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

Monday, November 28, 2022

PTSD: Photography and filming became "like a lifeline."

If you have PTSD, no matter what caused it, it helps to know the differnt things that have helped others. What may work for someone you know, may not work for you. The only thing to take from that is, if it helped them, there is always something out there that can help you too!

Mental health therapy is for everyone. Some people need medication. Others don't. Some need different medications, so there are so many different ones.

Everyone also needs to take care of their "other parts" and yet again, there are many different things for you. Yoga, martial arts, walking, running, hiking, swimming, art, music, and yes, even photography. For me, it is writing.

I found this article from the BBC inspiring. I hope you do too.

PTSD: Photography helps police officer manage condition

BBC
By Helen Burchell
November 28, 2022
Photography and filming became "like a lifeline."

On Christmas Day 2017, a traffic police officer's life began slowly to unravel after he was injured during a pursuit. Two years later he underwent surgery and was told he could no longer do the job he loved. His mental health took a nosedive but he found solace in his long-time hobby - photography.

"As a traffic officer I saw things no-one should see," Det Sgt Colin Shead says.

"Now I see things I want everyone to see."

Here, he speaks candidly about his mental health, and shares some of the images that have helped him cope.

The 51-year-old officer has clocked up more than 30 years on the force, joining Essex Police's roads policing unit (RPU) in 2010.

"I'd always wanted to do traffic work, because I wanted to protect people from harm on the roads," he says. "When you start, there's the great thrill and excitement of flying around all over the place - then you get the serious side - and the fatalities.

"You're the first at the scene when someone's been killed - you see that first-hand and it takes its toll."
read more here

OK, confession, I found filming and photography healing too!


Sunday, November 27, 2022

Ministers Of The Mystery Series, a time for you!

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 25, 2022

Ministers Of The Mystery is for anyone trying to heal Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. All the "people" in these books are recovering from different life-altering events. I believe the most important thing to take away from this series is simple, yet the empowering fact is, all of them healed with the support of someone else.

"Nothing is impossible, the word itself says 'I'm possible'!"

Audrey Hepburn



MINISTERS OF THE MYSTERY
Series Description:
The Vision Awaits Prophecy: "The 13th Minister shall arise from the shadow of Proctor’s Ledge and demons will dread the sword of truth in the hands of the powerful scribe."

In modern-day Salem, The Master Ministers were preparing for the most powerful one of all would take his place as the 13th Minister. All they had to do was convince him to do it.

Ministers Of The Mystery Series explores the miraculous power within all of us to help one another achieve the purpose we were all sent here to fulfill.

Some churches say that no one can be a Christian and a witch at the same time. Are Christian witches, witches, or ministering spirits? “To each is given the manifestation of the Spirit for the common good.” 1 Corinthians 12:7. The churches point out the passages condemning witchcraft while ignoring the fact that in each case, those practicing witchcraft were accused of doing it for evil purposes. In all the other passages, someone using gifts of the spirit was accepted because they were using their gifts to help others. So are these Christian witches, really witches or are they ministering spirits empowered by God to do good in this world?

We know evil exists. The question is, why did God let it happen? Did God try to prevent the Salem Witchcraft Trials? Did He try to prevent the suffering of His servants here on earth? If you believe the Bible then you know that God does not create evil, but He does create miracles. What if Reverend George Burroughs was sent to Salem Village to prevent the trials but the people who were supposed to help him, turned against him?

What if there is someone on this earth today sent to help heal the world and prevent suffering but is receiving the help he needs to do what he was sent to do? What if everything is in place for it to all happen, but he decides to not do it? The Scribe of Salem is book one. The Visionary of Salem is book two. 13th Minister of Salem is book three.

If you have PTSD, you'll understand what it was like for Chris in his darkest days. You'll be able to feel the fear he has facing more changes. What I hope you also feel, is having friends come to help you heal, believing in you because they know you and care about you.

If you think God did it to you or didn't prevent it, you'll understand Chris.

“If you’re supposed to find her, trust that and you will.”

Chris shook his head. “You have no idea how strange that sounds to me right now. Up until you guys walked into the bar at 7:00, I would have told you what I thought about God,” he looked down, “that He’s a vindictive son of a bitch playing around with people’s lives and making us suffer for fun. Now I don’t know what to think.”

