Showing posts with label PTSD video. Show all posts
Showing posts with label PTSD video. Show all posts

Monday, October 5, 2015

What Does A Chaplain Do When Soul Is Crushed?

My answer came the following day If anyone tells you that prayers are no longer answered, share this with them.

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 5, 2015

I became a Chaplain 7 years ago because I knew how faith got me through a lifetime filled with traumatic event after many others and I knew what kind of pain that causes a soul. The unspeakable grief surviving leaves behind never really goes away but we adjust and change, mostly for the better depending on how we see all of it and that was my mission.

To get the grieving to look at all of it through different views because there is always more going on around us than we remember. Pure, unclouded by ego and pride, we can see ourselves the way that God sees us, undiluted by what we hear others say and lousy advice, we can experience the miraculous healing as survivors beyond our own ability.

I paid a high price for all that knowledge and wanted to pass it on freely to spare others going through the same thing. It is from that suffering that I was able to understand what combat did to my husband and from him, what it did to the veterans I worked with over the years. My own pain helped me help families. My research helped me explain to mental health professionals what it looked like beyond the clinical books most of us had to read before the internet brought us instant answers to everything we wanted to know.

I am standing on ice with bare feet and stuck. I've been stuck for so long now that it is hard for me to know how to get out of this hearing the ice crack under my feet. There are few standing by me, ready to help when I need it but for the most part, there has been a crowd of folks using what I have to give and never thinking twice about who gave it to them.

Lately I've been seeing more and more of what I started being forgotten as more and more groups claim they invented all of it. Too bad for them that folks can look it all up discovering there were others out there I learned from since I've only been doing this a little over 3 decades by they started 4 and 5 decades ago. I just had more staying power but I was not the first. I was only one of the first to put the information up in the form of videos.

I had these videos up on YouTube before. I posted this in 2009 Give healing PTSD as a Christmas Gift this year. The videos had to be pulled because back then the music was being blocked since I didn't have the same kind of account I have now but this gives you some idea of the kind of attention these videos had.
When War Comes Home PTSD
views 2418

Veterans and PTSD version 1
All time views:14,283

Wounded Minds Veterans and PTSD version 2

Wounded Minds PTSD and Veterans version 3
Here is part of it,
PTSD After Trauma on Google

End The Silence of PTSD on Youtube
Views: 2,919

Hero After War Combat Vets and PTSD on Google
Google 3697
Views: 1,772 on Youtube

Coming Out of The Dark of PTSD on Google

Coming Out Of The Dark-PTSD and Veterans on Youtube
Views: 4,304

Death Because They Served PTSD Suicides

I put up up a couple of videos so you could see what was done 9 years ago. The part that gets me is that Wounded Minds was used by someone in the Navy showing it to Sailors coming back from Iraq because there was nothing else "out there" like it. Well, there is a book titled "Wounded Minds" 01 July 2013 and a charity Operation Wounded Minds with email going to

Coming Out of The Dark is also another issue since there is a walk that is taking in thousands called 'Out of the Darkness'walkers raise awareness for suicide prevention.

If you thought your support or donations or even your prayers were given to me, they were not. I haven't had a single donation in over a year and frankly, it makes it even harder to do my ministry day in and day out knowing that while I was ahead of all these new groups, they have the support I used to have.

Sometimes I wonder why I didn't just give up back in 1999 when our battle with the VA was over and my husband's claim was approved. Then I remember the simple fact that if it all happened to us, it was happening to more veteran families as well. I wanted to make life a little easier and prayed to make a difference enough so that things would change but nothing has changed.

Too many families suffering after all these years of instant experts gathered followings into the abyss without anyone watching where they were going.

So why aren't more healing instead of suffering in the soul crushing silence? It isn't that they are willing to be silent. It is just that no one hears them anymore. No one can hear their cries for help and when they do gather up the courage to cling to that last glimmer of hope to reach out, they discover the place they turn to has nothing to give them at the same time they ask for a check for their time. Ya, nice little gimmick they have going.

I refused to play that game a long time ago and to this day, I refuse to play nice so that someone decides I am worthy of their abysmal approval. No thanks! If I valued their opinion, I would join their group but since they have proven the warning true, their deeds speak much louder than their words of being all about "raising awareness" while it turns out to be nothing more than code for raising their cash flow.

So, with all that said, I am asking for your prayers tonight. I cannot see the light anymore after 33 years. I cannot find a reason to even try anymore. I've searched my soul for so long now that I can't even remember what it looks like. I don't know how to do anything else since I have tried everything leaving me with very little support but a huge line of people looking for what I can do for them. I can't compete with all the crap out there about raising awareness when they clearly are not aware of what is real vs what is false.

So what does a Chaplain do when her soul is crushed? She asks for prayers.

I cannot keep going on like this, so please just pray that God grant me whatever I need to do whatever it is I am supposed to do.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Give healing PTSD as a Christmas Gift this year

Give healing PTSD as a Christmas Gift this year
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
December 12, 2012

This morning I opened an email from a woman telling me of her life with her Vietnam Veteran father and what the family went through. Her Dad ended his own life committing suicide days after September 11, 2001. He became part of my greatest fears coming true. Her Dad was one of the reasons I self published my book For the Love of Jack, His War/My Battle because by then I knew what was coming for Vietnam Veterans and their families. The book was finished and I spent over a year trying to find a publisher, but PTSD was not big news and few cared about Vietnam veterans.

When was finished, I was not thinking about troops being sent into Afghanistan or Iraq because 9-11 hadn't happened yet. All I was thinking about was families like mine. They needed to know what I learned just as an average person trying to keep my husband alive and my family together living lives too many others suffered in silence with believing no one else could understand.

By 2002 the troops were in Afghanistan for several months yet the government had not prepared for what combat would do to those we sent or to warn their families ahead of time so they could prepare for homecomings all over the country. I revised the book to add in 9-11 and the troops in Afghanistan along with talk of sending them into Iraq.

A few years later I released it for free on my old website so that no one had to pay for it. Back then I had a paycheck from a job and was doing ok financially. Plus the goal of the book was not to make money but to make families heal. That is still my goal but since I have a non-profit few people offer financial support. That doesn't bother me as much as the fact I am contacted too many times by families after their veterans have committed suicide and face writing another book about something that didn't have to happen.

In 2007 I started this blog and tried to warn families of what was coming.
When war comes home, battle begins for spouse

"When they come home from combat with the horrors imbedded in them, it is often up to the wives or husbands to begin the fighting. We have to fight for them to get help at the same time we fight them to understand they need help. Denial is the first battle. The mood swings and detachment plant the idea it's our fault in the backs of our own minds as we try to understand what's happening. Short term memory loss and poor judgement skills turn us into parents having to watch every move they make. This is what happens when they come home with wounded minds. Can there be any wonder why so many of these marriages fall apart? Most of them crumble like burnt toast when the facts about PTSD are unknown to them. A lot of marriages with Vietnam veterans ended because of this and because so little was known when they came home.

As much as I love my own husband, as much as I learned about PTSD over the last 25 years, our marriage nearly fell apart more times than I can even remember. The frustration of it all becomes too much too often even now. Our marriage license is in half English and half Greek. I tell my husband the adoption orders are on the Greek side of it when I feel as if I am no longer a married woman but a parent to a child 8 years older than me. I was a single parent in all the years of taking control, making sure the government took care of their responsibility to my husband. This is our job.

We become caretakers, nursing their wounds, holding their shaking bodies, comforting their broken image of themselves and trying with all our might to reassure them they are still loved and needed. We adjust to daily prayers of healing as Jesus instantaneously healed the mad man; for patience; for restoration of compassion when self-needs get too strong; for the right words to use when logic is not enough to combat illogic; and above all for the ability to be reassured the person we love is still in there beneath the stranger we see with our eyes.

