Are you searching for your soul? Then come out of your own prison. Leave the little stream and join the river that flows to the ocean. Like an ox, don’t pull the wheel of this world on your back. Take off the burden. Whirl and circle. Rise above the wheel of the world. There is another view.” — Rumi
Over 20 years ago, Dr. Shay, then a medical researcher studying the biochemistry of brain-cell death, suffered a stroke. During his recovery, he moved from research into clinical work, taking a temporary job substituting for a vacationing psychiatrist at a Department of Veteran Affairs clinic in Boston. When that doctor died, Dr. Shay stayed on, challenged and inspired by the terrible psychological injuries of the combat veterans.
During his stroke recovery, Dr. Shay also began, as he put it, to fill in the gaps in his education by reading the classics: “The Iliad,” “The Odyssey,” and “The Aeneid.” And it was clear to him that his patients at the V.A. clinic were echoing many of the sentiments expressed by the warriors in those ancient texts: betrayal by those in power, guilt for surviving, deep alienation on their return from war.
“I realized that I was hearing the story of Achilles over and over again,” said Dr. Shay.
Following documentary from “The Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Charachter” by Jonathan Shay.