“You suffered for seven years, so ya, I get how you would feel that way. I did too for a while. The thing is, the explosion happened at 7:00 too, so maybe this time, He’s moving things around so you open your eyes to how wrong you were. Come on Bill is still waiting for us.”
Chris isn't a veteran. He was a reporter covering the war in Afghanistan when a bomb nearly killed him.

If you don't go to church, but believe in God, and even if you don't, you'll understand Chris and all of his friends. None of them go.

If you are a veteran, there are several you'll understand including Vietnam veterans and a female MP.

If you are a police officer, you'll understand one of the people in these books.

If you like books about Salem witches, you'll understand the master ministers of the mystery using the powers they were born with while forced to keep secrets.

If you are a Christian witch, feeling vilified by the "church" you'll understand these incredible people doing whatever they can to help heal others. After all, the one Chris needed to meet was called a witch too!

Read The Scribe Of Salem and let me know what you think. I value your opinion as much as I value your time reading my posts. Now that the three books are done, I'll have time to focus on this page again. To tell you the truth, I missed it, and you.


Monday, November 21, 2022

Twisted history lesson of Salem Witchcraft Trials and PTSD

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
November 21, 2022

If you have PTSD, then you know what it's like to have something terrible happen. If you're like me, you also know what it's like to wonder where God was when it did. I mean, it's really easy to wonder what He was doing when something horrible happened to you. It's not easy getting an answer from Him.

This series is a twisted history lesson since history is often twisted between what is perceived as "known" with the simple fact that what we think we know, is not all that is known by others.

I went beyond wondering why it happened, and full swing into wondering why the hell did I survive it? We all do that but not all of us end up like the people in the new series I wrote called The Ministers Of The Mystery.

Don't look for the book yet on Amazon. I'm not releasing it until the end of November, (hopefully, if I have the other two ready)

If you read the Lost Son series, I apologize. Instead of writing them the way I intended, I tried to conform to what other people thought. Big mistake. In a way, I'm really glad only a few people read them. These books are different because I went beyond what we perceive as all there is to know and fill in what could have happened.

Start with the Salem Witchcraft Trials. When I read about a minister being hung as a witch, a child went up my spine. Maybe I knew that when I was young and grew up near Salem, going there often, along with loving New England history. If I knew it back then, I forgot all of it.

His name was George Burroughs.
Burroughs graduated from Harvard University in 1670 and, in 1673, married his first wife Hannah Fisher.

In 1674, Burroughs moved to Falmouth, Maine where he served as the pastor at the Falmouth Congregational Church. He continued to serve as the pastor until the town was attacked and destroyed during a Wabanaki raid on August 11, 1676.

A lot has been said about what was behind the accusations against the townspeople of Salem. One of the factors behind it was that the accusers were suffering from PTSD tied to the attack Burroughs and others survived. This link goes to one of those claims along with a history lesson. I'm pointing that out because while Burroughs survived, he did not arrive in Salem Village until 1680 and served as their minister. He was only there for two years before he left after the villagers decided to not pay him.

Long story short, but even after he left, resentment held tempers strong and in 1692, they ordered his arrest to stand trial as an accused witch. What is even more telling about their determination to put an end to his life was the fact they had to go all the way up to Wells Maine to get him. Guess it didn't matter to them that he had been gone for ten years.

The more I researched what happened to him, the more questions popped into my mind. I started with the fact that this guy survived a lot of things, including losing three wives, on top of the slaughter of the people in Falmouth. Then, still holding onto his faith, he was sent to Salem as a spiritual leader trying to bring peace to people who seemed to enjoy fighting with one another. That was an easy assumption to make considering what they did to Burroughs was only part of it. They accused 200 others of witchcraft, hung 19, and crushed one to death. They got away with it simply by saying "they believed" something and never had to prove a single word of it.

The following is from SALEM WITCH TRIALS CHRONOLOGY
August 19- George Jacobs, Martha Carrier, George Burroughs, John Proctor, and John Willard are hanged. Although George Burroughs recites the Lord’s Prayer perfectly on the gallows (task witches were allegedly unable to complete without error), Cotton Mather insisted that “…the Devil has often been transformed into an Angel of Light.”
October 29- With public opinion turning against the trials, Governor Phips dissolves the Court of Oyer and Terminer
October 3- Boston minister Increase Mather, the father of Cotton Mather, addresses a meeting of ministers in Cambridge to warn against reliance on spectral evidence. Mather writes, “It were better that ten suspected witches should escape than one innocent person should be condemned…”

It all got me thinking about what if God called him to become a minister, saved him in Falmouth, and brought him to Salem Village to prevent the witchcraft trials? What if the people with power, position, means, and ability to help him in 1680 did it instead of turning against him?

