Showing posts with label Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Show all posts

Sunday, May 17, 2020

Rory Hamill cautionary story about when helpers need help too

When the helpers cannot help


Sarasota Herald Tribune
By Billy Cox
Staff Writer
Posted May 17, 2020

It didn’t take a genius to figure out what was going to happen — emotionally, psychologically, to the public at large — once the coronavirus infections began their roller-coaster ascent in March, igniting shelter-in-place rules. 
SARASOTA — “I began writing at 3:46 in the morning on April 19, 2020. I’ve been drunk on red wine since the previous night. I haven’t slept. I haven’t stopped suffering. My own personal hell has been reignited, in light of present circumstances affecting us all.”

Motivational speaker Rory Hamill was losing altitude. The disabled Marine corporal had been here before, back in 2012, as he sat in his car, contemplated his gun, round chambered. Thoughts of his children pulled him back from the brink.

Hamill swerved from the abyss into public service, promoting his own resilience as an example for others. He was determined to keep a record of that journey, even amid the downward spiral of gravity.

“This pandemic,” Hamill pressed on last month, “although viral in nature, alludes to what happens to us as human beings, when we are stripped of our outlets and are deprived of our ability to socialize.”

When the news of Hamill’s suicide rippled out of New Jersey last week, the loss scattered shock waves across many of the 45,000 nonprofits dedicated to supporting America’s veterans. Hamill’s record still lingers in cyberspace, through videos, newspaper articles, a “60 Minutes” interview, and exhortations on his website:

“In light of my injuries, I learned that helping others, helps myself. No obstacle is impassable; by endurance, we conquer.”

Hamill, 31, encountered the impassable obstacle amid the national isolation. And as a result, everyone is taking inventory of mental health issues inside their own military circles.

“The wounded veteran community is fairly tight-knit, and when something like this happens, the word gets out,” said Kevin Kenney, an Army veteran and director of Operation Patriot Support (OPS) in Bradenton.
read it here

Also Combat wounded veteran Rory Hamill inspired others to live on...until he lost his own battle
On March 14, 2020 I posted a warning about the need to take action to help veterans with PTSD during isolation. I was thinking more about older veterans, since most of them are not online.

Suicides end when others break their own silence

Miracles after attempted suicides prevented

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 17, 2020

Stories collected from Wounded Times

In 2007, Owen Wilson attempted suicide and it was big news, and spread around the world. At the same time, we were facing 948 attempted active duty suicides, along with 99 who lost their lives. It was also the year when many survivors faced charges. A female reservists was facing charges after she survived. She tired again, and again, she survived. The charges against her were dropped and her story showed that her mental health crisis had been pushed aside by her superiors.
"I Sat around numerous times with a .44 in my mouth. But for some reason, I just couldn't pull the trigger. I don't know why." said a 57 year old veteran who had attempted it three more times.
Not long afterwards reports of veterans attempted suicides had grown more than "patient count" in the VA. The eyeopener in this piece of news was the age groups who topped the numbers from 2000-2007. 20-24 year old attempts went from 11 to 47 per year. 55-59 year old attempts also went up from 19 to 117.

By April of 2008, the reports on attempted suicides were increased to 1,000 per month in the VA system.

And then something amazing started to happen. Veterans were talking about their own pain so that others would understand it is not all doom and gloom. 

Two years later, veterans were trying to do whatever they could to change the outcome and encourage veterans to seek healing instead of suffering. That is what Jeremiah Workman did as the recipient of the Navy Cross.
He went on to write "Shadow of the Sword: A Marine's Journey of War, Heroism, and Redemption"
read more here

Saturday, May 16, 2020

Just about any where there are Vets there is a Point Man presence

Point Man turning lost into found and healed


PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 16, 2020


From Point Man's website
Since 1984, when Seattle Police Officer and Vietnam Veteran Bill Landreth noticed he was arresting the same people each night, he discovered most were Vietnam vets like himself that just never seemed to have quite made it home. He began to meet with them in coffee shops and on a regular basis for fellowship and prayer. Soon, Point Man Ministries was conceived and became a staple of the Seattle area. Bills untimely death soon after put the future of Point Man in jeopardy.

However, Chuck Dean, publisher of a Veterans self help newspaper, Reveille, had a vision for the ministry and developed it into a system of small groups across the USA for the purpose of mutual support and fellowship. These groups are known as Outposts. Worldwide there are hundreds of Outposts and Homefront groups serving the families of veterans.

