Monday, May 27, 2024

Bring Forth What Is In You

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 27, 2024

Memorial Day always brings me back to why I started to do this work over 4 decades ago. Back then, the only information I could find about #PTSD focused on veterans, like my veteran. He's a Vietnam veteran. It is because of veterans like him coming home with the unseen wounds of war that we learned about what surviving does to survivors of all traumatic events.

If you read anything about men and women being willing to die for the sake of this nation, know this, those who survived never stopped paying the price for it. No one was forced to fight back then and no one was warned about what it would do to them other than losing their lives or limbs. The wound they brought back home needed to be healed but no one knew how to treat it.

Now we know better. We know there is a price to pay for surviving. Mental Health professionals have seen it firsthand by brain scans and learning from their patients. They focused on the mind. Physical therapists learned how to help veterans control what it did to their bodies with treatments such as Yoga. They focused on the body. Sadly, the problem was that the spiritual aspect of what was also inside their patients needed to be addressed, but wasn't.

The military has relied on Chaplains to care for the spiritual needs of service members. The Veterans Administration has recently focused on the spiritual healing of veterans with PTSD. Have you ever heard about the price far too many clergy members pay for what they do? The truth is that 35% meet the criteria for PTSD. They treat civilians so it is easy to see how military chaplains can pay the price as well as them. 

The most important thing that keeps getting missed is, that everything you need to heal is within you but the chaplains don't seem to know it is also in them.

The Gnostic Gospels Frontline
Jesus said, “If you bring forth what is within you, what you bring forth will save you. If you do not bring forth what is within you, what you do not bring forth will destroy you.”
You were created for a purpose. If you decided to be willing to pay the price to serve others, everything you needed, was in you from the beginning. Courage and compassion were in you along with the ability to make peace with what you had to endure and heal from within. Otherwise what gifts you have within you will allow PTSD to destroy you.
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose. Romans 8:28
If you believe you are paying a price as if God judged you for whatever wrong you think you may have done, it blocks your ability to heal. If you know there is nothing you cannot be forgiven for, it frees your ability to use what He put in you.
Are they not all ministering spirits sent out to serve for the sake of those who are to inherit salvation? Hebrews 1:14
As for Chaplains, you were sent with everything you need to heal within you. Isn't it time to bring forth what is in you too? Once you do, you will become the healing power as a minister to their spirits.

It is time for all of you to come out of the dark and realize you are not alone. Have the courage to open up about your struggles and then use your compassion to help others heal.

Kathie Costos author of For The Love Of Jack His War My Battle, The Warrior Saw, Residual War, The Scribe Of Salem, The Visionary Of Salem and the 13th MInister Of Salem.

Monday, May 20, 2024

Can voices in your head be a good thing?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 20, 2024

Everyone has voices in their heads. Sometimes they can come to life as we remember things people we love said to us. Unfortunately, the voices can also come from memories of terrible things people said. When you have #PTSD those voices can become the loudest ones we hear. How do we drown them out with the ones we need to hear?
“There is nothing on this earth more to be prized than true friendship.” ― Thomas Aquinas
As an author, I don't just hear the voices of people I know. I create the voices of people I wish I knew. They said the things I needed to hear when I was falling apart. My painful memories are poured into them as they confide in someone they trust. Instead of having their pain dismissed, they are comforted the way I wish I was back when the pain was often too much for me. The hope I write about comes from memories of strangers coming to help me, not just heal, but thrive.

One of my best friends told me the night before one of most memorable conversations he was suicidal. I could hear hope in his voice, so I didn't panic but I felt great sadness for him. I asked him why he didn't call me. He said he didn't need to because I was the voice in his head. That is how powerful it is to have a good voice in your head especially when a bad voice is shouting.
“Fear is such a powerful emotion for humans that when we allow it to take us over, it drives compassion right out of our hearts.” ― Thomas Aquinas

We tend to push people away from us when we need them the most. Do we fear they will judge us as being weak or fear they may believe we deserve suffering? Is it safer for us to hide our pain as we can wait it out and magically go back to the way we were before, or is it because we fear we are beyond being helped? While Aquinas was correct, the fact is, it doesn't have to drive compassion out of hearts unless we turn it into a contest.

If we think our suffering is so much greater than someone else we may not feel compassion for them. If we notice how much we have in common, we realize the words that would comfort us and dare speak them to comfort someone else. We may never hear those words spoken to us before they come out of our mouths, but we hear them when we say them, thereby comforting us in return.

Writing The Ministers Of The Mystery series was healing for me because I wrote all the things I wished I had heard someone say to me. Above that, I shared the suffering I feared to share with people I know. As you read The Scribe Of Salem, The Visionary Of Salem, and the 13th Minister Of Salem, you'll find yourself surrounded by friends you wish you had, hear what you wish you had heard, and find power in what you can do for others. You'll find out why you may have felt God wasn't interested in your suffering and then find your way back to Him directly by your spirit.

