In his latest blog, “Removing the mask of mental – and physical – disease,” Eric Nelson unmasks the belief that only matter can cure matter. He assures us that we’re all capable of finding the spiritual resources needed for healing. Eric’s blog was first published January 31, 2016 on Communities Digital News and has also been posted on the TEDMED Facebook page.
“Give a man a mask,” said Oscar Wilde, “and he will tell you the truth.”
A clever adage, to be sure. But for creative arts therapist Melissa Walker, it’s actually the process of unmasking the invisible wounds of her patients that enables them to discover what’s true – and what’s not – and to experience lasting healing.
“Imagine you are a high ranking military service member deployed to Afghanistan,” said Walker during her talk at last year’s TEDMED conference in Palm Springs. “Incoming mortar rounds are exploding all around you. Struggling to see through the dust and the smoke, you do your best to help those wounded and crawl to a nearby bunker.
“As you regain your vision, you see a bloody face staring back at you. The image is terrifying, but you quickly come to understand it’s not real. This vision continues to visit you multiple times a day and in your sleep. You choose not to tell anyone for fear of losing your job or being seen as weak. You give the vision a name, ‘Bloody Face in Bunker,’ and call it BFIB for short. You keep BFIB locked away in your mind, secretly haunting you for the next seven years.
“Now close your eyes. Can you see BFIB? If you can, you’re beginning to see the face of the invisible wounds of war, commonly known as post traumatic stress disorder.”
The story is compelling, providing Walker’s audience with a glimpse into the complex challenges facing the many servicemen and women she treats. But beyond simply shining a light on this all-too-common condition, Walker went on to explain the remarkable ways in which her patients are confronting and conquering it.