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Pre-Return to ‘Normal’ Debriefing

“I think maybe we should talk about what happened back there.”

-PFC Wheat :Ramadi, Iraq: 03/16/2007

Psychological debriefing is an important resource in the wake of trauma.  Before we rush back into the din of ‘ordinary’ life, I am reminded of the consequences of unhealed wounds by the famous words of a Confederate soldier’s war diary:

“We are willing to forget and forgive those who have wronged and falsified us. We look up above and beyond all these petty groveling things and shake hands and forget the past. And while my imagination is like the weaver’s shuttle, playing backward and forward through these two decades of time, I ask myself, Are these things real? did they happen? are they being enacted today? or are they the fancies of
the imagination in forgetful reverie?

Is it true that I have seen all these things? that they are real incidents in my life’s history? Did I see those brave and noble countrymen of mine laid low in death and weltering in their blood? Did I see our country laid waste and in ruins?

Did I see soldiers marching, the earth trembling and jarring beneath their measured tread? Did I see the ruins of smouldering cities and deserted homes? Did I see my comrades buried and see the violet and wild flowers bloom over their graves? Did I see the flag of my country, that I had followed so long, furled to be no more unfurled forever

Surely they are but the vagaries of mine own imagination. Surely my
fancies are running wild tonight. But, hush! I now hear the approach of
battle.”

“Co. Aytch” Sam R. Watkins

My legal advice: talk to someone who listens to you, and do it before the scarring begins.