Many of the clients we work with are military, current and retired. Often, when they share their stories of war they will break down and cry because of the horrible situations they were forced to participate in or die. I assure them that they are not responsible for the decisions others make to enter into a war that the soldiers are subjected to. These are good men and women who want to protect and serve those they love. They are not seeking out to harm others, but in self-defense they must.
The photo shows how anger is the acceptable emotion for everything unacceptable that lies unseen below the surface. Any one of the emotions (and many others not included) begin to bubble and gurgle up to the surface and explode in aggression, rage, and sometimes even result in verbal and physical abuse. Just about anything can trigger this chain reaction because the triggers are seldom connected with the underlying emotions and anger is the only visible emotion. Sometimes, the picture is turned upside down and Anger is the emotion that is stuffed. This creates depression as the individual feels all the mixed emotions combined as one feeling. It's like they are sitting in a stew of emotions and can't figure out which one is causing their depression. It's not just one emotion, it is all. In therapy, I help them separate out the emotions and deal with them head-on one at a time. Once the emotions have been resolved and the causes identified, anger diminishes, and depression subsides.
A while back, I read a powerful poem offered by a retired marine who wrote about his experience in war. It was so touching I asked him if I could share his poem with others. It seems fitting that at a time when the world seems to be at war, we must honor those who fight in the battle and ultimately, welcome them home.
Soldier boy, I see that you're hurting in disguise,
Showing no pain, but I see it in your eyes.
I know the pain that runs deep, and you feel it every day.
I see the fear in your eyes that never goes away.
You're a hero to your country, and it's time for us to show
That what you did just saved a life; our pride you'll never know.
Living your life fighting in a war zone,
Hearing the bombs and the echoes of the drone,
Being someone who gives and never takes,
Letting bullets fly close to you, but never will you shake.
You're a light up in the sky, a star shining bright.
Take center stage, my hero, because tonight it's your night.
What made you want to be someone who keeps the world alive?
How did you gain the strength to never take the dive?
You live your life with laughter in such a scary place,
But never giving in; your smile is built from faith.
When the starling sings in the morning you know that you're still here.
Come home, my boy. Come home to the land where you will feel no fear.