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

Saturday, June 4, 2022

PTSD Awareness Month, history repeated

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 4, 2022

This is the 4th day of PTSD Awareness Month. I think it should be changed from awareness to beware-ness because of the way some reporters cover stories on PTSD.

This is good reporting on PTSD among members of law enforcement.
Public safety officer deaths by suicide, PTSD could soon be considered line-of-duty injuries
Post-Gazette Washington Bureau
ASHLEY MURRAY
May 31, 2022
Law enforcement officers are 54% more likely to die by suicide compared to the general population, according to a 2021 study published by the journal Policing. Authors cite available data from 2017 to 2019 that shows deaths among law enforcement officers were more likely to be from suicide than from accidents or felonious acts.
WASHINGTON — Just over two weeks ago, Pittsburgh police responded when a 6-year-old accidentally shot himself in the head in the city’s Hazelwood neighborhood. Officers arrived at the home on Johnson Avenue and rendered aid, giving the small child CPR until he could be taken to Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh in critical condition.

The next morning, a member of the police department’s peer support team reached out to the officers, and the team’s founder and lead, Sgt. Carla Kearns, got in touch with the company behind a smartphone app that local first responders can use as a mental health resource. They quickly added a module on dealing with the crisis of child injury and death, Sgt. Kearns said, and the team reported an uptick in app usage.

The repeated exposure public safety officers face when responding to any number of situations -— opioid overdoses, fatal traffic accidents, mass shootings, and psychiatric distress and domestic violence calls — or other job duties, for example serving warrants to potentially dangerous or armed suspects, contributes to elevated rates of occupational mental health issues.

This includes what psychologists are defining as a “crisis” level of suicides in the profession.
read more here

The problem with this is, that too many still have to deal with terrible treatment from their superiors, and sue.
Former LMPD detective suing police department for wrongful termination WAVE By Dustin Vogt Published: Jun. 2, 2022
LMPD notified WAVE News that all of former officer Christopher Palombi's cases had been transferred to different investigators following his firing.(WAVE)
Burbrink told Palombi in a text message exchange he could seek inpatient treatment and would be moved to temporary duty to another LMPD unit following treatment completion. Palombi flew to California and enrolled in a 30-day treatment program, which the department paid a portion of the treatment cost.

According to the document, Burbrink was not truthful in his statements to Palombi via text, and once Palombi returned, he was served pre-termination paperwork.

Palombi was terminated on March 2.
And then there is this bad reporting, from Metro News, Crash-Suicide victim suffered from PTSD
“For an unknown reason he wrecked, upon further investigation it was determined he had shot himself while driving down the road,” the sheriff explained.

The deputy pulled over the man for speeding and noticed drug paraphernalia in the car. He asked a woman in the car, who was the man’s fiancé, to step out. She did, but the driver fled.


“This individual was a previously discharged Marine. Later on we discerned he suffered from PTSD and had some psychological issues and it got the best of him there for no apparent reason,” said Eggleton.

Click the link for more, but I think you spotted the same thing I did. No one gets PTSD for "no apparent reason!"

Some reporters are trying and their timing is terrific. Because of the slaughter of little kids in Texas, they have covered what the families are going through and a lot of reporters are telling the stories of what the kids are going through. The problem is, they did that before with all the other mass murders.

If you're wondering what life will be like for the survivors of the recent mass murderers attacking all over the country, especially in schools, here is a story that sums up what happened to one of them from what he survived five years ago.

Central Texas mother pleads for help as young Sutherland Springs shooting victim continues battle nearly five years later

SAN SABA, Texas (KWTX) - Nearly five years after the Sutherland Springs shooting claimed the lives of 26 people and injured 20 others, a mother in San Saba says her son’s journey to recovery from being severely wounded is far from over.

Ryland Ward was shot once in the shoulder, twice in the stomach, and twice in the leg on November 5, 2017 inside the First Baptist Church in Sutherland Springs.

“As he’s getting older, the more he is realizing what actually took place that day and the extent of it,” Chancie Mcmahan, Ryland’s mom, said.

Ryland is now 10 years old and he has been in and out of hospitals undergoing 30 surgeries. It’s been a fight to recover both physically and mentally.


“His PTSD is really starting to kick in gear,” Mcmahan said. “I have him in counseling and he sees a psychologist. I’m taking all the necessary steps to make sure that he is mentally OK, but he struggles.”

It’s not just a challenge for Ryland, it’s putting strain on his mother.
read more here
As a reminder, this is what happened.

Air Force ordered to pay $230 million to Sutherland Springs shooting survivors and families of slain victims

Texas Tribune The U.S. Air Force was ordered to pay more than $230 million to survivors and families of those killed in the 2017 mass shooting at the First Baptist Church of Sutherland Springs, a federal judge ruled Monday evening.

Judge Xavier Rodriguez had previously found that the military branch was mostly at fault for the mass shooting because it did not report the gunman’s previous assault conviction to the FBI, which could have prevented him from purchasing the semiautomatic rifle he used to kill 26 people.

In the deadliest mass shooting in Texas history, Devin Patrick Kelley fired more than 450 rounds at attendees during the church’s Nov. 5, 2017, Sunday service, injuring 22 and killing 26. He died later that day from a self-inflicted gunshot wound after two men chased him with firearms of their own as he fled the scene.

The thing reporters are missing is, that they need to stop reporting on veterans as if they are the only survivors with PTSD. They need to stop reporting on members of law enforcement as if they are the only ones. Until they decide that they need to remind everyone that survivors of traumatic events have PTSD too, and need help to heal, the toughest among us won't even try to get help. The other factor is, that their bosses will still treat them like crap because they don't understand what they should about what happens to the survivors of the things their responders respond to! 

Thursday, June 2, 2022

Courageously Broken

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 2, 2022

I don't have as much time as I used to have to post here, but I still track the news on PTSD. Working on the books has consumed whatever extra time I've had. You'd think that after 4 decades, I'd be able to just retire and enjoy the rest of my life, but at this point, it is so much a part of my DNA, I doubt that will ever happen. There is just too much suffering out there and not enough people to change the outcome.

This morning, I was happy to discover someone out there was so determined to #BreakTheSilence that she was one of the news reports I read this morning.
ORANGE COUNTY, Fla. – DA Michaels’ one-woman push to help military veterans and first responders dealing with post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD, is built on a tragedy that nearly sent her “down the rabbit hole.” (Click Orlando)

When I read the interview, I could feel my blood pressure boiling seeing that damn number of "22" and right away, I thought it would be just one more person getting attention for the wrong reason. I slammed my hand down on the desk, got another cup of coffee, prepared to walk away from the article repulsed, and just move on to the next report. Soon I discovered that was the only part that bothered me.

