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

Tuesday, August 2, 2022

Lies they told you about PTSD


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 2, 2022

Get over it! It's all in your head! You're mentally weak! No one wants to hear about it! You should be ashamed of yourself if you let it get to you! It's time to move on! Don't be such a baby! You can't have PTSD because you're not a veteran! 

How many times have you heard a boat load of crap after you survived something that could have killed you, coming out of the mouths of people when their worst problem is someone got their order wrong at McDonald's? Don't expect them to understand and don't expect the media to tell you the truth. It's gotten to the point where I'm impressed when a report actually covers #PTSD in non-veterans. That's pretty sad.

As a fellow survivor, researcher, and advocate, I've heard all the stuff for four decades and I'm sick and tired of it because it keeps getting repeated. What doesn't get repeated often enough is the truth. The only way to get the truth into the minds of those needing to hear it is to expose the lies.

Let's start with the biggest lie of all. 

You can't have PTSD because you're not a veteran! 

The truth is, the rest of us know that surviving traumatic events produces residual effects because Vietnam veterans returned from combat and forced the government to research it and add it to the disabilities they compensate for. It never goes away but because of research, we know that it does not have to retain power over the rest of our lives as survivors.

Other jobs cause PTSD because of traumatic events piling onto what the jobs caused while living as a citizen. Civilians get PTSD from every traumatic event responders respond to but the responders cannot see that fact.

What are the jobs other than combat? Law enforcement, firefighters, first responders, non-deployed members of the National Guards and Reservists, doctors, nurses, members of the clergy, and yes even reporters

The truth is, no matter what caused it, survivors of trauma can end up in the PTSD club no one wants to join, even from just one event. It isn't how many events we escape. It is the one that caused the demon of PTSD to penetrate.

Non-survivors don't get it, because the only way to enter into the world of PTSD is as a survivor. When they tell you what they think, it is based on their usual lives. Survivors live with the unusualness of seeing their sense of life as they knew it becomes a foreign land of unknowns.

They want to "fix" you by saying what they think you need to hear about what they think you need to do. They don't know common sense no longer applies because what you're living with, what hitched a ride in your life, is far from common.

When you hear there is no cure for PTSD, which is true, if you settle for that, then there is no hope of a better life. Yet, when they tell you you do have power over the rest of your life, that clues you in on the simple, basic facts, that life can become a lot better and happier than it is at your worst moments.

Common sense then becomes empowerment because you are aware of all the treatments, therapies, and support groups that came into existence did so because more people were not willing to settle for suffering as survivors instead of enjoying as such. When you realize the power within you began after your power was taken away by the event or the people that caused you harm, were defeated, you feel like a survivor. No apology is ever warranted because you lived through something others did not.

When I started writing The Lost Son Alive Again series, I was angered by what I was reading being passed off as something worth reading. I kept wondering where were the facts. Where were reports that managed to inspire empowerment? So I wrote them in the lives of the characters' real survivors inspired.

Last night while working on the third part of the series, I wrote about one of the main characters. Her name is Grace and she survived the Pulse massacre, not as an attendee, but as a police officer responding to it. She was healed enough to live a productive life as a retired officer, turned Chaplain, and leader of a group dedicated to helping others heal.

She was being haunted by her memories and something that was trapped within them and talking to a therapist, who was also her friend.


Grace was on the Zoom call with Dariana. She was wiping her eyes, “But I don’t understand. I thought when you read the records from my other therapist, I wouldn’t have to talk about all of it again.”

“That’s right but this is something she never got you to talk about. If you’re willing, we may be able to figure out what still has a hold on your mind. Are you willing?”

“Yes. I know I have to.”

“Do you want to?”

“No. I don’t want to go through this but I know it’s the only way of putting the past in the past.”

“Ok. Close your eyes or get up and walk around so that I can hear you. You don’t have to be looking at me if you get uncomfortable.”

“Ok. I’ll start and then go with what takes some pressure off. I forgot about where we left off the night of the blizzard.”

“You’re Mom heard gunshots, called the police, and told you to put your snowsuit on. What happened after that?”

“She got her coat and boots on, got the flashlight, and was looking for a key. She was frantically searching for it and found it. It must have been to our neighbor’s house. She picked me up and put me on her back because the snow was too deep. She tripped a couple of times but made it up the stairs. She knocked and called out Sarah but no one answered the door. She used the key, opened the door, and told me to sit on the floor facing the door and she didn’t want me to move. Right after that, the power came back on.”

“Did you listen to her or did you follow her?”

“I listened to her until she called me to go to her.” She started to cry, got up, and walked around.

“Where was she?”

“She was in the kitchen on the floor with Kevin.” Grace stopped walking, “Oh my God! Sarah was dead! I had to walk by her! There was blood all over the floor and I slipped.” Grace put her arms around her waist and hunched her back. 

Dariana waited, watching Grace, giving her time, and then called out her name. "Grace. What did you see?”

“My Mom was down on the floor with Kevin. She was trying to help him. She needed to call the police again but she had to stay with him. She told me to get the phone as close to her as I could and call them for her. She shouted at them and told them that if they didn’t get there soon Kevin was going to die.”

“Did they come?”

“After a while, yes. They had to park way down the next street because our street hadn’t been plowed yet. Kevin looked at one of the officers and said his Mom shot him. And then, he died.”

“What happened after that?”

“They did what they could. Two other officers came and took over. They walked me and my Mom back to our house. One of them carried me.”

“Do you remember anything else?”

“No.”

“Ok, you said you didn’t have your boots on. What was on your feet?”

“I don’t know. I had on heavy socks because it was so cold in the house. Why?”

“Grace, what did you look at when the officer was carrying you out the door?”

“Nothing.”

Dariana let her think about it. “Are you sure? You didn’t see anything in their house? Did you see Sarah?”

“Oh my God! Yes. And then I saw my bloody footprints!”

“Ok. Let’s get you back in your house. What happened after that?”

“My Mom had me up on the counter, took off my socks, and threw them away. She washed my feet and told me to forget all about what I saw that night.”

“Did your Dad come home soon after that?”

“The next day. He was yelling at my Mom. I never heard him yell at her before. She told him that he knew what she was like when they got married and as a nurse, she had to do something or wouldn’t be able to forgive herself for not trying. He understood and hugged her afterward.”

“What about Kevin’s Dad?”

“He moved out a couple of days later and never came back. My parents never talked about it after that.”

“And now you found the key. That was all still buried in your mind. When Pulse happened, I remember you said that there was so much blood, your boots were soaked and even your socks were covered with blood. That’s a lot to take without ever having therapy or being able to talk to someone about any of it. I’m amazed you were as together as you were all that time.”

“So this is why it all came back? You’re right. I never really got past any of it because of how it all started. I guess seeing Chris shot and blood on my shoes was more than I could take.”