As spouses take control, we also face financial disasters while claims are "being processed" only to be turned down and appeals have to be filed within the deadlines we have to live with but the VA does not. Employment for these veterans is sporadic at best, but bills are constant. Then there is the astronomical cost of the self-medication they turn to with alcohol and drugs. We loose time at work when they were up all night with nightmares or to take them to the VA for appointments because they cannot bring themselves in the beginning. We loose time at work when we have to take them for hearings and to see the service organizations helping with the claims because they cannot manage to get themselves there without us.

All of this at the same time we have to try to keep hope alive in them, reassure them that truth will win and their claim will be approved so that we can at least keep our homes and pay our bills. We also loose income when their jobs are lost. The income they get from the VA, if and when their claims are finally honored, is a lot less than they would make, along with our own loss of income. We had to have several mortgage "forbearance" arrangements to keep our house, borrowed from family, at the same time I had to work more to keep the roof over our heads. This was a lot of fun when I had to worry about our daughter and my husband needing constant supervision. A tiny crisis left him unable to think often. One time a toilet was overflowing. He called me at work in a panic, not knowing what to do, instead of just shutting off the water flow to the tank and using a plunger, which he had done often before. It was just one of those days for him to face.

We are a huge Army of love, fighting for those who risked their lives but forgotten behind the battle lines. Each day is a new experience. I tell my husband there is never a dull moment in our marriage because I never know what to expect. Sometimes he even surprises himself. Most of the worst days are far behind us. We have adjusted to our own sense of what "normal" is and most days, they are good days. We still have times when my frustration reaches its limit and we have a huge argument, but over the years, they happen a lot less. I learned to deal with the fact he has to recheck the door I just locked and the repeated questions I've already answered twelve times before.

We had our 23 anniversary last month. Marriages do not have to end if the tools are available. That's why I've been working so hard all these years. I'm positive that if I didn't know what PTSD was, there is no way I would be able to cope with any of this. Life does not have to be about existing day to day, but living lives with tiny blessings. It can be about holding hands wherever we go because we held onto our hearts. Yes, we still hold hands!

(Honesty time; I get a little mean every now and then. His short term memory loss opens the door for a little mind game I play every now and then. I will remind him of a conversation we really did have and then toss in something we never talked about. We've gone out to eat a lot because I convince him he promised to take me out. While we're eating, I admit what I did. He laughs and then hands me the bill.)

If you are dealing with a combat veteran with PTSD, learn all you can about it and welcome to this Army of love. The war we fight for them now, will never end, but battles can be won and peace can be declared within our own homes."

In October of 2007 news came out that 148,000 Vietnam Vets sought help in last 18 months
Back then my PTSD videos were on Google and YouTube.
I started doing videos in February of 2006. Is this a coincidence? From the emails I get, it is part of it. It was the goal anyway.

When War Comes Home PTSD
views 2418

Veterans and PTSD version 1
All time views:14,283

Wounded Minds Veterans and PTSD version 2

Wounded Minds PTSD and Veterans version 3

PTSD After Trauma on Google

End The Silence of PTSD on Youtube
Views: 2,919

Hero After War Combat Vets and PTSD on Google
Views: 1,772 on Youtube

Coming Out of The Dark of PTSD on Google

Coming Out Of The Dark-PTSD and Veterans on Youtube
Views: 4,304

Death Because They Served PTSD Suicides

These videos are all available on Great Americans at the above tab.

When I think of what was known so long ago emails make me cry because I know the pain all too well but I also know the joy of living with a healing veteran once the darkness of PTSD has been defeated. He is not cured but he is healing and we've been married 28 years. This month marks the 30th anniversary of my work on combat and PTSD. Over half my life has been dedicated to this cause.

If you know someone going through this, give them a Christmas gift that can help them heal. Let them know they are not alone. The price is only $10.00 so that people can afford to buy it.

Monday, December 3, 2012

New Theory of PTSD and Veterans? Not new and not theory

New Theory of PTSD and Veterans? Not new and not theory
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
December 3, 2012

The biggest problem with PTSD is reporters don't have a clue what was known before they discovered something.

Tony Dokoupil wrote a piece in the Daily Beast and said the Moral Injury connection to PTSD was "new" and used "theory" as if was the truth. It is not new and is not a theory. He picked the title that made my jaw hurt from clinching my teeth. Had Dokoupil used what he later wrote "Moral injury is as old as war." as the title then I would not have taken issue with this otherwise great article.

A New Theory of PTSD and Veterans: Moral Injury
The Daily Beast
Author Tony Dokoupil
Dec 3, 2012

Soldiers are supposed to be tough, cool, and ethically confident. But what happens when they have seen and done things that haunt their consciences? New studies suggest that the pain of guilt may be a key factor in the rise of PTSD.

They called themselves the Saints and the Sinners, a company of Marine reservists from the Mormon land of Salt Lake City and the casino shadows of Las Vegas. They arrived in Baghdad a day before Iraqis danced on a fallen statue of Saddam Hussein, and as they walked deeper into the city, they accepted flowers from women and patted children on the crown. Then their radio operator fell backward, shot in the head.

Last month Lu Lobello, a machine gunner with the Saints and the Sinners in 2003, traveled to Washington, D.C., to speak to a panel at the Newsweek and The Daily Beast Hero Summit. To an audience of mostly civilians in business casual, he revived his memories of that battle in Baghdad. By way of introduction, the moderator, Wolf Blitzer, said that Fox Company had killed three civilians in the crossfire. “Well,” said Lobello, “first off, there were about 20 innocent civilians, not three.” He then limned the rest of the raw story: many of the cars in the intersection held families, not fighters. When the Marines realized this, they tried to help, but often it was too late. Another car would come, and they would shoot it, because what if this one was the enemy. “We were shooting at civilians,” his superior officer explained to a reporter in 2008. “We were taking out women and children because it was us or them.” The image that stays with Lobello is one of the first from that day, of a fellow Marine walking in tight circles, talking to himself. “We shot a baby!” he screamed, turning to Lobello. “Lobello, we shot a baby!”

Moral injury is as old as war. It is recognizable in the Iliad and the Odyssey, and in the oldest surviving play of Sophocles. It’s hidden in the private thoughts of soldiers from every prior American war. It was perhaps first used in the journals of Mac Bica, a Vietnam vet turned philosophy professor. In the 1990s two more Ph.D.s popularized the idea, describing the “the psychological burden of killing” and the Homeric betrayal by leaders. The common thread is a violation of what is right, a tear in what some people freely call the soul.
read more here

I left this comment.
While you have done some research, this points to how little research you did. You mentioned "It is recognizable in the Iliad and the Odyssey, and in the oldest surviving play of Sophocles" but did not manage to discover that Jonathan Shay wrote a book about PTSD and the moral wound in Achilles in Vietnam in 1994 and then followed it up 2002 with Odysseus in America. Had you researched this enough you would have never used the term to say it is "new research" and that is the biggest problem when reporters take the easy way out. All the research done after Vietnam veterans came home and fought for it to be done has been forgotten about. If they used what we already knew we wouldn't see so much suffering and a lot more healing going on.

Was it a matter of getting an attention grabbing headline? If it was too many people will walk away with that thought and not allow the number of years research in PTSD has been done preventing the possibility of them walking away furious with the fact that all of this was known so long ago.

When I got into all of this the web was not available for home use. I had to use the library and could only find clinical books on what Vietnam veterans came home with. Not much fun to read and even less support for me as a wife trying to learn what I could do for my husband and myself. Later on self help books didn't provide me with much until I read Achilles in Vietnam. It was then obvious that to heal the warrior, their soul had to be treated above all else that was done.

Medications can only numb. Physical endeavors only work for so long. If we do not tend to the place where the wound lives, we do not heal them.

The story he wrote about the Marines is not new either. I've written numerous times about the same type of event only with a National Guardsman being the one pulling the trigger.

They were on patrol in Iraq one night when a car was approaching them too fast. He tired to get the car to stop at a safe distance. He opened fire, a family was dead and he blamed himself. The image of the family in the car with children became frozen in his mind and he thought he was evil. What he had forgotten about was what he tried to do to prevent it from happening. He fired warning shots in the air, threw rocks, screamed, prayed and then screamed some more. All he could think about was too many were blown up by suicide car bombers and this car just could be one more on a suicide mission to kill his brothers.

