It was too late to turn back, however, and I was already committed to helping themget out of the painful place they w
ere in at the moment. I’m so glad I didn’t let the
trepidation get to me, because it ended up being an incredibly fascinating andenlightening experience.Each practitioner was assigned 3-5 Vets, or their family members, as our primaryresponsibilities. However, we all rotated our sessions so that we ended up workingwith all of the Vets, not just our own assignees. On the first morning thepractitioners measured
intensity levels, from 10 to 1, on each of theirsymptoms (with 10 being highly charged or painful.) We then tapped with ourassigned Vets, individually or in small groups, as well as with Vets not assigned tous. We did this for 8-9 hours a day, while being videoed. It was pretty intense.
Shared Anger and Betrayal
There were several commonalities that I startednoticing about these Vets as we began working withthem the first day. Even though they had never meteach other before, they had much more in commonthan their service to our country.One of the many things the Vets had in common was their array of negativeemotions. We witnessed a spectrum of anxiety, stress, frustration, resentment, guilt,shame and fear. The most commonly held feelings, however, seemed to be
anger and betrayal
.Their anger, directed at different events, people or injustices, was deep andintense. It reflected the raw emotion that I had felt the first night and found so scary.As we worked with the Vets over the next few days, we heard many of the justifications for why they were so mad at the world. Most of their stories, however,were too horrific or personal to repeat.Many were experiencing common symptoms, such as sleep disorders, nightmares,night sweats, headaches, restlessness, depression, migraines or tinnitus (ringing inthe ears.) Some were paranoid about protecting themselves or feared trustingothers and therefore carried weapons with them. Many had alcohol or othersubstance abuse problems while, not surprisingly, many were afraid of heights orloud noises.
Perhaps it wasn’t unexpected that many of the Vets experienced the sameemotions or disorders, given their exposure to violent or traumatic events. That’s to