Author: James Jeffrey

Moral Injury and the Battle against COVID-19

When Odysseus journeyed to the Underworld in search of advice about how to return home safely, he dug a trench into which he poured libations mixed with blood from the throats of a ram and a ewe to summon the dead. As his fallen comrades from the Trojan War began to emerge from the shadows and gather round, Odysseus tried to console mighty Achilles for his death by speaking of the authority he must now hold among the dead. But Achilles replied: “I would rather be alive and toiling as serf to another man, one with no land and nothing much to live on, than be a king over all the perished dead.” These words shatter the illusion that the wounds of heroes ever mend—one of the earliest commentaries on the lingering trauma of war for its combatants. It is now far better appreciated that veterans return from war with psychological wounds in need of treatment. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has become the public face of such anxiety disorders. Far less diagnosed and understood, though, …