Once he was able to see the whole event, he was able to forgive himself for what he had to do.

The help I was able to give him came after a tremendous price he had to pay. By the time he came to me after his Mom contacted me, he had tried to commit suicide twice, lost his family, his job, his home and was sleeping on whatever sofa his friends were willing to let him sleep on. Years of suffering when all it took from me was about 5 phone calls.

What if he had gotten what he needed as soon as he came home from Iraq? How many lives do you think could have been saved if they had the proper help to heal?

New theory? In 1984 Point Man International Ministries started addressing the spiritual aspect of combat. It works to heal them from where they hurt the most. Maybe if reporters would start to take this more seriously, the general public would no longer have the false impression that all of this is somehow new to OEF and OIF veterans. Had they been paying attention all along then I wouldn't have to be writing a book about military suicides so families can stop blaming themselves.

PTSD Is Not God's Judgment

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Good veterans sites and advocates end up being harder and harder to find

This morning started out with reading this. PTSD:Secret epidemic could dog veterans about combat veterans in Australia trying to heal from Combat PTSD. Bringing Awareness to Invisible Wounds

It is a great idea but at 7:30 this morning, the videos were unavailable. It is easy to tell the massive need out there for information on PTSD because this video series was only uploaded yesterday and several have over 100 views.

It took me back to 2005 when I was playing with videos trying to do something different.

I knew no matter how much I wrote, the OEF and OIF veterans grew up learning a different way from my generation because of the Internet. They didn't want to read anymore. I taught myself how to make videos to reach them.

These videos were up on YouTube until 2009 when they started to block music. I moved them onto Great Americans. While they were on YouTube they were seen thousands of times.

I received this email from a professor at the University of Rotterdam because no one else was doing these videos back then.
I work as a psychologist at the faculty of psychology of the Erasmus University Rotterdam (The Netherlands).

On the internet I stumbeled upon your video about PTSD. I would like to ask your permission to use this video on our website for stricty educational purposes.

I received this from a Naval Officer
I saw your PTSD presentation online and want to share it with our Sailors returning from Iraq/Afghanistan.

Thanks for providing this much needed information,

This is the video they wanted to show.

This video focuses on the families as well as the veterans.

This video explains what PTSD is like.

Combat and PTSD along with military suicides have been reported on thousands of times on my blog yet even now there are way too many sites giving out very bad information. Yesterday I read that "all suicides are preventable" and was so appalled I had to leave a comment that the claim was not true and that it was very harmful to the families after someone they love committed suicide. It is bad enough these families blame themselves when they had no clue what to do but even harder when they did everything right and another life was gone all the same.

There are now so many sites and videos out there that my work has been buried in the pile but it is still just as spot on as it was when I started and hardly no one else was doing anything about it.

I refuse to live in a world where no one cares about the troops or our veterans. I thank God everyday that I don't have to. More and more information is coming out to the public. News that used to be found only after long hours spent searching for the data and reports. The trick is finding the real stories, correcting the wrong data and attempting to find solutions while holding the powerful accountable. This gets harder to do everyday.

While so many people go onto Facebook posting about how much weight they lost, what they had for dinner or what kind of mood they are in as if everyone wants to know what they are up to second by second, I have an automatic feed of my posts going to Twitter and Facebook, yet few even bother to read them. I'll be out in a group and bring up something I read that day but few have a clue about it. When they do they end up telling me they had a Facebook link to it.

I won't give up on them. I know them. I know they do care. They are an example of how little news they really get. Is it a matter of not enough time to read these stories or is it more a matter of they use these sites for fun instead of doing something to help someone else?

Over and over again we read how someone on Facebook did in fact make a difference in someone else's life because they read a heartbreaking story, yet even in military/veterans groups there are also horrible posts offering empty advice and even less compassion. None of this makes sense to me anymore.

When I started in all of this, the Internet was an infant and I had to use the library for information. I wrote in local newspapers. Now there are too many sites and too many "experts" making things worse instead of better.

Good veterans sites and advocates end up being harder and harder to find.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Save Kathie Costos so she can save them

Save me so I can save them
by Chaplain Kathie
Wounded Times Blog
November 13, 2012

While you read the stories I track everyday, I read emails from veterans and families. I read emails from psychologists and social workers, groups and most of the time from families involved in stories you read here all the time.

What you don't read about are the lives I have saved, families able to stay together because they have finally been informed about what they really needed to know.

In 2002 I self published For the Love of Jack because I knew so many other families would go through the hell we survived. I wait 3 years hoping and praying for the money to come it to be able to do this work full time. I worked for a pay check and did this work when I could.

In 2005, I gave up waiting and put the book online for free. Here are just two of the first emails I received when I did that.

From a female Vietnam Veteran in July 2005
Dear Kathie,

Thank you for sharing your life and wisdom in For The Love of Jack. I must also thank you for sharing it through the internet.

I admit to you that I had not initially sought out this information. It was forwarded to me yesterday by my good friend Edward. I started the book last night, didn't sleep very well, too many thoughts on the matter at hand, woke up this morning, made a lighter and quicker breakfast fare than usual only so that I could get back to your story.

Being forty-eight years of age I do share most of your pre-Jack memories of Vietnam, especially the news reports at dinner time, it was a pretty horrific time in our lives. I'm ashamed to admit that Vietnam was a memory that I had set aside.

I had heard some talk of PTSD, it only came to light with 9/11. I had also heard of "shell shock" but again, it seemed like a distant memory of something that happened to people back in WWII. In my ignorance I thought that it was caused by a physical manifestation - like shrapnel or a head injury having been it's cause.

Your book enlightened me in more ways than you can imagine. I wish these living angels could sprout wings so that we would know them when we see them, so that we could revere and thank them and treat them with the fullest respect and dignity that they so deserve.

Then again, you should have sprouted a set of wings, too!

From a Vietnam Veteran December 2005

I came across a Web-site and I enjoyed what you had written there. I am a Veteran Vietnam 1967-69. I know what it is like to be married to a Vietnam Veteran. I have two ex.-wife's neither of whom can say I ever abused them. I think the word normal is something Vets don't have. My last two wife's still love me either can sleep in the same bed with me. So they now sleep in the bed of someone else. I have a knew wife of a year and she has moved to the couch.

She I think she is afraid, I might died during the night.

I do love her very, very much so I respect her need to sleep on the couch. I have got the works, heart problems, Sugar, PTSD a whole list. I go out and work everyday I can to take care of her and would not have it any other way. My problem I just don't no how mush longer I can hang in there.

I have been fighting with the Veterans Administration since 2001 to get help. Last Dec. I manage finally to get some help. I was homeless for three years after 2001. I would work and could only make enough money to eat and buy my smokes. I was refused care by four Veterans Hospitals during that time. So, I know what you have been through. I know in your heart your a good person. You not only tried, but you kept tiring. Most women just take the money and run!

Thank you Kathie for hanging in there with yourVet, heaven has a place for you waiting.

Hundreds of emails later and very little money in donations, I ended up having to give up my website because I couldn't afford it anymore. The fact is that more and more families have come to me for help and while I have saved lives, the people I help cannot afford to make a donation and to tell you the truth, I am not going to ask them when they are going through hell.

Imagine for a second what that has been like for me. I can't pay my own bills. Do you know what it is like to go to bed every night not knowing how you're going to make it one day to the next with the voices of families falling apart in your head?

I keep asking for help but few have thought what I do is worth even a small donation.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is not new but while the media is now talking about it and others are coming out all over the country, making millions a year doing very little, I work 7 days a week at least 10 hours a day. I can't afford publicity like some of the major groups out there even though what they are doing is less than I do everyday. They just have a great PR firm standing behind them. This is not about money. This is about doing the work that I am compelled to do.

I can't do it without your support! If you read Wounded Times and think it is of value, then please support it. If you cannot donate, then please pass it on to others you know. Subscribe to it so that when Google puts up ads I'll get paid more than a couple of dollars a day.