PMIM is run by veterans from all conflicts, nationalities and backgrounds. Although, the primary focus of Point Man has always been to offer spiritual healing from PTSD, Point Man today is involved in group meetings, publishing, hospital visits, conferences, supplying speakers for churches and veteran groups, welcome home projects and community support. Just about any where there are Vets there is a Point Man presence. All services offered by Point Man are free of charge.

From Wounded Times September 21, 2007
The leader of the Newark post, Russ Clark, is a retired Marine who fought in Vietnam. Clark was a Methodist minister for 25 years before leaving the pastorate due to life upheaval brought on by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. He knows firsthand the devastation PTSD can bring into the lives of veterans and their families.

“I lost a family. I lost a ministry. Point Man is now my calling,” Clark explained. He said helping other veterans has brought him great healing. He encourages other veterans to reach out to those with similar experiences.

read it here

Thursday, May 14, 2020

“I've gone through a lot of darkness..."

Female veterans struggling with PTSD


CBS 46 News
Bobeth Yates
May 13, 2020

“It just put me in a whole different mindset, that had me mentally imbalanced and irrationally doing things in an OCD type style. Once diagnosed with post traumatic stress disorder I have never been able to hold a job for any length of time because the trauma comes with triggers.” Isna T. Summerlin.

CONYERS Ga. (CBS46) -- May is mental health awareness month and its estimated that up to 20% of veterans suffer with PTSD.

Those numbers can be broken down by conflict with each war averaging anywhere from 11-20% of vets with PTSD. But, what about those who didn't go to war and still suffered trauma.

For most a garden is just that, garden but for one veteran suffering with PTSD her garden has been her saving grace.

“This is so therapeutic,” said Air Force veteran Isna T. Summerlin. “I've gone through a lot of darkness and I see me emerging just like these radishes” added Summerlin who says her battle with PTSD goes back decades.

“I’ve been fighting literally since 2001 to get compensation for the post traumatic stress disorder”, Summerlin added.
read it here

A simple casket with an American flag for Vietnam Veteran Andrew Elmer Wright

Miracle for Marine serving in Iraq


PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 14, 2020

There are many stories about homeless veterans, but the one that stands out the most in my mind, is the string of miracles that happened, because the story grabbed my heart.

Story from Wounded Times

Vietnam Vet Andrew Elmer Wright found a home as a homeless vet

March 25, 2010

A simple casket with an American flag for Vietnam Veteran Andrew Elmer Wright.

A simple bouquet of flowers was placed with a simple photo a church member snapped.

By all accounts, Andrew was a simple man with simple needs but what was evident today is that Andrew was anything but a "simple" man.

A few days ago I received an email from Chaplain Lyle Schmeiser, DAV Chapter 16, asking for people to attend a funeral for a homeless Vietnam veteran. After posting about funerals for the forgotten for many years across the country, I felt compelled to attend.

As I drove to the Carey Hand Colonial Funeral Home, I imagined an empty room knowing how few people would show up for a funeral like this. All the other homeless veteran stories flooded my thoughts and this, I thought, would be just one more of them.

When I arrived, I discovered the funeral home was paying for the funeral. Pastor Joel Reif, of First United Church of Christ asked them if they could help out to bury this veteran and they did. They put together a beautiful service with Honor Guard and a 21 gun salute by the VFW post.

I asked a man there what he knew about Andrew and his eyes filled. He smiled and then told me how Andrew wouldn't drink the water from the tap. He'd send this man for bottled water, always insisting on paying for it. When the water was on sale, he'd buy Andrew an extra case of water but Andrew was upset because the man didn't use the extra money for gas.

Then Pastor Joel filled in more of Andrew's life. Andrew got back from Vietnam, got married and had children. His wife passed away and Andrew remarried. For some reason the marriage didn't work out. Soon the state came to take his children away. Andrew did all he could to get his children back, but after years of trying, he gave up and lost hope.
Discover the string of miracles that happened here

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

So how are veterans handling this pandemic?

Veterans may be having a harder time dealing with COVID-19 pandemic


The Rebound Tampa Bay
By: Wendy Ryan
May 12, 2020
"It could be increased negative emotions such as sadness or anger or fear. it could be changes in behavior such as increased crying, irritability, angry outbursts or social isolation. That's a big one," Dr. Gironda warns.
TAMPA, Fla. — May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the VA is asking veterans to prioritize their mental health right now.

