Filmmaker David Lynch apart from giving us something of a kaleidoscope of his own fascinating brand of perfumed nightmares, has of late as an activist and philanthropist been able to share another facet of the human mind: the peace than can be found within.
Last Tuesday, June 7th, under the generous auspices of the David Lynch Foundation and Donna Karan’s Urban Zen Center, David Lynch, Donna Karan, Russell Simmons and Dr. Norman Rosenthal celebrated the New York City launch of Operation Warrior Wellness – a non-profit established to teach the stress-reducing and self-recovery technique of Transcendental Meditation to 10,000 veterans afflicted with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. Later that evening, David and Donna also presented “The Resilient Warrior Awardfor 2010” to Captain Jerry Yellin, a decorated World War II fighter pilot, and Master Sergeant Ed Schloeman, distinguished Vietnam Marine veteran, who both serve as national co-chairs of Operation Warrior Wellness.
Post-Traumatic Stress is a somewhat new name for an ancient, all-too-human ailment. As far as veterans go, family histories and literature have long been filled with men who “were never quite the same” after they came back from the war. Introversion, anti-social or self-destructive and violent behavior, alcoholism, night terrors, irritability, insomnia, headaches, flashbacks, hyper-vigilance, anxiety, anger, depression, suicide… Whether it’s a yankee who fought in the Civil War, Buffalo Soldiers liberating Auschwitz, Kurt Vonnegut remembering Dresden, Captain Willard remembering napalm, or David George amongst hundreds of thousands losing it upon his return from Iraq, it’s all the same. It’s the inability to ever live completely outside of that moment when the worse in fact did happen. Fear and anger relentlessly triggered within your brain and eating at your life like a gangrene.
– Over 500,000 U.S. troops deployed to Afghanistan and Iraq since 2001 suffer from PTSD. Only half of them ever seek treatment.
– Forty percent of all homeless people are veterans.
– Health care costs for all veterans with PTSD will be an estimated $6.2 billion biannually.
– This budget will mostly be spent on treatments that fail to yield any significant results.
– Every day in the US, 18 veterans commit suicide.