Showing posts with label isolation. Show all posts
Showing posts with label isolation. Show all posts

Wednesday, November 30, 2022

The pandemic turned the Golden Oldies years into the Golden Lonelies!

The pandemic turned the Golden Oldies years into the Golden Lonelies! The article on Spectrum news about seniors being hit by loneliness because of the pandemic hit me hard. For me, it was moving into a new state 4 months before the pandemic shut everything down. The new state was hard enough for an extrovert like me. I was planning on solving that problem by getting a part-time job since I was close to retirement age. Most of the friends I made over the years were with coworkers. The pandemic killed that idea. My husband and I are both high-risk, so, I decided to just wait it out and take early retirement.

Three years later, I haven't made any new friends. I thank God we have friends living not too far away that we've had for decades and our daughter is up here too, or I'd go completely insane. (Confession, I'm close enough to it now.)

During all this, I realized that some of the people I called "friends" turned out to be not interested in anything more than what politically motivated them. They refused to wear a mask or understand what COVID was doing to people. They refused to get vaccinated. Why? Because their political leaders were saying it was all a hoax. 

They were supposed to be "Christian" but apparently, anything that Jesus preached they should do, didn't matter anymore. Lying and hating was Okie Dokie with them. They turned against people they pretended to care about, leaving people like me, not just dealing with the pandemic, but dealing with the loss of trust in everyone.

I still wear a mask shopping because when too many people were not wearing them when there was a mask mandate, now I wonder what kind of germs they're running around with and not bothering to even cover their sneeze or mouth when they cough. Plus, I went for a checkup yesterday and they are still under mask mandates. 

I think all of this, caused me to see people in a way I don't like. I mean, not everyone is evil, selfish, despicable, or reprehensible, but there are a lot more than I ever thought there were. 

Now that my therapist got me passed grieving for the loss of my friend to COVID, we're working on getting me to want to be around people again. That will be great because it turns out, there are a lot more seniors like me not out there but are wanting to be. 

The thing that cracked me up a bit about the article was the woman they interviewed said she filled up her days with reading. I filled them up with writing books. If you have PTSD, there are lessons in this article for you too because part of PTSD is isolation. It's easy to lose trust in others when you have it and hard to gain it back but if you don't try, it will never come back to you. Your therapist can help with that. Last night we went out for dinner and I got to hug some people again!

Aging in Upstate: Film addresses isolation and loneliness in New York before pandemic hit

By Mark Goshgarian
Nov. 28, 2022

JAMESTOWN, N.Y. — "Reading. I did read," said Louise Wiggers, 77, of Findley Lake in Chautauqua County.
That's how she dealt with the isolation she felt during the pandemic. She even missed out on seeing her twin grandchildren in person for a year and a half.

"It was very difficult. And they changed a lot during that time, absolutely, they did. Yeah, it was hard. it was very, very difficult," said Louise.

Isolated, but not lonely, she lives with her husband of 55 years, Kent.

"So, we weren't seeing anyone, really. Even our neighbors because of our age and our being at risk," said Louise.

The two spent hours watching their favorite TV shows and movies on BritBox, not knowing day to day just how long they would have to stay cooped up.

"It was frustrating. And you know, I think I would say I was a little bit angry about all of that, too," said Louise.

Chautauqua County Office for the Aging recently hosted a screening at the Robert H. Jackson Center in Jamestown of the documentary "All the Lonely People," which chronicles a cross-section of adults sharing their experiences living in isolation.
read more here

Friday, May 29, 2020

"What am I going to do now with my life?" Rory Hamill

Decorated combat vet who died highlights pandemic's effect on mental health

CBS News
May 28, 2020
"So when the lockdown did happen, it stripped him from everything he knew," Franciose told CBS News. "He couldn't do his public speaking. He couldn't go to school, to his outlet away from his own mind."
Washington — Rory Hamill was a father of three and a decorated combat veteran in the Marines. Hamill lost his life not at war — but in a growing mental health crisis that's being made worse by the deadliest public health crisis in a century. Hamill was one of many veterans who've been suffering.
"He was a hero to many people," Kristal Franciose said of her ex-husband, Marine Corporal Rory Hamill. A blast from an IED in Afghanistan in 2011 robbed him of his right leg. Hamill had a hard road home.
"A lot of the thoughts going through my head were, 'Why didn't I die?' What am I going to do now with my life?'" He told "60 Minutes" in 2015.
read it here

I wrote about Rory's suicide with a broken heart. Isolation sucks for people like him who have devoted their lives to help others. Knowing what pain is and what hope offers is not something easily walked away from.