There are over 1.5 million veterans in Florida and the state has the third largest veteran population in the nation.

So how are veterans handling this pandemic?

Dr. Ronald Gironda, Chief of Psychology at James A. Haley VA Medical Center, says medical assistance right now is critically important for veterans, especially those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

"Not only have our anxieties been heightened but our normal routines have been disrupted in an unprecedented way. And of course, veterans with PTSD and other mental health conditions are at increase risks for worsening of their symptoms," Dr. Ronald Gironda said.

The contributing factors include social distancing measures, financial stress and more.

"For many, it's a disruption in our normal pattern such as eating patterns, sleeping patterns, physical activity and of course
read it here

Finding miracles in Wounded Times

Inspirational reminders of miracles


PTSD Patrol
Stories from Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 13, 2020

With all the bad news in this country because of COVID-19, it is easy to become depressed. Social media has been spreading the bad news, division along with outright lies. Hopelessness follows.

But within the pages of friends sharing thoughts, there are messages of hope, love, humor, inspiration and miracles. Hope is fueled.

I take more comfort knowing there are people out there trying to make our days better than they would have been, than those constantly focusing on the negative.

A couple of days ago, I started searching the web for stories on miracles for a book I was planning on writing. In all honesty, I was searching to help my own mood as well.

Then it dawned on me that out of over 32,000 posts on Wounded Times, there is a treasure trove of miracles intended to fuel hope.

I opted to drop the book idea and decided to put the posts up here until I run out of them. Judging by the ones already discovered, that should take a long time to happen.
read it here

Here is the first one that just went up on PTSD Patrol
For those I love I will sacrifice

PTSD Patrol
Story from Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 13, 2020

One of the first post I put up on my views of faith, was in September 2007. To lay down his life for the sake of his friends posted September 26, 2007. Almost 900 people read it and shared it, plus 1,200+ subscribers sent it along with 90 followers. 

Do you think God abandoned you still? Come on and admit that while you were in the center of the trauma, you either felt the hand of God on your shoulder, or more often, never felt further from Him. In natural disasters, we pray to God to protect us. Yet when it's over we wonder why He didn't make the hurricane hit someplace else or why the tornadoes came and destroyed what we had while leaving the neighbors house untouched. We wonder why He heals some people while the people we love suffer. It is human nature to wonder, search for answers and try to understand.

In times of combat, it is very hard to feel anything Godly. Humans are trying to kill other humans and the horrors of wars become an evil act. The absence of God becomes overwhelming. We wonder how a loving God who blessed us with Jesus, would allow the carnage of war. We wonder how He could possibly forgive us for being a part of it. For soldiers, this is often the hardest personal crisis they face.

They are raised to love God and to be told how much God loves them. For Christians, they are reminded of the gift of Jesus, yet in moments of crisis they forget most of what Jesus went through.

Here are a few lessons and you don't even have to go to church to hear them.


And you can find the miracle that came afterwards....
April 18, 2008 I wrote the post PTSD Is Not God's Judgement to go along with the video. The video was put back up in 2015.
There is suddenly a lot of talk about "moral injury" and combat PTSD. It is survivor's guilt adding to what is known as PTSD but unlike other causes of PTSD, this one is harder to heal from. The good news is, you were not judged by God but He has put what you need to heal already in your soul. It is our job to connect you to it again. Contact Point Man International Ministries to show you the way.

Monday, May 11, 2020

Brace for Surge in Demand for Veterans Mental Health Care

Veterans Groups, VA Brace for Surge in Demand for Mental Health Care


The Associated Press
By SARAH BLAKE MORGAN, CLAUDIA LAUER and HOPE YEN
May 11, 2020

“After years of self-imposed isolation ... I was really in need of person-to-person contact,” said Goldsmith, now the assistant director of policy at Vietnam Veterans of America. “Flash forward almost 13 years now since I got out, and telehealth is right for me."
FAYETTEVILLE, N.C. — When Kristofer Goldsmith was discharged from the Army in 2007 he was in crisis.
Margo Jarvis takes part in video teleconference at Cohen Veteran's Network's on Wednesday, April 22, 2020, in Fayetteville, N.C. (AP Photo/Sarah Blake Morgan)

