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

Wednesday, July 17, 2024

Consider the truth a giant-size bug killer

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 17, 2024

Some people mellow with age. Some people don't. I am one of those. I've reached a point when things bug me so much that I've been binge-watching shows repeatedly. I prefer to watch made-up horror shows than watch the news. Current events are more terrifying to me.

When people believe lies because they are of popular beliefs, no matter how ridiculous the lies are, truth isn't popular in their circles. No truth can penetrate their closed-down minds. The rest of us wonder what is wrong with them, especially if we know them to be people with functioning brain cells.

Hell has gone wrong with them. It isn't as if we haven't seen all this before. It has happened throughout history and has had deadly results. For those of us with PTSD, the lies we hear are more popular than the truths we need to know. It bugs me that the buzzing lies also come with financial gain for those pretending to help us. Sure, we could be grateful we aren't their targets because, apparently, they only know about Veterans with PTSD. It's hard to be thankful when we have been forgotten in all the news reports and veteran charity groups getting all the attention while the rest of us are left alone.

It bugs me that I used to be guilty of being just as obvious about civilians suffering, even though I was one of them.

Years ago, someone left a comment regarding how civilians with PTSD were ignored. I thought about it and then concluded that veterans were different. As a nation, we owed them help to heal what combat did to them. All the researchers back then agreed veterans needed to be treated in their own groups and receive therapy from professionals with special training able to care for them. I wasn't a veteran and never had trouble finding a therapist to help me. Not that I had a clue I was dealing with PTSD at the time, and my therapists didn't see it either. I just needed to do talk therapy to work through a lot of things. One was what I was going through with my husband when the stress was changing me. I was feeling angry most of the time. That is not in my nature. I knew I needed help to let it go.

Now I know I was living with PTSD in me most of my life. I had no clue I was suffering from a rare form of it. It bugs me that with all the clinical books I read, the therapists I saw, and the professionals I knew because of my work, I never learned anything about people like me. 

It bugs me that after all these years, veterans are still hearing lies because they are more popular than the truth. It bugs me they don't know civilians end up with PTSD after surviving just one event. They could see what their surviving events did to them if they knew about us. 

It bugs me that we don't communicate with them, and they don't communicate with us. Donating to charities focusing on veterans is all we need to do for them. We have no clue that sharing our struggles with them would help them more, and they have no clue that sharing their stories with us would help us as well.

So, what can we do to change the conversation? The next time you hear a lie buzzing in your ear, slap it with some truth and stop it from moving in. Explain the truth to the one telling you the lie. Read anything online you know is a lie, confront them with the truth, or at least let people know that the writer doesn't know what they are talking about. This has to include professional people lying about it.

We have enough crap that bugs us in the world we live in. Consider the truth a giant-size bug killer. 

Thursday, July 11, 2024

PTSD:Demons don't just come out at night

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 11, 2024

Have you ever watched a horror movie or read a book and wondered if demons are real? The answer is yes, they are.

While you probably have heard of the religious practice of exorcisms, they have been performed for centuries. The truth is, it's gone on a lot longer than that. Just read this from National Geographic.
In Mesopotamia during the 1st millennium B.C., purveyors of magic called ašipu staved off and expelled demons that brought illness and chaos. As spiritual healers, ašipu were esteemed protectors who used amulets, performed elaborate rituals and, when needed, engaged helper demon figures in their efforts. The ancient Greek word daimon—from which the modern "demon" derives—referred to god-like spirits and supernatural forces. While a daimon could be good or evil, the latter was a malevolent force that needed to be cast out or exorcized. The 1st century A.D. historian Josephus recounted the story of Eleazar, a man who freed others from a demon by drawing it out of his nostrils and repeatedly invoking King Solomon's name, attesting to a form of exorcism in Jewish tradition as well.

HealthLine took a look at sleep paralysis and the "demon."
How people describe them
What is this “demon” that leaves you trapped in your body, unable to move or scream? It depends who you ask.

For some it’s a faceless, shapeless presence trying to suffocate them. Others describe it as a creepy old hag with claws. Some see an alien and experience what they believe is a full alien abduction. And for others, the demons look like a dead relative.

Different cultures have different explanations for sleep paralysis demons.

Canadian Inuit attribute the sleep paralysis to spells of shamans. Japanese folklore says it’s a vengeful spirit that suffocates its enemies in their sleep.

In Brazilian folklore, the demon has a name — Pisadeira, which is Portuguese for “she who steps.” She’s a crone with long fingernails who lurks on rooftops in the night, then walks on the chest of people who sleep belly up on a full stomach.
If you have #PTSD, then you know what these are like. The difference is that the only demon invading you is the trauma you survived. I survived ten times, but it took the one event that changed everything for me. I write about it often, but as a reminder, my first husband tried to kill me and then stalked me. When I had nightmares of what he did, all the other times moved from the back of my mind and into my days. It wasn't much fun to constantly fight them. It was even worse to survive them in the first place. I had to remind myself that I did survive them and wasn't about to let them destroy me or my future.

Most won't tell you that but should say to you as soon as they offer any therapy. You are not facing the threat of the events that already happened, but you are facing the danger of what came with the memories of them.