“Yes and now you can take power away from it. Back when it happened, most people didn’t know what traumatic events like that did, especially to little children. Did your Mom change at all after that?”

“Once in a while, I’d see her looking out the window at their house and she cried a little. Mostly when it snowed. I heard her talking to my Dad and she said something about everything she saw as a nurse in the Air Force, that was the hardest one of all to get through.”

“How long did you live there after that?”

“My Dad got transferred to Florida the next year and we moved there. He said it never snowed in Florida and we could have a fresh start.”

“How did you end up in Salem and meeting Chris?”

“He was a Colonel by then and was back at Hanscom. When he retired he had a great job in Boston and we didn’t have to move anymore. That was when I met Chris and he cared so much about me that I found my best friend and my first love.”

“And the rest I know. I also know that if you got through all that, on top of when you were taking care of Pam and Rose, you are a very strong woman and have a very rare soul. It also proves that you know when to ask for help when you need it and you’ll be a lot happier now without all that weighing on your memories.”

“You know, I think you’re right. It all fits now. Thank you!” She laughed. “You know, when Chris said you were a genius at getting people to remember what they didn’t want to, he was right. You are.”

“That’s my job, plus I know a little bit about how you were feeling. I was the one that found my Dad after he committed suicide. I was older, but still, I was only sixteen. My Mom and he separated and I went to clean his apartment for him. He had been dead for two days and it always haunted me that he would choose death over talking to someone. I have to keep reminding myself that back then, no one was talking about what they were going through because they couldn’t understand it either.”

“So now you give them a safe place to talk and can read them enough to know what they’re trying to hide.”

“It’s not so much what you or they are trying to hide, it is more a matter of something that is hiding in their memories and trying to get out. Are you ok now or do you want to talk some more?”

“I’m ok and thank you.”

“You’re welcome and we should still catch up tomorrow a the same time and then you can decide if you need me more or not.”

“That’ll be good. Thank you so much! Have a good night.”


And that's how the main character healed. He was a reporter, yet veterans helped him heal. He had a wonderful childhood with loving parents, yet survivors of child abuse helped him heal. He was a survivor of domestic abuse and violence as a husband inflicted by his first wife, yet a woman that survived what her husband did to her, helped him heal. He was not gay, but a gay female ex-wrestler helped him learn how to fight to take back power over his life. He was not a police officer, but one helped him heal and opened his heart again. He walked away from God, yet an ex-priest helped him heal and find God again.

None of them knew what it was like to be Chris, but they all understood what surviving did to him as much as they knew what he needed to heal his life.

I didn't serve yet worked with veterans and their families because I understood what it did to them. One day, I had a veteran challenge me saying I didn't know what I was talking about because I wasn't a veteran.  He turned it into a contest. So, I listed everything I survived. I asked him if he survived any of them. He said he didn't. Then I asked him if he could understand what all that did to me. He said he did. That got him to open his eyes to the simple fact that survivors may not have lived through the same event, but we are all living with the results of surviving. The cool thing is, that most of us are more than willing to share the recovery so others can pass it on too!

Sunday, July 24, 2022

PTSD: children have been living in the shadows of gun violence

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 24, 2022

Before you read this, I have to ask a question. Why is it that when people have any type of illness, they have no problem seeking help to recover, but when they have a mental illness, they do? What will it take for you, or anyone else to figure that one out?
John Woodrow Cox author of Children Under Fire was interviewed by NPR after the Uvalde school massacre. The title of the article was about as powerful as it can be.

The trauma of gun violence affects all children, not just the ones who were there

Tuesday was a hard day. You know, it - I felt nauseated. I really did in those early minutes. I think for me, the weight of everything that I've written about, all the stories that I've done, the kids I've interviewed through all these years comes back. And time after time after time, you realize that the scope of this epidemic is so much broader than we think because we do only think of the children who die, the children who are maimed. But the reality is that there are hundreds of thousands, even millions of children who are directly impacted by gun violence in this country. And their lives are fundamentally changed because of it.
He also talked about Columbine.
And, you know, I know survivors from Columbine who are still - in their 40s - and they're still dealing with enormous amounts of trauma and PTSD. And again, none of these people were physically harmed. So we just have not grasped how far this extends in this country.

It is highly recommended that you read the rest of this article, along with the book if you want to understand exactly what it is we need to be paying more attention to.

NPR's Sacha Pfeiffer has done a lot of interviews and that is what makes what she said all the more powerful because most people are not aware of this.
Well, you're making me realize, I mean, it's certainly devastating for adults even to read or hear about it. But when you're a child and this happens, you're at a more formative stage of life.

The other thing is, that Cox is no stranger to reporting on events that we know cause PTSD. He is a reporter with the Washington Post. Cox has received numerous awards including, "He was also part of the team of Post journalists awarded the 2022 Pulitzer Prize for public service for coverage of the insurrection on the U.S. Capitol."

And back to the NPR interview, another thing too many people are not aware of.

PFEIFFER: John, at the Washington Post, where you work, there's a database you've created that tracks gun violence. And I believe the current tally is that since the shooting at Columbine in 1999, more than 300,000 students have experienced school shootings at school during the school day. That gives us a sense of how exponential the impact is because those 300,000 may have siblings, family, parents, and all of those people are affected.
and then there is this,
PFEIFFER: We often hear people say children are resilient; they will ultimately be OK. Is that your experience?

COX: You know, that is a phrase that I've come to despise, that children are resilient, because I think it's a way for adults to be dismissive of what children have gone through. And it's also because children have a hard time articulating their struggle. If a kid is suddenly having outbursts, they can't link that to the fact that they just survived a school shooting. They struggle to say, here's why I'm feeling what I'm feeling. "" What I like to say is that children can be resilient, but it is incumbent on the adults in their lives to make that possible - to provide therapy, to provide help, to provide support, to be patient. Because it can take children years to work through events like these.
Now you have a better idea of how children have been living in the shadows of gun violence. Thanks to reporters like John Woodrow Cox, people will begin to look where trauma lives on long after reporters walk away from the story.

I came across this story doing research for part three of The Lost Son Alive Again Series part three because Chris decided to focus on gun violence in his new book. It was the one cause of trauma he didn't spend time on because no one he knew had it caused by that. 

None of them talked about gun violence. Bill, David, and all the other veterans in his life didn't talk about it, even though all of them faced gun battles in wars. After Chris was shot, that began to haunt Grace because while she thought she had put the Pulse Nightclub shooting behind her, there was something else she didn't confront about her past.

Trauma hits survivors of every age and the thing is if we fail to help kids heal early on they carry it on their backs for the rest of their lives.

Tuesday, July 19, 2022

Dedicated to the ones I love

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 19, 2022

Mention PTSD to anyone and right away, the thought of veterans pops into their brain. They never think about all the others struggling to heal what they survived. 