When you finish reading them, I hope they inspire you to deliver the voices of hope others need to hear and become the good voice in their heads too.


Friday, May 17, 2024

Courage to ask, compassion to listen

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 17, 2024
How many times have you greeted someone with, "Hi, how are you?" Do you say it without thinking about the door you just opened? Most of us don't think about hearing anything more than saying they are good. We don't expect to hear the real answer as we walk away.

On Mother's Day, one of my neighbors came into my yard while I was outside with Charlie on the deck. I asked her how it was going and was prepared for the answer. Judging by the sadness she was clearly showing, it was obvious, she needed to talk. We've had many conversations about her husband's illness because she listened to mine about my husband's. We have a lot in common but it dawned on me that the support we give to one another would not be possible had we not been courageous enough to ask and compassionate enough to listen to the answer.

The greatest gift we can give is our time and the willingness to listen to them.

When I was training to become a Chaplain, that point was made clear when the instructor asked us what we would need when we were going through emotional turmoil. All of us knew it would be to have someone to talk to. It isn't as easy to find as you may think, especially when we tend to hide our pain. It is even harder for us to find someone who will understand what we're trying to say because we fear being judged by them.

They open the door for us when they dare to ask us and tell us about their struggles. We become assured they will understand what we hide because they did too. 

Time is such an enormous gift, because most of the time, others want to speak more than they are willing to listen. When they do listen, they want to shut down the conversation with words to "fix" them. Sometimes those words and be more damaging than not being willing to listen at all. 

Too many times I've heard responses such as, "God only gives us what we can handle." The person in pain was just told that God did it to them. How can anyone be expected to ask God for help if they were just informed He did it to them? They can't. They were also told that the person they were trying to share their pain with, just judged them as worthy of God's punishment. They hear from others, "Get over it," as if the expiration date has come and they should move on. It doesn't help if they don't know how to begin to do the one thing they want most. 

Talking is often too hard to do when you are in emotional/spiritual pain. I know I hide a lot because of history and the way some people responded to times when I shared with them, taught me I shouldn't. That's why I have a therapist trained to listen without judgment and offer advice as to how I may heal. I am writing again because of her. It is hard to do however, I am remembering why I do what I do and who I am again.

I am healing and happier although the problems are sadly not going away. At least I have enough hope that each day brings the possibility the surgeon we need will be found and my husband gets the operation he needs. We've been waiting for a year. My neighbor has it worse because she doesn't have all the support I do to help her get through it. All I can do is be there to listen and set my problems aside long enough to give her a hug.

Tuesday, May 7, 2024

Mental Health Awareness Free eBooks

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 7, 2024

May is Mental Health Awareness Month but for us, it is every month. Every month we can become more aware of the power we have within ourselves to Take Back Our Lives from #PTSD and heal. While mental health is not just about PTSD, the only way to join this club is to become a survivor. That's the point we keep missing. There is no reason to feel ashamed of what surviving did to us. No shame in not understanding what it was doing to us or not knowing what it was doing to someone we love. Why? Because no one we knew told us.
Last year I wrote The Scribe Of Salem, The Visionary Of Salem, and 13th Minister Of Salem to change the conversation. The central character turned his suffering into a contest he didn't want to win. It took the efforts of two close veteran friends to open his eyes to the fact that PTSD strikes survivors of all types of life-threatening events. They understood what it took for them to become happier. Everyone else in the books had demons to fight but did not have to fight them alone. They were determined to help Chris as much as they could. In truth, the honest way to put it is life-changing events. It changes your life because you no longer live with daily normality. You are living with becoming a survivor. 

Most people will automatically assume the conversation beginning with the term PTSD will be about veterans. The truth is it happens to millions of people surviving many other events.  It happens to men, women, and children. If they feel ashamed of what surviving did to them, they won't talk about it until we change the conversation and let them know we care about them. 

The other thing most people never hear about are the scriptures they will not hear in church. Because they hold the power to bring people closer to God and discover the spiritual power they were created with, people will realize they don't need someone else to get in the middle. The spiritual battle is one of our most important ones, yet too often is ignored. 

The characters in the books helped him fight against what he was becoming so he could become what he was meant to be. He lost hope. They restored it. He loved God so much that he wanted to become a priest. Then he regarded God as "that He’s a vindictive son of a bitch playing around with people’s lives and making us suffer for fun." Surviving was some sort of punishment. Despite all of his pain, he still cared about being able to help his friends and others. He couldn't see how much compassion he held onto. 