D.A. Michaels is a Navy veteran and police veteran, and she's a woman! I took a look at the beginning of the book and knew that this one was of value. When you watch the video below, she also links what happened to her in her personal life while addressing what she survived in her professional life. If you ever doubted the fact that PTSD strikes survivors, no matter what the event is, this should remove all doubt and God willing, get the stigma out of the way with it!


"A young idealistic teen leaves a small town and abusive father behind to join the Navy in a refreshingly down to earth memoir of one woman's journey to self discovery. She embraces life with passion and courage, from training and partying with Navy SEALs to skydiving and joining the police force, but when tragic events while serving her country lead to years of nightmares, depression and PTSD, she must learn to navigate life through the heartache and tears until the laughter and love return.

Wednesday, June 1, 2022

PTSD People Awareness Month

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 1, 2022

Today begins PTSD Awareness Month. If you go to that link, it goes to the Department of Veterans Affairs. Appropriately since what trauma does to survivors began to be researched by studying Vietnam Veterans. The thing is, if you read what is within the pages you'll find the word "people" and not just veterans.

PTSD (posttraumatic stress disorder) is a mental health problem that some people develop after experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event, like combat, a natural disaster, a car accident, or sexual assault.


It’s normal to have upsetting memories, feel on edge, or have trouble sleeping after this type of event. At first, it may be hard to do normal daily activities, like go to work, go to school, or spend time with people you care about. But most people start to feel better after a few weeks or months.

If it’s been longer than a few months and you’re still having symptoms, you may have PTSD. For some people, PTSD symptoms may start later on, or they may come and go over time.

If I had one wish, it would be that this month would bring awareness that PTSD strikes survivors, all of us, no matter what we survived. That's why I wrote The Lost Son Alive Again and the upcoming Stranger Angels Among Us. 

The Lost Son Alive Again by Kathie Costos ebook

I wanted to do something that included survivors of many different events to show their struggles, so by the end of the books, you'll discover how much power you do have over the rest of your life. 

I survived over 10 events but the one that did it to me was when my ex-husband tried to kill me and then stalked me. The thing is, even I didn't know I had PTSD despite working to help others for 4 decades. I had a rare form of it that stopped when I found out he died and could no longer harm me. I mean, I had nightmares, flashbacks, mood swings, paranoia, and everything else, but all that came with the one thing that made me freak out. The sound of a muscle car. If you have ever been stalked you know what it is like to have a trigger reminder of it and terror takes over common sense. Even though you discover you didn't really have anything to fear from whatever the trigger was, those memories have already taken hold. It may not make sense to people you know but they don't know what it was like for you to survive it.

Anyway, that's why the main character of the series is not a veteran. He was a reporter and his wife tried to kill him and then stalked him. I wanted a male character because while it is hardly ever mentioned, males can go through domestic violence too. While there are veterans in these books, there are a lot of others too.

As you read, you see the suffering until friends come along to help the healing begin. You'll see the struggles all of us go through as we learn one day at a time to take another step out of the darkness we were living with and into the healing light of hope.

It bugs me that I had to rewrite these books because while people loved the stories, they felt trapped by the Bible passages spoiling the flow of the story. I wanted them included because spiritual healing is just as vital as mental health efforts. I know I couldn't have adapted without my faith. I had to rewrite them because with everything going on with hateful people claiming to be Christians, it turned people off. I wanted to focus on the beauty and power of what too many miss in the Bible because they feel forced out of the church. It's like there is no place for us within the doors. The thing is, you don't need to be in a building to contact God and you don't have to be "worthy" to reach out to Him. You'll find that too.

I want you to find what I have now. It doesn't mean your life will be perfect and you'll never have any problems or do anything wrong ever again. It's more about discovering the way to get through all of it and seeing your life in a different way. I'm going through a lot right now, but, truthfully, I am calm even though I should be totally stressed out. I know why I'm not and I wish the same for you because I got to tell you, that this side of the darkness of PTSD is so much better than living without hope.

That's my message to start this month out with!

#BreakTheSilence and #TakeBackYourLife from #PTSD

Monday, May 23, 2022

PTSD and the power you have within your mind

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
May 23, 2022
May is Mental Health Awareness Month, but too many are unaware of how much power they do have over their own mental health. There's a reason why no one ever asks, "Have you lost your brain?" It is your mind that holds your thoughts and emotions. Just like when you fall in love, people say "they have my heart" while leaving the mind totally out of the conversation. 

There are many different mental illnesses, and most have been researched enough so that there are always ways to make the lives of people better, if not perfect, at least better. It is the same with people fighting PTSD. No one can make your life perfect but between experts and the power you have within your mind, it can become a hell of a lot better than it is now. Even if you are on the road toward healing, even you can achieve more healing than you hoped for.

While service members and veterans battle PTSD, so do civilians in far greater numbers. Considering PTSD only happens after surviving a mind-shaking event, they suffer the same way as military people. What keeps getting left out of the conversation is that military people are also just people too, and can have the same traumatic events as everyone else. The unique thing is that military people have to also recover from what happens while serving their country.

While civilians can understand your pain and struggles, they cannot understand all the events that caused yours. You cannot understand all of their events unless you survived the same thing. It is time that everyone understands what they do have in common with other survivors. This is why I wrote The Lost Son Alive Again.

After 40 years of working with veterans and families struggling with PTSD, it was time for me to turn my attention to everyone fighting this same enemy. It includes several veterans and survivors of other events so that more people can see themselves in these characters.

The Army is trying to do something for soldiers.

 Mental Health Awareness Month highlights resources available for those in need on Army Times addresses the needs of active duty and veterans, but as you can see, none of this is new and efforts to support them to seek mental health help have fallen way too short.
ROCK ISLAND ARSENAL, Ill. — May is Mental Health Awareness Month, and it comes at a time when active-duty and veteran suicides are at alarming levels. The U.S. Army, and the U.S. Army Sustainment Command in particular, are making enormous efforts to help Soldiers, Civilians and their families be aware of mental health problems and offer support and services to those who need them. This year, at least to this point, offers a bright spot in an otherwise gloomy picture. According to Army Secretary Christine Wormuth, testifying before Congress on May 11, Soldier deaths so far this year are “significantly lower” than during the same period last year. And rates of suicide in the Army are lower at this point than during the most recent five-year and 10-year average for the combined forces. That’s good news, but a Department of Defense report published in September 2021, said, “In CY (calendar year) 2020, there were 580 service members who tragically died by suicide.”

 That is good and bad in all of this. Aren't you tired of the attitude of anything is better than nothing? After all, that is why we are seeing these results 4 decades after I got into all of this. The premise of this book, as well as the upcoming Stranger Angels Among Us, is to open eyes, hearts, and minds to the power all of you, civilians as well as military folks, have within your own mind.