That all fit with the story of Chris Papadopoulos in Salem on September 13th, 2019. He was a reporter covering the War On Terror. There was a bomb blast that he survived but ended up suffering for it. His body was scared and he had to have help to recover, but his wife regretted he came back home. She hated him. He survived her trying to kill him. He survived 7 years of agony and decided to end it all his way because he lost all hope. The thing is, God had other ideas. 

Now, no matter what God wanted him to do with his life, he wouldn't have been able to do a damn thing if the people sent to help him refused to do it. The long list of characters in these books includes Master Ministers of the Mystery with the ability to use their gifts far above what is "normal" and were, at one time, called witches. Everyone sent to help Chris was ready, willing, and able. The only thing they had to do was convince Chris to do it!

The other thing they have in common is, they all have PTSD! No one understands what you're going through better than someone else struggling to make sense of it too, no matter what it is. While we know we're all different, those of our kind, are the only ones that know what it is like to live with the heartache of unanswerable questions, or what it is like to rejoice when we discover a fuller life than we thought we could have.

I found comfort over the last 40 years, by reading about others like me and being inspired by them. Whatever we know today, was written by authors and reporters. Chris was a reporter, turned author, created as a scribe to translate the messages from God to help heal the world.

This series is a twisted history lesson since history is often twisted between what is perceived as "known" with the simple fact that what we think we know, is not all that is known by others. It is the same when we live with the reality of surviving the cause of PTSD. What we know is not what the general public knows. To them, PTSD only hits veterans, because that is all the reporters focus on. They ignore the rest of us. What chance do we have to open our eyes if no one is talking about us?

It was so bad for me, that after 40 years of helping people heal PTSD, I had no clue I had it. I never read anything about someone like me. Getting help for myself was impossible because I couldn't explain it enough that anyone would understand. I finally found a therapist that did get what I was saying.

She's helping me heal after losing one of my best friends and it was a grief I couldn't just get over. He died at the beginning of the year. I was writing these books, feeling more connected to the dark parts of the story than I did to the hopeful parts. After a while, she got me to see that I did need to connect to the darkness so that I'd feel the hopeful parts more. She was right!

If people see our pain, and struggles and understand how much power they have to help us, this world will become a better place for all of us!


Series Description:
Whenever something terrible happens, we all wonder why God let it happen. Have you ever wondered why God allowed the Salem Witchcraft trials? What if someone had been sent to prevent them from happening? What if the one sent, didn't get the help he was supposed to have waiting for him?

It was a time when people claimed to be Christians but proved they did not follow the values faithfully. They made false accusations against over 200 people and rejoiced when 20 were put to death because Puritans decided to hate them. It wasn't a new phenomenon. The Puritans may have given up the persecution of so-called witches but their use of the power of lies was a lesson far too many learned. The people with gifts beyond nature were forced into hiding knowing a time would come when they too would be vindicated.

In modern-day Salem, The Master Ministers were preparing for when the most powerful one of all would take his place as the 13th Minister. All they had to do was convince Chris to do it.

The Scribe of Salem is book one. The Visionary of Salem is book two. 13th Minister of Salem is book three.

Coming next week!


Monday, October 24, 2022

Finding spiritual clarity with PTSD

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 24, 2022



Pick any religion, and what you will find is spiritual people among the "religious" ones that were free to choose what group they belong to. The difference is, anyone can be spiritual but not belong to a religious group. I am churchless but not Godless. Whenever I am in a group and asked about my faith, I am unashamed of the answer I give. The problem is, those that who attend church have a problem with that. I am constantly invited to their houses of worship when I choose to worship in my own house.

What the ‘spiritual but not religious’ have in common with radical Protestants of 500 years ago on The Conversation is a good place to start this.

The spiritual but not religious are independent seekers, many of whom pray, meditate, do yoga, and other spiritual practices outside the confines of a particular tradition.

I am a Christian and became a Chaplain in 2008 but as a Chaplain, I had to choose between faith and helping others heal PTSD. I chose to help on their terms, no matter where they were on their spiritual beliefs. When I addressed anything that was based on scripture but they did not believe in God or Jesus, I told the person I was helping that was what I believed but if they did not, they should regard it as a story. If they believed, which over 90% did but did not consider themselves "religious" it was easier to open their eyes to what they did not know was in the scriptures.