A secret society took action to help him heal. One of them was a woman many called a witch but she was so much more. She opened his eyes and taught him to understand that he was sent to change the conversation from suffering in silence to sharing healing.
I hear your voice on the wind
And I hear you call out my name
"Listen my child," you say to me
"I am the voice of your history
Be not afraid, come follow me
Answer my call and I'll set you free"
I am the voice in the wind and the pouring rain
I am the voice of your hunger and pain
I am the voice that always is calling you
I am the voice, I will remain
The Voice Celtic Women

All the characters had their own past struggles and suffered until someone else came to help them heal. They dedicate their lives to doing the same for others. 

The books are supernatural in nature and spiritual because that's what PTSD is. Our events are the horrible parts of our story. Our nightmares are our horror movies. A battle of good vs evil because our spirits filled with all that is good within us, are being treated by the memories of the bad that happened to us. We believe the darkness is all there is because no one showed us the light we can live in again, was there all along. Who we were, what made us "us," is all still there but trapped behind hopelessness.

That is why the ebooks are free for May. It is time for you to see there is so much more possible in your life than you could ever dream of.


Manik Chaturmutha for Readers' Favorite
In The Scribe of Salem: Ministers of the Mystery by Kathie Costos, readers are introduced to Chris Papadopoulos, who has witnessed his fair share of tragedies in life. As a newspaper correspondent, he has traveled the world, including the conflicts in Afghanistan and Iraq. His life fell apart while working there. Back in America, Chris tries to survive as he suffers from trauma. He despises changes since most of them have made his life worse. However, one night at the Bishop Hotel bar in Salem, Chris gets an opportunity to turn his life around. A minister is waiting to help him in New Hampshire, and all he has to do is agree to meet her.
This book goes into great detail about topics not brought to light due to the stigma associated with them. It refers to the Salem witch trials in North America and how people were brutally tortured and executed based on hearsay and gossip. The Scribe of Salem explores themes like PTSD and domestic violence against men in marriage along with the stigma attached to it. It discusses meeting the right people, healing, the light and the darkness, addiction, and mental health. The book emphasizes how important it is to help people recover after trauma in their lives. Kathie Costos also explores feelings of hopelessness and the power within all of us to help one another achieve our life purpose. The book is recommended for those with an interest in mental health.
K.C. Finn for Readers' Favorite
Kathie Costos weaves an engrossing and spine-tingling tale that beautifully blends dark fantasy, gothic fiction, and supernatural horror to deliver the best of all these genres combined. This is an area of history that I’ve read a lot about and enjoyed exploring. I loved the perspective that Costos takes with the idea of secrets, gossip, whispers, and the written word being more dangerous than any otherworldly monster could ever be. The writing style is sharp and focused on the moment at hand, moving quickly through different scenes with swift dialogue that helps keep the pace. Overall, The Scribe of Salem is a work filled right to the brim with intrigue, emotional depth, and historical horror, and I can’t wait to see what the rest of the series holds in store.
Cloie Belle Daffon for Readers' Favorite
The first book in the Ministers of the Mystery Series is mysterious, unique, and spiritual. Kathie Costos’ The Scribe of Salem took me on an emotional, healing journey. The characters each have had their struggles. They have all reached a low point in their lives that made them think of giving up but a fateful encounter changes their hearts and minds. I was drawn in by the characters’ struggles and stayed to see how their stories would turn out. None of their journeys have been easy but the characters persevered and pushed through. I greatly admired the strength it took for them to face another day and to continue hoping against adversity. It is hope that allows them to listen for their salvation and see a brighter day. I learned a powerful and unforgettable lesson about faith and hope and the important role it plays when it comes to reclaiming one’s life again. Good job!
Anne-Marie Reynolds for Readers' Favorite
The Scribe of Salem by Kathie Costos is a great start to a new series. It’s an intriguing story, blending fantasy and supernatural horror as it delves deep into the Salem Witch Trials. Plenty of novels are based on the Witch Trials, but none are quite like this. It goes into great, descriptive detail about the horrors faced in those times and touches on other themes, such as domestic violence and PTSD. It’s also about having faith, not just in God, but in yourself and the power of friendship. It is a story of horror but also a story of pain, compassion, and healing, a gripping tale that will draw you into its tight clutches. It’s clear that Kathie Costos has done her research, and her characters are realistic people, easy to identify with, and infinitely likable. This wonderful story would make a great movie, and I highly recommend this author. I am looking forward to reading book two.
Monique Snyman for BookTrib
Kathie Costos was able to craft a wonderful, realistic — albeit terrifying — story that is both memorable and unputdownable. The Scribe of Salem will leave readers wanting more as soon as you close the book. Fortunately, two more titles are planned in the series, which means lovers of the dark and macabre can rest easily … More is on the way, rejoice!