The main character was a reporter coving the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq. An RPG blew up near him and almost killed him. It set off powerful PTSD and then other events added to the damage already done.

He was done waiting for miracles. After all, God washed His hands of Chris a long time ago. When the shock of surviving wore off, regret took its place. He was sure the man he was died on the operating table, precisely seven years from that day. Friday, September 13, 2019, Christopher Papadopoulos had seen a lot in his life and he didn’t want to see anymore.
Bill Gibson, his best friend, and ex-brother-in-law was struck by PTSD from serving in the Army.
Chris dreaded talking to him about the marriage falling apart and wasn’t sure what Bill had heard about it from his ex-wife. He could only imagine all the horrible things she told him, blaming it all on him. “So Bill, what are you doing back in Salem? The last time I saw you, you said you were going to stay in the Army for the rest of your life. And then I got blown up.”
“I was but I got out over five years ago. We’re here for a reunion. One of our buddies died five years ago.”
“Oh sorry. Was he killed in action?”
“No, but he’s dead because of it.”
Chris felt the tension building inside of his body. His mind was consumed with building anger. He didn’t care who died or how. All he could think about was what had happened to him since the last time he saw the man across from him. Seeing Bill reminded him of what life was like when he wasn’t hurting.

David was also struck by PTSD while serving with Bill. 

David Mac Donald strolled into the bar, tall, muscular, fiery red flowing hair with a scraggly beard. He looked more like an ancient Scottish warrior than he did when he was in the Army with cropped hair. David’s family moved from Scotland when he was going into high school and he joined the Army as soon as he graduated. When he walked over to the group, they all got up out of their chairs and hugged and then he saw Chris. “Oh my God! Nanos!” He walked over to him. As soon as he got a closer look at his eyes, he could see an all too familiar pain the fake smile couldn’t cover-up. He gave him a bear hug and whispered in his Scottish accent, “Your demon is in control for now. Time to take back your life like we did.”
“Hell of a way to end a marriage.”
“I thought it was the end but it wasn’t. The bitch stalked me after that. I wanted to get a restraining order but couldn’t find the balls to say my wife beat me. Anyway, she called me over and over again, showed up when I least expected it, and made my life hell.”
“Is that why you fell apart?”
“Yep. I was doomed because somehow she always found out where I was and who I was with. I couldn’t go anywhere.”
“What did all that do to you?”
“You know, with the wars I covered and getting blown up didn’t do as much damage to me as she did. I had nightmares and flashbacks, mood swings off the charts and so filled with anger, I had to go to the gym just to beat up a bag.”

These men joined forces with other survivors from different events to help Chris change the conversation about PTSD so that people will learn how to find the power within their minds to heal to the point of living a miracle! 

The Lost Son Alive Again Paperback is available now for Mental Health Month. And the ebook of The Lost Son Alive Again is coming out June 1st for PTSD Awareness Month.

Wednesday, April 27, 2022

Study found 63% had significant symptoms of PTSD families of Covid-19 ICU patients

"Even that small act of compassion from the health care team to the family can really have a really powerful impact for those family members and their risk of developing these (PTSD) symptoms," Amass said.

And that is how everyone heals, no matter the cause of PTSD. Compassion goes a long way toward helping them.  When you read the rest of the article, please keep that in mind so that you never undervalue the power of love.

Family members of Covid-19 ICU patients may emerge with a different condition, study says

CNN
By Madeline Holcombe
April 25, 2022
Amass and his team surveyed family members in the months after a loved one was admitted to the ICU with Covid-19 in 12 hospitals across the country. Many of the people studied were limited in visitation and contact with the patient. The study found that of the families that responded to the survey, 201 out of 316 (about 63%) had significant symptoms of PTSD.
CNN)When thinking of post-traumatic stress disorder, your mind may go to a movie about war.

It's a quiet day at base camp when suddenly the enemy launches an attack. The main character is scrambling to respond to incoming fire, making quick decisions about how to respond to danger that is largely out of their control.

In many ways, it's a lot like the experiences of families of patients in the intensive care unit with Covid-19, said Dr. Timothy Amass, an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Colorado School of Medicine.

These family members, too, often see an abrupt change in circumstance, have to make difficult decisions quickly and feel a loss of control, he said. And often, they come away from the experience with symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD, according to a new study published Monday in the journal JAMA Internal Medicine.
read more here

Tuesday, April 26, 2022

Group of military spouses breaking the silence of PTSD

‘You think you’re the only one’: Documentary amplifies voices of military spouses facing PTSD
Idaho Capital Sun

BY: CHRISTINA LORDS
APRIL 25, 2022
“We just felt that we really needed to talk to this group of spouses, which has been silent forever – all throughout history,” Betty said. “We thought we need to get as much history involved as we can.”
‘I Married the War,’ a new film produced and directed by Idahoans about the wives of combat veterans, will make its Idaho premiere May 4
During filming of a new documentary titled “I Married the War,” Director of Photography Bill Krumm captures military wife Laura Daniero Nickel for an interview with Lucien Nickel. (Ken Rodgers)

After the success of their first documentary film “Bravo! Common Men, Uncommon Valor” in 2011, Betty and Ken Rodgers felt in their bones there were more stories to tell.

Their project got men who hadn’t shared their Vietnam War stories in decades — or, in some cases, ever — to open up their experiences. It helped people who didn’t live through the war know what that conflict was really like. And it helped Vietnam veterans connect with perhaps the only people who truly knew what they had gone through – each other.

Perhaps most importantly, for some veterans, it allowed them and their families to start to heal from their trauma.

But there were others who deserved to have their voices heard, their stories told, Betty said.

What about people like her, the wife of a Vietnam veteran? What about their experience healing their marriage from Ken’s post-traumatic stress, caused by his combat experience as a U.S. Marine trapped in one of the worst sieges in American wartime history – the siege of Khe Sanh in Vietnam? What about the wives of these veterans from every American war who come home battered physically and mentally and need care and understanding?
read more here

When I wrote my first book,  For The Love Of Jack back in 2002 (republished in 2012)  it was to #breakthesilence too many of us were living with. It was hard for veterans to talk, even to other veterans. It was even harder for wives to do it. When we did, we not only discovered we were not alone, we found support, gained knowledge and learned the ways of helping those we loved heal.

I am torn about the project above. I am grateful they were doing this at the same time greatly saddened that after all these years, anyone still feels as if they have something to hide or struggle with talking about it, makes it seem as if efforts among the pioneers like me, failed. If we succeeded, the stigma would be gone, hope would take over fear, knowledge would replace gossip and assumptions and no one would ever feel ashamed of surviving what they did, or loving them.