And then there are people talking about the PTSD demons. Wrestling with demons: Veterans share their experiences of battling PTSD, addiction, suicidal thoughts.

Believe it or not, that's from the Department Of Veterans Affairs website.
Veterans’ greatest battle isn't always against an enemy combatant. Sometimes, it’s with themselves.

That’s especially true for Ben Evenson and Sam Lovdahl.

To mark Mental Health Awareness Month, the two Veterans shared the struggles they faced after serving — battles that included post-traumatic stress disorder, drug/alcohol addiction and attempted suicide.

The presentation, dubbed “Wrestling with Demons” because Evenson is now a professional wrestler and Lovdahl wrestled in high school, took place under a covered pavilion on a chilly, overcast day on the Milwaukee VA campus.

But the setting was apropos, Evenson said.

“Even though it's a (crappy) day out and it's raining, the sun is still shining, 1,500 feet above us,” he said. “It's the outlook on which you look at life that determines the outcome of where you're going and where you are now.”
PTSD doesn't want you to have hope, so it destroys it until you give up. It doesn't want you to know you can defeat it, so it gets in the way, planting doubts in your brain every time you decide to reach out. Stay away from the games it loves to play. You are smarter than that. You are stronger than that.

Maybe someone told you that PTSD was a sign of weakness. It isn't. There is nothing weak about surviving the cause of the demons invading you. You stopped being a "victim" of the event/events as soon as it ended. You became a survivor! Once you understand that, you begin to defeat it.

Now that you know demons are real, isn't it time you stopped feeding them are started to starve them?

Friday, July 5, 2024

stop being trapped by your past

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 5, 2024

The walls you hide behind to protect you from more pain also protect you from more joys. It is time to remove the walls and stop being trapped by your past.
Have you ever wondered why you push people away, especially those you love? I know I did. After all the times I survived, my family saw right through me and got me to talk about what was going on in my head. Being able to talk kept the walls of #PTSD from closing me in. It was not until my first husband tried to kill me that I hid the pain well enough that they didn't suspect more than I was willing to share.

They assumed I would open up if I needed to, but the pain of betrayal from someone I loved was far more than what he caused. It involved everyone around me. I no longer trusted anyone who loved me. They did nothing wrong to me, but the walls were built to protect me even from them. Years later, I realized I was the only one harming myself. 

I didn't trust anyone. While I was making friends and dating after what my first husband did, I never felt close to anyone. That is until I met my second husband. I saw such deep pain in his eyes, and I knew he must have seen it in mine. 

He's a Vietnam veteran. The more I got to know him, he trusted me enough to share what being in Vietnam did to him. He was so young in that dark time of his life. His WWII veteran father kept telling him to get over it. After all, that's what his generation was told. I was the first to tell him it wasn't something he could just get over. He had to get through it. He needed to break down the walls built to protect him from more pain getting inside of him.

I gave great advice but failed to take my own. It took a long time for me to open up about the times I faced death. I felt as if his times were much more severe than mine were. I made it into a contest I believed I'd never win. How could my times be more significant than his? He was in Vietnam facing the fact he could have been killed every day. My times were over, and it was done, and I was safely back home within hours.

I couldn't tell him that I had flashbacks, nightmares, mood swings, panic attacks, and felt as if I could never take down my walls enough to really let him in. About fourteen years after our marriage, we moved thousands of miles from my ex-husband. I was still being haunted, although it never made sense to me. I was able to love my husband and our daughter. I wasn't able to feel their love. It was not until my cousin sent me his obituary notice from the newspaper back home that the nightmares, along with everything else, stopped haunting me. I was free. Free to finally take down the walls and believe other people could love me. It was a fantastic feeling. It also left me confused.

Many years later, we moved again, and COVID hit. I explained to my daughter how all the stress and fear would last much longer than the pandemic. I told her what my ex-husband did to me. While she knew what happened, I never told her about the lingering pain I had. She looked at me and said that I never told her I had PTSD. I was shocked!

I was an expert, but I didn't see it. I saw two therapists to help me heal from experiences I had, and they didn't see it. I contacted a couple of psychologists I knew over the years. Both of them said I had a rare case of PTSD because of all the times throughout my life I faced death. The first two times happened on the same night when I was just five years old. Long story short, a doctor told my mother I not only could have died but that I should have died twice the night before. He said it was a miracle I was still alive. I was admitted for five days to heal. My skull was fractured, and I had a concussion.

Knowing what I know now, it is never about what caused PTSD in any of us. It is what we do about our lives as survivors. 

Open up to people you trust in your life. You don't have to tell them everything, but you must let them know the basics. Trust me, because they are as confused as you are. They have no way of knowing what's behind the changes in you. They can only make assumptions. Those assumptions cause conflict between you. Don't blame them because you will have the same reaction if you look at what they are seeing in you. 

The more you talk about it and share what you're going through, the more the walls will come down. If you can't speak to your family, try a friend. If you can't talk to a friend, find a group trying to heal. If you can't find a group you feel comfortable in, find a therapist. If you don't feel comfortable with that therapist, find another one. 

