War is the ultimate failure in dialogue. Violence is never justified against another yet throughout history war has been used as a vehicle of violence against countless billions. War in many cultures is seen as a punishment from above and a sign of sin. The Horseman of War is one of the four riders of the Apocalypse spreading hate, violence and death in many of these cultures. In others, war is attributed to the god of war.
Ultimately war comes from human beings because of greed, envy and hate. It is an absence of reason and a cruel extension of diplomacy by force. With it comes death, loss and suffering at a grand scale. This is especially true for wars that disregard civilian life and human decency. Ironically, war can be justified if for defense and it can also be carried out within a a code of conduct, but rarely does that matter, when even the “just” can fall to blood lust in battle. War has no victors but only those who mourn the loss of life, property and future.
In Ukraine, war has again come to Europe. Loss is everywhere at a traumatic level. The loss is incomprehensible for the victims of the war. The people and soldiers who experience the death and destruction are victims of war’s evil spell. Many experience losses of children, spouses, parents, or pets. Beyond the loss of family, many have lost their entire life savings, as well as future. There is no house to return to due to the bombs, but only ash. Within Ukraine there is also a loss of identity, where the nation itself fights for its very existence.
This type of death mark and traumatic loss will haunt the people of Ukraine for the rest of their lives, well beyond the calendar end of the war. The scars, the trauma, the loss, and the horrendous destruction cannot be forgiven much less forgotten. These poor souls who survive the physical pain will forever be haunted by the emotional and mental pain of this war.
The severe trauma of death imprint is one symptom which will cause a high level of PTSD within the general population. The sound of the bombs and missiles, the rolling of tanks, and the sound of gunfire will haunt civilians and soldiers alike. With no safe haven, these victims will suffer to come to grips with the unprocessed trauma that was witnessed in their own cities. The death imprints of dead in the streets, bodies unburied, and the smell of the dead, will haunt adults and children alike. The pure genocide of a town will imprint itself on the minds of so many. Not only will the loss of loved ones and home be relived, but also the moment itself.
Furthermore, in any mass destruction, there will be a multitude of individuals who suffer from survivor guilt. They will feel guilty they lived and a loved one did not, or they will regret what they did or did not. This will haunt them as they relive the moments of the war. For these civilians, the trauma may be far worst than for a soldier because war should never come to one’s home.
The mere thought of this also terrifies those from afar. Mentally, most of Western Europe is witnessing the grief of refugees, while others witness the carnage on television. This is creating a fear within the general population of earth of a potential great war, where what is occurring will happen throughout the world. The anxiety and fear of a greater war ending in a nuclear holocaust between the West and Russia is awakening anxiety, anger, fear and grief.
This war is only to real not only for those who are suffering from it and fighting in it, but also those witnessing it from afar. Seeing small children die, or civilian homes destroyed from missiles afar all awake a fear to everyone else. Anyone with empathy can feel the pain but also the fear of sharing that experience. Many are experiencing an anticipatory grief with fears of losing loved ones in a major conflict. A once never conceived idea of massive loss and pain is now potentially materializing for many people throughout the world.
This war will no doubt scar a generation. Many will need counseling to deal with trauma, PTSD, and depression. The type of loss and inhumane bombing taking place in Ukraine is not something one simply forgets. It is not a type of loss that can be rationalized. It is unnecessary and shocking. It is an evil with no purpose perpetrating by an evil man. This is the hardest type of loss for individuals to process. The question of why and how? Individuals will never fully understand why their lives have been torn away never to be the same. Their lives are the things of nightmares.
These are the types of losses that war produces. War creates such horrible and unimaginable loss of loved ones and homes and crimes against humanity that the human brain cannot fathom it. The trauma is fragmented and never able to be processed in a healthy way. Instead, the loss haunts and creates this horrible imprint upon those who experience it.
Grief Counselors and licensed counselors and other therapists will need to help individuals process the pain of loss well after the conclusion of this war. This will be no easy task as many will remain depressed and numb to the cruel atrocities this war has created. In addition to treating PTSD and depression, individuals will need treated for a variety of anxiety disorders and substance abuse issues that will result from attempting to escape the pain. Crisis Counselors will have to help individuals find some hope, despite the horrible despair and suicidal ideas that may enter their minds. How does one rebuild from this war? The hopelessness will be very real in these souls and it will take well trained mental health care professionals to help these individuals find hope.
It will also take the rest of the world to give hope through time, prayers and financial donations to help rebuild lives. Buildings can be rebuilt, but for others, loss of limbs, or loss of family cannot. Some will never find the peace despite this aid but will have to learn to cope with the loss of a loved one, son, daughter, sibling, parent or dear friend, even a devout pet.
Please pray for Ukraine and peace in this world.
Please also review AIHCP’s Grief Counseling Certification and see if it meets your academic and professional goals. The program is online and independent study and open to qualified professionals seeking a four year certification in Grief Counseling.