No battle in combat is ever fought alone and no one heals from what it does alone either!


Thursday, April 21, 2022

Common knowledge eradicates PTSD Stigma

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 21, 2022

If the stigma of #PTSD is ever going to be eradicated in the minds of survivors, it requires common knowledge. The simple fact that PTSD strikes out against survivors of many different events is the first step toward doing just that. Here is a small list to think about first.

Australian Doctor
Dr Nick Coatsworth has revealed before he started his role as Deputy Chief Medical Officer during the coronavirus pandemic he suffered from debilitating post traumatic stress disorder which left him feeling like he was having a heart attack. The Today medical expert shared his story with Karl Stefanovic, saying the symptoms left him housebound and unable to do his job.

Canada Military Members (University Manitoba)
Measuring the mental health of military members
A new series of studies looking into the mental health of Canadian Armed Forces members aims to better understand the connections between mental health and military service.

The studies follow up with data collected by Statistics Canada in collaboration with the Department of National Defence in 2002 and compare it with more recent data from 2018. In 2002 participants were asked to fill out a survey on mental health. In 2018 researchers contacted 2,941 of the original 5,155 participants and asked them to fill out the survey again. The survey aims to show clinicians and stakeholders how mental health changes after 16 years of service in the military.

“We figured it was important to follow up with some of these people and see how their mental health changed over their service. This is an important gap in the literature right now,” says Dr. Shay-Lee Bolton, assistant professor of psychiatry, Max Rady College of Medicine, Rady Faculty of Health Sciences. “Seeing people at one-time point and then comparing with another to see what is changed and the same hasn’t been done before.”

In every category including anxiety, depression and PTSD, there is an increase in the number of people who have been diagnosed with a disorder. Bolton isn’t yet sure yet why there has been an increase in diagnoses but recognizes that it’s something to keep an eye on.

“I think it shows a vulnerability that’s there. We don’t know that it’s due to their military experience, but it shows that there is a vulnerable population there,” says Bolton.

Ohio First Responders (ABC 5 News)
ELYRIA, Ohio — Once considered a silent crisis, there continues to be a growing dialogue and conversation centered around first responders and the impact and prevalence of post-traumatic stress among the ranks. In addition to continued efforts on the state level, a national organization is in Lorain County this week to provide first responders with mental health training that will help them identify operational stress and trauma in themselves and their colleagues.

The workshops being offered to first responders include small group discussions that encourage participants to examine and acknowledge the impact that stress and trauma have on their day-to-day lives. The scenario-based training teaches first responders how to initiate potentially difficult conversations with their colleagues.

Wellington Police Chief Tim Barfield said the training is especially critical for law enforcement officers. Recent studies have found an estimated 1 in 3 law enforcement officers suffers from PTSD. Removing the stigma associated with that is an important step, he said.

“There is a stigma among first responders that if we're bothered by something, we’re weak,” Barfield said.

“We need to break that stigma," he said. "We need to understand that the things we see every day doesn’t make us weak, but we do need to learn how to deal with it.”


Oklahoma City Bombing (KOCO News)
Oklahomans and neighbors cope with a dark day in the state’s history.

April 19 is a tough day in Oklahoma City with so many coping with their feelings about what happened 27 years ago.

Mental health professionals said it’s important to make sure that coping is done in a healthy way. The Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse reminds Oklahomans if they are experiencing Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, they are not alone.

“It’s a collective trauma that we revisit every year together,” said Lauren Garder, senior manager of Zero Suicide and Trauma Care with the Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse.
“You can have PTSD from repeated exposure to traumatic details of somebody else's life and those effects that is PTSD all the same,” Garder said.

You just read a small list of different people with PTSD. PTSD does not choose anything other than the fact a human has survived something horrible. It does not know nationality. It does not know profession. It does not know if you are male or female. The shock hits all survivors and no one is left unchanged by it. The level of the change is determined by the strength of their emotional core. This is why when spiritual help is added to what mental health professionals do, there is greater healing.

How strong is your emotional core? Think about how simple things are deeply felt by you. If you look at a colorful sunrise or stunning sunset, and it takes your breath away, you have a strong emotional core. If your heart beats a little faster when you hear the sound of the voice of someone you love, or feels as if it is breaking when they are hurting, you have a strong emotional core. The more you feel good things, the more you feel bad things as well. Sorry but, it a human tradeoff.

There are many times in our lives that we will feel something, but no one else can understand the strength of our emotional connection to it. This is why if you take a lot of people, exposed to the same event, not all of them will develop PTSD. This is also why some of the survivors who were not drastically changed may judge those who were as being "weak" but it also has a lot to do with the stigma attached to what they already think about those who have it.

All too often when you use the term PTSD, people immediately think it only happens to veterans because that is all they hear on the news, online and on social media. While the causes are different, the fact is, while we are all survivors and human, we are all different. Different life experiences combined with the event itself are part of the way we go from "victim" to "survivor" of what happened to us.

My survival story began at the age of five, so what came afterwards with the other events, is not the same as others who survived the same types of events but not all of them in their lifespan. With each event, after the initial shock, and dealing with it along with the emotions that followed, I viewed myself as a survivor. That went a long way toward faster and stronger recovery. 

Not feeling as if I needed to hide what it did as something to feel ashamed of, also helped. It freed me to speak about what I was dealing with. Back then, peer support did not exist as it does now. Peer support back then was when people cared enough to just listen while survivors could make sense out of what happened in a safe place where we were not being judged. Now there are groups.

In groups, people understand that all the others are there for support and those who have begun to heal, offer support as much as they receive it. It is empowering to give support after you have received it for yourself.

The main thing healing people understand is that it is not a contest. No one compares themselves against others who may seem to be grieving less or more than the do. Everyone is different but the thing is, everyone there shares the common bond of surviving! Now, maybe you know it too!

Tuesday, April 19, 2022

South Korea's "trauma week" filling the void on PTSD

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 19, 2022

This is according to the VA on PTSD Awareness and "8 million"
Help Raise PTSD Awareness There are currently about 8 million people in the United States with PTSD. Even though PTSD treatments work, most people who have PTSD don't get the help they need. June is PTSD Awareness Month. Help us spread the word that effective PTSD treatments are available. Everyone with PTSD—whether they are Veterans or civilian survivors of sexual assault, serious accidents, natural disasters, or other traumatic events—needs to know that treatments really do work and can lead to a better quality of life.
But on another page from the VA there is this and "12 million"
Facts About How Common PTSD Is
The following statistics are based on the U.S. population:
About 6 out of every 100 people (or 6% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
About 12 million adults in the U.S. have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
Apparently, in December it there were 3 million more, but no idea why they changed the number from "15 million" or can't seem to make up their minds.
If the National Center for PTSD is unaware of their confusing data, that is not a good way to raise awareness of something this important.

