So there I was lying in bed listening to some music on my Aiwa stereo, letting the music sooth my teenage mind as I tried to fight the thoughts of what was to come the very next day. It was a day I will never forget; because it was the day my military career began. I remember being stressed out a bit, because let’s face it, I was about to enter the military at age 18 and even though I had done my homework to learn everything I could, I still questioned if I was making the right decision.
Throughout High School, I found the best way to dealing with stress as a teenager was to relax on my bed while the stereo was playing. Laying there listening to music was my way of escaping the stressful thoughts that were plaguing my mind after a stressful day. Little did I know that once I was in basic training, I would find that once again music would be there for me during times of stress.
Though I’m not the most religious man in the world, I made every effort in basic training to make it to Sunday church so I could enjoy the music playing during mass. Music put me in a calm state of mind. It allowed me to forget where I was for a moment and instead think of the previous summer before I had left for boot camp.
On Sunday October 10th, I attended the Hamptons International Film Festival, which brought many award winning Independent Films to the East end of Long Island, N.Y. An email was sent to me by The Soldiers Project, talking about an Independent film that was to be shown at one of the Hampton theaters. Curious why The Soldiers Project would be sending this to me, I went to the films website to learn more and realized that not only is this film about PTSD, but the Founder of The Soldiers Project (Dr. Judith Broder) is also part of the film.
“Striking a Chord” is a film about the twisted mind games soldiers face while deployed in a combat zone, but we also learn that during down time music will be a key component of their daily therapy to help them get by.This film brings us a firsthand look into these soldiers trying to stay focus on the mission, yet struggling to keep from thinking about home. Soldiers will be faced with one minute being engaged in a fire fight and the next minute having time to sit back and relax, something that will not be easy for any soldier.
At this point in time after more than 8 years of continuous war, American citizens should have a better understanding of the difficulties our soldiers face. Although it should have been clear after Vietnam when Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was ignored, luckily today not only does our government finally recognize this, but film directors such as Susan Cohn Rockefeller, are bringing to life the realism of this mental disease known as PTSD to movie screens everywhere.
“Striking a Chord” follows a musician by the name of Nell Bryden and her band as they tour numerous remote bases in Iraq playing music to entertain the troops. Lt. Col. Scott Rainey in the film is the person responsible for bringing musicians like Nell to these locations. We get to listen to the Colonels own views on the struggles and life in a combat zone as the film follows his every move.
American soldiers in a combat zone are faced with so many scenes that can easily disrupt a person’s mind, and though there is no cure for Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, there are ways to help control it. Soldiers deployed to a combat zone find that music can help them control PTSD, and though music is helping soldiers today, music has been a very important part for veterans of past wars as well. “Striking a Chord” is a film that brings us the ups and downs of being deployed in a combat zone, but it also shows us just how music can be an alternative medicine for soldiers suffering from PTSD.
“Striking a Chord” is a film I would recommend anyone to view. This is a film that keeps its audience attention and as I sat there next to my mother who was choked up at times, I realized many people were touched by many moments in the film. This is a film that will strike at your emotions, as the troops share their thoughts about being away from home, and we learn about the experience playing for the troops from a supporter like Nell Bryden.
Special Thanks to Gwendolyn Alston
View the TRAILER BELOW
New Jersey VA using music to help veterans with PTSD
Benefits of Music for PTSD sufferers