You will see the world and yourself more clearly. Seeing the world without walls in the way is fantastic when you can let joy back in.

Sunday, June 30, 2024

What makes us different from others?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 30, 2024

Most of us may not say it, but we wonder who we are. Why are we here? What makes us different from others? Why do we have strange thoughts and feelings we can't figure out? The answer is within us. Some call it our soul. Others call it our spirit.

I often wonder what makes someone join the military knowing they are risking their lives. What makes people join the National Guard to help the people in their state while knowing they could also be sent to foreign lands? What makes a firefighter willing to risk their lives and members of law enforcement? Their jobs are obviously dangerous. They are also emotional. They leave their families to put strangers first. The people they are willing to die for come first while on the job. How do they do that?

The many professions people feel compelled to do that come with a high price to pay. Most say it was what they wanted to do all their lives. They can't explain why. They just knew they had to. 

Most of them told me they felt pulled to do it. They never wanted to do anything else. That pull came from the spirit within them. It is what they were created to do. It always seemed easy for them to accept that. They found it hard to accept that that same spirit also had the power to help them heal.

It was also hard for them to accept the simple fact that they were only human, and no matter how much training they had, there were limits to what any human could endure. When the rest of us suffer after one event, or as in my case, over ten of them, we are living proof they need to know.

Most people with our experience have our hearts tugged when we hear about their suffering. Yes, we also feel left out when no one is holding any events for us or forming charities to help us get the mental health care we need. Still, we feel for them. We didn't willingly risk our lives for someone else every day. We were just trying to live our lives when #PTSD hit us.

Just think about how much we could do for them if we talked to them and told them how hard it was to survive what we went through. We could prove to them that we are not ashamed to talk about it and happy to share how we healed with them. 

Aside from having our hearts filled knowing we just helped someone, there is a bonus to it. It fills our spirits and helps us heal even more. The more we help others, the more we help ourselves. That has been proven to me for over 40 years when I helped total strangers go on to live happier lives.

Try it and change the conversation they've been hearing about having PTSD into something they may have never heard before. It's time to #breakthesilence for them and others like us.

Kathie Costos

Saturday, June 22, 2024

PTSD-Life is so much better on the other side of ugly

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 22, 2024

How important is it to turn something ugly that happened to you into something beautiful? By deciding to show kindness to others.


I have a five-inch ugly scar on my arm. Most people don't notice it, but I see it every day. My husband is waiting for surgery and is in a nursing/rehab home. I went to visit him one day, and when I walked into the lobby, I saw that they were offering the residents temporary tattoos. One of the nurses told me my husband didn't even want to take a look at them. I told her I'd get him to at least come out to see them. When he did, he decided to get a lion tattoo. They offered one for me as well. I chose the owl since it was beautiful and large. I loved it! I was glad it lasted for weeks. I'd look at my arm and see something beautiful covering something ugly.

It made me think of how no one can see the #PTSD scars inside of me, but I can. Even though they are still there, they don't control me. They have no power over me. Sure, they make me sad sometimes. They can even make me angry. Those emotions are in my control, and I won't allow them to last long. I choose to not take them out on others. I choose to cry when I need to. I choose to deal with the anger of my past and let it go. I chose to decide that I didn't deserve what happened to me and not allow it to rob me of happiness today.

I choose not to allow what happened to me to define me. I am not ashamed of what I survived. I talk about the over ten times something ugly happened to me so that someone else could gain that hope they shouldn't be ashamed. 

You can do it too. Life is so much better on the other side of ugly.

Saturday, June 15, 2024

I didn't need to belong to a church to seek His help

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 15, 2024

It is hard enough to encourage people with #PTSD to seek spiritual healing but when they hear people claim to be Christian but show no relationship to what He taught, it is making it close to impossible.

I help anyone in spiritual pain because no matter if they believe in Jesus, or a higher power, it helps heal PTSD. Even the Department of Veterans Affairs noticed the importance of adding spirituality to treatment. Read Addressing Religious or Spiritual Dimensions of Trauma and PTSD
Spirituality and post-trauma mental health may influence each other, in both positive and negative ways. This has less to do with people's dispositional spiritual identity and more to do with how they spiritually cope with adversity. Given that trauma often leads to a need to find meaning, and that spirituality often provides such a meaning system in people's lives, it follows that trauma can introduce a need to reconcile difficult events with beliefs.
Changed relationship to or conception of one's deity. That is, a traumatic event can cause people to experience changes in the way they see a Higher Power, such as feeling abandoned or punished by them, feeling angry at them, or questioning how a loving, all-powerful deity could allow horrible things to happen to the innocent. When religious meaning systems are very central, then individuals may either shift their pre-existing beliefs (e.g., "There is no Higher Power.") or their sense of the situation (e.g., "I must have done something wrong to provoke this punishment."). If people see an event as likely caused by punishment from a Higher Power or evil forces, they may have a sense of predictability while also feeling that the world is more cruel than previously thought. A changed relationship with one's faith can also be made more difficult if a trauma occurs during a stage of psychospiritual development in which there are already normative doubts and questions (e.g., early adulthood; 13).
No matter what caused PTSD in you, this is an important part of your healing. The problem is, when people claim to be Christian yet spew out hatred, judgment, lies, display anger, and cause division, they are not what they claim to be, it shuts off seeking it. Understandable if people do not know what Jesus said was the way to treat others and what a "personal relationship" with Jesus means.

