I’ve kept a diary for almost ten years. Daily journal writing is not only the foundation of all my writing, but is an essential component of my spiritual practice and my mental health and well-being.

Before I participated in my first creative writing class, I took up writing as part of a treatment plan for PTSD. Each week, my therapist asked me to write down my traumatic experiences. Between appointments I would read what I had written aloud to myself; at our weekly session I read the description to my therapist.

Reading and writing is especially effective for treating PTSD, because memory of traumatic events becomes associated with the deactivation of the speech center in the brain. Through intentionally […]

Journal 7/5th – Public Republic

I am pleased to share the news that a story of mine, Journal 7/5th is up at Public Republic. I wrote this story about PTSD in class with my creative writing teacher, James Baker Hall. Jim passed away a year ago this month. His encouragement and support in that class led me to the decision to become a writer. I am forever grateful for him.

Public Republic started in 2006 in Bulgarian as a forum for citizen journalism. The English version of the online magazine began in 2008 providing English speaking readers the opportunity to actively participate in the creation of topics and discussions.

Journal 7/5th published by Public Republic

I WANT TO BE DEAD. I am not thinking about divorce or mothers crying to God as their sons are taken away or the two guys in my company who were killed driving down a thousand year old street. I am thinking about my life and all the life that surrounds me and flowers and sunshine. I want to be dead. My apartment […]

Fancy Broccoli

Since I’ve been working as a house painter I’ve been able to listen to hours of interesting podcasts daily, everything from lectures on the Brothers Karamazov to fanboys talking about comic books.

Last week while listening to wzen.org I came across a new podcast that is worth sharing. The Fancy Broccoli Show combines music and discussion of prison reform. So far I listened to the Ron Hayes interview from 2007. I was very moved by his story, dedication, and wisdom.

One of the important things Mr. Hayes is working on concerns PTSD among people in US prisons. He talks about the link between PTSD and drug use (aka self-medication). And near the end he reads some of his own poetry.

[…]

interviews with soldiers suffering from PTSD

This week the Australian radio show Street Stories tells the story of soldiers returning from combat with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

No-one knows why a significant number of service men and women develop post-traumatic stress disorder as a result of their experiences of conflict, and others do not. But for these veterans of the Gulf War and East Timor, the impact on their lives has been profound.

The onset of symptoms often means the end of their military career, and their ability to adapt to other employment is limited. Some days, motivation returns — and on others they can barely get out of bed in the morning. They feel isolated and worthless, and it affects every aspect of their lives. Some turn to alcohol to blur the memories, but it doesn’t fix the problem. Relationships are a likely casualty; […]