The thing is, we are doing a lousy job raising awareness of anything meaningful on helping survivors with PTSD heal. After all, considering the stigma is still keeping people from even admitting they need help, it shows how bad we are at it. 

If you mention PTSD to someone right away, they connect it to veterans. After all, that is all they hear about. Tell them you have PTSD from some other cause, they trivialize it unless they have it too or know someone with it. What do we do? If we manage to get the courage up to say we have it, we choke on answering the next question they have when they want us to explain how we have it. 

Too often what comes next is, they say they know someone who went through the same thing and they are fine. You can tell by the look on their face they are wondering why we are not fine.

If you know what PTSD is and what it does, and learn how much power you have over it, you can stand your ground and explain it to them patiently. If you don't know, then you walk away feeling as if you've just been judged as being weaker than the person they know.

It is time to remember that we're survivors and there is nothing to be ashamed of at all, even if the rest of the country hasn't caught up to the facts we live with.

So how is it that South Korea is doing something all our news stations should be doing?

Arirang News

This week is South Korea's "trauma week"... where mental health experts and survivors of national tragedies gather to raise awareness on how to treat trauma.

Our Shin Ye-eun met some of those traumatized by South Korea's worst disasters, and looks at what is being done to help them recover.

Everyday on the news… we see tragic events wreaking havoc around the world.

But what we don't see are the lasting effects on the people affected.

Many develop trauma.

Trauma is an emotional response to experiencing or witnessing a life-threatening event.

While most people recover quite quickly with the help of friends and family... some... develop post-traumatic stress disorder, or PTSD.

Many people suffering from PTSD develop other mental health problems like depression or anxiety.

"I'm a survivor of the collapse of Sampoong Department Store."

"27 years ago… where I am walking right now, South Korea saw its deadliest building collapse."

Wednesday, April 13, 2022

In The Arms of Stranger Angels


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 13, 2022

(About the book Stranger Angels)

Chris survived domestic violence. He had a wonderful childhood but it was what his wife did to him that nearly destroyed him. He was wounded while reporting on the war in Afghanistan. When he returned home, she hated the fact he was home, instead of trying to help him heal. She tried to kill him. Having failed at that, she stalked him.

Mandy, the woman who began to heal Chris, survived child abuse and an abusive husband. He tried to kill her but failed. 

Alex and Mary, brother and sister, survived child abuse.

All of them, along with many others in Stranger Angels, not only survived child abuse, they healed. The healing did not stop with them. They passed on hope to all others that they could not just live a happier life but could become part of a miracle for others to hope for.

All of them had PTSD because of what other people who were supposed to love them did to them. All of them were healing. Some healed completely. Others, like Chris were still healing their wounds.

They knew what it was like to feel hopeless. They knew what it was like to feel as if God allowed it all to happen and to lose faith in His love. They also knew what it was like to have their faith restored and have their broken hearts mended. They were no longer God's lost children searching for hope. 

It is because of this, that Chris set out to write his third book to offer hope to survivors of domestic violence. He traveled to talk to his friends to gain a better understanding of what it was like for children when their own parents inflicted the most damage to them. All of them were examples of what is possible for others to have in their futures and be empowered to dream of the day when they would also become healed.

I know what it is like too. My Dad was a violent alcoholic until I was 13. He recovered with help of people from AA. He ended up helping others. My ex-husband tried to kill me and then stalked me. So, yes, I know what it is like. I survived many other things, but it was the damage he did to me that did not go away until I found out he died. Even with the suffering I went through, I managed to get married again, had a daughter and lived a pretty good life. I had help along the way. The thing that helped heal me more was my faith in God and helping others find what I found. That no matter how lonely, hopeless or lost we feel, He sends someone into our life to let us know He hears our prayers and feels our tears. Helping others was healing for me too!

Some think these books are sad but that is only part of their stories. There is great sadness and struggles. Just like there is great sadness and struggles for anyone trying to heal after surviving any of the causes of PTSD. Just like others, there is also hope when people understand what PTSD is, what caused it and what you can do to #takebackyourlife from #PTSD. Having someone who knows what your life is like helps you #breakthesilence and break the power PTSD has had over your life.

I hope you find comfort and a better understanding of what it is like to be in the arms of Stranger Angels.

Tuesday, April 12, 2022

When Hope Returns, Rejoice!


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 12, 2022

When you are going through a rough time, things seem pretty hopeless and you are struggling, it is good time to remember all the other times you got through when you thought there was no hope for anything to get better.

I'm going through a really rough time now. I wrote three new books but I have no one to help me get people to discover them. They were written to offer hope of healing #PTSD. Not just from surviving war, but from surviving all other causes. You'd think that with PTSD in veterans becoming a billion dollar industry, especially when folks are raising huge sums of money to "raise awareness" they are killing themselves, it would be something worth talking about. The thing is, there really isn't much healing awareness going on for them. For the rest of us, there is little hope being offered.

So how is it that this billion dollar industry is something no one wants to talk about? It seems even fewer want to read about it. Is it because they are afraid it will depress them? Given the fact that most still cling onto the stigma of PTSD, that makes sense. After all, viewing yourself as a "victim" or thinking that you are weak, or whatever negative thought you have after surviving, no one wants to be reminded of any of it.

The problem is, you do not discover empowerment either. I know I become inspired when I read about someone in the writer's community talking about struggling and then finding success. I feel even more hopeful when they turn around and pass on what they learned so that others struggling will be able to find more readers too. After all, other authors know what it is like.

It is the same thing with PTSD. It is a story all of us know all too well. But we don't get "well" or live happier lives, until hope returns. 

Right now, I'm am remembering all the other times things seemed hopeless but suddenly, God turned it all around and it all worked out. What is hopeless for me to do, it is possible for Him to do. Some days I wake up and for no apparent reason, I am smiling and happier. Nothing really happened other than I know God heard my prayers and is doing what He can to help me.

That is what The Lost Son Series is all about. The main character has PTSD from domestic violence. Veterans are in the books and they have PTSD but are healing, and passing on, not just hope, but a way to get there. There are others in all three books doing the same and offering inspiring stories to give hope to anyone else, just like them.

Hope returned and they rejoiced. They passed it on and others rejoiced too! Isn't that what we should be all be raising awareness of to actually make a difference in someone else's life?