Here are just some of the things you need to know.
God is spirit, and his worshipers must worship in the Spirit and in truth.” John 4:24
It is great if you belong to a church and feel welcomed there but do not need to go to a building to talk to God. You can do it wherever and whenever you want. You don't need money to put into the church funds. You do not need to follow their rules or confess your sins to another human, You can follow the rules Jesus laid down if you believe in Him, or whatever the higher power you believe in. There is a huge difference between "religion" and having a spiritual relationship as a Christian or any other faith you have.

If you are suffering you need to know it was not caused by God but He understands your pain. The Beatitudes
5 Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, 2 and he began to teach them.
He said:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 Blessed are those who mourn,for they will be comforted.
5 Blessed are the meek,for they will inherit the earth.
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,for they will be filled.
7 Blessed are the merciful,for they will be shown mercy.
8 Blessed are the pure in heart,for they will see God.
9 Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called children of God.
10 Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me.
12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
He went to the mountainside to preach...not into a building.

You do not have to take an oath to a group of people that will force you to do what they say.
33 “Again, you have heard that it was said to the people long ago, ‘Do not break your oath, but fulfill to the Lord the vows you have made.’ 34 But I tell you, do not swear an oath at all: either by heaven, for it is God’s throne; 35 or by the earth, for it is his footstool; or by Jerusalem, for it is the city of the Great King. 36 And do not swear by your head, for you cannot make even one hair white or black. 37 All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.
Notice that it says the earth is His footstool? That was what He told Isaiah when he wanted to build God a temple.
Heaven is my throne and the earth is my footstool: What Temple can you build for me as good as that? 2 My hand has made both earth and skies, and they are mine. Yet I will look with pity on the man who has a humble and contrite heart, who trembles at my word.
If anyone wants you to hate someone else, He preached against that. If they hate you and claim to be Christian, they are not. They just claim to be.
43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[i] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
There is so much in the Bible of what He said that proves too many you see on TV and at political rallies claiming to be "Christian" have no relationship to Him at all.

Do not be deceived by them because that type of person would be the first to tell you PTSD came from God instead of God is there to give you what you need to heal. I can't count how many times I've heard people say "God only gives us what we can handle." They don't realize they just told us it happened because God was punishing us. He didn't. I know He saved me many times, forgave me, took mercy, and comforted me. I didn't need to belong to a church to seek His help. You don't either.

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.

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

Monday, April 15, 2024

#PTSD made us aware monsters are real, so are miracles!

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 15, 2024

#PTSD made us aware monsters are real, so are miracles!

Ministers Of The Mystery series is a different view of the supernatural world, spiritual powers, secret societies, and conspiracy.

Chris did not doubt what he was supposed to do with his life. He was supposed to become a priest to minister to the people. It was not until his senior year of high school he questioned it. He became a reporter to reach more people than he could in a church. He still loved God.

After three life-threatening events, his thoughts of miracles and God changed into, “that He’s a vindictive son of a bitch playing around with people’s lives and making us suffer for fun."

Why did I have to write these books?
I know monsters are real. They are not just in supernatural shows I watch or books I read. Some of them came after me. Others tried to take over my life. So why do I love that genre so much? It may seem screwed up to you, but it is because there is a supernatural book that is also a part of me, and that is the Bible. I find it fascinating that there is so much in it, you will never hear in a church sermon. The more hidden treasures I found, the more I turned away from organized religious practices and dogma. Religions, no matter which one, have been used to control others and corrupted by humans. Spirituality is up to the individual to answer for themselves. It is about doing the right thing for no reason other than the right thing to do. It feeds the spirit in us.

It may seem odd to you but that is exactly what Jesus taught. Today Christianity has been corrupted by so many that it is unrecognizable to what He established.

If you are Christian, can you also be spiritual? Yes, and it is required. Jesus said His followers needed to pray by their spirits because that is what His Father is. What gets me is when they do not seem to grasp how supernatural elements are all over the Bible. They call them miracles but do not focus on the power behind them.

I am a Christian, but not religious because I no longer attend church. We're put into a category called "nones," or spiritual but not religious. I believe like most in having a soul but found it starved by organized religious rules.
"What Jesus meant when he said his kingdom is not of this world and is to be found within, is largely forgotten. In short, the church lacks radical alternatives and spiritual depth." Mark Vernon

While I was active in a Greek Orthodox Church most of my life it fed my connection to God and Jesus. Faith to me was as natural as breathing. It didn't matter what happened to me when I was suffering because of what others did while wondering why it all happened, I never once doubted the existence of God. He did not do any of it to me but saved me each and every time. I taught Sunday School, sang in the choir and served on committees. I dreamed of becoming a priest but as a woman, that wasn't allowed. I thought about changing my affiliation to another branch of the faith, but it seemed wrong to me. Later in life I worked for a Presbyterian Church as Administrator of Christian Education. Long story shortened, I ended up leaving church life all together because the division between people following the same Bible and claiming to be followers of Jesus no longer made sense to me.

