Giving Veterans What They Need the Most: Healing Trauma
Click play to see Melvin Brown’s journey from substance abuse and insomnia to learning the Transcendental Meditation technique and finding peace.
Melvin Brown is one of 2.5 million veterans of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, and one of an estimated 500,000 with PTSD. With a family to stick by his side, you could say he’s one of the lucky ones, but what about his family? His son, Douglas, recalls, “He would always be upset; a lot of negative emotions. He would put the blame on myself, my brother, my sister, my mom. That was just how he was. He was a drill sergeant in the military and he would bring that drill sergeant home.”
“I started having nightmares and had no idea it was going to turn into the terrible thing it turned into,” says Melvin. To mask his pain, Melvin turned to alcohol and prescription drugs, but none of it helped. “I woke up one day as an alcoholic, out of control, and I was looking for anything that would help me cope. I thought, if it gets any worse than what it is right now, I am going to lose it.”
On his 48th birthday, Melvin learned Transcendental Meditation, and it changed his life. ”I’ve slept through the night every night since, after my first meditation. It was just phenomenal. Within 90 days, I was off the anxiety pills, the anti-depressants, the pain medication, everything I was prescribed to fight the PTSD symptoms. My stress levels reduced.”
Melvin’s family relationships transformed for the better. His son explains, “a couple years ago, we were butting heads a lot. And now today, we can talk easily. I don’t feel uncomfortable around him. I can trust him; that’s the big one. He’s totally different.”
Melvin is now completing his bachelor’s degree in business and is a high school teacher. ”I’m more content than I’ve ever been, more in love with my life, my wife, my kids, my job, with my circumstances. Everything is better,” he says with a twinkle in his eyes.
Melvin Brown was offered the Transcendental Meditation technique through the David Lynch Foundation’s Operation Warrior Wellness Program. Initial studies on the TM technique and PTSD have shown 40–55% reduction in symptoms of PTSD and depression; 42% decrease in insomnia; 30% improvement in satisfaction with quality of life, and more. Did you know you can sponsor a veteran to learn the TM technique?
Transcendental Meditation is a simple, natural, effortless technique practiced 20 minutes twice each day while sitting comfortably with the eyes closed. It is easy to learn and enjoyable to practice, and is not a religion, philosophy, or lifestyle. Over six million people have learned it — people of all ages, cultures, and religions — and over 380 published research studies have found that the TM technique markedly reduces stress, anxiety, fatigue, and promotes balanced functioning of mind and body.
How You Can Help:
Transcendental Meditation gives veterans such as Melvin a space to repair the mind and rest the body. During their 20 minutes, their trauma has time to melt away. On this Veterans Day, 2015, we wish to continue giving this gift to as many veterans as possible. To help support this effort, please click here. Thank you.
About the Author
Rose Hoffmann is the Social Media Director for TM.org, the official website for the Transcendental Meditation technique. Raised in a family that practiced TM together, she is happy to apply the skills she acquired from her B.A. in Business to promoting awareness about the technique.