Hi Cathy, my name is Rich. I am a fifty three year old male.
My Aunt Jane wrote the question you answered. Jane has a PHd in psychology and is a skilled and long practising psychologist, but her practice is now more about the elderly and women. Jane knows that she is not the one to treat our friend. Lets call him Dragon.
But it was not a specious question. The situation for a friend of ours is almost exactly as Jane describes. We 3 had dinner last night, in fact.
Dragon is 39 years old. A long, tall fellow, intelligent and interesting as a person. Open as a personality. A good companion. I have managed to confirm enough of the particulars to have some confidence in the stories he has told me.
Dragon and I know each other as we were once quite homeless together, and suffered a very difficult half year simply struggling to stay unsick, warm, fed, etc. Both of us would struggle to survive and find even a twenty minutes to converse of play half a game of chess, using whatever we could make of find for chess pieces. When he met me, his relief at finding someone that even knew where the former Yougoslavia was, and something of its history and so forth was palpable. Homeless camps in Georgia have few companions for one such as Dragon.
I like this man. He is no saint, but he has many good qualities. Generally gentle with others, loyal to his friends. Intelligent, sensitive. He has a temper, but its not so easily provoked, generally, he is a bit of a peacemaker. He gives warning to those that provoke him, and the wise desist, for he is formidalbe past a certain point, and recklessly willing to violence.
One learns a great deal about a person suffering in such close "quarters", and in such a crucible. We (jane and I) like him, so we would help him if we could.
Born of a Serbian mother and a Bosnian father, both still alive and married, Dragon was always a bit of hell on wheels, and probably a young alchoholic even before the Bosnian Serbian war of the 1990's. Just before the war, he married and had a daughter, whom he does not know well; but grew up with Dragon's mother and father.
Shortly after this union he chose the Bosnian side and was a soldier. You may remember that the Clinton administration did
do some bombing near the end of this conflict, to support the Bosnian forces, which were inferior to the Serbian ones.
"Dragon" is a Serbian name, which occasionally gave him trouble as the conflict came to his city (Sarajevo) he ended up a soldier on the Bosnian side. Intelligent, with a powerful constitution and personality, he rose to the rank of what we would call a platoon sergeant. The war ended for him after his platoon encountered Serbian forces and the fighting at first was so close some of it was hand to hand in the trenches. Dragon's arms have foot long scars from bayonet wounds, some well stitched, and one that I can see the stitches tore out. Shot and stabbed also.
So after the initial surprise encounter, the Bonians retreated up the hilltop, more immediately defensible but unteneble in the long term. Subsequently they were encircled on a hilltop, and of course the Sebian forces bombarded this platoon for days with a terrific and constant artillery barrage; killing most of the platoon a few at a time. This would be the 'normal' tactic.
When the five day barrage subsides, you know that the regular ground forces are on their way in to "mop up" whomever is left. By this time the platoon is down to 21 men, and a heated argument takes place, surrender, or fight to the death. At times like this, death by battle can seem like the way to go, just to get it over with. i doubt many can imagine the exhaustion, confusion, and free flowing emotions of such a situation. Dining on rats and wiping your splattered friends off your clothes and the unceasing noise and concussion for half a week is almost unimaginable unless one has special knowledge.
Dragon argued for surrender, and that viewpoint prevailed. They surrendered. Three months later the war sort of ended. Four more months after that, the Red Cross secured the release of the prisoners from their prison camp.
Dragon has spent the last thirteen years in America. He has a green card and could still gain citizenship, possibly, in five years, if he makes not more mistakes with the law. Arrested many times, (15) jailed once or twice. Courts have been oddly leniant with him, and if he avoids screwing up his probation, he may retain a sealed "first offender" status.
My own opinion is he needs a psychologist, that is male, a combat veteran, (not merely a veteran) that can find a way to fund his treatment, residential if possible.
I know this is a tall order. Recently I lent him a copy of Victor Frankel's "Man's search for Meaning", which he was prepared to dismiss as another weel meaning gesture by a friend until he read the intro and saw that Frankel was an Auschwitz survivor and a psychiatrist. Dragon then muttered that he had not suffered like that, and that he was reasonably well treated as a prisoner, only a few beatings...and it was only seven months.
As you probably know, Frankel's book introduces "logotherapy" which in a nutshell says that a man must have something larger than himslef to live for, in order to ...transcend an event like this with a whole, healthy, soul. But it was Frankel's Auschwitz experience that he respected at first. I think none except those that have had similar suffering could gain his respect.
My instinct is that approaching him with another lame drug treatment program is a loser. We live in northwest Atlanta area, and there are not really good places for him, as he is neither Christian, nor USA vet, and the programs around here are less sophisticated than many.
Again, My own opinion is he needs a psychologist, that is male, a combat veteran, (not merely a veteran) that can find a way to fund his treatment, residential if possible. The VA is good at this kind of thing, and would have such a man, but not being a US veteran, I don't know how to access the person he needs. I am only a layman, and so don't even have much confidence in my assessment.
So we ask the group mind if you all have something to suggest..and send our thanks to Cathy.