Most of them knew John 3:16 but they did not know the rest of the passage. Nicodemus was one of the leaders of the Jews. While he was among those who wanted to put Jesus to death, he was a man with an open mind and a wise spirit. He decided to talk to Jesus and find out what He was all about.

John 3:1-21 3; There was a man of the Pharisees, named Nicodemus, a ruler of the Jews:

2 The same came to Jesus by night, and said unto him, Rabbi, we know that thou art a teacher come from God: for no man can do these miracles that thou doest, except God be with him.

3 Jesus answered and said unto him, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born again, he cannot see the kingdom of God.

4 Nicodemus saith unto him, How can a man be born when he is old? can he enter the second time into his mother's womb, and be born?

5 Jesus answered, Verily, verily, I say unto thee, Except a man be born of water and of the Spirit, he cannot enter into the kingdom of God.

6 That which is born of the flesh is flesh; and that which is born of the Spirit is spirit.

7 Marvel not that I said unto thee, Ye must be born again.

8 The wind bloweth where it listeth, and thou hearest the sound thereof, but canst not tell whence it cometh, and whither it goeth: so is everyone that is born of the Spirit.

9 Nicodemus answered and said unto him, How can these things be?

10 Jesus answered and said unto him, Art thou a master of Israel, and knowest not these things?

11 Verily, verily, I say unto thee, We speak that we do know, and testify that we have seen, and ye receive not our witness.

12 If I have told you earthly things, and ye believe not, how shall ye believe, if I tell you of heavenly things?

13 And no man hath ascended up to heaven, but he that came down from heaven, even the Son of man which is in heaven.

14 And as Moses lifted up the serpent in the wilderness, even so must the Son of man be lifted up:

15 That whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have eternal life.

16 For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.


17 For God sent not his Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through him might be saved.

18 He that believeth on him is not condemned: but he that believeth not is condemned already because he hath not believed in the name of the only begotten Son of God.

19 And this is the condemnation, that light is come into the world, and men loved darkness rather than light because their deeds were evil.

20 For everyone that doeth evil hateth the light, neither cometh to the light, lest his deeds should be reproved.

21 But he that doeth truth cometh to the light, that his deeds may be made manifest, that they are wrought in God.

In other words, while others used their "religion" to end the life of Jesus here on earth, He came to believe that Jesus was the Son of God and provided a place for Him, not just in his tomb, but in his heart.

Many parts of the Bible discuss how we are in fact spiritual creations. While not all spiritual people are Christian, they do agree that there is something within them that is empowering. The same applies to you and is vital if you are trying to heal PTSD. It strikes the emotional core of what makes you "you" and then infects it with all that is attempting to destroy you.

That was the reason I rewrote my last books and turned them into The Ministers Of The Mystery because there is what we think we know, and then there is the amazing truth about what else there is to discover. It is a battle of good against evil, fact against fiction within fictional works of The Scribe, The Accused, and The 13th Minister Of The Mystery.

These are spiritual people, healers that were regarded as "witches" much like many of those hunted down during the Witchcraft Trials around the world. They were judged by "religious" people in their time but vindicated by ours. The story is about fighting against what the protagonist believed about himself and friends fought to help him find the purpose of his very strange life. If you know anything about the miracles in the Bible, you may think they stopped happening but when you think about how each of the deliverers of the miracles was given their gifts to achieve the results, it makes it easier to realize they are still going on in today's world.

Some think that PTSD only strikes veterans, but the truth is, it strikes survivors of all types of traumatic events. All of the "friends" survived different things, suffered afterward, and healed enough they wanted to pass on that gift to others. It was a gift they were willing to give freely because others gave it to them first in the same way. 

If you like supernatural, paranormal, and psychological splashed with real history, the spiritual gifts of the soul, empowerment, peer support, good witches, and miracles, I hope these books fill that and entertain you. Above all, I hope they strengthen the power within you!

The Scribe is available on Kindle Vella with the first three episodes. 

The Scribe, The Vision, and The 13th Minister will be released at the end of November on Amazon Kindle and paperback.






Friday, October 21, 2022

The Scribe, Ministers Of The Mystery Book One

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 21, 2022

In the last few posts I put up, I wrote about having to go back into therapy to heal from the loss of my best friend Gunny. I wasn't just dealing with grief but having a hard time understanding how the book I was writing was causing me spiritual turmoil. For most of my life, no matter what happened, I tried to look on the positive side but by editing the last book, I was more connected to the darker parts of the story.