I know because I have been doing it since 1982 and could not walk away no matter how many times I wanted to. Not doing what I believe I was put on this earth to do, rips me apart everyday. I keep wondering what else I can do to replace what I can no longer do, and at the end of the day, I do not go to sleep with the peace of knowing I did the best I could. Sure I know that these are unusual times and groups endanger the lives of others, but the human contact is vital, especially now.

If you are a veteran or family member, reach out to those willing and ready to help you. Find help that is out there! Use your phone or email. Find us, because if you are hurting, so are we because you are!

Email me at or call me 407-754-7526.

Thursday, May 21, 2020

Women veterans are facing increasing isolation during the pandemic

Women veterans tell Congress VA communication has dropped during pandemic

Connecting Vets
Abbie Bennett
May 20, 2020
Advocates told lawmakers women veterans are facing increasing isolation during the pandemic and are struggling to access VA resources.
Women veterans told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the Department of Veterans Affairs has not communicated well during the coronavirus pandemic.

In an online forum Tuesday hosted by the House Women Veterans Task Force, women veterans who are now researchers, veteran service organization staff and more told Congress members about the challenges female former service members face, and that they worry VA's focus on the pandemic could push those issues aside.

They recognized VA's effort to expand online services, such as telehealth appointments and mental health check-ins, but said they were concerned about ongoing issues that could fall by the wayside in the wake of the crisis.

Those issues include gender or sexual harassment at VA hospitals and clinics, inconsistent services, lack of staff trained to help women vets, lack of childcare and a lack of data keeping track of issues women vets face.
read it here

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

So how are veterans handling this pandemic?

Veterans may be having a harder time dealing with COVID-19 pandemic

The Rebound Tampa Bay
By: Wendy Ryan
May 12, 2020
"It could be increased negative emotions such as sadness or anger or fear. it could be changes in behavior such as increased crying, irritability, angry outbursts or social isolation. That's a big one," Dr. Gironda warns.
TAMPA, Fla. — May is Mental Health Awareness Month and the VA is asking veterans to prioritize their mental health right now.

There are over 1.5 million veterans in Florida and the state has the third largest veteran population in the nation.

So how are veterans handling this pandemic?

Dr. Ronald Gironda, Chief of Psychology at James A. Haley VA Medical Center, says medical assistance right now is critically important for veterans, especially those with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

"Not only have our anxieties been heightened but our normal routines have been disrupted in an unprecedented way. And of course, veterans with PTSD and other mental health conditions are at increase risks for worsening of their symptoms," Dr. Ronald Gironda said.

The contributing factors include social distancing measures, financial stress and more.

"For many, it's a disruption in our normal pattern such as eating patterns, sleeping patterns, physical activity and of course
read it here

Monday, May 11, 2020

UK:Ministry of Defence shut down a phone hotline for veterans just as need for help increased

Suicidal military veterans desperate for help as support calls triple during lockdown

The Mirror
BySean Rayment
10 MAY 2020

Rifleman Nathan Worner, 20, of the Rifles Regiment, was found dead at Bulford Camp, Wiltshire, last week.
Simon Maryan of Icarus Online (Image: Icarus Online)

Calls for help from mentally traumatised military veterans have soared by 100 per cent since the start of the lockdown, the Sunday People can reveal.

Support groups have been inundated with calls from suicidal veterans and current troops struggling to cope with isolation caused by the Covid-19 crisis.

Many of those seeking help have mental health conditions like post-traumatic stress disorder, anxiety and depression.