As I studied the Bible more, it became clear that the rules and dogma were about people using faith for their own purposes. While I do believe the Bible was inspired by God, I also believe it was written by human interpretation of what knowledge God gave them. The other thing I noticed in all of the people considered to be heroes, were all flawed and messed up what they were supposed to do. Their spirits were sent with supernatural gifts to achieve their purpose. And so were we.

Over 40 years ago I started to help people heal after surviving life ending threats spiritually because that's how I healed after over 10 of them. In a way, I ended up doing what my spirit was sent to do in a different way than I thought I was supposed to do. There is no earthly reason to explain what God gave me and the churches wanted nothing to do with any of it. Their ambivalence only stopped me from wanting to be a part of them but did not pull me away from God. Walking away from religious buildings pulled me closer to God spiritually.  

I needed a new way of delivering the same message but could not think of a way to do it. I prayed, and prayed and then prayed some more. The prayer was answered and the result was the Ministers Of The Mystery series. It blends everything I am and know with what I enjoy to read and watch.  

Supernatural books, movies, and shows I watch seem to be centered on good people going up against evil people. The evil ones have the powers while the good ones are only human. In the show, Supernatural brothers Dean and Sam fight monsters with no supernatural powers of their own until both of them are taken over by evil. Their friend, Cas, is a flawed angel trying to do good but messing up all the time. Grimm is another show capturing the same theme of good versus evil but Nick has a supernatural ability to see the monsters no one else can see. Both series tend to use occult references more than they use Biblical ones, yet the Bible is full of supernatural accounts.

The Scribe Of Salem, Visionary Of Salem and 13th Minister Of Salem are fictional but based on scriptures few hear of in the walls of the building while listening to a sermon. If you read the ebooks, you'll find the links to the scripture backing it up. The series is about suffering and healing #PTSD with the help of people sent to support others. A new view of a conspiracy by a secret society committed to doing good in this world with supernatural powers given to them by God.

With so many books out there it's time to give them away as a guide to discover the power you were born with to do good in this world too. The eBook of The Scribe Of Salem is free until the end of April. If you read it, please let me know what you think by leaving a review or comment. When my life gets back to strangely normal, I will be working on the 4th book and want to know what you think about the way it all started.

Thursday, April 4, 2024

What do good people do?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 4, 2024

Is this April 4th in New Hampshire or is Mother Nature late for April Fools Day?

It is scary with the heavy snow and wild wind. Yet, amidst all that, people are checking in to see if those they care about are okay. That's what good people do out of love. My neighbor walked across the street to pull that huge branch out of the middle of the street. That's what good people do.

Think about when the second after you survived whatever started #PTSD in you. Good people showed up to ensure you were safe as soon as they knew you were in need. Good people show up in higher numbers than those who harmed you. I know that's the way it was for me over and over again.

We all have a choice to focus on the "storms" in our lives and the damage done or the good that came out after the storm ended. If you hold onto the cause it will fill you with anger, and resentment and cause you to lose hope for healing. 

If you see that you matter to others, even strangers, then you can see you should matter to yourself. There is no need to settle for suffering instead of healing and becoming happy again. No need to be ashamed of the struggles you keep hidden from others when sharing it can allow them to help you and get the road clear for you to heal.

Tuesday, March 26, 2024

I can't believe how much this hurts

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 26, 2024

Sometimes I hear something that takes me back to the worst times of my life. Don't Tell Me song by Disturbed is one of them.
I close my eyes and still hear the screams
That would tear apart our world
I keep reliving everything
I can't believe how much this hurts
Disturbed - Don't Tell Me (feat. Ann Wilson) [Official Music Video]

Most marriages are hard. It isn't easy adjusting to being a couple. It is even harder to live together. My husband and I married 40 years ago this year. We've been together for 42 years. I guess that proves #PTSD doesn't have to end a love story.

I remember when I had to learn about it at the library by reading clinical books and flipping through a dictionary to understand what the words meant. The younger generation finds the answers no matter where they are or if they are still wearing their pajamas. We can too now but we should understand that had it not been for seniors like us, they wouldn't know much at all. I learned from the experts. I learned from others when I got my first computer in the 90's. The ability to connect to people around the world was like a miracle. Even today I am astonished by how many other people are looking for answers as much as they are searching for hope.  

I remember when I was shocked to discover how much it hurt to see PTSD take over our lives. I had no clue what it was or why any of it was happening. I am still grateful my Dad was a Korean War veteran and knew what it was from another name, Shell Shock. When I asked him what it meant, all he could tell me was that it had to do with war. Then he told me to go to the library. Little did he know that's what started the quest. Over 40 years later, I am still learning.

The thing is, no matter what generation you are in, you can learn enough about it to find hope that it can get better. It doesn't matter if you're dealing with it from wars or dangerous jobs or as a survivor of other events. All that matters is that you love them enough to seek a way to understand them, instead of judging them. Guessing why they changed will cause you to jump to all kinds of conclusions. Most of the time you end up believing it is more about how they feel about you, than how they feel about themselves. If you misunderstand the changes, it will only get worse until you discover how much power both of you have to change it all for the better.

