Remembrance: The Need to Heal
As a solider's daughter, the ritual of Remembrance Day has always been observed but over time its relevance has taken on new meaning...
The Royal British Legion funds Remembrance and contributes to British soldiers' physical and mental rehabilitation. It is a collective operation involving other agencies and is sorely needed.
In 2013, I joined the Healing Hands Network (HHN) a charity providing complementary therapy to war victims. Originally inspired by the Sarajevo crisis, HHN later branched out into The UK Forces Project deeming UK veterans victims too.
It is a common misbelief soldiers join up purely to fight. In my experience, most soldiers are latent romantics. They hold a genuine desire to help their fellow man. The vast majority of their work involves helping others, frequently while putting themselves in extreme personal danger.
Twice a month I volunteer as a HHN Reflexologist at a Combat Stress Drop-in. Held at various centres, these drop-ins provide an opportunity for veterans to meet and air their problems in a safe environment. Funded by Combat Stress, the support group encourages them to receive holistic treatments from HH therapists who have undergone Mental Health Training. The training is funded but the therapies are not – we work free of charge.
All the veterans I work with suffer from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). They are vulnerable adults often struggling with flashbacks. They travel in on the tube, sometimes panicking en route but are determined to get there if they can. Occasionally, the stress is too great and they miss a month. For men and women trained to be punctual, a 'No Show' is a worrying sign.
Working with veterans is a humbling experience - they are always polite and grateful. On average, they live with their undiagnosed condition for 10-15 years before finally seeking help from their GP. Up until that point, they stoically suffer in silence. Recent extreme combat has seen them breaking earlier.
No wonder they set such store by Remembrance – for them it is not only remembering the sacrifice of life but also of Life, as they once knew it.
Volunteer Reflexologist HHN
If you would like to know more about/donate to The Healing Hands Network or Combat Stress, please see the following links
HHN - http://www.healinghandsnetwork.org.uk/
Combat Stress: http://www.combatstress.org.uk/