You can donate by clicking the link to PayPal and here's the info

Pointman of Winter Park
IRS #90-0749457

You can mail a check to
Pointman of Winter Park
PO Box 196992
Winter Springs FL 32719-6992

If you are not there for me, I can't be there for them!

I just discovered that the book in online for free from another site and requested it be removed. If people are reading it for free again, then no one will donate for it.

From Barnes and Noble reviews FOR THE LOVE OF JACK HIS WAR MY BATTLE
Posted September 3, 2003
PTSD is sadly too common
Kathie's book was amazing. I have PTSD myself and could identify with both her husband and Kathie since I know what my husband has gone through dealing with me and can look back at the worst times. A very insightful account of a family torn apart by PTSD. Help keep the shelter open since proceeds go to help Veterans who are badly in need of help.

Posted July 8, 2003
His War Her Battle Our Story
In Kathie Costos's groundbreaking new work, 'For the Love of Jack' she documents the life that thousands of families live everyday: living with a Vietnam Veteran who has Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In the book, Costos describes the disorder and its effects on family and life through her own experiences. Although PTSD is a disorder that varies from individual to individual, anyone who has seen even the slightest of hints of it can relate to this book. Through the chapters the reader comes to know and love Jack along with his family and ultimately can relate back to veterans of all wars and their struggle with this disorder. Never before have I read anything quite like this. Costos's unique and insightful perspective allows the reader to realize the after effects of war on an individual and on a family that are all to often overlooked. She reminds the reader that, along with the Vietnam Veterans, the families too share in the pain and suffering and describes them eloquently as, 'America's Secret.' I think that anyone who read this book would immediately understand that Vietnam isn't just a war or a country but a day to day struggle that all too many families and friends of Vietnam Veterans along with the Veterans themselves continue to battle to this very moment. The subtitle of this piece is His War My Battle. As the proud daughter of a Vietnam Veteran, USMC 1968-1970 I can tell you that its not only His War and Her Battle but Our Story.

Sunday, August 5, 2012

Two YouTube PTSD videos worth watching

There are so many PTSD videos out there now that it is really hard to pick a couple out to highlight. Here are two of them. One is about how Tom Skerritt is going to be teaching a writing class to veterans to help them heal by writing what they can't talk about. The other is about meditation from David Lynch Foundation.

Both of them are pretty good but as with anything else, they do not work for everyone. If what you need is still not happening for you, keep looking for what works for you. Just try to be careful about what you find online. I just went through about 5 pages of YouTube videos and only found two that were worth posting on.

Tom Skerritt on Teaching Storytelling to PTSD Veterans from Afghanistan

Women Veterans Combat PTSD with Transcendental Meditation

Monday, July 16, 2012

PTSD Marine Iraq Veteran felt like a "zombie" on medication

PTSD Marine Iraq Veteran felt like a "zombie" on medication
by Chaplain Kathie
Iraq veteran Nick Wright said medications made him feel like a "zombie" among other things needing to be addressed. We know that medications do help level things so that therapy can work but Wright also said "It's just a Band-Aid." Medications for PTSD may numb the emotional pain but they do not heal it. That is the biggest problem with most of the "treatments" the DOD and the VA are using.

After 40 years of researching Combat PTSD, experts had discovered a long time ago what is necessary in healing it is addressing the whole veteran. Mind, body and spirit.

This is more of a wound to the spirit, the same spirit/soul that lives within the human mind. Forgetting about healing it first has taken us backwards. Telling them to pop pills that leave them numb allows PTSD to gain more control so they end up needing stronger drugs, more prescriptions for more of them and when they fail to relieve the veteran, they turn to other substances. After all if medication is what they need according to the VA, and they are not working, well then, something out there must. Right?

Hell no!

For Vietnam veterans trapped in Combat PTSD hell, medications are something they've learned to live with because of how long it was allowed to live within them untreated. Even they have been helped by addressing the whole veteran and a lot of what they have been suffering from has been healed so they can live a better quality of life. When you talk to them, you understand how it breaks their hearts that younger veterans are not getting what they need today so they don't have to suffer like them 30 years from now. None of it has to happen.

The sooner PTSD is addressed, the sooner it breaks down. The longer it goes on untreated, more of the core of the veteran breaks down. It hits every part of their lives.

Area veteran trying to find his own way out of war's
Posted: 07/16/2012
Oroville Mercury

CHICO -- Nearly 5,000 U.S. troops lost their lives in Iraq, but veterans groups estimate 60 times that many may have their transitions back into civilian life disrupted by symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder.

In 2007, Chico resident Nick Wright left the Marine Corps after three tours in Iraq, and stepped into a quagmire of emotional issues he is still trying to sort out five years later.

Except for a few counseling sessions with a veterans group shortly after coming home, he has tried to control his symptoms by relying on an inner strength.

"I feel the only thing that can change me is me," said Wright.

Wright has rejected alcohol and drugs -- even prescription drugs offered free by the government -- believing they only mask symptoms, and often lead to even deeper emotional problems.

"I'll have a beer now and then. Hell, I've earned the right," he said. "But I never want PTSD to be an excuse for addiction or domestic violence -- or sinking so low I might take my own life."

Like many warriors freshly diagnosed with PTSD, Wright was prescribed medications to control flashbacks and help him sleep.

"I took them for a couple of months, but felt like a zombie," he said. "I felt stupid. I had no motivation.

"It's just a Band-Aid," Wright said.

Wright still refuses to discuss emotional issues with Veterans Administration counselors. Since coming home, he has minimized his contact with the outside world -- a way of life he said returning troops call "bunkering down."

"PTSD has been around for centuries, they just called it something else," Wright said.

"I don't think anyone really understands it."
read more here
Imagine that! He doesn't think anyone understands it? Well maybe the people he has been turning to don't but there is an enormous Army understanding Combat PTSD all too well.

For a start there is Point Man International Ministries "walking point since 1984" and treating Combat PTSD the way it needs to be treated first. Spiritually with understanding, compassion, experience and leading the way out of this darkness. They've been there. Most are still there living with PTSD but it lost the ability to destroy them. You probably never heard of them other than on this blog with occasional posts because they do not spend millions on public relations campaigns any more than they ask for millions of dollars from the general public. Most of the Out Post leaders for Veterans and Home Front leaders for families take money out of their own pockets to help others just like them and it works.

I am part of Point Man for this reason. While the experts I trust have been researching Combat PTSD for 40 years, I've only been doing it for 30, plus living with it married to a Vietnam Veteran. We've heading into our 28th anniversary. He is the reason I do what I do. He's also the reason why I know none of the suffering we're seeing has to happen.

If you want to know more about Combat PTSD, go to PTSD Videos at the top of Wounded Times Blog. It will open to Hero After War, one of the videos I created years ago. There are more PTSD videos on it including the one I made for Point Man International Ministries.

Some people hear the word "ministries" and think of someone hitting them over the head with a Bible instead of holding out a hand to help them. Point Man does not try to convert anyone. We just want to stop veterans from feeling like "zombies" and start to live again!

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Veterans with PTSD use film to say "I was there"

I Was There: Veterans with PTSD seek control of lives through Army-sponsored filmmaking
By Associated Press

FORT CARSON, Colo. — In 1943, an enraged Gen. George S. Patton slapped a battle-fatigued U.S. soldier at a military hospital and accused him of cowardice, an episode that nearly ended Patton’s career. Nearly 70 years later, two filmmakers — one of them Patton’s grandson — are trying to help soldiers cope with what is now called post-traumatic stress disorder by getting them to tell their war stories through a movie.

“Their generation just didn’t understand what this meant,” said Ben Patton, who takes his grandfather’s violent reaction as a sign that he too may have been suffering PTSD. “And that’s my call to action.”
read more here

Monday, January 2, 2012

Alive Day, New PTSD Video

If you had "resiliency training" here are some numbers you need to remember.