When I told my therapist, she suggested I go with what I was drawn to instead of trying to fight it, and then I'd be able to connect better with the positive side. She was right. It worked. I finished editing the 13th Minister Of The Mystery and realized why I had such a hard time with the other books. I was trying to fit in with what most people consider "Christian" books instead of writing what I believed. I mean, considering these books were intended for people that do not go to church or belong to any kind of organized religious body, it felt fake to me.

The truth is that I no longer attended church services because I didn't feel as if I belonged there, I shouldn't try to fit in with what churchgoers thought. After all, the majority of the people I helped over the last 4 decades, didn't go to church even though the majority believed in God and most believed Jesus was His Son, as much as they believed in the Holy Spirit. Different religious groups believe differently about the subject of the Holy Trinity and have their own rules set by humans. They base what they preach on what they want their people to know and believe what they want them to believe. Whenever I addressed the spiritual connection to healing PTSD, it was all based on the Bible intended to empower them and not indoctrinate them into what I believed.

So here are some facts in case you're wondering if you are alone or not. This is from PRRI

The Rise of the “Nones” Slows
Disaffiliating white Christians have fueled the growth of the religiously unaffiliated during this period. Only 16% of Americans reported being religiously unaffiliated in 2007; this proportion rose to 19% by 2012, and then gained roughly a percentage point each year from 2012 to 2017. Reflecting the patterns above, the proportion of religiously unaffiliated Americans hit a high point of 26% in 2018 but has since slightly declined, to 23% in 2020.
The increase in proportion of religiously unaffiliated Americans has occurred across all age groups but has been most pronounced among young Americans. In 1986, only 10% of those ages 18–29 identified as religiously unaffiliated. In 2016, that number had increased to 38%, and declined slightly in 2020, to 36%.

The other thing is, within those attending churches, not all belong to the same church body. Anyone suggesting that this is a Christian nation should have to offer a disclaimer that there are many different beliefs under that title and they do so because they do not all agree on doctrine. I was raised in Eastern Orthodox (Greek) faith. This shows the difference. Live Science
Why does Christianity have so many denominations?
Then, in 1054, the Eastern Orthodox Christians split from the Western Roman Catholics in what's known as the Great Schism. The two groups disagreed on the taking of the sacraments — religious symbols believed to transmit divine grace to the believer. Furthermore, the Eastern Orthodox Christians disagreed with the Roman beliefs that priests should remain celibate and that the Roman pope had authority over the head of the Eastern church, according to Encyclopedia Britannica.
There was even a temporary schism, known as the Western Schism, within the Catholic Church itself in 1378, when two men, and eventually a third, claimed to be the true papal heir. The division lasted almost 40 years, and by the time it was resolved in 1417, the rivaling popes had significantly damaged the reputation (opens in new tab) of the papal office.
Despite this handful of schisms, the Catholic Church successfully suppressed other potential Christian offshoots "partly by sustained persecution [including] actual military expeditions against some labelled heretics, but then also a new system of enquiries into people's beliefs, called inquisitions. With the backing of secular rulers, heretics might be burned at the stake or forced into denying their beliefs," MacCulloch told Live Science via email.
I went back and rewrote The Lost Son Series. It didn't make sense to me anymore. I'm relieved that only a few people read them. Most of the ones that did liked the storyline but some said the Bible passages trapped up the story. Some were even offended by them. That was the last thing I wanted to hear. it meant that the very people I was trying to reach, wouldn't want to read them.

Now the first two episodes are up on Kindle Vella. 

The Scribe, book one of Ministers Of The Mystery (You can read the first two for free)

September 13, 2019, the gates of hell groaned open waiting for Chris Papadopoulos to make his final, fatal decision. It started to feel as if his life was a horror novel the ghost of Thomas Aquinas would have started and Edgar Allan Poe was put in charge of the ending. Little did he know how right he was. The book evil forces feared most was in his hands but he forgot he had it.


He went to church while growing up in Salem MA until he was heading left for LA to become a reporter. After surviving many events covering major events, getting wounded, and surviving an attempted murder, he thought God was a vindictive SOB. How many times have you thought the same thing when you tried to do the right thing and saw your life go to hell? I know there were times when I had those same thoughts but they didn't last long.