He had been trained as a forward observer — the person who spots a target and gives coordinates to artillery — but when he got to Iraq, the then 19-year-old instead found himself photographing dead bodies for intelligence gathering. A suicide attempt before his second deployment triggered a less than honorable discharge and a long fight to gain honorable status after being diagnosed with PTSD.
VA officials said telehealth medical appointments jumped from 20,000 in February to nearly 154,000 in April. Many of the department’s partners have moved most or all of their mental health appointments to telehealth, including the Cohen Veterans Network which transitioned 98% of patients at its 15 clinics.
read it here

UK:Ministry of Defence shut down a phone hotline for veterans just as need for help increased

Suicidal military veterans desperate for help as support calls triple during lockdown


The Mirror
BySean Rayment
10 MAY 2020

Rifleman Nathan Worner, 20, of the Rifles Regiment, was found dead at Bulford Camp, Wiltshire, last week.
Simon Maryan of Icarus Online (Image: Icarus Online)

Calls for help from mentally traumatised military veterans have soared by 100 per cent since the start of the lockdown, the Sunday People can reveal.

Support groups have been inundated with calls from suicidal veterans and current troops struggling to cope with isolation caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

Many of those seeking help have mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

Two veterans and a serving member of the Army have taken their lives in the past two weeks.

The deaths bring to at least 22 the number of veterans and serving members who are believed to have killed themselves since the start of the year.
The mental health crisis comes just weeks after the Ministry of Defence shut down a phone hotline for veterans and told them to ring the Samaritans instead.

The MoD has also stopped ­taking compensation claims from troops and veterans suffering from mental health conditions and physical injuries.
read it here

Saturday, May 9, 2020

Scots wounded war heroes had been failed by the Government

Ray of hope as Scots armed forces veterans wait two years for a mental health plan


Herald Scotland
By Martin Williams
Senior News Reporter
May 8, 2020
Earlier this week the military support group All Call Signs rescued five suicidal veterans during lockdown and issued a warning that more lives are at risk.
Ray of hope as Scots armed forces veterans wait two years for a mental health plan
ARMED forces veterans are facing a threat from an enemy they cannot see.

That threat is mental illness - and can deal a fatal blow long after a soldier has left the theatre of war and the military.

While Scottish armed forces veterans have waited over two years for a recommended mental health plan after concerns over suicides - a Scottish university is now playing a key role in a new UK-wide study on the psychological health and wellbeing of families of ex-service men and women.

Two years ago, a report by Eric Fraser, the first Scottish veterans commissioner revealed Scots wounded war heroes had been failed by the Government and a covenant to protect them was “meaningless”.
read it here

Devon Levesque prepares to bear crawl NY Marathon to save veterans...and thanks the Lord he can

Trainer prepares to 'bear crawl' entire New York City Marathon


Fox News
By Frank Miles
May 8, 2020
“When I found out about FitOps and how they were working with these heroic veterans who have made it through war but were struggling back at home, I made it my mission to get involved. My goal in bear crawling a marathon is to raise enough money to sponsor veterans and put them through FitOps camp and help them reach their goals,” the 27-year-old said.

Devon Lévesque Thank the Lord Every Day ✞

Amid the coronavirus pandemic, it’s still up in the air if New York City Marathon will happen in November.

One of Manhattan’s top fitness trainers, however, is gearing up for all of its 26.2 miles in a very unique way.

Devon Levesque, a partner in the high-end training facility Performix House in New York City, is training to do the marathon in a bear crawl where he will run on his hands and feet.

He told Fox News: “Bear crawl is a full body exercise where you walk on your hands and feet. It takes a lot of core, quad, and shoulder strength since all of your weight is on your hands, and your toes and back are parallel to the ground.”

He’s like "Fight Club," in 2020, without the anarchy.
read it here

From the New York Post

Thursday, May 7, 2020

Call to action for veteran experts on PTSD

Where are all the experts I learned from and taught?


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 7, 2020

Most of the experts I learned from have retired. Most of the people I taught over the years have gotten out of this work because it is so damn hard to do. Right now you need to remember why you got into this work in the first place.


For readers who do not know much about me, I used to be famous. I was know as Nam Guardian Angel going back to the early 90's online. That is what happens when people see what is happening before most people do. My work was sought out by military brass, psychologist, psychiatrists, mental health workers and educators. It astonished me how far the reach went, considering it was all word of mouth and intended to help veterans understand what PTSD so they would also know they could heal.