They knew sending you back into combat over and over again would increase your risk of PTSD. They turned around and came out with "Battlemind" trying to convince you that you could train your brain to be "tough" enough to just get over it. They never understood that you were already mentally tough, courageous and strong. Actually, they never really understood what causes PTSD so that left them clueless. Instead of helping, they ended up hurting you by leaving you to think PTSD was your fault because you didn't train right or you were weak.

Then there is this from 2009 showing you are not alone when it comes to "failing" the training.
Well, you are not now nor have you ever been weak. When you were deployed and lives were on the line, what did you do? Did you call in sick? Did you catch a flight back home? Or did you stay to help the men and women you served with? Did you notice the pain you had inside when someone else was in danger?

You did not allow yourself to feel the pain you carried until everyone was out of danger, until you were back home, until you couldn't trap in behind the wall any longer. How much tougher can you get than to be able to carry that kind of pain and still do it all?

The pain you feel now doesn't have to destroy you. You can heal if you get the right help. You fought for those you love in combat enough you were willing to die for them. Then fight for those you love back here enough to stay alive for them.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Invisible Wound: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

This is an excellent video! So many coming forward, talking about PTSD will save a lot of lives and prevent needless suffering. These young men and women are finally understanding there is nothing to be ashamed of and there is help to heal.

Invisible Wound: Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

Uploaded by militaryminds82 on Dec 19, 2011
Cpl. Chris Dupee gives us insight into the troubling silence that many sufferers of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder endure.

Having served in Afghanistan Chris knows from first hand experience the whirlwind of emotions one deals with upon returning home. The statistics are staggering and the code of silence needs to be broken. The stigma from coming forward and seeking help must be abolished and it begins with closely examining yourself and identifying your needs. There is help out there.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Stay Strong Nation's plea to you for PTSD veterans

Five years ago, understanding this generation of veterans has no desire to read, I started making videos to help them understand. Blending pictures, music and a message is a powerful way to do this. I made over 30 videos now and there is only one reason for all the hours I spent making them. They work! Videos have a way of getting thru to a veteran any hour of the day and talking directly to them, offering understanding but above that, hope. You can find links to my videos on the sidebar and see what I mean. Also check out what a Vietnam veteran started with this type of work.

Musicians put creative 'spin' on PTSD awareness for vets

Nicole Brochu
Sun Sentinel Columnist
8:38 a.m. EST, December 9, 2010

They were two musicians, inspired to act on President Obama's call for the nation to do whatever it can to support U.S. soldiers returning home from the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. One of them, L.A. Keith Crosby, a Vietnam vet, knew all too well the horrors of that return trip.

"I don't want them to come back home and be treated the way we were," Crosby said to his friend, Gresford Lewishall.

From there, Stay Strong Nation was born, dedicating itself to helping current and former U.S. military personnel cope with the all-too-prevalent struggle with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Traumatic Brain Injury, known respectively by their acronyms, PTSD and TBI.

And they do it with a creative twist that calls on their collective talents as musical promoters in Maui: with stirring CD recordings of an "anthem" to service members, with both a rap and a country version. I'm no fan of either musical genre, but it's tough to listen to both recordings and not be moved by the message of respect, honor and encouragement they broadcast, and even the prayer that accompanies the country version. "Stay strong, the nation will never forget you," the songs urge soldiers.

Stay Strong Nation's plea to you comes in the form of a holiday drive: Order the CD at and fill out and return the accompanying holiday-greeting postcard to them. Their hope is to be able to send mail bags full of the cards to Iraq and Afghanistan by the end of December so they can be posted in mess halls, call centers — wherever troops congregate — to boost morale and remind soldiers they are remembered and supported back home.
read more here
Musicians put creative spin on PTSD awareness for vets

Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Researchers Rewrite Nightmares of PTSD Patients

It's not just rewriting their dreams, they need to rewrite their memories. If they only hold onto the moments of terror, they don't see it all, remember what they were feeling before it happened and above all, what was their intention when they had to kill.

Most of the time when veterans contact me, they are focused on the image of the death of someone. While PTSD can strike without involving killing someone, it is the deepest cut of all. A young National Guardsman came back with such horrible memories that dealing with physical wounds was too much for him to begin to deal with. He lost his wife, custody of his two young children, disconnected from his family, lost his home and was couch homeless staying with friends and tried to commit suicide twice by the time I was contacted by his Mom.

His Mom didn't know what PTSD was or why he acted the way he did. It turned out that he didn't either. After building up the level of trust over a series of phone calls, he told me about the worst haunting event he had. While in Iraq, he was part of a convoy. A car was coming too close. He knew that many other cars had done the same thing to others but ended up blowing them up. He thru rocks at the car. He shouted. He fired warning shots in the air all the time praying they would stop, back off, anything to avoid having to do what he eventually had to do. He began to fire at the car. It was a family inside. The rest of what happened was edited by his memory. He was only remembering the bodies in the car and the fact he shot them.

He didn't remember what he tried to do before it in order to prevent it. He didn't remember that his prayers were begging God to get the driver to stop. He didn't remember the rocks or the warning shots in the air when he was haunted by what happened. That was not until the whole movie was allowed to play in his mind. Then he was able to make peace with that part of his story. No longer haunted by it, he began to heal. He just needed to remember that the history of events such as what he went through did not turn out to be innocent people in a car, but terrorists trying to blow up soldiers.

That's the problem with doing this kind of healing. This kind of healing does not get funded because it doesn't need medication after the chemicals in the brain are leveled off again. It doesn't take years and years of therapy session as long as it's done close, or as close as possible to the events. It doesn't cost millions of dollars. It just takes understanding what all humans do to themselves.

This even works on chronic PTSD veterans. The longer PTSD goes on un-addressed, the less PTSD can be reversed. Even with Vietnam veterans, after 40 years of being haunted, some of it can still be reversed but medications are usually still necessary and so is therapy to keep them stabilized.

With what we know about PTSD, had this been available when Vietnam veterans came home, most would have been healed. Marriages would have been saved and so many homeless veterans walking the streets wouldn't have happened if families knew how to help them. Suicides wouldn't have claimed so many lives and no veteran would ever reach the point of such despair they would need to call the suicide prevention hot line. The problem is, the DOD won't listen, the VA won't listen and congress won't fund something like this. Foundations and charities won't fund it. People won't donate to fund it. The best way to heal PTSD is to get them to the point where they can find peace within themselves. Peace with what happened so they can forgive themselves and peace with God so they know He understood what happened and why it happened.

If you want to see what a flashback looks like, here's one of my videos from a couple of years ago. If we really want to help them then we need to stop doing what has not worked and start to do what has.

'Inception' in Real Life? Researchers Rewrite Nightmares of PTSD Patients
Dreamers Can Incubate Their Own Narratives to End the Terror, Say Sleep Experts

Aug. 2, 2010

Post Traumatic Stress Patients Rescript Their Dreams

While they are awake, patients take a few minutes to create a new dream script. He asks one of his patients to change a demonic black racing car with giant eyeballs to a white Cadillac with bubbles, gently tooling along.

His studies show that this new cognitive therapy can help reduce the frequency and intensity of nightmares and perhaps even end them altogether.

Krakow's PTSD research has implications on all people with sleep disorders. In studies of more than 1,000 patients with post-traumatic stress symptoms, he found 5 to 10 other sleep problems may be involved, including high rates of sleep apnea.

"There's a connection a lot of people are missing in the complexity of PTSD sleep disturbance," said Krakow. "Everybody thinks these kinds of people have psychological issues. What we learned is there is a tremendous physiological component."

"What is being missed by many people is breathing disorders or sleep movement disorders all run together," he said. "It's not one thing."

Sleep disorders are serious business, according to Krakow. Those with nightmares can "actually act out their dreams and move around and hurt somebody."

