We Stand With Ukraine

The cost of human suffering in war is simply beyond beyond.

We are long time advocates for human rights. We have upheld and practiced for 30+ years in person centred supports and allied health therapies. Our research and tireless efforts have sought to uphold human dignity in health care, counselling, and disability services. We have stood with minority populations at every step of our lives, and paid many costs for this commitment. Our work has largely focused on people who live in the margins of society, the LGBTI2S+ community, people with disability, and people with mental health concerns.

Our response to our own disclosure? Well, mate that is just the right thing to do! So get on with it, mate.

In this unusual turn of events we found ourselves writing yesterday morning directly to the offices of the Prime Ministers of Australia and Canada, and the President of the United States.

In our letter we stated how Putin’s history and track record is very well documented. That his leanings into the secret service since childhood led to being trained as an assassin and many commentators see his behaviours of concern as quite beyond sociopathic definitions. His killing of innocent children and mothers, families, and the bombing of homes and apartment buildings, and more recently the UN Ukraine Peace Keeping base in western Ukraine that killed over 35 people, are all testimony at his future war crimes tribunal. These events are not new in his career. His track record over 30+ years is also clear.

Our letter urged Australian, Canadian, and US leaders to do more and step up to Putin directly, to take him down, and to help the Russian people to break down the still robust walls and ethos of the USSR culture that is embodied in Putin’s regime.

The USSR was not really disbanded, it was rebranded in Putin. This core disease of fear-based dominance and abuse of power over the lives of so many millions is the root behavioural cause of untold suffering, aggression, and violence.

If we were to write a behaviour support plan for Putin, we would begin with prescriptions following his being remanded to prison with many years of psychotherapy. The law would constrain his actions for his own protection and for the protection of others.

The west along with the inherent weaknesses of the Russian system since the break up of the USSR is complicit in not dealing with Putin and his kind over the past 30+ years. There were many key opportunities when the west failed, and the past two weeks, if not the past few months, are another glaring example of failure on the part of NATO and the UN.

As well, by not facing the cold harsh reality that by blocking a direct military response to Putin and allowing ourselves to be manipulated by Europe’s dependence on Russian oil and gas, we leave Ukraine and her near neighbours, all of the NATO allies, and rest of the planet in the hands of a madman who is kin to Stalin and Hitler.

The macro and micro psychology of the current situation is not hard to see clearly. We stand with Ukraine, not just for the sake of one country but for the sake of humanity.

Featured Image Credit: Photo by Katie Godowski from Pexels

Postscript

This post was written on the 15 March, and we are now at 23 March.

As we, and our clients, and everyone really, around the world, including our families here and far away, witness the events unfolding in graphic detail… the absurdity and sheer shock of these events does not compare to anything during the lifetime of the X Gen onwards.

We were deeply saddened to hear of the death of survivors of Nazi Germany killed in the bombing by Russian troops. The irony of these events is deeply disturbing, chilling actually. Being of a younger generation, we can only turn to history to comprehend the gravity of the events of March 2022.

The situation highly motivates people to participatory democracy, to do something, and to do anything, to help the war effort. But more so, to help the cause of justice and freedom.

Likewise, the war causes untold direct trauma. And we must not discount or diminish the fact that the events we witness online and on TV impacts people with vicarious trauma.

Crisis Strategies for Self and Behaviour Support

Our clients express signs of sleeplessness, chronic worry, anxiety, increased stress. And this is true for most anyone with a heart and a mind open to humanity. Even more so, for people who are gifted and sensitive which is true for people on the margins, people who are differently-abled.

On the tracks of Covid-19, with its continual chronic cycles, and after all this time, this war adds another layer of trauma and its impacts on our lives must be acknowledged. The strategies for self-care and behaviour support we suggest begin with mindfulness and awareness.

  • First, realise and accept that having reactions is normal.
  • That internalising the events unfolding might motivate to action or drill your brain into powerlessness – and both existential experiences are possible at the same time.
  • While we need to know what is happening, it is also good to monitor and limit time on social media, news, and TV.
  • Frankly, this is hard during crisis. We are prone to overspend time due to anxiety, to check our accounts continually.
  • We all went through this cycle at the first six months of Covid. The war and its fallout is similar, and both threaten people existentially.
  • Life and death throw life into clearer view – we hope. But clarity takes time to emerge after crisis.
  • During crisis, do not make too many big decisions if possible.
  • Life will demand change, but caution yourself on adding to that too much.
  • Pull back, see what is happening, and take your time to chart your path ahead.
  • Time for major life decisions can come later on, when you feel ready.
  • Attend to friends and family with care. Check in with each other.
  • This is a time when mental health generally becomes more tricky.
  • Share how you are going with your mates, and don’t shy away from investing time in each other just for fun or for a cuppa.
  • These small moments make life big.

These are very simply solutions, and while we know that many of the cases we work with are highly complex, often finding within all that complexity a sense of clarity is the key. Finding the simple way ahead that fits best is sometimes the only way we can find to make a go. That best fit does not have to feel great, either. Quite the contrary. Doing what helps us the most is sometimes very difficult, but necessary.

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