Then you'll be saying I can't believe how much stronger you are!

Sunday, March 24, 2024

I successfully failed!

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 23, 2024

I successfully failed!

When it feels as if your life has gotten so crappy, there is nothing good left to see, it makes it suck all the more. I was stuck dwelling on all the things I failed with. All my mistakes, misfortunes, and support of the wrong people rusted away hope. If you search about rusted metal, you'll find most results are focused on how to remove the rust. Some are about creating rust on metal because they like the look of it.

I looked at what my life was like, and went over all the things I felt were failures. The biggest one was when I was successful in helping people learn about PTSD and now it feels as if I failed. How many people I helped stopped mattering when I was reading about more and more suffering instead of healing. I felt like a failure because no matter how hard I tried, I just couldn't make enough of a difference to make a difference in their lives. Not being given a chance to help them ate my spirit like rust. Then I read old emails to remind me that while I failed to change the world, I managed to change it for those who gave me a chance to help them.

I felt better. Then I took a different look at other things to view failures with wide-open eyes. It turns out that some failures were actually successes to be proud of.

I failed to blame other people.
I failed to judge others instead of what they did.
I failed to hate anyone.
I failed to give up easily.
I failed to give up all hope.
I failed to stop finding reasons to laugh.
I failed to stop finding reasons to love.

You see where I'm going with this. When I looked at failures differently, I felt better about myself and what my life has turned into. I realized I can only control what I do because I cannot control anyone else. We are all accountable to ourselves. No one can control others and we shouldn't attempt to do the impossible. We can encourage, comfort, support, and show compassion, or we can beat down, hurt, push away, and hate. That last part will turn against us filled us with resentment. The first part will fill us with a power that can overcome whatever negativity we carry.

Most of us dwell on what happened to us when someone or something wrong happened. That isn't helpful. It is harmful like rust. Try to focus more on when people came to help you when you needed help the most. Let those memories feed your spirit. No matter what you see in your own life, there is always a different way to view it. I like the view from here.

Saturday, March 9, 2024

let them feed your power to be happier

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 9, 2024

When something bad happens, we wonder why it happened to us, especially if it involved the actions of another person. It is one of those things there is never a clear answer to, we sure to manage to come up with many reasons to help us make sense of it. We never wonder why good people showed up to help us afterward.

When I heard, "2 officers, 1 first responder killed responding to domestic violence call in Minnesota; shooter also dead" on NBC News, I couldn't let it go. At first, I thought it was because I survived my first husband trying to kill me. After all, police officers showed up. I was grateful they did but honestly, I was more focused on why the man I married turned into some evil monster. Over the years I began to wonder why the police officers showed up knowing every call was a risk they were willing to take.

This is from the article above.
"Our police officers and our fire paramedics, they come to work every day. They do it willingly. They know that they might have to give up their life for their partners, for someone else. They know they have to give up their life sometimes, and they do it anyways," Schwartz said. "And you cannot understand it unless you’re in the profession."
And now I wonder why compassionate people show up when it is so much easier to be evil.

Some of you may be focusing on the reports of police officers doing bad things. We lump every other officer into that group without realizing it was only a few out of many. Unfair to the rest of them but we do it. We never wonder why being judged because of the actions of others doesn't keep the good ones from showing up to help us.

It isn't just police officers we do that with. Its everyone. I want to stop wondering what makes people evil. It's harder to be good and that's what I want to know about them.

I have good reason to be depressed and despondent right now. My husband's life is on the line because some people with jobs that are supposed to care about patients don't really care about them. I could focus on them and be filled with resentment. I choose to focus on all the good people doing all they can to help my husband. I choose to do this because I refuse to let the bad ones hold that power over me. 

It isn't easy. The easy way is to yield to bad thoughts but that isn't beneficial. It eats away hope from my soul. If I allow that to happen the bad ones win. Imagine if I gave up. I haven't given up on anything and am not about to do it now. I have too many reminders that there are more good people in this world than ones filled with all the negative forces seeking to take power away from others along with hope.

Life is hard enough at times, even with a good attitude about it. Take away hope, judge others by what others do, and you'll be miserable.

Choose to focus on what others do for you despite what others do to you. Realize that they hold more positive power for you than those who seek to harm you.

Too many people harm those with #PTSD out of ignorance. Sadly, some simply enjoy the damage they can inflict. We can focus on them, surrender what little joy we have left, or we can see them for what they truly are, and walk away. Don't give your power over to them. Too many good people are waiting to help you become happier because when they do, they are filled with gratefulness they were able to. Seek them, appreciate them, and let them feed your power to be happier. 

Monday, February 5, 2024

“honey-do dude” of Waveland

US widower and veteran fights grief and PTSD by offering home repairs – for free 

The Guardian
Ramon Antonio Vargas
Sun 4 Feb 2024
“That’s when stuff comes back to you,” Chauvin remarked to CBS.
Danny Chauvin, 76, the ‘honey-do dude’ of Mississippi, fixes doors and unclogs drains to protect his mental health after his wife died.
A retired US military veteran is coping with grief from his wife’s death and post-traumatic stress from fighting in the Vietnam war by providing daily handyman services to people in his community – for free.