Surviving what causes PTSD is a lot like that. It hits you when you least expect it and thankfully, the chance to heal comes when you least expect it, and all too often, when you least believe you deserve to be happier. That is exactly what Chris goes through. He didn't realize that what happened to him, also deeply affected his friends. He didn't understand how all of them were struggling to heal too until they began to open up so they could help him heal the way they did.

I believe PTSD strikes the core of who we are. It's an assault on our souls and spreads out to take over our lives until we find the right weapons to defeat it. If you ever hear someone talk about the demon when they have PTSD, that is exactly what we all have to fight and the best way to do that is by understanding what it is, why you have it, what it does to you, and then kicking its ass. Once you understand you do have the power to take its power away, mental health therapy works wonders but when you add in spiritual help, you have a fuller recovery and can come out on the other side of this darkness maybe even better than you were before "it" happened to you.

Tuesday, October 4, 2022

I hugged myself today!


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
October 4, 2022

Last month I wrote about how I realized that I couldn't hug myself. I still had compassion for other people but didn't have any for myself. It showed in the book I was editing. The 13th Minister Of The Mystery is part three in The Lost Son Series. After going back into therapy to heal from grief, it started to work enough that I found the courage to submit it to publishers and agents. Huge for me! The last time I tried that was back in 2000 when I wrote For The Love Of Jack. An author, who was brilliant, talented, and a genius when it came to PTSD, even tried to help me find a publisher. No luck. I ended up self-publishing it and have been self-publishing ever since.

If you don't know what authors go through trying to find a publisher or agent, it is an arduous process, to say the least. Each one wants things done differently. Sometimes I think was easier to write three books in a year. This last one is over 115,000 words. Then you wait for rejections. It's like waiting for a broken bone to heal. As bad as that is, more publishers and agents won't even bother to respond. So far, it's been more silence than rejections, but at least the rejections end the torment.

There was one of them that I had great hopes in and, to tell the truth, I was hopeful to check my email every day until the rejection came. At least they wished me luck as I cried. Because of the therapy, I was able to finally, mercifully, hug myself when I read it. It may not seem like such a big deal to reach the point when I had compassion for myself, but it was something I couldn't do all year. I also had a huge glass of wine with dinner.

Maybe that's the best message I can give right now. I am still healing but not having the ability to have compassion for myself was in the way of my healing. When you have PTSD, that can happen to you too. After you survive, you go through a rollercoaster of emotional highs and lows. I remember one second I felt lucky to have survived and in the next moment I felt like a large because it happened to me. The "why me" question worked both ways. Why did I survive and why did it happen to me at all followed did God save me or did He do it to me in the first place? When I stopped asking why it happened, the most important question of all had to be, "what do I do about it now?"

I answered that one by learning all I could until I understood what came with the trauma and what came afterward with surviving it. To know how much power I had to define the rest of my life as a survivor, I think was the most empowering thing of all. Even more, comfort came when I learned that trauma and PTSD do not just happen to people that fight wars, but end up fighting the war within themselves. One part of your head tells you that you deserve to suffer, and that comes when you think God did it to you. The other side is telling you that you survived for a reason and that comes when you think God saved you. For me, in the ten times I survived, it was a battle between the two forces topped off with expecting people to understand that surviving changes all of us, no matter to what degree we go through.

That's what I put into these books. Admittedly, I did change the ending of the 13th Minister Of The Mystery as I began to heal. The main character is male but is a lot like me fighting the same battles I did. Ok, all of the characters are either chunks of me or me I wish I could be. Once I was able to hug myself, Chris started to be able to do the same thing and accept the changes he had been through for a greater purpose than he ever dreamt of.

All of us can too! Oh, btw, that isn't the book cover since I'm still waiting to hear from some more agents and publishers, but I wanted to play around in Photoshop.


Tuesday, September 27, 2022

I understood what it was like to discover I wasn't alone


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
September 26, 2022

I had a therapy appointment this morning and was talking about the research on random acts of kindness. This part of the article is the one that I am dealing with the most.
“People tend to think that what they are giving is kind of little, maybe it’s relatively inconsequential,” Dr. Kumar said. “But recipients are less likely to think along those lines. They consider the gesture to be significantly more meaningful because they are also thinking about the fact that someone did something nice for them.”
It was very easy for me to help other people. It was devastating to discover that other people had a hard time wanting to help me. I am grieving the loss of one of my best friends, my rock and biggest supporter. Gunny passed away in January. The months following got harder and harder and I knew I needed help again. I lost someone that did a lot of nice things for me. 