I am married to a Vietnam veteran with PTSD and survived traumatic events that could have killed me 10 times. I know what a flashback is, experienced nightmares, mood swings, anger, paranoia, depression, the list goes on. The biggest thing I want readers to get right now, is I also know what is on the flip side of the doom and gloom.

WE HAVE THE POWER TO OVERCOME
I wrote about living with PTSD back in 2002 in my first book, yet no matter how much I wrote, by then, the younger generation wasn't getting the message. In 2006, I started making videos. By 2008, I was Certified as a Chaplain with the IFOC and won an award for PTSD I Grieve. It was intended for members of the National Guard, but the IFOC was using it to help police officers and firefighters.

In 2007, I started this site and it has been read all over the world.

Why am I telling you all this? So that you take what I am saying seriously.

The parade passed me by many years ago, but considering it started in 1982...it was a long time coming, I have been just doing my work and stopped competing with the influx of people getting into this for the wrong reasons and getting in the way. They left no room for me and I had no tolerance for them.

Lately I have been feeling really down about what has been going on with COVID-19 and our lives turned upside down. I have been searching for signs of hope that the power of trauma had not increased because educators mobilized to do crisis intervention. That search ended this morning when I read an article by an ER Doctor.
"The unfortunate truth is that the United States has never adequately provided treatment for mental and emotional health challenges, such as PTSD, for brave citizens who put their country before themselves. As we begin to imagine a post-Covid-19 America, we must do better by all of our veterans, including the hundreds of thousands of health care workers who have borne the trauma of this pandemic. That starts by destigmatizing mental health issues and making it easier for physicians, nurses and others to seek out the resources they need." 
Tsion Firew
Why am I still reading things like this? What hasn't the mental health community learned from the lessons people like me have been sharing for decades? Is it because they stopped looking or they stopped thinking?

I am wondering where the hell all the experts are? Where are you hiding? Did the parade push you out of the way too? Time to stop resting and get back into action because too many people need your expertise right now.

I don't do it for money and safe bet, you didn't either. It is a safer bet that you are grieving as much as I am for all the suffering going on right now.

You may believe that you will not be able to reach enough to make a difference. Is one enough for you? Do you remember what it felt like to change a life for the better? To be able to send them away knowing they will be happier ever after because of what you did for their sake?
"Whoever changes one life, changes the whole world.”

Read what the Doctor wrote and know that you have the power to make the difference right now before it is too late to wish you had done something when you had the chance!

Emergency doctor: We need help before it's too late


KITV 4 News
Opinion by Tsion Firew
Wednesday, May 6th 2020

Opinion by Tsion Firew Last weekend, I was on CNN discussing the importance of supporting the mental and emotional health of medical professionals. I likened this pandemic to an invisible bomb going off in our emergency...

Last weekend, I was on CNN discussing the importance of supporting the mental and emotional health of medical professionals. I likened this pandemic to an invisible bomb going off in our emergency departments.

Twenty-four hours later, I learned about the death of my colleague, Dr. Lorna Breen. A day later, I learned from media reports that she had died by suicide. It was a one-two punch, like she died twice.

Lorna had survived Covid-19 earlier this month. As her physical symptoms got better, the mental toll of the pandemic continued to get worse. And as I mourned, I reflected.

The world is hailing medical professionals as heroes, and don't get me wrong: The public praise has been a welcome shift. Our jobs were harrowing long before this crisis and will remain so long after we return to some semblance of normalcy. I am grateful for the acknowledgment.
Heed our call. The front line of this pandemic needs mental health resources and emotional support to process the destruction we cannot prevent, we cannot fix. The next wave is coming. We need help before it's too late for more of us.
read it here

Sunday, May 3, 2020

Combat Wounded Veteran Rory Hamill inspired others to live on....until he lost his own battle

UPDATE: Do not become one more


Last night I could not get this story out of my mind. We loose too many people who decide their lives toward helping others, only to give up on themselves. This is not easy but it can be easier if you are willing to follow your own advice and ask for help when you need it!

If you are struggling to understand how this can happen, it is because those who put others first, put themselves last. That also includes asking for help when they need it. We need to do a lot more on encouraging veterans like Rory Hamill to follow their own advice before we continue to lose more like him.