If you are a veteran or current member of the military and have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, these books were written for you, but not the way you may think they were. I love you and want to offer a way to heal and help others you learn to heal from what you understand.

If you are a veteran or current member of law enforcement and have PTSD, these books were written for you, but not the way you may think they were. I love you and want to prevent you from ending your pain the wrong way, and heal the better way with hope.

If you are a veteran or current firefighter and have PTSD, these books were written for you, but not the way you may think they were. I love you and want to offer a way to heal and help others you learn to heal from what you understand.

The causes of PTSD in these books are for survivors trying to find hope after someone or something caused PTSD to move into their life.

Veterans are included along with a soldier so traumatized by what he saw, that he was kicked out of the Army with a personality disorder discharge instead of getting the help he needed. His suicide caused the others he served with to question their own careers while they were dealing with PTSD. There are veterans from Korea, Vietnam, Afghanistan, and Iraq.

Survivors of Law enforcement members are included. Firefighters, doctors, nurses, domestic violence, child abuse, LGBTQ, and clergy.


The main character is Chris Papadopoulos. He wasn't a soldier serving in Afghanistan and Iraq. He was a reporter and spent 10 years covering the wars in both countries until a bomb blast almost killed him. He was an often under-discussed male survivor of domestic violence and attempted murder at the hands of his wife. He also survived attempted suicide on the night his life began to change again.

If you go to church and have the support you need to heal, fabulous. You probably won't need to read these books unless you want to understand how to help someone with PTSD reconnect to God. 

If you are among the majority of people I've talked to over the last 40 years, including me, and are churchless, these books are for you.

If you were pushed away from the church, you may fear what is in the Bible. The truth is, there is power within the pages. The characters in these books are not what many think Christians are. They drink, swear, and smoke. They used drugs. They walked away from God when they all needed Him the most. They were all lost until someone helped them find their way back to His love. Yes, He loves them too.

The people that came to help Chris, survived and healed, so they knew exactly what Chris was going through and the best way to help him. When they did, he turned around to help the world heal.

Personally, I survived over 10 events that I wrote about because I am living proof that miracles happen, and when you feel as if everyone abandoned you because they don't understand you, God is still there.

They are magical realism because surviving the source of PTSD, was out of the ordinary, but healing is a magical thing especially when you become a miracle in someone else's life. The power you need to heal is within your soul. Isn't it time to plug into the source?

The Lost Son Alive Again and Stranger Angels Among Us are on audio as well as Amazon for paperback, Kindle, and Google Play.


Sunday, July 17, 2022

what the churchless need to find to heal #PTSD

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 17, 2022

If you found what you're looking for spiritually in a church, my latest books are not what you're looking for. They are not what you need to find. They are for those who feel they are not "good" enough to even enter a church, or be around the people that do attend church services. They are what the churchless need to find.


Some people seem to think that COVID is the reason for the drop in church attendance, but it isn't.




As you can see, there has been a decline for a long time. For 40 years, I helped people with PTSD and it was obvious most people seeking help, were turned off or turned away from churches. Like most people in this country, they do not attend any kind of religious service. That is a huge problem when researchers have found spiritual help is vital to the healing process for survivors.

Meaning-Making and Grief Spiritual and religious beliefs can either help or hinder trauma survivors in their attempts to create a healthy understanding of traumatic events and ultimately make meaning from the events. If trauma survivors believe that their Higher Power failed them, or that the traumatic events were punishment for past sins, these beliefs could result in anger toward their Higher Power and disconnection from spiritual or religious support. If trauma survivors view their Higher Power as a source of support and comfort, they may be able to understand the traumatic experience as a challenge set before them that can be overcome. They may then explore what has been gained from the traumatic experience; have an increased connection with their Higher Power through the healing process; rely on their spiritual or religious support; and feel stronger for having lived through the traumatic event.

Crystal Park and colleagues have theorized about how meaning develops during exposure to traumatic and loss events, and how religion and spirituality can provide a framework that may aid the development of meaning. They suggest that two levels of meaning are involved in coping with trauma.

If you don't fit in a church, for whatever reason, the first thing you need to know is that the word "church" is not what you may think it means.

This is from Stranger Angels Among Us, Part 2 of The Lost Son Alive Again

Greer shrugged her shoulders and smiled, “I don’t know but when I listened to my Dad, I had all kinds of images coming into my head. There’s a lot that isn’t written down. My Dad said we can only imagine what is not known by knowing what is known.”

They all noticed her face changed and her back stiffened up. David took her hand, “What just happened? What’s going on with you?”

“I just remembered what else Stephen said. God! I wish I remembered it when Chris was being accused of wanting to take down the church!”

“What else did he say?”

“He said that God doesn’t live in houses built by human hands. That He created everything.” She turned to Chris, “I’m sorry that I didn’t remember that. He was saying what others said before him and that God didn’t want buildings and when Jesus said that Peter was the rock He wasn’t talking about a stone one but a living one. He told the people to pray to His Father directly. People use the word church without understanding what Jesus was talking about. Ekklesia means ‘the called out ones’ and was about God’s people, not a building. That is exactly what you’ve been saying.”

Chris covered his mouth while he started at Greer. David looked at him, “She’s right. I didn’t remember that either but somehow I knew you were on the right track with what you’ve been saying all along. I mean, if a fire burns down a church, people can still pray on their own. How many churches have had to close and ended up being sold, turned into a house, or office space because people stopped going to them? Safe bet people didn’t think that God died just because their church did. They’re all just places and not some kind of super-connector to God.”

Bill added, “Just like my Dad and Mandy. They prayed directly to God and didn’t need a church building to do it for them.”

“You’re all right.” He turned to Greer, “That helped and in a way, I’m glad you didn’t remember it before because that would have reinforced the things I’ve been accused of doing. Now that I know that, I’ll know what to say the next time.”

Now you know that you don't have to go into a building to reach God. The next thing that is important to know is that you don't have to be perfect either. The characters in The Lost Son Alive Again, do not go to church. Each one of them felt pushed out and pushed away from God until someone helped them find their way back to Him again. 

None of the people in these books escaped PTSD unchanged, but they discovered they can change again with help.

When people hear PTSD, they immediately think it applies to only veterans, but the truth is, it strikes survivors of all other events too. While there are some veterans in these books, there are also survivors of almost every other thing you survived. They helped one another heal because while they did not experience the same events, they understood what surviving did to them, as much as they knew what healing did for them.

There is drinking, Ok, a lot of drinking because the main character self-medicated. There is some adult language because let's face it, people swear, especially when they are angry. These people shared their struggles and torments, doubts, and fears and also shared what it was like to heal. They gave hope back to the one who was lost so he could give hope to everyone else struggling.

It is magical realism because there are supernatural aspects throughout, which Christians are supposed to believe, and all other faiths believe happened, but for some reason, think they stopped happening. The fact you survived whatever could have killed you was a miracle, so it should be easy for you to know they do still happen.