Two veterans and a serving member of the Army have taken their lives in the past two weeks.

The deaths bring to at least 22 the number of veterans and serving members who are believed to have killed themselves since the start of the year.
The mental health crisis comes just weeks after the Ministry of Defence shut down a phone hotline for veterans and told them to ring the Samaritans instead.

The MoD has also stopped ­taking compensation claims from troops and veterans suffering from mental health conditions and physical injuries.
read it here

Monday, April 20, 2020

"More than a footnote" inspirational story of Martha Gellhorn

More than a footnote

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
April 20, 2020

My buddy Gunny likes to try to top me on discovering things I did not know. Well, he succeeded this morning. He told me about Martha Gellhorn. Funny thing is, he stumbled on her looking for something else.

As I listened to him tell me a little bit about her, I thought it would be a very inspirational story to share, especially while most of the country is under shelter at home restrictions. We all need something to inspire us, and yes, that includes me too.

It is very hard to even attempt to find something inspirational to share, when you do not even want to get out of PJs. Lately either I have been on Facebook sharing videos on cats, dogs or other animals from my sweet friends...or really sick jokes I am usually embarrassed by how hard I am laughing.

Anyway, before I get too carried away with that, back to Martha. She was married to Ernest Hemingway. Noteworthy as it is, they met while she was a war correspondent during the Spanish Civil War. She was on the beach on D-Day after being a stowaway and got her hands on a nurses uniform. The list of accomplishments in her life goes on and on, but the thing that got me was, for all she accomplished, she still felt like a footnote in Hemingway's life.

That is exactly how my buddy Gunny found her a footnote.
The writer Martha Gellhorn, who reported on the Spanish Civil War for The New Yorker, and from the beaches of D Day in a nurse’s uniform. Photograph from AP / Shutterstock

Martha Gellhorn, Daring Writer, Dies at 89

New York Times
By Rick Lyman
Feb. 17, 1998
Martha Ellis Gellhorn, who as one of the first female war correspondents covered a dozen major conflicts in a writing career spanning more than six decades, died on Sunday at her home in London. She was 89.

Ms. Gellhorn was a cocky, raspy-voiced maverick who saw herself as a champion of ordinary people trapped in conflicts created by the rich and powerful. That she was known to many largely because of her marriage to Ernest Hemingway, from 1940 to 1945, caused her unending irritation, especially when critics tried to find parallels between her lean writing style and that of her more celebrated husband.

''Why should I be a footnote to somebody else's life?'' she bitterly asked in an interview, pointing out that she had written two novels before meeting Hemingway and continued writing for almost a half-century after leaving him.

As a journalist, Ms. Gellhorn had no use for the notion of objectivity. The chief point of going to cover anything, she felt, was so you could tell what you saw, contradict the lies and let the bad guys have it.

"Nothing is better for self-esteem than survival."Martha Gellhorn

Right now, it is hard to get through all of this but that quote is something we should hang onto. "Nothing is better for self-esteem than survival." No matter how bad it is right now, when you think about all the things this woman went through, she survived all of it and lived to a good old age.

If it sucks for you right it does for most of us, try to think back about other times when it sucked. When you didn't know how you would get passed it and then suddenly you did. We will get passed this too and there will be joy again. We will see our family and friends again. We'll be able to hug our kids and grandkids. We will get through this because right now there are angels moving all around us to make this world a better place in whatever way they can.

Enjoy the following about Martha and trust me, you jaw will go back into place when you are done with this.
read it here

Monday, April 6, 2020

It Is Your Choice To Be Contagious Or Value Isolation Directives

Stop being responsible for spreading death

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 6, 2020

The only way COVID-19 is spread, is one person to another. The only way to stop it, is choosing to stop spreading it!

Coronavirus map: Tracking the spread in the US and around the world

We have seen too many irresponsible people putting their own desires to enjoy their lives come before the lives of all others.

We saw it with spring breakers flocking to beaches in Florida.