Friday, April 8, 2022

C-PTSD Mental Disorder That “Doesn’t Officially Exist”

I spent 40 years helping people with PTSD, mostly veterans. Considered an "expert" and knew enough to save lives. The problem is, because of everything I read, the therapists I saw, PTSD in me was missed. I survived 10 events but the only one that followed me wherever I went was after my first husband tried to kill me. I filed for divorce and he stalked me after that for a long time. The thing is, it stayed with me every time I heard the kind of car he drove. It hung on even though I got married again 38 years ago and moved thousands of miles away from him. The nightmares, flashbacks, mood swings and paranoia didn't stop coming with the roar of an engine until I found out he passed away. So yes, this is a very real thing we suffer from, but the other real thing is, we can heal and surviving the cause, is nothing to be ashamed of. I'm proud I survived, fought back and recovered enough to live a full life, even with the residual of what happened to me. You can too! Learn as much as you can about what PTSD is and find support. It is out there. 

Praise to Stephanie Foo for doing this! Keep in mind, every mental "disorder" did not exist until it had a name after it was proven it had been there all along!


What It’s Like to Be Diagnosed With a Mental Disorder That “Doesn’t Officially Exist”

Slate
BY STEPHANIE FOO
APRIL 07, 2022
What My Bones Know Stephanie Foo
Excerpted from What My Bones Know by Stephanie Foo. Copyright © 2022 by Stephanie Foo. Excerpted by permission of Ballantine Books, an imprint of Penguin Random House LLC. All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.

Learning about C-PTSD is not easy because it doesn’t officially exist. The name “complex PTSD” is somewhat new, coined in the ’90s by psychiatrist Judith Herman. And it doesn’t exist because it isn’t officially in the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, which is essentially the bible of mental health: If it’s not in there, it ain’t real. There was an effort by a group of mental health experts to include it in the DSM-5, which was published in 2013, but the faceless arbiters of mental health behind the DSM—a group of psychiatrists I envision as a society of hooded figures chanting around a sacrificial child star—decided that it was too similar to PTSD. There was no reason to add a “C,” no need for a distinction between the two. It’s worth mentioning, however, that the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs and the United Kingdom National Health Service both recognize C-PTSD as a legitimate diagnosis.

Because it isn’t in the DSM, there isn’t much literature on C-PTSD. What does exist is often dry, dull, and written with all the kindness and emotional intelligence of a tech bro. But still, I was desperate to learn, so I bought a small stack of books, each with a vague impressionist painting on the cover coupled with uninviting font. And I made my way through them, one painful page at a time.

The books taught me that when we live through traumatic experiences, our brains take in the things around us that are causing the greatest threat, and they encode these things deep into our subconscious as sources of danger.
read more here

Saturday, April 2, 2022

Jonathan Pears was killed by lingering ignorance of what PTSD is

If a veteran being shot and killed by police after being called by a family because he was in crisis, doesn't bother you, you are not thinking. If they have PTSD and need help, but end up being killed, the rest of us don't stand a chance either. 

There are millions of American joining the PTSD club every year and none of us want to belong to it, but when we are not getting the help we need when we are in crisis, it doesn't make the news. When veterans are killed, it does. 

Veterans do, and always have had my heart. I got into working with veterans 40 years ago and have not stopped, even though now my efforts are for everyone struggling after surviving. I am one of them. 

When you read the following story about Jonathan Pears being killed by police officers after his family tried to get him help, understand that it could be you or someone you love this happens to. If the police still don't understand how to respond to someone in mental health crisis, even with so many officers dealing with PTSD, the rest of us can very well end up with the same fate. We survive what happens to us and then, too many cannot survive what comes afterwards. We've been doing this for far too long to still be losing so many lives out of lingering ignorance.


Family of veteran with PTSD killed by Alabama deputy wants answers, new body camera law

Associzated Press
Published: Mar. 30, 2022
Born into a military family, Jonathan Pears had served first as an airman and then as a contractor in Afghanistan. When he returned, he struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental health issues, according to his father, retired Air Force Col. Andy Pears.
Andy and Mary Pears stand with a photo of their son by the memorial to him in the front yard of their home in Elmore County, Ala., on Nov. 5, 2021. Thirty-two-year-old Jonathan Pears was shot and killed by deputies on July 28, 2021. The couple said their son, a military veteran suffered PTSD and depression after returning from Afghanistan, and they called 911 seeking help for him during a mental health crisis. The Elmore County Sheriff's Office said Pears was holding a large knife and refused commands to drop it. His parents maintain deputies were a safe distance away and did not have to shoot their son. (AP Photo/Kim Chandler)AP
When Mary Pears called 911 because her veteran son who had PTSD appeared to be having a mental health crisis, she had hoped to get him help and keep everyone safe.

Within minutes, 32-year-old Jonathan Pears was dead, fatally shot by a sheriff’s deputy in the front yard of his parents’ Alabama home.

“I wanted someone to talk him down. I wanted someone to come help us to get him calmed down. I absolutely did not want them to kill my son, nor did I ever think that would happen,” Mary Pears said.

The tragic end to their call for help didn’t have to happen, the family said. Now, they want changes in how officers respond to a mental health crisis and have filed a lawsuit accusing the Elmore County Sheriff’s Office of using excessive force.
read more here

Sunday, March 27, 2022

Wounded Times #4 top PTSD blog!

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 27, 2022

I wrote 3 new books and published them in just six months, but they are being buried on Amazon. I can't afford to buy ads, so I am doing what I can to help people find them. I spent most of the day trying to find the best way to get people to see these books.

Writing them was a miracle because there is no way I could have come up with a story like this on my own. They were an answer to my prayers. With over 30,000 posts, over 700 videos and 3 other books, I needed a new way of saying what I've been saying for 40 years. People can heal PTSD if someone shows them how to do it. I thought PTSD Patrol would be the way.

After all, that is exactly how people have healed PTSD. Someone cleared the way for them to get to the place in their life so they would discover how much power they do have to heal. It worked for a while, but not enough.

In August, I was really depressed about it. I asked God for help to write one, but He helped me write three. Just goes to show that God still listens to prayers and still inspires people to go out and change the world. When I started all this back in 1982, the world was smaller. I wrote opinion pieces to local newspapers. We didn't have the internet in our house until 1993 and I got on AOL. I had a blog there, eventually I had many more but always focused on PTSD.

Now the online world seems too big for me and I my work gets buried, or at least I thought it did.

Lesson I learned today. Sometimes we pray for a miracle and that is all we focus on. The one we want is all we want to see. When we discover that a different miracle came, we realize that we have been looking in the wrong places.

I knew about Feedspot having my site up but did not know it just reached #4 of Top 60 blogs for PTSD.

I no longer live in Florida but was stunned to see that Wounded Times is number 4!

I live in Rochester NH, not NY but still consider this an honor.

If you've been praying for a miracle, I hope you take some comfort in this. There are people out there just like me, doing the work for the sake of the work to be done. The simple fact that people found this work or the books, or the videos, proves God guides us to where we need to be to find what we were searching for. 