Veterans Mourn, Outraged After Death of Another Decorated Local Marine Corps Combat Veteran


Shore News Network
May 3, 2020

OCEAN COUNTY, NJ – Rory Hamill served with 2nd Battalion, 8th Marines during his combat deployment to Afghanistan in in 2009. He returned home from war as an amputee and went on to become a veteran’s mental health advocate. Hammil was a motivational speaker and veteran mentor with the Ocean County Prosecutor’s Office Veteran’s Diversion Program. After returning home from Afghanistan, Hammil went to college and earned a degree in social sciences.
“Today, I learned that my friend, Rory Patrick Hamill, took his life yesterday,” said his close friend Jase Wheeler. “Have no idea what triggered him, but can say, I totally understand what it’s like when you battle PTSD on a daily basis. Add to that, the fact we have to quarantine, change every part of our daily routine, can’t get out to see friends, unable to do all the things that allow us to de-stress. It’s brutal. He was a father of 3, a motivational speaker, a hero and a friend.” read it here


Still pushing: Cpl. Rory Hamill
DIVIDS
Story by Master Sgt. Matt Hecht
New Jersey National Guard
02.13.2018

“All this stuff started coming out a few years ago,” said Hamill. “I thought I was fine, but it took me some time to realize things weren’t alright.”

His past deployment experiences coupled with his injuries caused Hamill a deep depression that led to alcohol abuse and a feeling suicidal. He knew he needed to turn a corner in his life.

“After one bad night, I found myself looking into the mirror, and realized that I needed to figure this out for my kids,” said Hamill. “They’re the driving force in my life.”

In addition to his kids, the other driving force in Hamill’s life is a calling to help fellow veterans.

“I don’t like quitting, at all,” said Hamill. “Call it pure stubbornness, but I don’t like giving up. I’ve always been told I can’t do stuff my entire life. It’s made me want to prove people wrong.”
read it here

Friday, May 1, 2020

Yes we can prevent veteran suicides

Preventing suicides is only impossible if we do nothing


Over half a lifetime ago, I started working with veterans with PTSD and their families. Why? Because it was a matter of life or death. Over the years it became apparent that peer support worked best, but having an educated peer was better than anything else.

Want to change a life? Learn what PTSD is and then start to change the conversation from doom and gloom, to "adapt, improvise and overcome!"

That is what Point Man International Ministries started to do in 1984 and proved healing was possible when people are joined together to open doors few knew existed.

Can community engagement prevent veteran suicides?


VAntage Point
Mike Richman
April 29, 2020
Specifically, the team interviewed participants within a week of their discharge from an inpatient psychiatric unit. They discovered Veterans analyzed for psychiatric conditions, such as PTSD, are at much greater risk than other cohorts of taking their own lives within three months after leaving the hospital.
Social isolation and feelings of loneliness are associated with suicidal thoughts. Consequently, the more people feel disconnected from their friends, peers and colleagues, the more isolated they become.

One antidote for social isolation is social connectedness. That is, people coming together and interacting. But there's been little research on suicide prevention programs that target social connectedness.

Dr. Jason Chen of the VA Portland Health Care System is leading a study to establish a stronger sense of social connectedness for Veterans at high risk of suicide. He's doing this by increasing their participation in community activities.

Chen and his team have been identifying the community engagement needs and preferences of Veterans who have been hospitalized and evaluated for psychiatric conditions. Specifically, the team interviewed participants within a week of their discharge from an inpatient psychiatric unit. They discovered Veterans analyzed for psychiatric conditions, such as PTSD, are at much greater risk than other cohorts of taking their own lives within three months after leaving the hospital.
read it here on We Are The Mighty

Thursday, April 30, 2020

Neighbor admits shooting Vietnam Veteran's PTSD therapy dog

Man admits fatally shooting neighbor's therapy dog


The Associated Press
April 30th 2020

Stroemel used an air rifle to shoot Toby, a 9-year-old Pomeranian-poodle mix, after the dog was escaped from his owner's home Sept. 17. The dog's owner is a Vietnam War veteran, and family members have said the animal helped relieve his post-traumatic stress disorder.
MAPLE SHADE, N.J. (AP) - A man who fatally shot his neighbor’s therapy dog last year has pleaded guilty to animal cruelty, authorities said.

William Stroemel, 64, of Maple Shade, also pleaded guilty Wednesday to a weapons possession count as part of a plea deal with Burlington County prosecutors. They will recommend that he receive a five-year state prison term when he's sentenced July 29.