Such is the case with Gotcher, who said her brain "feels like it's in a war, even in a conscious state."
read more here
Researchers Rewrite Nightmares of PTSD Patients


Violent Sleepwalkers Can Kill When Interrupted

Saturday, January 2, 2010

They don't hate you, they hate what is happening to you

They don't hate you, they hate what is happening to you
Chaplain Kathie

If you have PTSD and are under the impression you are hiding it, you're not. You cannot hide what PTSD is doing to you. They notice how you are no longer laughing like you used to. They notice every part of you has changed including how they felt loved by you. They hear you in the middle of the night when the nightmares come. They see you when a flashback takes you back into combat. As you self-medicate to kill off feeling pain, you may say "I'm not hurting anyone." in order to justify yourself, but the truth is, you are hurting yourself and everyone in your life.

Your spouse, the one you promised to stay with in sickness and health, cannot understand that you do not suddenly hate her/him but are wounded inside.

Your kids don't understand and they feel as if you don't even like them anymore.

Your parents don't understand why their child, the man/woman they watched grow from infancy, has suddenly turned into a cold stranger in the body of their child.

Is it so easy to accept the idea they think you are a drug addict or alcoholic over having PTSD? Do you really think they admire you for coming home drunk? High? Talking tough? Getting into trouble? Do you want them to hate you so that no longer allowing yourself to feel anything for them is justified? Why is it so hard for you to remember that these people loved you no matter what happened before in your life?

They prayed for you before you left, while you were gone and thanked God because they assumed you came home fine. They loved you every time you achieved something just as much as they loved you every time you failed. They rejoiced for you just as much as they grieved for you but now you think they will not be there for you because you have PTSD. They knew "you" but they don't understand what has happened to change you unless you explain it to them.

The general public has very little understanding when it comes to PTSD. Your family is no different. Most of them say that while you were deployed, they had enough to worry about, so most did not even pay attention to the news and you didn't tell them much while you were gone either. They were not detached from you but detached from what you were going through just as much as they are detached from what is happening to you now that you're back. They cannot understand how to help you if you keep pushing them away instead of getting them involved back in your life.

If you are a veteran of Iraq or Afghanistan, now is the time to ask them to help you. Show them this video and let them know anger coming out of you is born out of the pain you are carrying. Let them understand that you are carrying what you went thru even if you do not go into detail with them. Help they understand what PTSD is and stop thinking there is more shame in being wounded than there is in being what they think you're becoming.

While this video was developed for National Guardsmen, it applies to all combat veterans. Use it to help them understand why you act the way you do, say the things you do and have not said what you should have said a long time ago.

If you think for a second it's too late for you to heal, it's not. Today Vietnam veterans are finally beginning to heal, feel again, hope again, love again. It is not too late for them so it is not too late for you. When you start to seek help to heal, PTSD stops being able to increase the pain you feel. It stops getting worse.

When you begin to heal the first thing most experience is a flood of emotions, usually tears coming out feeling as if they will never stop falling. All of your emotions have been trapped behind a wall of pain built to protect yourself from more pain. The only emotion you felt safe to let out was anger but everything else was trapped behind the wall. Getting help cracks the wall and the release of emotions trapped behind it start to come out. That's why you cry. Pain is the emotion you felt first and is the strongest one. It has to be released first.

Once the pain is released then you can begin to find hope of being alive again. This will be your own alive day just as when a soldier has experienced a horrific wound awakening in the hospital calls the day they survived as their alive day. This is the day you begin to live again.

Stop trying to get the people in your life to get away from you and start to get them back in your life again.

Do you want to be homeless? What will that prove? That you don't need anyone in your life? Try surviving on the street with no one giving you a buck or two, or without anyone giving you food at a shelter or a blanket to keep you warmer. No matter what you want to believe, you do need people in your life and no one really lives without someone else helping them. It can either be your family or it can be total strangers but you do need someone.

Do you want to go to jail because you wanted to do drugs more than you wanted to be on medication? Do you want your family to really believe you hate them? Is it so much easier to put the burden of your wound onto their shoulders and make them suffer for what you will not tell them? Whatever you think will be easier to do instead of asking them to help you heal, you're wrong. They loved you before and they still love you now. Ask them for help and shove that stupid pride back where it belongs because as much as you want to think you're hiding the fact you're human, you're not fooling anyone.

The fact is that PTSD only comes after trauma, which is caused by something out of your control, from the outside attacking you. It "picked" on you because you have the ability to care more than others, have more compassion than others, feel deeper than others. It does not mean you are not courageous. It means you had the courage to act because you cared and now you can use the same courage to heal. Do you want to feel good things again? Do you think you can without getting drunk or high? You may have not noticed but when you are drunk or high, you surly don't look very happy. You are also unable to "feel" the good stuff humans are supposed to feel, like love, hope, passion and you stop feeling what it's like to be bonded to anyone.

Do you want to feel love for your family again? For your parents? For your spouse/girlfriend/boyfriend? Do you want to feel love for your kids again? Remember what it was like when you could feel the words "I love you" coming from them? When was the last time you "felt" those words reach your heart? When was the last time you felt anything other than anger?

The trauma of what you survived was out of your control. The rest of your life is within your control. God created a perfect chain of elements within all of us and it all comes from your soul. All you need to heal is within you but you need help finding out how it all works. Psychiatrists can help you fix the chemistry in your brain with medication and therapy. You can help your body work better when you eat better and exercise with calming activities. Yoga, meditation, martial arts and something as simple as taking a walk will get your body stronger and cleanse the negative energy from you. Just as important as taking care of your mind and body, is taking care of your spiritual life. Knowing God did not do this to you opens the door to asking Him to come back into your life.

There is an expression that infuriates. "God never gives us more than we can handle." This expression means that some people believe God is doing all of the bad stuff to them or causing it to happen. It is not that God is doing it to us, but that God is ready to give us what we need to get thru all of it. He can restore hope if you stop running from Him. He can restore all the faith you had before and even make it stronger if you allow Him. He can have you feeling all the good emotions you had before and make the sadness weaker.

You can heal but you can't heal if you keep trying to run away from it. You can't run from it because it will follow you no matter where you go. If you leave the people you love, what have you gained? You lost them and stand alone with no one by your side. You have also hurt people you once loved.

How do I know healing is possible? Because I have seen it in my own husband and many other veterans. There is no cure for PTSD yet and you cannot return to the way you were before. What can happen is that you come out of the darkness of PTSD better than you were before, more caring, more loving and yes, even happier. What you cannot heal, you can make weaker. You can come to a point where when nightmares come, they are not as powerful. When flashbacks come, they do not drain you as much or last as long. You can also come to a point where your family will react differently because they understand what is going on inside of you instead of blaming you for what comes out of you. The choice is your's to make but understand you did not end up with PTSD for any other reason than you survived traumatic events in combat so you can't really expect someone never exposed to any of it to automatically understand anything. Give then a chance to help you and give yourself a chance to feel love again for them.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Heaven Knows They Need You

When someone in your family returns from war, what do you expect? Do you expect them to come home the same way they were when they left? Do you think to yourself, they are home and they are safe so there is no need to worry about them anymore?

Too many times what happens is they come home, cover the scars they carry easily while they are treated to their favorite meals, welcome home parties and spending time with the people in their lives they care about the most. Young soldiers want to hang out with their buddies. Servicemen/women want to spend time with their kids and spouses. They want to get back into the "normal" world they always knew. The problem is, for some, that normal world is feeling as foreign as the world they just left.

Sometimes it just takes time to recover but other times, time is not their friend. You may notice days, weeks or months after their return, they are doing things, saying things totally out of character for them. You may notice they seem to zone out while you are talking to them, they drink more, talk less and suffer from nightmares. Somehow we manage to forget where they were and what their lives were like away from us. So we make excuses.

Parents, after knowing them all their lives, being there since their first step, will look at their veteran son/daughter, and wonder why they are acting the way they are. They will see the changes and get angry, feeling frustrated, Jack and Jill came back from the "hill" with buckets filled with woes. They want them back the way they were but as they wait, as they get into arguments, if they are dealing with a PTSD veteran, that kind of response only adds to the problem.

A spouse has the same issue going on. They want them back the way they were. They wish, hope, wait, wonder what magic words to use to get their husband or wife to return to the way they were before. Time is now the enemy. Frustration builds. If the issue is PTSD, it is also time lost when they could be healing, waiting allows PTSD to gain more control over them.