Don't be afraid to read these books because another thing they are not is, sad. Sure they start out that way but so does PTSD. There is a process to healing it and you'll see that in these pages. 

Wednesday, July 13, 2022

No matter what it is you regret, you're not alone


Yesterday I was watching the January 6th hearing trying to hold people accountable for attacking our Capitol. One of the people in the crowd who stormed it was Stephen Ayres. He spoke about how he went from having a job for twenty years and being a family man, but he also spoke about falling into social media sites. He was convinced the lies about the election being stolen had to be true because he believed the people telling him that.

He had no idea it would cost him his job because he believed the lies he heard. He had no idea he'd end up living with regrets about things he could not change. The thing is, while he couldn't change what he had already done, he had control over what he does. He used the opportunity to speak to the House Committee so they would understand how people like him, ended up being a part of the attempt to overthrow the government.

The other thing was, that he went to some of the Capitol Officers that had been wounded in the attack and apologized to them. Considering that some members of the House and Senate have not even acknowledged their suffering or pain, caused while protecting them, that is something they have not heard nearly enough of.

Rioter shakes hands with officers who defended US Capitol during Jan. 6 riot after hearing (CNN)
Capitol rioter Stephen Ayres shook hands with officers who defended the US Capitol during the Jan. 6 insurrection after Tuesday's hearing.

Ayres could be seen shaking hands with former DC Metropolitan Police Officers Michael Fanone, Daniel Hodges and US Capitol Police Sgt. Aquilino A. Gonell. read more here

Maybe you're wondering what this has to do with PTSD. It comes with a lot of regrets too. Most of the officers have PTSD and 4 officers committed suicide.



Wiki

If you have regrets about what you did because you believed a lie, what do you plan on doing about it? What good does it do to regret what you did if you do nothing about it? Did you hurt members of your own family? We know that happens since everyone was all pumped up thinking they were the only ones knowing what the truth was. Now you know better and you were wrong. So what do you do about it?

Do you stay estranged from your family because you don't have the courage to admit you were wrong, or do you go to them and apologize to them so you can rebuild the relationship the liars destroyed?

Do you feel bad so many officers were hurt and just get on with your own life, or do you do what Stephen Ayres did, and take a chance of at least saying you are sorry for what you did to them?

The thing is, ignoring what you regret doing, no matter what it is, will block any future happiness you may be able to get a chance to have. As with Ayres, the officers said the apology was offered and left it at that. It's up to them if they accept his apology or now but at least he knows he tried.

How about you go to bed tonight knowing that at least you tried to make up for the harm that you did, so you can put it behind you?

No matter what it is you regret, you're not alone and safe bet, someone still loves you!

Friday, July 8, 2022

How did they force their beliefs on the rest of us and get away with it?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 8, 2022 

I am tired of hearing nonsense about #PTSD. I am tired of people thinking it only hits veterans. Tired of the media jumping up and down, putting one group over all others. Above all, I am tired of trying to offer hope of spiritual healing when all folks hear is how hateful Christians are. After all, they're the only ones getting the attention. Over the years I tried to explain a lot of things. So why am I trying to explain pro-choice? Because there is a whole lot of other stories out there and today, I have one about religious leaders supporting the facts that there are non-hateful Christians out there and there are plenty of us!

I am also tired of hateful people claiming to represent Jesus as a "Christian" yet have no connection to what He actually taught!

Here are just a few of them so that you won't be so offended when you hear "Christian" because we don't all believe what some do and then pretend they speak for all of us!

BTW There are more than 45,000 denominations globally. because we don't all believe the same!

Followers of Jesus span the globe. But the global body of more than 2 billion Christians is separated into thousands of denominations. Pentecostal, Presbyterian, Lutheran, Baptist, Apostolic, Methodist — the list goes on. Estimations show there are more than 200 Christian denominations in the U.S. and a staggering 45,000 globally, according to the Center for the Study of Global Christianity. So why does Christianity have so many branches?

A cursory look shows that differences in belief, power grabs and corruption all had a part to play.

But on some level, differentiation and variety have been markers of Christianity since the very beginning, according to Diarmaid MacCulloch, professor emeritus of church history at the University of Oxford in the United Kingdom. "There's never been a united Christianity," he told Live Science. discover more here

But here in America, there are many different faiths and many more with no connection to organized religion of any kind. So how is it that a fraction of people in this country managed to enforce their beliefs on the rest of us, and get away with it? 


Brandan Robertson, a 29-year-old from Washington, D.C., is not the kind of advocate most people picture when they think of the pro-choice movement.

But on Tuesday evening, after the leak of a draft majority opinion from the U.S. Supreme Court that would overturn Roe v. Wade, he donned his blue clergy collar, and stood shoulder-to-shoulder with other protesters outside the Supreme Court building.

Robertson, an author, activist, and lead pastor of “digital progressive faith community” Metanoia Church, hadn’t always been the type to attend such events. Throughout his teens and early twenties, he was heavily involved with the conservative evangelical scene and self-identified as an anti-gay, anti-abortion fundamentalist. find even more non-hateful Christian leaders here
MIC
“What we profess and what we live don't always add up,” Blackmon, now a nurse and an ordained minister in the United Church of Christ (UCC), says. “You don't know where you really stand until it’s personal.” Blackmon doesn’t believe she should have to tell her personal abortion story. But today, with abortion rights in the U.S. hanging by a thread, she’s telling it for the first time.

With many evangelicals celebrating the end of Roe v. Wade — and Catholic bishops even denying Communion to House Speaker Nancy Pelosi over her support of abortion rights — it’s easy to believe Christianity is inherently anti-abortion.

But Blackmon, an abortion rights advocate who serves as the UCC’s Associate General Minister of Justice and Local Church Ministries, says it’s critical to disentangle these ideas. In fact, her own denomination has been involved in abortion rights advocacy for decades; before the 1973 Supreme Court ruling recognized the right to abortion, UCC ministers were part of a clergy network connecting women to doctors willing to provide abortions based on their own understandings of Christianity. “I think the laziness of some Christianity has caused people with louder voices and more political presence to be able to draw a narrative that other Christian voices have to speak out against, so that people can think about this,” she says. read more of what she has to say here

If you don't think all this extra stress put on females and their families won't cause PTSD, then you are not thinking at all! 

Sunday, July 3, 2022

Stranger Angels Among Us Healing PTSD

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
July 2, 2022

“If I say it, it will become real and you’ll know I’m nuts.”

Those were the words Chris told his therapist. He wasn't a veteran but had #PTSD. It hit him after reporting on the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan from 2001 to 2012 when a bomb blast nearly killed him. It struck him again when his wife decided waiting for him to commit suicide was taking too long, and she decided to kill him. For seven years, he lost everything he had evaporate, including his faith in God.