Yep! One more thing that is The Lost Son series. Miracles happened when people were guided to where they needed to be to be found!



Wednesday, March 2, 2022

PTSD? Surviving was the first miracle


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 2, 2022

When you survive the cause of PTSD, it sometimes feels as if it is torture. People in your life don't understand what happened to you. They can't figure out why you changed. You hear stupid things like "Well look on the bright side, you're still alive." That isn't very helpful when all you can see is darkness surrounding you. Fear consumes you. At the time when you need to be comforted by someone, you are pushing them away out of fear you will be judged instead of being understood. 

You need help to heal, but may not feel as if you deserve it, even if there is a tiny glimmer of hope you can be. If you feel alone, and everyone is walking away from you, no one comes to help you, and all you see are news reports of others suffering too, you can't see hope.

I know what that's like. I survived over ten events in my life. I still know what that is like when there are many times when I can't find anyone to help me. I end up feeling as if they must not think I deserve any help from them, or even their time to listen to me. I know what it is like to need comforting and reassurance
that these dark days will not last, just like all the other dark days were taken over by brighter ones.

For me, when faced with great need and no one answer my plea for help, I turn toward times in my life when things were really bleak and remember what it felt like to have a miracle happen just when I needed it most of all, even when I felt as if the world was telling me I didn't deserve one.

There are miracles happening all around us. I can't explain why they come or when they come. I can only explain how they come. They come when people hear God and do what they can to answer our prayers.

Oh, sure there are some that come directly from God. The Bible is full of them. Sometimes they are huge ones. Other times they are small ones but when you are in great need and put your trust in God, that mini-miracle makes all the difference in the world to you.

Consider this one I found while searching for something to comfort me this morning. 
From Way Nation
The Never Ending Flour Jar and Oil Jug
For this is what the Lord, the God of Israel, says: There will always be flour and olive oil left in your containers until the time when the Lord sends rain and the crops grow again!”

So she did as Elijah said, and she and Elijah and her family continued to eat for many days. There was always enough flour and olive oil left in the containers, just as the Lord had promised through Elijah. 1 Kings 17:14-16


Why It’s Awesome:
I love this miracle because of its small-ness. It wasn’t big and loud. It didn’t help a huge number of people. And it’s not even the biggest miracle in this chapter. It’s just a woman and her son, yet God sees to it that their suffering and fear are alleviated.

It can be hard to believe that God cares about me and my struggles when so many other big things are going on in the world, but this miracle reminds me that’s just not the case.

 I had no idea this site was even out there, but I found it when I needed to. That was a mini-miracle for me. The fact you are reading this at all is mini-miracle for you, since that is the only way anyone finds this work.

The thing is, when we are forgotten by others, it is easy to forget about the times when we had people in our lives. Easy to forget when we knew we had God in our lives and found hope. I went to sleep last night after crying, feeling defeated because no matter how many times I tried to get help for what I need, no one replied. No one on this earth answered. God did. This morning I woke up with enough hope to even sit here and write this. Considering how much misery I was in last night, that is a monumental miracle for me, even though it may only seem like a mini-miracle to others.

When you survived the cause of PTSD, people helped you do it. You didn't expect strangers to show up, but they did. They showed up because they were sent to let you know you were safe again because God sent them to you and they responded. Every time we survive, we have a choice to make. Do we focus only on what was done to us, or do we focus on what was done for us?

We need to honor the feelings we have as survivors so we can begin to heal. Cry-scream-get angry-and get it out of your system. Then focus on the people who came to help you and let their acts of kindness fill you. Those who came to help, outnumbers those who came to harm. Those are the people I am remembering this morning and remembering they came when I least expected them to help.

Friday, February 25, 2022

Can you become part of a miracle?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 25, 2022
Have you ever wanted to help someone but didn't think you could? If you're thinking that you are only one person and there isn't much you can do, think about it. A lot of people felt the same way, until they remembered how one person, just like them, helped them. Lives are being changed because people are using the power they do have to deliver miracles.

The Lost Son series are fictional, but there are survivors doing whatever they can to give hope to others that they can heal too. There are actual people all over the country doing the same thing because someone helped them along the way.

Read this from Alive Again and see if you can see yourself in any of this.

Greer from Alive Again, The Lost Son Part Two
“Good morning. We’re all here because we know miracles still happen. We know that because of Chris’s books, they were happening all around us, all along, but the world is a less lonely place now that we know they are. I’m sure you’ve heard on the news, even up to yesterday, that they also come when we least expect them, and least expect we’re going to need another one. Miracles happened to all the people behind me, and they happened to me too. The people behind me helped Chris heal in just thirteen days. That’s all it took for him going from wanting to end his life, to beginning to write about the miracles, and how all of us could become ingredients of miracles.” She looked at the crowd and the cameras.

“Many of you are doing video testimonies with the people from Netflix, so others will hear your stories and find hope. Our hope is you receive the same reward all of us did. Since the books came out, we discovered how much of an impact they had on people. They said it was priceless learning that what they did spread out to many others. They spread it even further, changing the world one person at a time, or in Chris’s case, millions.” She started to walk around.

“This is the reason we are asking you to open your hearts and wallets to donate to wherever your soul is leading you to. If you are touched by the homeless, find a shelter to donate to. If you are touched by hunger, donate to a food bank. If it is for animals, donate to a rescue shelter for them. Whatever it is, give what you can because you can. If you cannot donate money, but have some time, donate your time. If you don’t have money or time, then donate prayers because all of us know how prayers are still heard and are still answered. If you have a neighbor in need, help. If you are in a store and a clerk is having a rough day, smile or joke with them so you change their day. If you see someone acting out of anger, pray for courage to correct them.” She stood near Chris.

“Because of what happened yesterday, we understand that this event is being covered by reporters from across the country and internationally by the BBC. We are asking all of you to remember, ‘For God so love the world, He gave his only begotten Son’ and remember those in other parts of His world and care for all His children, no matter where they live.”

She smiled, “When you are feeling this world is too dark, remember that there are still more people walking in the light and join them. Realize the power you have to make a difference in this world and become a part of a miracle others are praying for. Thank you all for being a part of ours.” Greer turned around and David hugged her.

That is how you become part of a miracle. Doing what you can for the sake of others because you know how it feels to have little or nothing. If you know what it felt like to have someone help you heal PTSD, pass it on. Even if you only help one person, that help does not end with them. Whoever helped you, was helped by someone else, and they were helped before that. That miracle of hope spread person to person and lives were changed.