Stroemel used an air rifle to shoot Toby, a 9-year-old Pomeranian-poodle mix, after the dog was escaped from his owner's home Sept. 17. The dog's owner is a Vietnam War veteran, and family members have said the animal helped relieve his post-traumatic stress disorder.
read it here

Wednesday, April 29, 2020

COVID-19 Dreams of Invisible Horror

In all the times I survived traumatic events, the dreams started. Vivid, strange dreams that made me think I was getting worse. After a while, they started going away. With COVID-19, they are back but now I have a better understanding of them. Instead of letting them haunt me, I laugh at them knowing they will go away again.


Insomnia and Vivid Dreams on the Rise With COVID-19 Anxiety


Smithsonian
By Theresa Machemer
SMITHSONIANMAG.COM
APRIL 23, 2020
“One of the earliest patterns that I noticed was people associating hugging with danger or menace,” Gravley tells NPR. “So there are a couple dreams where the dreamers described that someone wanted to hug them, and it made them very frightened, even to the point where they would yell, like, you're hurting me; you're going to kill me.”

An ongoing study by the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center has found a 35 percent increase in dream recall and a 15 percent increase in negative dreams. ( Nuca Lomadze / EyeEm via Getty Images)


A novelist recalls a trip to a comic store with Ronald Reagan, who swipes his wallet before he can make a purchase; someone else remembers escaping a collapsing building by climbing into a pilotless plane, where he hid in a toilet; and NPR’s Mary Louise Kelly says that one night, she broke into a colleague’s apartment and stole from a hoard of toilet paper—and then she woke up.

As parts of the United States enter their second month of stay-at-home orders, people’s day-to-day lives are becoming paired with an increasingly strange and vivid dreamscape. And a growing group is experiencing insomnia, an inability to fall asleep, as Quartz’s Amanat Khullar reports. Both seem to be symptoms of stress, part of the shared anxiety surrounding the COVID-19 pandemic.

Common dream scenarios collected by a group of psychoanalysis students in London, called Lockdown Dreams, include the dreamer running away from something or discovering that they’ve done something wrong.

“These are typical anxiety dreams. It’s very pedestrian stuff in that sense, but it’s acted out with such vivid imagination, it becomes very strange,” Jake Roberts, a spokesperson for Lockdown Dreams, tells Donna Ferguson at the Guardian. “Everyone’s quite shocked by the fact that they’re having incredibly vivid dreams. That’s so interesting because our material waking lives have become, in a way, more dull.”

The London-based group is not the only research project tracking the pandemic’s parallel rise in strange dreams. In France, a group at the Lyon Neuroscience Research Center began a study on dreams and dream recall in March, National Geographic’s Rebecca Renner reports. And Bay Area resident Erin Gravley and her sister have begun a website called “i dream of covid” that asks visitors to share their recent dreams.
For those who find their vivid dreams unsettling, the good news is that the phenomenon will probably fade with time. read it here

and they will!

Thursday, April 23, 2020

There is a passage out of darkness with PTSD and pandemic

Every dark passage


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 23, 2020
I have come into the world as a light, so that no one who believes in me should stay in darkness. John 12:46
Take comfort in knowing that every dark passage ends in light, otherwise it would be called a dead end instead of a passage. There is a way to get to the other side of whatever darkness surrounds you, but you will not reach it if you remain standing still.
You, Lord, keep my lamp burning; my God turns my darkness into light. Psalm 18:28
Take comfort in knowing that this crisis will not last forever. As with all things, this time will pass and the stress will go away. Even though some of the memories may linger, you have the power over what you do with those dark memories, so you can make room to treasure the good ones.

Take comfort in knowing that you are not alone if you are dealing with PTSD on top of this pandemic. There are about 8 million other Americans with PTSD. In other words, 8 million other survivors learning how to live the rest of their lives after surviving whatever caused them to be hit by PTSD.

Being afraid to admit you are afraid leaves you stuck in the darkness. No one will know you need comforting, so they will not try to ease your fears. Human nature has most people programmed to respond to the needs of others. We see that today as more and more people are stepping up to, not just help save lives, but to help those who are on the front lines in need of help too!

The path of the righteous is like the morning sun, shining ever brighter till the full light of day. Proverbs 4:18

Some will use a crisis for their own sake, but there are more trying to alleviate the burdens others carry. Right now, that is something that you can do just by being able to reach out for help, receive it and then, reach back out again to help others.
Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give. Matthew 10:8

You can change your life and help others find the light at the end of the passage. Imagine what their life will be like when you help them see they are not stuck in a dead end.