On Google Play and Audio July 4th, 2022

The Lost Son Alive Again is part one of this three-part series. It is also available as an audiobook.

The series is about the PTSD all of us survivors face. Too many dismiss what we go through because reporters cover veterans more than the rest of us. If they don't know we're real, we feel abandoned with no way of finding comforting support to discover we are not alone and our futures are not filled with hopelessness.

Chris was a reporter and domestic violence survivor with PTSD. The only friend Chris had was the bartender at a local bar. Ed was an ex-pastor with PTSD after a young veteran committed suicide instead of talking to him.

Chris's best friend Bill since childhood was a soldier with PTSD, determined to stay in the Army until a member of his unit was kicked out under personality disorder instead of being helped. David was in the same unit with PTSD, also retiring believing it was his only option. They walked back into Chris's life on the night he decided it was time for his suffering to come to an end.

David and Bill told Chris about Mandy, a mysterious woman living in Gabriel New Hampshire that healed them. She was a survivor of child abuse and domestic violence because her husband abused her and then tried to kill her.

He met Alex and Mary Michaels, brother and sister Christian book publishers who had PTSD from child abuse. They offered him a chance to write a book about healing PTSD, sending him on a journey to not just change his life, but the lives of all survivors.

Grace was a retired Orlando Police Officer with PTSD after the Pulse Nightclub massacre. She was one of  Chris's best friends too.

Drake was a gay female wrestler until during her last fight, her opponent died. She had PTSD from that along with the suicide of her first love interest. She became Mandy's protector after Mandy saved her from suicide.

Benjamin was a Vietnam veteran with PTSD and extremely wealthy because a Korean War veteran helped him heal.

Throughout these books, there are many different characters struggling to heal and when they find it, they pass it on to all those they come into contact with. 

Part two introduces more characters and covers their spiritual struggles along with how healing is always a work in progress. It is a battle no one wins alone, but with support, it is one that can be won. 

From Stranger Angels Among Us


Chris arrived at his therapist Dariana Kemp’s office. The pastor Ed told him about helping him heal and had retired but he suggested another pastor/psychologist he knew. She was a good fit for Chris and gained his trust. He called her for an emergency appointment before he left for Gabriel.

Her office was in an old mansion in the center of Salem. She was only middle-aged but had the wisdom of what Chris called an “old spirit” with short salt and pepper hair, piercing eyes, behind large rim purple glasses, and an infectious laugh. She knew more about the Bible than anyone else he had ever known. She got into working on PTSD using psychology and spirituality after losing her Vietnam veteran father to suicide.

Chris sat in the huge leather chair near the fireplace playing with his fingers as his eyes moved everywhere in the room, avoiding having to look at Dariana. He knew she could see right through him.

While he was looking at the massive wall of books, she gave him a few minutes to put his thoughts together, then gave up. “Ok Chris, it’s time to speak up. What’s going on? You said it was urgent.” She knew him well enough to have extra patience with him. For a great writer, he was lousy at concocting stories to speak and even worse at lying to cover up what he didn’t want to say. 

“I’m upset Grace isn’t coming because I don’t want to do this but she was going to make it a little easier to do. Now I have to go there alone, have my heart ripped out for Mandy, and then drive back alone.” He took a deep breath, finally looked at her, then hung his head down. “I don’t want to do it, but I know I have to.  I want you to tell me I don’t have to go there.”

“You don’t have to go there. You could just email Drake, get her thoughts about Mandy and let her approve the script or make her changes. But you already know that. Why do you need me to tell you what you already know?”

“I guess I needed reassurance.” Hating the thought of having to admit it, “My confidence is in the toilet right now. The first book was done and in book stores in six months and so was the second one. I’ve been working on this one for eight months and it still isn’t done.”

“What do you think is holding you back?”

“The others were easier, I guess because I lived in that hell and I knew what put me there. With this, with it being about kids, it’s causing more emotional pain than I expected. I had to read so many articles on child abuse, that it made me sick. That’s why I knew I had to talk to the people already in my life because they lived in that hell and found their way out.” Dariana saw he was holding something back. She waited. He slammed the arm of the chair. “You know what pisses me off the most about all this?”

“That it’s all still happening?”

“Not just that. The so-called pro-life people screaming about how they are protecting the lives of the unborn! What about protecting the lives of the born? What about protecting them when they get raped or abused by their parents? I keep thinking about that woman who was raped and decided to have the baby so she could put it up for adoption but the rapist had rights just because of the state they lived in. If he hadn’t freaked out and got shot in jail, I wonder what would have happened to the baby.”

“Sometimes it’s like laws protect criminals more than the victims.”

“Ya. All these claims about morality and not a peep out of any of them about kids being gunned down in schools by weapons designed to kill as many as possible because other people want to have fun with those same guns. These born children should matter to all of them at least as much as the unborn. Since they don’t, since they don’t show up in mass to protect children born into this world, with the soul from God within their bodies, it proves those people are only pro-birth and I think that is a true abomination.”

“God granted everyone free will to make their own choices about their bodies and what they do or do not believe. Sometimes I wonder what gives others the right to force their own beliefs onto everyone else. They scream the loudest, so everyone else is their enemy and evil in their eyes. There are denominations believing people have the right to decide for themselves. Presbyterians fully support the right for people to decide for themselves so that every child is loved because they were wanted. I still preach when another pastor goes on vacation and gets into all kinds of discussions with folks because of all the other talk that’s out there. They know what is right for them and what their moral values are, but they end up questioning themselves because others try to force theirs on them.”

“And most of the others are phony as hell.” Dariana saw how the anger just rushed out of him. Then sadness moved in. “Like Mandy’s parents. I need to know what it was like for Mandy before she became a miracle worker. That’s the only way I can be able to help kids with the new book. I think the only way I can understand what it was like living in that hell, is to go in there so God can get them out.”

“So how are the mood swings now? How many times does it still happen?”

“They aren’t as bad as they used to be."

“Good. Work on that more. You’ve been hearing the stories of others for a couple of years now. Why is Mandy’s story so hard for you?”

“I honestly don’t know. I’ve been questioning myself more than usual in the last couple of months. I mean, I had a great childhood. My parents loved me, gave me what I needed and I always knew they were proud of me.” His hands began to tremble. He stood up, and she turned to watch him walk to the window. He was looking away from her, shoved his hands into his pockets, and took a deep breath. “In a way, I’m glad they passed away before all that happened. I don’t think I could have taken seeing the pain in their eyes. They’d have no way of knowing how things would turn out like this and it would have been seven years of agony for them too.”

“I can understand that. What do you think they’d feel about all this now?”

“They’d be proud but, I’m glad they didn’t have to suffer before my life got good again.” He slowly walked back to the chair and sat down.

She waited for him to say more, watched his body language and how his eyes were moving. “I think you’re holding something back, but when you’re ready, you’ll tell me what it is. “ How’s the drinking?”