If they come home with drastic changes in their personality, you will be the first to notice, but if you don't understand what PTSD is, you don't know what you're looking at.

You need to understand what they dealing with. The sooner they get help, the better. If you love them, if you don't want them to leave then help them heal. With any other illness, you'd make sure they go to the doctors for help. This is not just an illness, it is a wound. It is a wound to their soul and can claim every part of them. Fight for them. If you watch the following video and suspect they have PTSD, then get them to go for help. If you are wrong, you have one less thing to worry about but if you are right, you may have just saved their life. Understand that changes after trauma are something to worry about. Be their advocate as you have been with everything else in their life.

PTSD is a wound. They may wish to be the way they were before. You may wish they were the way they were before. All of what they were is still there behind a wall of pain searching for a way to come out from behind it. Help break that wall down so they can get out. Stop wanting and start doing. Learn what PTSD. Heaven knows they need you now!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Will you remember them?

Will you remember them?
Chaplain Kathie

To the parents

You raised your sons and daughters. You saw them develop into adults. From the time you taught them how to walk and stand on their own two feet, you watched them become their own person. You knew what they liked and what they had no tolerance for. You knew what made them laugh as well as what made them cry. You knew how much they cared about you and the rest of the family as well as how much they cared about their friends. You knew what kind of students they were and how much they tried their best. What came easy for them and what they had to work hard for was all known to you. So how is it when this son of your's or daughter of your's comes back from being deployed to Iraq or Afghanistan is now a stranger to you?

To the spouse
How many years did you spend with your husband or wife? How many conversations did you have with them indicating what they thought and how they felt? It was enough to base wanting to spend the rest of your life with them. You wanted to build a future with them because they were special to you. You knew what made them laugh, what got them angry and what made them cry. You trusted them enough with your heart to make the commitment to be by their side even though you knew the military could send them away into another nation. You loved them enough to be willing to endure the possibility of being a single parent while they were deployed just as much as you were willing to face transfers to different bases in different states, maybe even different countries. You were willing to accept the risk to their lives knowing each deployment could be their last. With all you had to worry about, how is it that when they came home acting differently, you just assumed they were suddenly someone totally different instead of the same person you loved but now in need of help?

To the clergy
You saw them during services, watched them with their families and children. They were faithful to attend, usually they volunteered to help and you had many conversations with them. When they were deployed, you asked your congregation to pray for them so that God's angels watched over them and brought them home safely. You wrote a special sermon for Memorial Day, 4th of July and Veterans Day thinking of them and the sacrifices they were willing to make for the rest of country. So how is it when they come home needing help, you take no interest in this? Why do you avoid talking to them the way you used to? Why haven't you paid a visit to their home, talked to their families or offered to listen to them as they try to rationalize believing in a loving God but having to endure the hazards of hell in combat? Why haven't you talked to them about the friends they saw die? Why haven't you talked to them about the buddy no longer able to walk? When they sit with their families during services as you look upon them while delivering a sermon on God's love, how can you allow them to suffer with tears in their eyes and not be moved to help them?

To the employers of National Guardsman
You saw them 5 days a week. You knew how hard they worked for you and how dependable they were. You knew what they excelled at and what they struggled to learn how to do. You knew how other employees felt about them the same way you knew how much you could depend on them to give the job all they had. You knew they were even willing to risk their lives in times of crisis serving in the National Guards. As a matter of fact, you even admired their willingness to put the safety of others ahead of themselves. So how is it when they come home, changed by what they went through, you want to fire them instead of help them? Are they that disposable? Do you think that the loyal employee you admired is suddenly someone not worth having around? Ever talk to them and ask them if they need help? Have you ever wondered why they acting so differently at all?

This is the biggest problem the troops come home to. It's not debate about the worthiness of Iraq or Afghanistan. They had a job to do and were sent where they were. It is not about parades a couple of times a year or patriotic ceremonies when they die and it sure isn't about sending a card to any wounded soldier at Walter Reed or Bethesda. It's not about handing a buck to a homeless veteran or donating some worthless clothing to a charity. While all of this matters to them, it would matter a lot more if you stopped and remembered who they were before they left because they are screaming to be seen again by you.

They are waiting for someone to say, "You changed. What's going on inside of you?" with a caring, non-judging donation of your time. They want someone to see them still inside that body now slouched over in the chair carrying the weight of their service on their shoulders. They need someone to know they would not suddenly change into a stranger without reason. So why haven't you?

We can donate money to build monuments to those who serve but if we neglect those who serve, what good does a stone do? We can kick them out of our homes so that we can live a peaceful life again, but what good does that do when the peace could have been restored in our homes with the person we loved still with us instead of walking the streets or sleeping on someone's couch? We can avoid paying attention to them as our lives are shattered by them doing things that are abnormal. We can get angry with yet another nightmare wakes them up instead of having compassion for them and knowing there is something very dark behind the nightmare. We can feel hurt when they are oblivious to us or suddenly act out of character instead of hurting for them and what has caused the change.

They are part of our lives. Troops become veterans. Veterans are rare in this country with less than 10% of the population ever knowing what it is like to put on a uniform and risk your life. They carry it all inside of them and sometimes that weight is just too much for them to carry alone. Where are you? Will you help them carry this load of pain and help them heal? Will you seek the tools to help them or will you put yourself first and just want them out of your lives?

The choice is your's to make. Here's a place to start.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Veterans' mental health a priority yesterday, today and tomorrow

It would be hard to imagine anyone wanting the job General Shinseki has when so many veterans need action now. The Obama Administration is not just trying to take care of the combat veterans and wounded soldiers from this year, they have to try to take care of all of those who came before, waited longer, hurt longer and felt abandoned by the country since they returned home in need of help.

Shinseki: Veterans' Mental Health a Priority
Posted by Daniel Carty

Eric Shinseki, the retired four-star general who currently heads the Department of Veterans Affairs, said his agency is "working diligently" to better aid veterans suffering from post traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues.

Shinseki appeared on CBS' "The Early Show" Wednesday, a day after attending a memorial for the 13 victims of the Fort Hood shooting rampage. As a former Army chief of staff, Shinseki described the attack as a "heart wrenching, terrible tragedy - unexplainable."

He also said President Barack Obama's speech during the ceremony was important to "bring the community together and begin the healing."
read more here
Veterans' Mental Health a Priority

Usually I complain about what they lack. It's habit. After all these years of reading their stories, talking to them and their families, it would be impossible to not complain about what they are not getting. These are not, as some put it, freeloaders looking for a handout, but men and women who earned whatever it is we can provide them with. We'll honor them today on Veterans Day, but fail to imagine tomorrow, they will still be veterans living with memories of combat, fallen friends and carrying the same wounds they came home with. They are veterans everyday, every week, every month and every year for as long as they live.

They return to home, families, neighborhoods, to work when they can and the VA claim line when they can't. They return to people they used to feel comfortable with suddenly feeling like a stranger in their midst. They hear us complain about tiny issues as if they were all so important while they remember what it was like when the food couldn't get to them for days, the times when they were fighting too stressed out to realize they hadn't eaten all day or slept, or showered or that it was over a hundred degrees in the shade. Still they listen to us get all flustered because they didn't take out the trash or notice the new curtains in the living room.

In the weeks, months and years as they try to readjust back to the world of normalcy, they soon realize everyone else has gotten on with their normal lives but they haven't. There is nothing "normal" about them anymore. What they do not understand is that after what they went through, they are normal considering where they came from.

This is one of the first videos I did on PTSD so that families could understand.

What is possible with PTSD is that they can heal this wound. It does not have to be fatal. It does not have to be all consuming. It does not have to be a terrorist inside of them trying to break them down and destroy their lives. If they know what it is, that knowledge acts like an antibiotic. Much like an infection will eat away flesh, PTSD with eat away at the soul unless it is treated. As soon as they start to talk about what is going on inside of them, they stop getting worse. PTSD is no longer able to rule over their lives. They begin to take control over it.