Thousands of spring breakers traveled from one Florida beach to cities across the US. Mapping their phone data shows the importance of social distancing amid the coronavirus outbreak.

Business Insider
Aaron Holmes
Mar 27, 2020
Steve Nesius/Reuters
Despite guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommending social distancing to stop the spread of coronavirus, spring-break partiers flocked to Florida beaches earlier this month.

Newly released phone location data shows how people congregated at one Florida beach before traveling across much of the US.

The data shows about 5,000 devices traveling from a single beach in Fort Lauderdale in one week to cities spanning the eastern US, including New York, Chicago, New Orleans, and Houston.
read it here

We saw it during Bike Week

Coronavirus-fueled permit pulls don’t appear to lower Daytona Bike Week traffic

Daytona Beach News Journal
By Nikki Ross
Posted Mar 14, 2020
Despite the city of Daytona Beach trying to curtail Bike Week by revoking permits because of coronavirus concerns, thousands of bikers thundered onto Main Street on Saturday.

Meanwhile, the Florida Deparment of Health announced Saturday morning two more Volusia County residents tested positive for coronavirus, a 29-year-old male and a 70-year-old male. The county now has five coronavirus cases.

And according to Volusia County Sheriff Mike Chitwood, an additional 20 people are being monitored for coronavirus in the county: one in Daytona Beach, four in Ormond Beach, three in Port Orange, two in New Smyrna Beach, three in Deltona, five in DeLand and two in DeBary.

Friday night, Daytona Beach Mayor Derrick Henry announced the city had revoked permits for any gathering of 100 people or more. That decision went into effect at 8 a.m. Saturday.
read it here

This map shows the spread in Florida

New Department of Health Map Allows Users to See COVID-19 Cases By Zip Code

NBC Miami
By Willard Shepard
April 4, 2020

The Florida Department of Health has launched a new update to their interactive COVID-19 map, which now allows users to see confirmed cases by zip code.

The interactive map allows users to see what is going on where they live, or work. Hotspots in the map are highlighted in red.

Expanded testing for the virus at sites set up by Florida’s National Guard in South Florida, and across the state, has resulted in valuable data for the Department of Health.
read it here

The choice is ours. The people paying for what we choose to do right here...right now, belong to us.

Thursday, April 2, 2020

If our marriage lasted all these years with can yours!

Is your marriage strong enough for isolation and PTSD?

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 2, 2020

People like me have been telling veterans the worst they can do is to isolate. Right now, the worst thing for their health is to be out. It is saving their lives but eating away at them at the same time.

This is a trying time for any marriage. When you add a veteran with PTSD, it can make it even harder to go from day to day. I am sharing this with you so that you can learn from our long history and be able to take some of the extra stress off your shoulders.

This morning my husband and I were talking about how isolating during COVID-19 pandemic has tested our marriage. It is hard being together all the time. Then again, it has not just been a few weeks for us. We've been together 24/7 since the end of September. Now that is a test of a marriage!

We moved from about 1,600 miles, with no clue where we would live. We had to walk away from the house we made an offer on in New Hampshire, and our house sold in Florida. The day we passed papers was our 35th anniversary. I was unemployed because I had to leave a job I loved and pretty much, we were homeless, with plenty of money in the bank.

My attitude was that it was a second honeymoon and a road trip!

Our long marriage has been tested over and over again. The first test came was when mild PTSD exploded! When it did, I already knew what PTSD was since I had been researching it for years. I had no clue that it could get worse with other traumatic events.

Readers of Wounded Times know our story very well, so I do not want to rehash all of that right now. You can read about it in the book I wrote back in 2002 and then republished in this edition.

(I am not trying to make money off this, and when you see how little it costs, you'll believe me.)

Here is a video I did with a good friend of mine on this book.


No matter what, let them know you love them. It does not mean you have to approve of the way they act. It does not mean you are supposed to always like them. He asks me "Do you love me?" out of the blue and I aways say "Yes, always...and sometimes I even like you." Do not expect perfection out of yourself or your marriage...or them! Nothing is ever perfect.