“Good. I enjoy it now instead of abusing it and starting to learn how to, as you said, experience my feelings, like you said I should, instead of trying to drown them. It isn’t easy but you taught me how to stop fighting them.”

She grinned, “Seriously? Did you forget you suck at lying?”

“Honestly, I still drink too much when things get too intense.”

“We'll work on that and maybe start praying on it instead of trying to get plastered.“

“I’ll try harder.”

“We talked a lot about the flashbacks before but I need you to go back to right before it. Where were you going to?”

“We were headed to meet Bill and his unit.”

“What was your mood like?”

“I don’t know. I was pissed off about something.”

“Can you remember what it was?”

As he covered his mouth, his eyes were moving rapidly, then froze looking at her. “I was pissed off because I tried to get her to go a different way. It was like a premonition that the road was dangerous.”

“Any idea where that came from?”

“I don’t know. The longer we were on that road, the stronger the feeling of doom came over me.” He sat quietly searching his memory. “The more upset I was getting, the more she laughed at me. I told her she was just as bossy as my wife and told her they had more than just their names in common. Oh my God! I forgot her name was Brenda too. Wow! Anyway, we had the windows up because of all the sand, but for some reason, I opened mine.”

“You said you were looking out the window. Do you remember what made you turn your head to the left?”

He winced, “If I say it, it will become real and you’ll know I’m nuts.”

“Just say it and then that memory will lose some of the power it has over you. Besides, I told you before, we’re all a little bit nuts.”

He didn’t want to say it. The words were trying to get out but he locked his lips to stop them from escaping knowing once he said it, he’d never be able to take it back. He looked at her, remembered how much he knew he could trust her, and the words escaped. “I heard my name.”

“Was it your driver’s voice?”

“No, it was a male’s voice. I heard it loud and clear but I can’t make sense out of it because we were going something like forty miles an hour and her window was still up.”

“Have your thoughts about that changed since it happened?”

“No. To tell you the truth, I forgot about most of that. Why? What do you think it means?”

“Maybe God was trying to prevent it? We hear stories of things like that happening all the time. Someone didn’t get on a plane for reasons they couldn’t explain and it ended up crashing. People decide to go a different way and then end up discovering there was a major accident or a bridge collapsed. I think God tries to prevent a lot of things but people don’t understand what He’s trying to get them to pay attention to.”

“All I know right now is, if I didn’t open the window, the glass would have shattered on top of the shrapnel hitting us. If I didn’t turn my head to the left because of the voice, if I survived it, my face would have been destroyed and I probably would have been blind. Hard to take in right now, but I know you’re probably right.

“I’m glad you told me that and let that secret out. That flashback will lose some power now, just like when you found out Brenda died and wouldn’t haunt you anymore. What about the dreams? Any closer to making sense of them?

“Nope. They’re getting stronger. Last night I saw Grace at the Salem Willows wharf. She was standing on the edge for a while then she jumped in. She didn’t come back up.” Chris looked down at the floor.”

“Is that how it ended?”

“No. I was terrified and woke up. My heart was beating hard and I forced myself to go back to sleep. Then in the dream, she came up out of the water holding the woman from the other dreams. Grace was dry but she was dripping wet with her hair all over her face. The only thing I could see was her lips. She mouthed the words, ‘help me find my way,’ and then I woke up.” “Didn’t the sleeping pills help?”

“No, I stopped taking them because they made it worse. I couldn’t wake up after it started and then it just went into loop replay with the same dream. Without them, I can wake up and when I finally fall back to sleep, they usually don’t start again.”

“So the dreams could be tied to the book. You said they were getting stronger over the last couple of months and that was when you started to struggle with it.”

“I just keep thinking what if,” he didn’t want to get the words out because he knew once he did, it would become real. “What if I’m not supposed to write this one and that’s why I’m having a hard time?”

“What if you are and you are the one fighting yourself? Think about it. What came over you to want to write it in the first place?”

“Some of the letters I got about the other books. People told me what they went through and how much the books helped them. When I started to write it, that was around the same time the dreams started but they were only coming once in a while.” “That’s starting to sound more like a vision than just a dream.”

“What do you mean?”

Dariana got up, went to the bookcase, and returned with a book in her hand, The Vision Awaits. She handed it to Chris. “The book of Revelations was filled with visions of what John saw. It’s like the feeling you have that is compelling you to go back to Gabriel. The same thing you felt when you were compelled to go there the first time and back last year. It’s a vision of something you need to know has to happen instead of you just feeling what you need to do.”

“I trust God more than ever, but I still have a hard time trusting myself. Do you think the dreams are getting stronger because the time is getting closer to it happening?”

“Maybe. That’s something that you need to be patient for. None of us can see what God can. None of us know what’s the best way, but He does. Most of the time we create a mess because we don’t like to wait for anything, and what makes it harder, is when we lose faith it will happen. We screw things up by trying to do it on our timeline. I’ve done that plenty of times myself. I think we all have. I also know that getting to people soon after the trauma happens has a lot better chance of keeping them from the extra suffering.

“I know I wish I leaned on someone and then maybe, just maybe, I wouldn’t have suffered for those seven years.” Chris looked down at the floor. “I mean, I know it wasn’t all my fault what happened to me, but I decided to walk away from God when I should have been running toward Him.”

“You didn’t have anyone to open your eyes and give you a reason to. Don’t be so hard on yourself.

Chris was feeling a rush of guilt, “That’s just it. At first, I did. Bill tried for a while. The Chaplain in his company kept reaching out to me whenever I went to cover the wars. I remember the second time I was covering them, I forgot my Bible. I missed having that comfort. The Chaplain handed me it and I carried it on every assignment until it got blown up with me in Afghanistan. Then, after I was back home, recovering, he kept calling me and emailing me and I wouldn’t respond. I think that was God’s way of telling me He was there for me but I refused to see it. Over the years, it was like I didn’t even want to admit someone was trying to help me. Bill, eventually he gave up too.”

“Did you try to contact him?”

“Who? Bill or the Chaplain?”

“Both. I know you have Bill back in your life but what about the years in between?”

“I wasn’t ready to listen back then. I guess after that, I felt ashamed of the way I treated him and the Chaplain. After the press conference we had about the Netflix series, the Chaplain wrote me a letter and said that he never gave up on me but put me into God’s hands. He said that he always saw something special in me and when he saw me giving my speeches, he saw it come out. He said he was proud of me.”

“Did you write back to him?”

“Ya. We even spoke a few times on the phone since then. I keep wondering what would have happened if I did listen to him back then. Would the rest of this still happen?”

“That’s something only God knows. I don’t pretend to know His mind any better than you do, but from what I’ve learned about you, I don’t think you would have accomplished what you did had you not suffered the way you did.

“What do you mean?” Chris was getting angry, “That my suffering was part of His plan?