It is not their fault. It strikes the compassionate. Once they understand this, they stop the self-guilt road rage against themselves.

It is not something they can treat with alcohol or drugs because it makes it all worse. Masking what is there instead of treating it properly allows it to fester and grow stronger. If they are already on medication, it is dangerous because these chemicals interfere with the chemicals in the medications that are supposed to be helping them. Once they understand this, the medications begin to work and if not, the doctors can change them so they work with the individual body chemistry better.

They do not have to watch their family fall apart if everyone involved knows where all the emotions are coming from and what they can do about them. If they have the tools to readjust their thinking, they will know what a good response is and what a bad one is. In other words, they can either make the situation worse or better and help the veteran heal. They can only do this with knowledge as the tool for their survival.

They can laugh again. They can find the part of themselves where joy still lives on trapped behind the wall their body built to defend against more pain.

They can reclaim their faith. Once they understand what PTSD is, answer the age old question of "why me" when others walked away, then they understand themselves better. They can stop blaming themselves. They can stop thinking God is punishing them or abandoned them. Above all they can stop thinking God is evil because He allowed what they saw.

There is so much that is possible with PTSD and they can come out on the other side better than they were before while they can never come out the same way they were before. Every event in a human's life goes into what they become and each one of us adjust to events that shape our lives.

So here's another video. Veterans Everyday just to honor them for all they live with long after we stopped praying for them and felt we no longer had to worry about them.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Warrior to Saint

Prayer of Saint Ioannikios
Reader: The Father is my hope, the Son my refuge, the Holy Spirit my protection. Holy Trinity, glory to you.

Sometimes I think I make a lousy Greek. There is so much that I do not know about the history of my faith as an Orthodox. I am always learning something new even though I was baptized into the faith as an infant. Yesterday was one more occasion to be stunned when I was reading the weekly bulletin. While I had heard of St. Ioannikiois before, I must not have paid attention to what this man was all about before.

"For the first forty-three years of his life, the only thing one could call great about Ioannikios was his brute size which, coupled with an explosive temper, made him a fearsome figure, more at home on the field of battle than in the stillness of a church. rebellious at school, he spurned books as the tools of the weaklings, preferring to acquire an adeptness in the use of arms, as a result of which by the time he was eighteen he was overqualified for the military service but a hopeless illiterate. For the next quarter of a century, he showed not the slightest evidence of piety, yet a chance encounter brought out the true spirit latent within him and in illustration of the mysterious ways of God, he became a venerated saint of the Church."

Ioannikios knew about needing protection since he spent so many years as a warrior. We forget so many who managed to be men of faith as well as warriors.

"His military prowess assured him advancement in the ranks and he won wide recognition in a campaign against the Bulgarians, after which, at the age of forty-three, he unaccountably resigned his commission. Asked by his friends why he was leaving at the pinnacle of his military success, he answered honestly that he did not even know why himself, except that an inner force compelled him to seek another purpose in life, although he was not in the least aware to what end it would lead him." (From Orthodox Saints, Volume 4 George Poulos Holy Cross Orthodox Press, Brookline MA printed in the bulletin of Holy Trinity Church, Orlando FL 11-1-2009)

We remember Pope Julius for hiring Michael Angelo for the Sistine Chapel, but we don't remember he strapped on body armor a time or two in his own life.

In June, 1474, Giuliano was sent at the head of an army to restore the papal authority in Umbria.........

.......In 1480 he was sent as legate to the Netherlands and France to accomplish three things, viz. to settle the quarrel concerning the Burgundian inheritance between Louis XI and Maximilian of Austria, to obtain the help of France against the Turks, and to effect the liberation of Cardinal Balue whom Louis XI had held in strict custody since 1469 on account of treasonable acts. After successfully completing his mission he returned to Rome in the beginning of 1482, accompanied by the liberated Cardinal Balue. At that time a war was just breaking out between the pope and Venice on one side and Ferrara on the other. Giuliano made various attempts to restore peace, and was probably instrumental in the dissolution of the Veneto-Papal alliance on 12 December, 1482. He also protected the Colonna family against the cruel persecutions of Cardinal Girolamo Riario in 1484.

Pope Julius II
In 1506 he officially founded the Swiss Guard, in order to provide a constant corps of soldiers to protect the Pope.

He also knew what it was like to go to war but also he longed for peace.

Peace alludes so many after war. The visible scars of battle are regarded as badges of honor to some but to others painful reminders of what they were asked to do. Others carry scars no one can see with the naked eye unless someone manages somehow to look deep into their soul. These are very compassionate people and very brave.

What good is compassion without the courage to do something for others? What good would it do to be compassionate and see a child in the street but lack the courage to run out to save her? What good would it do to see anyone in need but lack the courage to put them first? All too often courage and compassion are not considered in harmony with each other.

When warriors come home (not just military, but law enforcement and emergency responders) their hearts are heavy by what they saw when others suffered. Their courage is often overlooked because of the pain they feel. Call them a hero and they tell you they were just doing their job. They know it was what they were supposed to do but most don't have a clue why that is. When they have to take a life to do their jobs, or see others die, they witness all the worst mankind has to offer instead of seeing what good there is there at the same time. The compassion they carry is what is good in the midst of what is bad.

They may look at what surrounds them and wonder where God is. Often they say any God allowing that kind of suffering cannot be good, especially when they see children suffering. They cannot see that there compassion to care in the first place came from good and not evil and that God's goodness was there all along because they were.

How can anyone hold onto that kind of love when they see so much hatred? How can they carry the burdens of others if they did not have the goodness within their soul in the first place? This is how God is still there even when the horror is there.

Being a warrior does not mean they stop feeling pain. It does not mean they are safe and sound just because they come back home. It does however mean that the more compassionate the soul within them, the more they will need help to heal from what they had to live through. They need to know that God did not abandon them or forsake them as much as they need to have the mental health help to heal.

How can they feel God did not abandon them when they are hurting so deeply at the same time they have to fight for benefits and VA healthcare? How can they feel it when their friends and families have no clue what is going on inside of them and take very little interest learning? It is so much easier for people to just assume they are no longer the same person and blame them for the change than to really think about the way they were before.

Imagine restoration of their lives and what can be produced by feeding their compassion instead of assaulting it. Imagine what it would be like to give them back reasons to hope, to be forgiven for whatever they feel they need to be forgiven for, to have their souls healed and to find there are reasons to be thankful after war and what they witnessed. Imagine all that is possible because it is. All that is required is they are helped by as many people as possible to talk to them as someone they care deeply for instead of a burden.

There are everyday saints within them because they were willing to lay down their lives for the sake of their friends and Jesus said there is "no greater love" than what they were willing to do. They did not do for medals, for riches or for power. They did it for the sake of their brothers and sisters and for strangers they never met. It's time to make them feel worthy of all the time and help we can give to them.

This must be the day for saints online. This just showed up on AOL.
Which saint has the best cash flow
A question for the holiday season:
Bruce Watson

Saints Hit the Big Screen

One interesting measure of profitability is film gross While many saints, including St. Bernadette, St. Francis of Assisi, and St. Thomas Beckett, have inspired highly profitable films, the winner in this particular category is probably St. Joan of Arc. The central figure of at least 16 films, the history of Joan of Arc films dates back to almost the beginning of the film industry: the first Joan of Arc movie was produced in 1895. Her last major depiction, 1999's The Messenger, was directed by Luc Besson and starred Milla Jovovich. It grossed over $14 million in the United States.

But what of the lesser-known saints? Phil Dinovo, of Patron Saint, pointed out that two of the most popular religious figures are St. Jude and St. Rita, both of whom are associated with desperate causes. For that matter, St. Michael and St. Christopher -- both of whom are associated with the military -- have drawn a great deal of devotion, especially over the past eight years. Given the state of the real estate market, one can only imagine how many distressed homeowners are burying St. Joseph statues in their yards in the desperate hope that his intervention will help them sell their homes.