Love them enough to learn what PTSD is and be empowered to act and react appropriately. I have a lot of videos on PTSD that can help you understand them better. Learn why they think irrationally, have overblown reactions or, end up looking for an argument.

Take some stress off your shoulders knowing what you can do to cut unnecessary tension and stop blaming yourself for the way they act. It really has nothing to do with you but if you do not know what is going on with them, you will end up blaming yourself.

No matter how much I knew about PTSD, I still blamed myself for what I lacked or what I was not good enough for. If you know nothing about PTSD, it is worse for you!


No one automatically has patience. It requires practice! The more you work at it, the more natural it will be to let things go. Before you react to them trying to piss you off, ask yourself how important it is to get into it with them. Most of the time, you'll decide to just shake your head instead of pounding your fist. If it is important enough then stand your ground but think before you speak. An unspoken word does not have be regretted. Once you say it, you can apologize all you want, but the damage is done.

I used to argue until I decided to just walk away. He knows he is in more trouble if I said nothing. Most of the time, he follows me, acknowledges my anger is beyond words. He says he is sorry and then tells me to come talk to him when I am over it. We have avoided many heated arguments that way and my blood pressure stopped changing the color of my face!

Take Care Of Yourself

There were times early on in our marriage when I forced him to come with me. I learned the hard way, neither of us enjoyed whatever it was I wanted to do. I started to just go off by myself. He was always invited but if he did not want to go, I went and had a good time.

I learned to live for myself! I went to movies with friends because he could not stand movie theaters. I went shopping by myself because he had a hard time with crowds. Most of the time I went to family events alone and when asked where he was, I just said he was having a bad day. No excuses and no other explanations were needed.

To some our marriage is not "normal" but for us, it became our "new normal" just as yours can be. Do not try to be like others and find what works for you.

If our marriage lasted all these years with can yours!

Monday, March 23, 2020

Isolated veterans to have story time on PTSD Patrol

update and confession on the other delay.

update project delay due to camera issues.....

Story time coming to PTSD Patrol

PTSD Patrol
Cross Posted on Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
March 23, 2020

Four years ago, I wrote Residual War. It was the first fiction book I wrote as a way to tell some stories that were factual mixed with stuff my mind came up with.

Residual War: Something Worth Living For (Volume 1) Paperback – October 2, 2016
Heroes do not think. They react to someone in danger. The Army was Amanda Leverage's life and she was willing to die to save the two lives she ended up blaming for spreading misery and suffering. She never needed to think of why she was willing to die but needed help finding something worth living for. She found it within a group of outcast heroes with their own history of selfless acts being punished for what they did wrong but protected for what they did right. PTSD, survivors guilt, homeless veterans, dishonorable discharges, flashbacks, nightmares and yes, even suicides were part of their lives but so was redemption.
Since I was supposed to be starting an Out Post for female veterans, here in New Hampshire just before the COVID-19 virus hit, it has been very depressing for me. I was offered room at the local American Legion to meet, but it is too dangerous for everyone now.

Experts say that the worst thing a veteran with PTSD can do, is to isolate, but now it is more dangerous for you to be out, and even worse to be in crowds. I needed to think outside the box on this to give you some comfort and fill up some of your time. I'll be reading this book on video, with a bit of a twist to it. I am setting a timer of 3 minutes. Whenever it goes off, whatever word I am on, that will be the end of the video.

We will then play a game as to what that final word means to you. If the word is "and" reply back withy something like "me and" or "and then" or whatever you think about. Should get some interesting replies on that.

It will pick up on the next word in the next video. You can cheat since Amazon has it for free on Kindle and apparently, for whatever reason, you can also read it on their preview page for free.

I am also opening up my YouTube and Facebook pages so you can share your thoughts and to answer questions from 12:00 pm eastern to 1:00 when the first video goes up this week. You can always email me at too.

Check back tomorrow for the official announcement on PTSD Patrol when the first video will go up!

Please share this since word of mouth has been the only way this site was able to be viewed over 4 million times!