Tuesday, April 21, 2020

Coronavirus frontline workers getting help from mental health clinicians

Michigan clinicians offer mental health resources to coronavirus frontline workers


Click Detroit
Cassidy Johncox, Web Producer
Sarah Parlette, Associated Producer
Published: April 18, 2020
Clinicians from Michigan are joining forces to help individuals through these crises, especially those who are still working every day during the pandemic.

Mental health professionals in Michigan are coming together to provide support and resources to frontline workers amid the escalating coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

The pandemic is negatively affecting the mental health of most, according to behavioral science experts.

Long-term health effects will likely ripple across all age groups, including sleep disturbance, hypervigilance, PTSD, substance abuse, relapse and suicides, experts said. The pandemic’s impact on mental health could result in a 10-20% increase in demand for mental health services, according to officials.

Clinicians from Michigan are joining forces to help individuals through these crises, especially those who are still working every day during the pandemic.

MI Frontline Support (MIFS) is a new initiative organized by local clinicians to provide crisis- and coping-related resources to frontline workers in the state. MIFS creators have a loose definition of “frontline workers”, which includes health care workers and first responders as well as those working in grocery stores, delivery and mail services, the media and more.
read it here

After I recorded this video I was thinking about all the others who are healers and protectors in isolation right now because they were exposed to COVID-19 on the job, or prevented from doing their work for other reasons. It hits us even harder because our mission on this earth is to help other people. When we cannot do it, it crushes our soul.

Healers and protectors

Monday, April 20, 2020

That’s the day Iraq War Veteran Mitch Olson died by suicide

A special honor for a fallen young veteran amid COVID-19 restrictions


KARE 11 News
Boyd Huppert
April 14, 2020
Against that backdrop – the pain, the quiet and a family deprived of a proper military service – on Saturday, motorcycle riders with the American Legion, Combat Veterans Association and the Veterans of Foreign Wars rode in.


MINNETONKA, Minn — Fifteen miles of social distance from Fort Snelling National Cemetery, a military family grieves in the age of COVID-19.

No hugs, no graveside service, no 21-gun salute.

Just the worst pain possible, made impossibly worse.

“Mitchell's my younger brother,” Casey Olson says, standing near the flag her family flies next to the porch. “This is where we grew up, my parents have been here since 1979.”

Since March 30th, the house has never felt quieter.

That’s the day Iraq War Veteran Mitch Olson died by suicide.
read it here

Do not leave your family and friends in this kind of pain. There is hope if you #BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife you can heal PTSD

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Veteran Green Beret with PTSD passed out instead of pulling trigger...now shares something so much better

Smith didn't pull the trigger because he was so drunk and passed out


Green Beret who put a gun in his mouth while surrounded by booze at his lowest point reveals cannabis helped his crippling PTSD - and now he's selling CBD to help struggling veterans who turn to opioids
Daily Mail
By WILLS ROBINSON FOR DAILYMAIL.COM
18 April 2020
Adam Smith spent 17 years as a Green Beret in the US Army and special forces fighting terrorists and drug cartels in the most dangerous places on earth. But it was in a small cab in Lexington, Kentucky, where he came closest to dying - surrounded by empty bottles of booze, a suicide note and with a pistol in his mouth
Adam Smith spent 17 years as a Green Beret in the US Army and special forces
Brushes with death were common during his daring operations
But it was in a small cab in Lexington, Kentucky, where he came closest to dying
He was surrounded by booze, a suicide note and with a pistol in his mouth
Smith didn't pull the trigger because he was so drunk and passed out
Instead of using alcohol to self-medicate, he turned to cannabis and CBD
He's now launched a CBD line, Tactical Relief, for veterans and first responders
Says it helps with symptoms of PTSD and is a better alternative to the powerful opioids some struggling veterans are prescribed More than 20 veterans and active duty soldiers commit suicide a day in the US


The day after his suicide attempt he arranged to get a beer with a Navy special warfare friend who offered him a chance to train law enforcement in Ohio.

He joined a tactical training company, joined a CrossFit gym and saw his life turn around.

Then he found a solution to ease his trauma in a place he hadn’t thought possible - a cannabis dispensary in Washington state.

He was on a cross-country cycling trip with a friend who had issues with panic attacks and they stopped in.

‘I bought a little, and that night I smoked for the first time. You want to talk about eye opening? I slept better, had less anxiety, felt more at ease, didn’t have any nightmares and seemed to have an extra tick in my anger clock.’
read it here