poem, depression, suicide prevention, Mental Health, mental health discussion, hard conversations, stop the stigma, art, PTSD, healing

Art Can Heal PTSD

[trigger warning: talk of war and PTSD]

Melissa Walker shares the powerful story of military members and the horrors they go through while in battle, and the life long consequences this can have on their mental health. She shares the story of many soldiers that after battle develop PTSD. They start to see flashbacks of battles in their sleep, visions during the day, it’s all you can see when you close your eyes. Its haunting but you are scared to tell someone in fear of looking weak. 

She also shares the story of her grandfather who was a Marine in the Korean War. During battle he was shot in the neck, unable to move or cry out he was left to die. As the years went by and his physical wounds healed, the mental impact this had on him left its mark. He rarely spoke of his experiences, shouted things often, isolated, and agitated often. Melissa remembers trying hard not to aggravate him, she knew something was wrong but did not have the proper tools to help him.

She shares the impact PTSD can have on someone and the impacts it has on the brain, it turns out it changes the brain. Shutting down parts important to speech and language and she also touches on the stigma they face. Which can make it hard for them to speak up and get the help they deserve. 

Melissa eventually got her degree and became an art therapist in the nation’s largest military medical centre, Walter Reed. During her work she saw how much impact art therapy can have on people, it allows people who cannot find the words to share what they are feeling, get it out through other means. 

Watch TedTalk here.

Image Credits:
Feature Image: Lance Reis, On Unsplash. Creative Commons.