Danny Chauvin is the so-called “honey-do dude” of Waveland, Mississippi, according to a CBS Evening News profile of him published Friday. He told the news program that one of his favorite parts of his marriage to his wife had been the small, mostly repair and building tasks she would ask him to complete around the house, which Americans colloquially refer to as “honey-do” jobs.

Chauvin, 76, lost that part of his life when his wife of 53 years, Patricia, died in November 2022 after being sick with chronic obstructive pulmonary disease and other health issues, Mississippi’s Sun Herald newspaper reported. In the subsequent quiet of his home, Chauvin realized he was not only struggling with his grief as a widower, he also was struggling to manage the depression and post-traumatic stress he had been treated for after serving with the US army in Vietnam.
read more here

Saturday, January 27, 2024

Who is testing you?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 27, 2024
Someone will tell you that God is testing you when you are suffering. No clue where they got that one from, but it must be connected to something they were told when they were suffering. It was not very comforting at all to me, so I doubt it would have comforted them. So why would they say something like that?

Another thing they say is, "God only gives us what we can handle." Is it because they think everything bad that happens to them comes from God? How does that work when we are supposed to pray to God to help us when we were just told He did it to us?

I've been going through an incredibly hard time since last year. I'm past anger. Past crying. I think I'm approaching numbness. It is understandable to the people who know me personally and they feel sorry for me. They want to help but don't know what to say. I wish they'd just say something like, "I'm here for you," instead of what I find troubling.

We all hear things people should not say to us when they want to help but don't know how. The thing is, too often we end up believing what they say especially when we hear it more than once from different people. Hell, they can't all be wrong. Actually, they can depending on how they understand the spiritual connection we have to God. Maybe they are thinking about what happened to Job and assume it is happening to others. But when you read his story, you realize from the start that it wasn't God doing the testing, but Satan was. God allowed it to prove a point. Honestly, that bothers me. 

Job had great faith in God and he was blessed. He thanked God for everything he had. As more and more were taken from him, he still trusted God. That is until he wondered why God would turn against him when he didn't do anything wrong.

People end up with #PTSD and we suffer mentally, physically, and spiritually. The worst part for me is when it is crushing my spirit and I hear something that disagrees with the faith I have. I used to just let it go until I understood that I needed to explain how unhelpful it was. If they were telling me that, then it must be what they believe. That's sad.

We all hear things based on what people believe. We hear it when they believe falsehoods about PTSD too. It is almost as if they've heard the rumors and believed them to be true. Have you heard you just weren't tough enough to take what happened to you? Unless they've lived through something you survived, they don't have a clue about how it would hit them. They'll judge you all the same because that was what they heard about it and accepted it. Maybe it is because they fear what their own life would become if it happened to them?

Job's friends tried to comfort him but ended up saying stupid things. There are some things I can assure you of that may comfort you simply because I know them to be true.

God didn't do it to you and is not testing you. If He was, there would be no point in praying to Him for help. He isn't punishing you after saving you from what happened to you. He's there to help you through it.

If people won't help you heal, it isn't because He's stopping them. He's sending them to help but they won't respond. He enabled all of us with free will. We are free to make our own choices and when they choose to not help you, that isn't God's fault. It is theirs. Maybe they want to help but don't know how to? It is up to us to let them know what we need and explain how they can help. If you need them to just listen to you, tell them. If they want to "fix" you, change their language into how they can "help" you instead. That allows them to be doing what you need and actually being helpful.

I can also assure you that you are not weak, even though too many people may think that way because of what they were told about what other people thought. Turn it around. Remind them of something they went through. Help them remember what it was like for them to recover from it if they ever did. Then ask them to think about what it would be like if the same thing never let go of them. That opens their minds to see a different view of you. You have to consider the fact you are the only one who can explain it to the people who care about you. Otherwise, they won't be able to understand. All too often they will think the way you are acting is about them and not what you're going through.

While it is true PTSD is not "curable" it is healable. Your life can become a lot better than it is. As with all wounds, you can heal. Sure you may have some scars left but you can deal with them when you get the help you need. Mental health help and physical help are huge parts of what you need but don't forget about the spiritual part of you. Misunderstanding the power of it can eat you up. Strengthening it will help you heal far beyond what could ever imagine.

I know that with all I've been through, and still going through, would be far worse if I didn't have a spiritual connection to God. I know I'm not alone. You aren't either.

Friday, January 12, 2024

PTSD why do nothing when you can do something today to heal?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 12, 2023

Last year there were headlines like this one from Fortune. "The mental health crisis is decimating America’s workforce–but we only have enough therapists for 7% of the population"

It had this warning.
What we’re facing
Mental illness is skyrocketing. Last year alone, 76% of U.S. workers reported at least one symptom of mental illness. The situation looks nothing like it did even three years ago.

Every employee engagement survey you see reports mental health as the number one issue in organizations. And yet, utilization of mental health benefits is extremely low, with the average utilization rate by employees hovering around 2%.
People like me have been pushing how getting therapy for #PTSD works for decades. We know it does but no matter how many people we can get to admit they need help, it does no good when the help they need isn't there.

