The psychological trauma of war - we must help!

The psychological trauma of war - we must help!

The psychological trauma of war

War is the worst thing that can happen in the life of any person, because war destroys not only houses and entire cities, but also causes irreparable emotional damage to the human psyche. The loss of loved ones, everyday death and devastation around, which becomes a terrible reality, but for someone something familiar, when emotions freeze in a stupor from what they see. Bombings, loss of home and property, a feeling of defenselessness against a brute destructive force and uncertainty in life – all this can not only mentally traumatize a person, but also literally kill in him the desire to live and fight for himself and his future, the future of loved ones and dear people, the future of the country.

Thousands of dead and millions of refugees are the realities of a ruthless war unleashed by Russian dictator Putin against Ukraine.

Is it possible to “reborn from the ashes” having lost the life supports and everything for which a person lived until recently, finding in this his life meanings and values? It is much easier to rebuild cities and infrastructure, raise the post-war economy and revive the state, than to return from the war the people "who remained there to live forever" – in their traumatized mind.

Ukraine is still in the hot phase of the war

More than one year have passed since the Russian aggression, and someone is still frozen on February 24 from the stress and shock of the beginning of the war and the collapse of a peaceful and happy life. Then there were the atrocities of the Russians and the massacres of civilians in Bucha and Irpin, Mariupol and other cities of Ukraine. And again, millions of Ukrainians are shocked and stupor from the monstrous and ruthless crimes committed by the Russian military.

People try to get away from such experiences and plunge headlong into work, some into volunteering, helping other people, so as not to feel guilty for any reason and the bitterness of mental suffering. Anger, hatred and many different emotions towards enemies can be experienced by Ukrainians, the desire for retribution and victory, justice and God's punishment for Russian murderers and barbarians who attacked a peaceful country can be especially strong. The most dangerous thing in such a situation is to feel universal helplessness and feelings of hopelessness. In psychology, there is even such a term – “learned helplessness”. War is an alternative reality and society is already facing serious psychological problems.

After all, most people do not adapt well to the realities of war and switch from their usual way of life to survival mode. Survival is not a calm or harmonious, peaceful life of security and comfort, it is a life of stress, anxiety and uncertainty. For many people with this syndrome, everything becomes meaningless and life ceases to have any meaning. Contact is lost both with oneself and with life in general. A lot of people start to suffer from panic attacks or become depressed. All these are signs of survival, but not an active and fulfilling life. 

We need to stop surviving and start living!

But how to do this in a war, when you are emotionally burnt out and give up, where and how to find these resources for a full life, what thoughts, emotional experience or effective attitudes can help in such a state?

To solve such problems, it is better to contact a psychologist or psychotherapist for professional help. After the end of the war, the post-war syndrome will haunt the victims of the war, including veterans and military personnel, for a long time to come. We will have to undergo socio-psychological rehabilitation, build centers to help victims of the war and conduct psychotherapy sessions with them in order to re-teach them a happy, fulfilling and fulfilling life, return joy and meaning – to restore the quality of life through therapy for mental trauma. But right now we need to act.

War is an alternative reality and society is already facing serious psychological problems, and both the state and volunteer organizations need to respond to these challenges in a timely manner. The entire progressive world must extend a helping hand to the victims of the war. After all, millions of separated families are already suffering from all the horror that Putin's Russia brought with it, with a psychopathic dictator at the helm of this totalitarian country. Ukrainians need not only to survive, but also to win, and the contribution of our Western partners and Western society is invaluable at such a difficult moment for a people who not only defend European values ​​and their right to life, but also prevent the Russian barbarian horde from conquering and occupying European states.

A few tips for war victims to adapt to reality:

It is important to get rid of guilt or thinking that you are doing something wrong; that someone died, and you remained to live; that you are not doing enough to defeat the enemy; that you are weak or insecure. This is a war, and everyone experiences it in their own way, depending on perception, the type of nervous system and stress tolerance. It is also impossible to feel guilty about the past, because the past cannot be changed, it must be accepted as an experience and live on.

Worrying about the future is no less dangerous. We do not know what this future will be like, and there is no point in wasting energy on these experiences and worries, because perhaps the future will not be the same as our imagination draws it to us. It is important to focus on the present and get involved in the process of life, not to put off life for later, regardless of the war. After all, even war is a part of our life, unfortunately not the best, but you need to survive it with dignity. We all saw footage from the Kyiv metro, when every day babies were born right in the bomb shelter. These babies couldn't wait for the war to end to be born. Here is a clear example that life is active and dynamic in any of its manifestations, and what does not kill us makes us stronger, as Nietzsche said. I saw how military couples in uniform, to the applause of their brothers, get married right at the front and this is also part of life and this young couple is truly happy. My friend and colleague got married a month ago for the third time in his life, and when I saw his shining eyes, I realized that there are no barriers to love, and even war cannot break this powerful energy of life. Millions of women have become refugees and are in different European countries or moved inland, where there is no fighting. Yes, they suffer and miss their husbands and lovers, but at the same time they are responsible for their children, they are important and needed now more than ever to enable small human creatures to feel love, care and security.

When the soul screams and hurts, you don’t need to run away from it into an illusion, you need to recognize this pain, and if you have the strength, face this pain, no matter how terrible it is, recognize it in order to move on. Of course, this process is ideally lived together with a psychotherapist or psychologist.

The famous American psychologist and psychotherapist Viktor Frankl, sitting in a German concentration camp, noticed that Faith is one of the strongest means that gives a person the strength to endure the most difficult trials and not break. After all, when you stop believing - in yourself, in life, in God, in a better future – you are already psychologically broken and wilted, and then the functions of the body stop fighting, understanding this state as an order – “surrender”. Never give up my friends, there is always a chance to break through to victory, you just need to survive. The strong will win!

We do not choose the nightmares and horrors of war, we do not create such a reality for ourselves, but we are able to cope with these challenges and take responsibility for our children and parents. We ourselves decide how to respond to the events around us – accept the challenge or give up. The world would not have survived if there was no compassion and empathy in the world, if the world was driven only by selfishness and a thirst for power, money. Humans begins with love and compassion, not with war and murder. Our society is traumatized by a protracted war and I will not mislead you. Sometimes the traumas of war remain for the rest of your life, but healing is always associated with love for life.