During my appointment, I talked about how I feel grateful for people in my life but the thing is, they can't understand what I do helping people with PTSD. They can't understand the books I'm writing and most of them don't even want to read them because they aren't interested in anything tied to mental health, even works of fiction. Gunny not only understood all of it, but he also read everything I wrote. He even corrected my typos and let me bounce things off of him when I wasn't sure if I was on the right track or off the rails.

Anyway, back to the article so you can understand the rest of what I want to say better.
The Unexpected Power of Random Acts of Kindness
New York Times
By Catherine Pears
on Sept. 2, 2022

In late August, Erin Alexander, 57, sat in the parking lot of a Target store in Fairfield, Calif., and wept. Her sister-in-law had recently died, and Ms. Alexander was having a hard day.

A barista working at the Starbucks inside the Target was too. The espresso machine had broken down and she was clearly stressed. Ms. Alexander — who’d stopped crying and gone inside for some caffeine — smiled, ordered an iced green tea, and told her to hang in there. After picking up her order, she noticed a message on the cup: “Erin,” the barista had scrawled next to a heart, “your soul is golden.”

“I’m not sure I even necessarily know what ‘your soul is golden’ means,” said Ms. Alexander, who laughed and cried while recalling the incident.

But the warmth of that small and unexpected gesture, from a stranger who had no inkling of what she was going through, moved her deeply. read more here

For 40 years, I helped people because I knew what darkness was like. I knew everything surviving could do to them and why it did it. Above all else, I understood what it was like to discover I wasn't alone, to read what experts discovered long before I even heard the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. In other words, I knew what it was like to come out of the darkness of it and into the light of healing from it.

When I helped other people, it helped me heal myself. I felt a sense of being worth something in this world.  Writing the third part of The Lost Son Series, I felt more connected to the darkness of the story than to the light in it. Words of suffering stung and words of comfort began to feel like empty words people use to make themselves feel more comfortable discussing uncomfortable topics. Part one, The Lost Son Alive Again, and part two, Stranger Angels Among Us were leading up to the part I'm working on now and were supposed to be the most empowering of all of them. It got so bad for me that I knew I needed to go back into therapy again to help me heal from losing Gunny.

So far, I am starting to feel more connected to the circumstances of hope and empowerment than to the suffering and heartache. I told my therapist that all I can do for people is help them understand what PTSD is, help them spiritually so they don't think God did it to them, and then, send them to experts in mental health trained to help them. I'd love to be able to wave a magic wand and take away all their heartaches but I can't. All I can do is help clear the way for they can begin to find what they need.

I also told my therapist a couple of weeks ago that I dreaded getting an email or phone call from someone looking for help from me because I was so drained, I had nothing left to give. Over the weekend, someone needed my help and I was able to give it. So, not only is my therapist helping me, she helped me get to a place where I could help someone else again. I'm not healed enough yet to be posting all the time online again, but I'm getting there!

Next time you have a chance to do something for someone else, no matter how small you think it is, remember my story and know that while you may think what you do isn't such a big deal, it may be the thing someone else needs at the time you do it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2022

Kathie Costos on healing hiatus


Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
August 25, 2022

Since my best friend Gunny died in January, I have been struggling. He was my rock and the voice in my head telling me to not give up on myself, or what I do. Every time I wanted to give up he pointed out that I've been doing this for so long, that it is a part of me and in my DNA. If I stopped, I'd stop being me.

I have never been reluctant or ashamed to ask for help when I needed it, so today I went to see a therapist to be evaluated. It's depression, plain and simple. I have been writing the next part of The Lost Son series and while I was editing it, I notice how it was getting pretty dark for a book intended to offer hope. I knew I needed help. Without Gunny keeping me going, it was depressing the hell out of me because no one I know could help with it. 

They care about me and I care about them, but this is something they don't know anything about. I am always telling people I helped to go to a mental health professional. I can only do so much. I knew it was time for me to do the same.

I am taking a healing hiatus while I work through this. The therapist suggested I watch The power of vulnerability 
Brené Brown studies human connection -- our ability to empathize, belong, and love. In a poignant, funny talk, she shares a deep insight from her research, one that sent her on a personal quest to know herself as well as to understand humanity. A talk to share.
I am glad I did. If you are among those who do this kind of work, keep in mind that Brown had to see a therapist too! This video has been viewed almost 59 million times!

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.