Saturday, March 14, 2020

Remember a lot of older veterans are not online. The phone is their lifeline!

UPDATE Media started to pay attention...

Coronavirus isolation dangerous for veterans with PTSD, Kentucky advocates warn
Louisville Courier Journal...April 3!
“Isolation in the veteran community is, in fact, a killer,” said Harrell, an Iraq combat veteran.

Veterans who struggle with PTSD, suicidal thoughts or depression are especially vulnerable during the pandemic, he said. read it here

UPDATE Calls to veteran crisis hotline up 12 percent during COVID-19 outbreak, Wilkie tells VSOs

“The isolation required now was a key part of my question,” Chenelly said. “How do we counteract the negative effects of that? How many veterans will take their own lives because of this isolation now? That’s a big reason we exist -- to keep them connected to make sure they don’t feel alone.”

Calls to veteran crisis hotline up 12 percent during COVID-19 outbreak, Wilkie tells VSOs
Here is the link

Isolated Veterans Need Help During COVID-19

Wounded Times
Kathie Costos

March 14, 2020
The Coronavirus or COVID-19 is now in 49 states. It is wise for older people to isolate, since this hits us harder. Even worse if you have health issues. The problem with this is that older veterans face something most are not talking about and that is what isolation does to them.

Over all these years, the one thing experts keep stressing when dealing with PTSD, is that veterans get out with peers, join groups and spend time with others. We know that the majority of known cases of veteran suicides are still in the older veteran population. We also know that when they do spend time with other veterans, they help one another heal. Knowing you are not alone, is comforting and healing.

This is where you come in! If you know a veteran who has to isolate during this crisis, pick up the phone and call them. Do not just do it once, but spend a couple of minutes a day reaching out to them and you will change their whole day.

Remember a lot of older veterans are not online. The phone is their lifeline!

It will also give you an opportunity to know how their mood is. They may be passing off depression as nothing to worry about, and they may not even notice it themselves.

Offer to go to the store for them so they do not run out of supplies, especially toilet paper, which is insanely hard to find right now. If you cook or go out to eat, ask them if there is anything you can bring them. You do not even have to go into their house, and it may be wiser to not so that you do not expose them to whatever you were exposed to.

You'll be surprised how much little gestures of kindness can do to change the life of someone you care about!

If you are the isolated veteran, most of you are spending time watching TV. Stop watching news all day long. Stop watching war movies or with violence in them. Find comedies to lift your spirits. If you have hobbies, DO THEM! Keep busy and tackle projects you have put off.

Sunday, February 10, 2019

UK Vets tanks PTSD on civvy street

Veterans join forces to combat PTSD by restoring 1960s tank

Ipswich Star UK
Amy Gibbons
February 10, 2019

“So the idea is to get these guys who are maybe suffering from PTSD or just from being lonely in civvy street and want to come down and be around military personnel again.”

From left to right: Paul Werden-Hutchinson, Brian Munro, Dave Taylor, Dusty Duddridge, Thomas Young and Duncan Mansfield with the Chieftan tank they are restoring at Raydon Airfield Picture: Neil Didsbury
An Army veteran who served across two continents is heading up a project to restore a priceless piece of British history in an effort to help ex-servicemen cope with PTSD. Duncan Mansfield, who served in Ireland, Germany, Belize and Canada, bought a 1960s Chieftan Tank two years ago – and has now made it his mission to restore the vehicle to its former glory.
The 1960's Chieftan tank which is being restored at Raydon Airfield Picture: Neil Didsbury

Based at Raydon Airfield near Ipswich, the project serves as an opportunity for ex-servicemen living with loneliness or Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to spend time in a semi-military environment, where they can begin to process their experiences and get to know like-minded veterans.

Speaking about the idea behind the restoration group, Mr Mansfield said: “When you leave the armed forces it’s such a culture shock to come back into civvy street, and a lot of the guys really miss working with old soldiers again and being around them and having the same experiences.

“So the idea is to get these guys who are maybe suffering from PTSD or just from being lonely in civvy street and want to come down and be around military personnel again.”
read more here