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Zidane's Head Butt - PTSD Uncorked!

By Dr. Mike Colson

In the 27th minute of the second overtime at World Cup 2006 in Berlin, one of the greats of the game. Zinadine Zidane, heads butts a Italian defender and is ejected. The packed stadium at first is stunned, then erupts when the red card is flashed and Zidane is forced to finish his long and distinguished professional and international career in the locker room…and his team loses. “What a blunder”, exclaims the headlines. All the joy of living in the womb of a nation’s pride with all the privileges of bravery added in are gone. What happened?

A tiger escaped. Living inside many of who are trying to recover from episodic trauma or readjustment home from war and deployment is something akin to a wild animal that rears its head at what is often the worst possible time. Let’s call the tiger anger, or anxiety, or fear remembering that regardless of how we try and control it, feed it, assuage it, or respect it…it pounces. And in so doing take us from hero to zero in a few seconds.

I am not Zidane, but there are parallels among individuals like you and I who serve in harms way and by way of reward live heightened (and therefore, unbalanced) lives. While Zidane lives his life in front of cameras, we live ours in front of family, loved ones, and our community. When our “tiger” gets us red carded it is astonishing how quickly we can find ourselves in crisis at home, at our jobs, with law enforcement or the courts, and elsewhere.

I am not telling you that the tiger can be kept at bay all the time. But I believe in my heart that we deserve the chance to find a balanced life where the tiger can graze in private pastures while we go about the business of living lives of joy and significance.

Good health beats a head butt!

Dr. Mike!