I wasn't going to write this. To tell you the truth, I need therapy but can't get it. It isn't because of the shortage right now. I've been involved in a health crisis with my husband needing 24-7 care from me since last year. I couldn't leave him alone and getting him out of the house for anything other than doctor's appointments has been impossible. It has left me drained physically, mentally, and emotionally, as well as spiritually. Writing has gotten harder and harder to do. What became impossible was offering spiritual help to others with PTSD. That has been devastating.

Until our lives are more stable and I can make appointments with a therapist to take care of myself, I can do nothing but wait or do what I can to help myself for now. Writing has always been therapeutic for me, but instead of working on the 4th book for the series I published last year, I can only research by binge-watching shows like Supernatural and Grimm. The book is stuck in my brain and I gave up trying to put it into words. It happened before after someone I loved died of COVID and I couldn't get past the grief. I went into therapy and then wrote the three books published last year. I know it can help me again but for now, I do what I can when I can until hope starts to fill me again.

I still have a deep spiritual connection to God, which helps beyond words. It keeps me from wanting to give up on whatever hope I have left within me.

As for you, what can you do now until you can find a therapist? Find places where you belong! Google videos on PTSD and begin to watch ones from people who were suffering to learn how their healing journey began. Find hope there.

TEDTalks has some pretty good ones like this.
If you are a spiritual person, talk to God or whatever high power you believe in.  Find a support group that focuses on what caused your PTSD. Whatever you find comforting online is better than doing nothing when you can be doing something to help you right now until you can find a therapist to help you heal more than you can imagine.

Monday, January 1, 2024

Choices for 2024

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 1, 2024

Some people see the word "choice" and they think about politics because this is an election year. Sorry to disappoint you but it isn't. I don't have the time or the energy to get involved with that discussion. I have too many other things to deal with right now. Truth be told the way I feel right now, I am the last person that should be discussing what I think about all the nonsense people say. This is about choices we make for ourselves and the people we love, especially if you have #PTSD.
Why January 1 Starts the New Year
January 1 starts the New Year according to the Gregorian calendar, which is the calendar in use today. In 45 B.C., New Year’s Day was celebrated on January 1 for the first time in history when the Julian calendar took effect (thanks to Julius Caesar’s reforms). Today’s Gregorian calendar was introduced in 1582 by Pope Gregory XIII to correct some slight inaccuracies but continues to start the year in January.

The month of “January” is named for Janus, the ancient Roman god. Often depicted as having two faces—one looking forward and one looking back—Janus was the god of beginnings and endings, doors and gates, passageways and transitions.
Did you catch that? Two-faced Roman god with one face looking backward and the other looking forward. How many of us did the same today? I know I did. Last year sucked for me and my family. It drained me physically, emotionally, and spiritually. It hit when I was supposed to celebrate publishing three books, but I could not get out for book signings or interviews. As the year went on, there was less and less of what I was able to do for others and less I had to give. I was drained. I still am. I have no regrets because of the choices I made to do what I could for someone I love and forget about what I wanted to do for myself. It was the right choices for the right reasons. It was an easy choice to make but hard at the same time.

We all make choices between what we want for ourselves and what we want for others. If the decision we make is based on what is loving, kind, and unselfish, then it is the right one and while it may be difficult, it is hardly ever followed by regrets. If we decide something based on what is selfish, hateful, or based on getting revenge, it is usually followed by regrets that cannot be undone.

If you have PTSD, you have the added component to all of what everyone else goes through. All too often we have the added turmoil of wanting to go back to the way things were before, even though we are smart enough to know none of us can go back to that time in our life. We've changed. The people in our life see the change but they don't understand it. We expect them to know us well enough to know we're in trouble and need help. What we have a hard time accepting is that they don't have a clue what we're going through because no one explained it to them. We sure as hell didn't because it is all foreign territory to us too. No one gave us an instruction manual on going from "normal" to survivor.

We either make the choice to pull them closer to us by opening up and letting them know we need help, or we push them away so they won't see our pain. We don't want them to feel sorry for us or worry them. As if that works. It doesn't. So we either hide our pain the best we can or we disconnect from them and walk away.

Sometimes, sadly, we reach the point where we think about what a burden we are to them. We see their confusion, anger, and frustration. The arguments we start cause them pain and their reaction causes us pain too because most of the time, we're going through the same emotional rollercoaster. We don't know what to do. Then we decide to not be a burden to them anymore. We decided to end the pain we're causing, one way or another. 

On the flip side, the two-faced god is looking forward, toward hope. So what if we decide to end feeling like a burden to the people we love by doing all we can to not just heal the wounds PTSD caused but help them heal too? The more you know about what's going on with you, and to you, the more you discover you have plenty of reasons to look ahead with hope. Finding a way to heal yourself, will make those you love a lot happier. Being able to explain it to them, helps them stop blaming themselves as well as stop blaming you.

Don't make the wrong decision because you think it is the only one you can make. Open your eyes and know you have options that can make life a whole lot happier!

What you do for love will make this year happier and a new begining.