“Hell no. What I mean is, that you weren’t ready to listen but above that, you had forgotten how powerful God is and how much all of us do depend on others in this world. That is what you’ve added to what you are preaching.”

“I’m not a preacher!”

“Yes, you are. You keep saying that as if you don’t want to admit it to yourself. That is exactly what you’ve been doing. Why do you get so defensive whenever that is pointed out to you? Is that what you’re holding inside of you?”

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 the whole thing.”

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

“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.”

“You’re in a safe place right now to talk about it. Just close your eyes so you aren’t trying to read my facial expressions and remember the dream.”

Chris leaned back, closed his eyes and the memory came to life. “I was in the sanctuary wearing the vestments of a priest, 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, as 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 Parable of the Good Samaritan.”

Chris opened his eyes. Dariana was looking at him. “What happened after that?”

“I just saw it all again like it was happening.”

“Close your eyes again and tell me what you told the people.”

“I preached to the crowd about the Good Samaritan and how the stranger took care of the man who had been attacked and robbed. How those who claimed to be serving God had no compassion in them.” He recited Luke 10:30-37. Chris opened his eyes. Dariana was amazed. “You said that perfectly. How much more of the Bible have you memorized?"

“That’s the only one. I think it’s because I had that dream so many times when I was young, it became a part of me.” “Have you thought about why it means so much to you?"

“I’m not sure but I always thought about the Samaritan and what happened afterward. I mean, no one knew what he did other than the man he helped and the Innkeeper. So what Jesus said must have come from God watching it. I think God was trying to get the others to stop and help the man but the Samaritan was the only one who listened to Him. I thought about how he must have done a lot of other things only God knew about and that was the way I should live my life too. Now I get upset when people praise me and ask why I do it. The other thing that bothers me is when I get accused of trying to turn people away from the church. I mean, maybe in the back of my mind, they’re right. I mean, it’s appalling to me how so many members of the clergy, no matter what denomination, show absolutely no connection to what Christ taught. They give Christians a bad name and make people think they’re all reprehensible.”

“There is another way to look at it. You brought the Communion out to people who felt they couldn’t enter the church. That tells me what you’ve been doing is exactly what you were intended to do. It also means that the vision of the woman you’ve been having is not the first time you had a vision.”

“What do you mean?”

“That dream you kept having was more like a vision but you just didn’t understand it. You put hope back into the minds of the hopeless. You bring the power of God’s love directly to the churchless children of God. They’re learning that they’re not Fatherless. Maybe in a way, you’re also proving the frauds are not serving God.”

“I hope you’re right because I’m going to need to harness whatever power I have inside of me to do it. It feels as if something is brewing out there.”

“Then pray for the words they’ll need to hear.” Dariana smiled, “The spirit inside you has given you the words people needed to hear and will keep giving them to you. Believe that and trust that. It also explains why you feel so uncomfortable with people praising you. Just deal with it and praise God more so they’ll see He is behind whatever you do for them.”

When Chris got up to leave, Dariana decided to ask him a question she had been wondering since they met. “I have to ask you something. You’re a multimillionaire but you still dress like you don’t have any money at all and live in the same apartment you had. Why do you still live like you have nothing?”

“That’s an easy question to answer. I lived my life this way all along. Even when I had money living in LA, I didn’t like living in that condo. It was too fancy. I felt out of place. I also felt uncomfortable dressing up, like it wasn’t me. Anyway, I live a comfortable life even though it sure is an odd one.” He smiled and Dariana hugged him.

“Well, at least now I understand why you won’t let me tell anyone you’ve been paying me to take care of people with no insurance or money for the last three months.”

“You’re good and too many people need your help, like me. I want them to be able to heal like you’re helping me.

When Chris left, Dariana went over to her computer, opened Chris’s file, and said a prayer, as she always did when he left. She wrote, “I prayed for Chris that God would open his heart and mind and receive the courage and strength he needs for what is to come. I prayed that he would finally open his heart enough so that he would fully feel the joy of what true love is and let it fill the empty place still left in his soul.”

Chris got into his car and sat still for a while. He thought about what Dariana said and about the vision from his youth. It made him understand why he never wanted any praise for what he did for others and why he kept as much as possible secret.

Wednesday, June 29, 2022

PTSD needs crisis intervention now

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
June 29, 2022

Some people think that crisis intervention is some kind of new thing. Then again, some people don't think it is worth the time or effort either. Aside from having been certified in it by the International Fellowship of Chaplains, I am also a survivor of it many times.



First here is a brief history of it. The word crisis comes from the Greek word, Krisis from Vocabulary.com
A crisis is a difficult or dangerous time in which a solution is needed — and quickly. For example, the crisis caused by a natural disaster might inspire you and your friends to make a donation.

The noun crisis comes from the Latinized form of the Greek word krisis, meaning "turning point in a disease." At such a moment, the person with the disease could get better or worse: it's a critical moment. Think of a celebrity whose recent antics generate headlines like "Rock Star in Crisis" — that person needs help that may or may not be sought. At the moment of crisis, things are unstable and maybe even dangerous.

Trauma is also a Greek word that means wound. When we're discussing PTSD it literally means after trauma. Connect that to the word crisis meaning turning point and you have, not only the definition of it, you have the solution.

Crisis Intervention goes back to the 1940s and '50s.




INTRODUCTION TO THE THEORY AND PRACTICE OF CRISIS INTERVENTION


Definition of Crisis
The origins of crisis theory are usually attributed to Lindemann's classic study of grief reactions. LINDEMANN(1944) established the basic framework for defining the symptomatology of a crisis. He reported on the evaluation and treatment of 101 persons who had experienced a recent death of a close relative, a number of whom were connected to the victims of the Boston's Coconut Grove Club fire. He observed that acute grief was a normal reaction to a distressing situation and noted that such reaction presented some characteristic features that appeared to form a distinct syndrome.

According to Lindemann, persons experiencing acute grief display one or more of the following symptoms:
1. somatic distress;
2. preoccupation with the image of the deceased;
3. guilt,
4. hostile reactions, and
5. loss of patterns of conduct.
Sometimes the person experiencing crisis of bereavement may have distorted or delayed grief reactions. Lindemann also stated that the grief work inclu- des achieving emancipation from the deceased, readjustment to the environment in which the deceased is missing and formation of new relationships. His contribution has been considered the starting point for the development of crisis theory.

While the origins of crisis theory are attributed to Lindemann, the work of Gerald Caplan and his colleagues at Harvard University provided the foundations for the development of crisis intervention theory and practice. Caplan's interest in crises resulted from his work with families immigrating to Israel following World War 11. Caplan has pro-vided various definitions of crisis (1964, 1974): he considers that a crisis is provoked when a person faces a problem for which he appears not to have an immediate solution and that is for a time insurmountable through the utilization of usual methods of problem-solving. A period of upset and tension follows during which the person makes many attempts at the solution of the problem.