Over the last 40 years, I helped people because God guided me to search for answers and I was helped to find experts willing to teach me, even though I am no one special. I had no money, no connections to powerful people, but what I had was a strong desire to help anyone I could. Each and everyone of the people I helped, passed it on, for no other reason than they wanted to help someone else find their way out of the darkness of PTSD they had been living with. That's how miracles happen.


Chris with his therapist in Stranger Angels, The Lost Son Part Three
Chris looked down at the floor. “I don’t know how to say it. I’ve never told another person. I didn't even tell Mandy.”

Dariana leaned forward in her chair. “Whatever it is, it may be what is missing in your healing. Just close your eyes and tell me.”

Chris leaned back, closed his eyes and the memory came to life. “When I was young I wanted to become a Priest. That part I was able to talk about. It was a reoccurring dream that I never talked about before. I was in the sanctuary wearing vestments and carrying an empty challis, walking down the aisle, like the Holy procession but there was no one else inside. All the pews were empty. Instead of going up another aisle, I carried the challis out the front door. When I got outside, I was wearing a flannel shirt, T-shirt, jeans and sneakers, like I wore to school. I stood on the top step, looked down at the challis and it was full. I looked up and saw hundreds of people there. I gave Communion to all of them, and then preached on the the Parable of the Good Samaritan.”
Luke 10:30-37
In reply Jesus said: “A man was going down from Jerusalem to Jericho, when he was attacked by robbers. They stripped him of his clothes, beat him and went away, leaving him half dead. A priest happened to be going down the same road, and when he saw the man, he passed by on the other side. So too, a Levite, when he came to the place and saw him, passed by on the other side. But a Samaritan, as he traveled, came where the man was; and when he saw him, he took pity on him. He went to him and bandaged his wounds, pouring on oil and wine. Then he put the man on his own donkey, brought him to an inn and took care of him. The next day he took out two denarii and gave them to the innkeeper. ‘Look after him,’ he said, ‘and when I return, I will reimburse you for any extra expense you may have.’"

“Which of these three do you think was a neighbor to the man who fell into the hands of robbers?”

The expert in the law replied, “The one who had mercy on him.”

Jesus told him, “Go and do likewise.”
You don't have to be Christian to do likewise. You don't have to believe in God or Jesus to do likewise. All you need to do is care about others and be willing to do what you can for the sake of others.

Like with all other books out there, these books are intended for a specific audience. Most people who do not go to church are not intended to get your body into one. They are not anti-church but are anti-hypocritical. The goal of these books is to empower survivors living with PTSD and fill them with the same things that filled me, nourished me and gave me peace with the past so that events no longer controlled me and people who hurt me, no longer had power over my life.

Wednesday, February 23, 2022

The Lost Son and Me

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 23, 2022


When I created this image of me, I was trying for something that looked more like an elf. It didn't work but I got a big kick out of it and decided to keep it. It made the point I was trying to make, that although my wrinkles, scars on my face, bags under my eyes and graying hair, make me appear to be mean, I am far from it. The thing is, people who know me, know what I am all about, and know my character, don't need convincing about that. Only strangers do.

When I wrote The Lost Son, people in my life saw parts of me in the main character. Christopher Papadopoulos is mostly the male version of me.

The scars on his body were reminders of what he survived but the scars in his soul were reminders of why he didn’t want to anymore. Chris Papadopoulos was tired of waiting for his life to get better while he grew more bitter. Tired of paying the price for covering suffering while working as a report for an LA newspaper. Tired of the seven years he survived the bomb blast that ripped through his body while covering the war in Afghanistan. Tired of watching all he had erode like the fire escape from his window.

Seven years was long enough. He sat on his bed with a gun in his hand while a war between hope and despair kept him from lifting the gun to his head. He gave up and went to the bar figuring that if he got drunk enough, he wouldn’t have to think about anything much longer.

Chris thought everyone he knew burned down the bridges between them and him. He couldn’t see he was the one with all the matches and his friends were trying to find the firehose. Chris was dismissing the fact he had PTSD. He was right about one thing. Seven years was too long for him to be suffering instead of healing, but God had other plans for him. That night, Chris was sent on a mission to save himself and millions of others when he discovered a secretive society changing the world one soul at a time.

This is for the "churchless" children of God so you will know, that miracles do not come from a church, but they come from God.

Like Chris, I survived an attempted murder when my first husband came home from work one night and decided to beat me. He almost killed me. He stalked me, just like Chris's wife did to him.

Chris wanted to become a Priest in the Greek Orthodox church, so did I but, as a female, that was never going to happen. Later in life I was told I missed my calling and should have converted to another denomination they would let me preach. I became a Chaplain instead. My church does not support women in ministry, so I felt as if there is no place for me there.

Chris didn't know he had #PTSD and thought he would just get over it. I thought the same thing too. After all, I had devoted 40 years of research, writing and helping other people discover how much power they did have and nothing to be ashamed of as survivors of whatever caused it. The problem is, just like Chris, I turned it into a contest that I didn't want to win. So many others over the years, had it a lot worse than I had it. My panic attacks, mood swings, flashbacks and nightmares, only came to life when I heard the sound of a muscle car, because that was what my ex-husband drove. 

Like Chris never read anything about someone like himself, I never read anything about anyone like me. I survived over 10 events beginning at the age of 5. I saw two therapists and neither of them diagnosed PTSD. I dismissed what I was going through because it didn't happen all the time and did not rob me of a good, happy life.

Chris wanted to become a reporter. I always wanted to be a writer. When Chris started to heal he began to write a book to help others heal too. He wanted them to be able to read about people just like them so they would know they were not alone and their lives could be better. I wanted the same thing and tried through three other books, over 700 videos and countless articles on this site, as well as others. I wanted to tell the truth as much as I wanted to offer hope.

Chris spent 7 years regretting he survived because he thought everyone he knew walked away from him and God sent the suffering to him. On September 13, 2019, seven years after a bomb blast changed his life and caused the nightmarish series of events, he decided his suffering should end. So did God, but God disagreed on how that should happen.

In 13 days, he was led out of the darkness he had been living with, to enlighten the world of what was possible when miracles walk in the door, when he least expected them. Within 6 months, he wrote a book about miracles workers in a secret society of Chaplains and a miracle worker named Mandy living in a cabin in Gabriel New Hampshire. As for me, I wrote 3 books in 6 months because I prayed for a new way to say what I've been saying for 40 years. No one should choose to stay in darkness when the road has been cleared to make it into the light of God's love, even without a church.

Most of the people I helped all these years, believe in God and Jesus, but no longer felt they belonged in a church where they would be accepted. These books are for people like me. It is important that they see what is in the Bible and the beauty of it without feeling as if someone wants to beat them over the head with the Bible they refuse to read, instead of emulating what Jesus said His followers should actually be.