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Tuesday, December 15, 2015

David Brooks, "The Year of Unearthed Memories": PTSD for Dummies

My guess is that David Brooks never served in the military and certainly not in a combat unit. I would also observe that for some of us, trauma, e.g., seeing the face of a friend burned beyond recognition and bodies laid out in neat rows, extends beyond the theoretical.

In his latest New York Times op-ed entitled "The Year of Unearthed Memories," Brooks begins:

"Childhood fears and adult traumas are stored differently in the brain than happy memories. They are buried like porous capsules deep in the primitive regions, below awareness and beyond easy reach of conscious thinking and talking. They are buried so deep that they are separated from the normal flow of life, and so time cannot work its natural healing powers."

Adult traumas are "beyond easy reach of conscious thinking and talking"? Not for me. Mine - in the plural - have a nasty habit of welling up when I am not happily distracted by work and family, and time has not worked its "natural healing powers."

Brooks concludes:

"Even after a tough year, we are born into a story that has a happy ending. Wrongs can be recognized, memories unearthed, old hurts recognized and put into context. What’s the point of doing this unless you’re fueled by hope and comforted by grace?"

"Fueled by hope"? In my case, yes. "Comforted by grace"? Grace? Does anyone have her cell number? I would be delighted to meet her.

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