 (Please read the whole article.)

So why isn't it being done? Why is so much time wasted belittling survivors instead of helping them get the help they need? Because if the answer isn't easy, no one wants to do the work.

That was obvious when all the groups popped up all over the country, speaking out to the rest of the world devoting time, energy, and funding to raising awareness that veterans were committing suicide, instead of including the millions of others doing the same. They reduced this heartbreaking outcome for many survivors that survived the event that caused PTSD, but could not survive surviving itself.

With PTSD Awareness Month coming to an end, you'd think that this would have been a topic worth covering. So why wasn't it? Not enough people know about it. It is one of the biggest reasons why I made most of the characters in The Lost Son Alive Again series Chaplains!

Surviving trauma is a turning point into crisis. It is at that time you want someone there to help you make the right turn toward healing ASAP!

If you are a police officer, you may have heard something ridiculous like, "you let your job get to you" as if you are supposed to not let what you see bother you at all. It all bothered you enough in the first place that you decided to take the job to prevent as much as you could knowing you'd be exposed to all of the dangers that came with the job. You'd think your superiors would be more understanding of that fact since that was probably the same reason they became officers too.

If you are a veteran or currently in the military, you may have heard, "you didn't train right" because they were told residency training would help you toughen your brain. They say things like that because they are not capable of admitting the training they touted as so successful did not work! If it did when they started it, suicide would have gone down, and not increased.

If you have PTSD from any other cause, you may have head people tell you, "get over it" or "let it go" as if you are choosing to let it hang onto you.

What if right, after you survived, someone came over to you, and was there to show you the way to begin to heal as a survivor instead of making you feel as if what it is doing to you is your fault?

While First Responders help you survive the event itself, Chaplains help you begin to take the next turn toward healing instead of suffering.

If you haven't heard about Chaplains before don't feel bad. I sent the first editions of The Lost Son and Alive Again to a psychologist I know to review them. He really liked the story and said it flowed but he didn't know Chaplains were actually out there in the real world doing the work we did.

This is from Advent Health
What Does a Chaplain Do?
A chaplain is a certified clergy member who provides spiritual care for individuals in a non-religious organization, rather than a church congregation. Chaplains can work in government roles and serve members of the military in different locations. They can serve patients in healthcare or hospice facilities. Working in police departments, fire departments, and prisons is also common for chaplains.

Since chaplains are ordained ministers, they can officiate ceremonies such as weddings and funerals. They can lead baptism services and provide final rites for patients who are passing away. Chaplains can also take on the role of a spiritual leader for individuals who do not belong to a specific religious community."" Rather than preaching messages directed toward one religious group, chaplains lead non-denominational religious services that can benefit individuals from a variety of religious or spiritual backgrounds. Chaplains who hold positions at different institutions can also minister to staff members. For example, chaplains at hospitals can provide spiritual care to nurses, doctors, and administrators, as well as to patients and their families.
This is from Franciscan Friars
Chaplains minister to people in illness and death, counseling those who are having their worst days, many with loneliness and depression. Their work encompasses being compassionate to people of all faiths, in various stages of spiritual development, and even to those who have turned their backs on God or blame him for their illness.

Often, they minister not just to patients, but to entire families. And because patients are discharged so quickly from hospitals today, chaplains are always ministering to a new set of people. They must work quickly, always on their feet, as they walk the hospital halls seeing new patients.

Yet this is how the IFOC explains Chaplains

What does being a Chaplain mean?
Minister in areas of critical incident stress, grief and loss, trauma, and stress management
Provide counsel, education, advocacy, life-improvement skills, and recovery training
Build a bridge between the secular and spiritual environments of community life"
Bring life-changing service to every sector of community life, such as health and welfare, education, transitional living, emergency service, and governmental support.

As you can see, even with different groups, the common theme is that Chaplains are in the community, where the greatest need is.

Now, some people fear the Chaplain showing up will judge them or try to convert them. Using myself as an example, I drink, smoke, and swear, so I am far from perfect. If you read this site, you know how I feel about a lot of the nonsense going on over people that forget their right to believe what they choose, does not remove the rights of others to do the same. Sadly, you may run into some more interested in doing what they want, instead of doing what you need based on where you are spiritually and emotionally.;

Lumping all Chaplains in the same pile is like piling up all Christians with the fraction self-proclaiming the moral high ground of "pro-life" when in fact what they do with the living proves they are only pro-birth.

There is a long list of Christians that believe all of us are given free will by God and it is up to us to choose what is right for us. No one has the right to use their free will to remove it from others. Most of us know that we are not there to convert anyone. We are only there to help those in need of what they are in need of and most of the time, they need someone to listen to them.


From The Lost Son Alive Again
Mandy's notes
Chris was sorting out more of Mandy’s notes when he came across her notes about him.
Chris Papadopoulos: multiple traumas, war, abuse, domestic violence, a survivor of attempted murder, betrayal, but above all, lost his sense of purpose doing the only job he believed he was born to do as a reporter and attempted suicide.
Chris just left and I am praying for him. It is almost as if those last 7 years were punishment for him. The night of the 7th anniversary of the bomb blast he survived, he struggled between regretting he survived and being grateful for being saved. Regret was winning.
He held a gun in his hands as the two opposing sides were arguing within him. He survived the bomb but saw it as the beginning of his punishment. All that came afterward, in his mind, was all his fault. The more he blamed himself, the more he destroyed himself. His wife abusing him was his fault. Losing his job was his fault. Having to go back to Salem, broke and feeling like a failure was his fault. He couldn’t see that while he did make choices in his life, some were forced on him. If his wife loved him and supported him, he may have gotten help. If his boss valued him and had compassion, he may have supported Chris and got him into counseling.
There is so much he does not understand about forgiveness and how God forgives him because he cannot forgive himself. I pray he can do that soon and realize while he forgives others, he must forgive himself as well. He cannot change anything that has already happened. All he can do is learn from it and use the power he does have over defining the rest of his life.
Chris was supposed to become a priest but now he can become a minister to millions who feel as if there is no place for them in churches. His gifts are writing and a curious mind. He has compassion and understanding of what this spiritual pain feels like. Now he knows what healing feels like and can give hope to others that they can heal as well. They will know God hears their cries, forgives them when they blame Him for their suffering, and holds His arms out to them. He waits to welcome His lost children back to their Father’s home and see that they were never really alone.
In a way, one more indication that God sets our purpose inside of our souls, and sometimes, He has to come up with plan B to get us there. The key is always if we choose to follow where He leads or not. People that listen, find inner peace no matter what they face. Those who do not, are in turmoil. I can’t stop thinking about Jesus and how the story of one life never ended. What He left us still spreads across the world. I have a feeling that the story of Chris’s life will never really end. We are all never-ending stories of the life we lived.