Treating PTSD with Transcendental Meditation
"Training from the Inside"
Marines stationed at a Warrior Transition Battalion on the West Coast have been practicing the Transcendental Meditation technique to find relief from the sleepless nights, flashbacks, mood disturbance, and interpersonal challenges that so often accompany a PTSD diagnosis.
Sgt. James Thrasher, USMC, a participant in the program, struggles with both mental and physical wounds. “I deal with pain every day. I have nerve problems in my leg and the PTSD that the doctors diagnosed me with... functioning becomes impossible, lack of sleep, your work ethic sucks, you can't focus at work, you can't do anything, everybody pisses you off... it's different for everybody. Memories saturate your mind... for me every day is a constant reminder -- you relive the same crap over and over and over.” he says.
“I myself have been deployed eight times and been to combat four times. I was diagnosed with PTSD, depression, insomnia. We fight through whatever problems we have, we suck it up, and I did that for many many years. The trauma that I've seen the situations that I've been through... you take all of that stuff and you put it in a bag and we keep filling up our bag with all these problems rather than dealing with them.” - GySgt Richard Wilson, USMC
TRAINING FROM THE INSIDE
Treating PTSD with Transcendental Meditation
“What peaked my interest in Transcendental Meditation was all the research that's been done and how incredibly effective it is for trauma, stress... the evidence now is that in combat stress the trauma actually changes the brain so that the ability to self regulate isn't there. Meditation helps with information processing, helps with self regulation. Here we have another tool that is fabulous and they can do for themselves.” - Anna Benson, PhD, Clinical Psychologist
After learning to meditate, Sgt. Thrasher found immediate relief: “I was interested in the Transcendental Meditation program but I was skeptical at the same time. The power of the TM meditation... it really came out fast and it was surprising to me. Having that inner peace after meditation really really emboldened me to deal with things that I'd been just kind of stuffing away, so to be able to have relief from agitation, have relief from anger, frustration, sleeplessness, alcoholism, drug addiction... That's huge.”
relief from agitation, have relief from anger, frustration, sleeplessness, alcoholism, drug addiction... That's huge
“After performing the TM, I am able to make better judgments. I do find myself opening up more, and find more of a balance in a lot of things I do with my relationships. There was a more profound relaxation state while I was doing the TM. I found myself not being on such a high alert, not so agitated with things around me. It does help me to find more peace and happiness. My family, my friends and some coworkers have noticed a huge change in my personality, and basically that I am happier and more at ease, more of a wellbeing.”
The powerful impact of the technique on veterans and service personnel has drawn increasing support from military leaders. Lt.Col. Paul Swanson, USMC (Ret.), who serves as an Advisor for Wounded Warrior Affairs, says, “Meditation and, specifically, Transcendental Meditation has a role with wounded Servicemen and women, because whatever stuff is happening in your life, on the surface of your life. You get under all that noise, and all the storms and all the clouds, and you find that peaceful place that is “the you” within the you. That is what you tap into.”
“Resilience, that’s a word that the military is very interested in now. And some of the research that’s being done is: could we prevent some of this from happening by giving them this resilient tool before they deploy, before they get into this dramatic situations.”
“They don’t teach you how to deal with trauma, they don’t teach you how to deal with watching people dying, and I think the meditation will help quiet the mind, and to be more effective in combat, in life, and train from the inside out.”
Since 2005 the David Lynch Foundation has shared Transcendental Meditation with our most stressed populations. The David Lynch Foundation runs entirely on donations and there is a long list of veterans and sufferers of post-traumatic stress eager to participate. “Change begins within”. Please help our veterans receive the gift of meditation through making a donation to Operation Warrior Wellness. For more information on the David Lynch Foundation's Operation Warrior Wellness program please visit http://operationwarriorwellness.org/