Thursday, May 2, 2024

We know these things are true

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 2, 2024

The knowledge that it happened to innocent people caused what we know as PTSD because they knew it could happen again...and they could be next.


Going through a hard time has been rough.  I wanted to stop watching the news. It's just too depressing. I've been binge-watching series on Netflix and Amazon to escape reality. (Or at least I try to.) I just finished watching the series Reign on Netflix. It is a great series with good actors. It is also a prime example of how religion has been used by powerful people to get whatever they wanted out of it. It is fascinating that Queen Mary was besieged because of her Catholic faith by Protestants. Both faiths claimed to belong to Jesus yet proved they only used His name. Had they truly followed Him, they would be more interested in what they could give than gain. It is still happening and turning people away from anything religious. The truth is, we have the power within us to stay connected to God without ever having to enter into a building.
“There is no greatness where simplicity, goodness, and truth are absent”
― Leo Tolstoy, War and Peace

Reality reminded me of what Tolstoy wrote about "simplicity, goodness, and truth." I wonder where all that is when so many use the need for them to cause the opposite result. 

Over and over again we've seen something good corrupted by others for the power it yields. Their actions never produced good outcomes. It required the actions of good people standing up with good intentions along with bravery to attempt it.

Most of us have encountered people using their beliefs against us. They believe strange things. I've heard that our suffering came from God's judgment against us. Others claimed He was testing us. They believe that "God only gives us what we can handle." That is not as comforting as believing God gives us what we need to handle it. When we survive the cause of our PTSD, we know that help came when we least expected it just as the event came without warning. 

We know these things are true because of our experiences and what we've learned from history.

The Salem Witch trials have been the subject of countless books and movies. What's been missing from the fictional accounts are people finding the courage to take a stand against all of it. History claims that the trials ended because Governor Phips stopped them after his wife was charged.
As accusations of witchcraft spiraled, even Phips' own wife, Lady Mary Phips, was named as a witch. Soon after that, in October of 1692, Phips ordered spectral evidence and testimony would no longer suffice to convict suspects in future trials. Three weeks later Phips prohibited further arrests of witches, released 49 of the 52 of the accused witches still in prison, and dismissed the Court of Oyer and Terminer. In May of 1693, Phips pardoned the remaining suspected witches still in prison.
Religion was used to cover up greed and rhetoric designed to fuel fear was followed up by charges and arrests. History focuses on the 20 people killed but hardly mentions the other 200 arrested, jailed, and tormented before they were released.
During the Salem Witch Trials of 1692, more than 200 people were accused of practicing witchcraft. Twenty of those people were executed, most by hanging. One man was pressed to death under heavy stones, the only such state-sanctioned execution of its kind. Dozens suffered under inhumane conditions as they waited in jail for months without trials; many of the imprisoned were also tortured, and at least one died in jail before the hysteria abated in 1693.
The fictional accounts never compare to the reality of the horrors the people faced during and after the trials ended. Faith was being tested by God but by humans.
In June 1630 the Arbella sailed for New England with 300 English Puritans determined to establish “a Model of Christian Charity.” During the ten-week passage across the Atlantic, passengers were confined to narrow quarters for ten weeks, living on short rations and without comfort. During the following decade, the Great Migration brought nearly 14,000 Puritan settlers, successful, mostly highly educated persons unprepared for the hardships that awaited them. Building a new society in the wilderness while surrounded by wild animals and hostile Indians induced transgenerational trauma and psychological symptoms that we now recognize as post-traumatic stress and mass conversion disorder, culminating in the Salem Witch Trials. (PTSD in the Massachusetts Bay Colony)

The knowledge that it happened to innocent people caused what we know as PTSD because they knew it could happen again...and they could be next. How did all the terror end? People found the courage to stop it. That's the way our suffering ends today. We take a stand to prevent it from inflicting more pain. It begins when we stop being ashamed of what surviving did to us.

We know the pain others are feeling because we remember the pain we felt. We remember what it was like to lose hope that our lives would ever be better than the miserable way we were living. We also remember what it was like finally hearing we were not alone because others spoke up about what they were going through. We remember what it was like when someone helped us heal because they remembered what it was like for them.

We want to feel as if we belong so we seek out others. Are they the wrong ones? Yes, if you are trying to find people who will understand you, but have yet to learn about what you're going through. Trying to fit in with them should wait until you've healed. Seek out others in the club no one wants to belong to but needs to be there as survivors. They will help you heal so that PTSD does not control your whole life and you can help others too.

That's why I wrote the Ministers Of The Mystery series. For May, all three are being offered for free as ebooks. All I ask is that if you find hope for yourself and a greater understanding of how much power you do have within you, is that you leave a review and pass it on to others because you know what they are going through too. 


The Scribe Of Salem

The Visionary Of Salem

13th Minister Of Salem