Wednesday, January 9, 2013

Healing comes spiritually because PTSD is a trauma to the soul

Healing comes spiritually because PTSD is a trauma to the soul
by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
January 9, 2013

There has been so much nonsense printed lately on PTSD connected to military service that it is hard to know where to begin on this other than at the beginning. If you ever read the Bible, you'd see all the signs of what we call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder being connected to ancient warfare and the spiritual struggles other humans faced. If you study the history of war, you'll see the suffering of the warriors from all across the globe and throughout generations under different titles but all of the reports point to just how humans suffer after war as well as heal.

It is understandable when people want to pretend the reports on combat PTSD are new just as they want to deny how many take their own lives. Having to face the reality of how many years this has all gone on is sickening. It is a lot easier to pretend it never happened before.

Just because it wasn't in the newspapers didn't mean it was not happening. All generations of warriors suffered the same way because combat is brutal and humans are still human.

Research began in overdrive after Vietnam Veterans came home but that was because they pushed for it to happen. In WWII, my husband's uncle was on the Merchant Marine ship sunk by kamikaze leaving survivors in the ocean. Back then "shell shock" veterans were sent to an institution or as in the case of his uncle, taken in by a family living on a farm where he spent the rest of his life. Few reporters were working on it back then and most reports came from local, small media publications. The movie The Best Years of Our Lives came out in 1946 and did a great job trying to explain what had been happening to too many WWII veterans. None of what is happening today is new as much as some want to pretend it is. There is much we have learned over the years but all of it supports what was already known by ancient people. Healing has to begin where the wound hit first. The soul.

Most of the veterans I talk to claim to be Christian but claim no church as their spiritual home. They left their churches many years ago because the church failed them. Honesty, we have to look at the fact while most Americans claim to be Christian, the percentage of "churchless" is evidence of the spiritual void.

U.S. Catholics going to church less frequently reported on CNN in 2011 was only part of the story. There has been a return back to the original ministry of the early Christians.

Churches fail them. I worked for a church for 2 years as Administrator of Christian Education. I kept trying to get the church involved in healing military families, especially National Guards and Reservists but they were not interested in doing anything to help the community. They were not unique. I visited over 20 huge churches here in Central Florida. I heard back from just one. The pastor happened to be a Chaplain but was being transferred and couldn't take on a new project. There are too many reports on how much community wide efforts help heal from trauma. Not just from war but from trauma in a civilian's life. The problem is too many are simply not interested in the fact that psychology addressing trauma is only part of the answer. The whole veteran needs to heal, bodily, mindfully and spiritually, in order to heal the hole in the veteran.

They try fill it with whatever gives them temporary relief. Alcohol to go to sleep when in fact they are passing out. Drugs they justify taking because the military/VA answer to all is medications. Driving dangerously because they are in "control" over how fast they go. Cutting because that is a pain they are in control over. Sexual encounters because it offers relief for the moment. The list goes on but none of them heal. It all wears off.

A Churchless Faith article has this piece of information from Sociologist Alan Jamieson
"Ironically, Jamieson says, the people perhaps best equipped to help postmodern seekers understand God were being lost to the church."

There is a place for all different approaches. Too many times it has been reported that military Chaplains are proselytizing instead of serving all who come to them in spiritual crisis.

This is what they called "suicide prevention" discovered in a report Army Chaplain Holds Christian Prayer During Suicide Prevention Class, Soldiers Say by Andrea Stone for the Huffington Post back in October of 2012.

During an Army-wide stand down for suicide prevention sessions, a Christian chaplain in Texas improperly led rookie soldiers in a candlelight prayer, an Army instructor said in a formal complaint last week.

Staff Sgt. Victoria Gettman, a lab technician instructor at Fort Sam Houston, told The Huffington Post that she was among 800 soldiers from the 264th Medical Battalion undergoing resilience training on Sept. 26. Almost all of the soldiers were fresh out of boot camp and in training for their first job in the Army.

After a 45-minute talk on how to cope with stress, the officer in charge turned the stage over to a chaplain for the sometimes controversial "spiritual fitness" part of the session.

Gettman did not catch the chaplain's name, and he has not been otherwise publicly identified. But as an atheist, she wasn't interested in what he had to say so she stood up and moved to the back of the auditorium. The 17-year Army veteran knew -- unlike the young soldiers -- that this part of the program was optional. Still, she could hear most of what the clergyman said from just outside the room.

"The chaplain said we have to have something bigger than ourselves. We need, and he stresses need, to have something divine in our life," she recounted, adding that the soldiers were not informed they were allowed to step out.

They cannot feel as if they can see a military Chaplain without being condemned to hell if they do not covert. Yes, that is what is happening with too many servicemen and women seeking to heal spiritually. Medications numb but healing comes spiritually because PTSD is a trauma to the soul.

Now there seems to be some members of the clergy doing a push back against something that helps people from all backgrounds.

Conservative Leader Upset Over Marine Corps Meditation
Tuesday, January 8, 2013
By Beth Ford Roth

A recent news article about Camp Pendleton Marines using meditation as a means of improving their mental health has the head of the Family Research Council up in arms.

Tony Perkins's comments were prompted by an article that ran last month in the Washington Times. In the piece, Camp Pendleton-based Marine Staff Sgt. Nathan Hampton discussed the benefits he got from attending meditation classes on base before deployment.
read more here
Perkins may know a lot about what he thinks the Bible says but doesn't seem to know much about what happened in it when Christ walked this earth or what the very imperfect human body needs to recover. Meditation heals military Vets with PTSD
"George struggled with post-traumatic stress disorder, a form of anxiety that develops after enduring a traumatic experience.

For five years, George underwent stints of medication and talk therapy, both intended to quell his PTSD symptoms. But neither method worked for him, he said.

"It [the medications] helped make me not who I am. It took away my creativity, my personality, my ability to care about anything," said George. "The one-on-ones were like, why am I talking to someone who has no idea what I've been through."

Until one day in 2009, while participating in a research session on transcendental meditation, George sat still for 20 minutes and focused on repeating a mantra.

"From the first time I did it, I knew it was what I would do for the rest of my life," said George. "It was the first time I felt quiet in my mind for five years."

Meditation is healing for those with and without a faith base and Chaplains are supposed to be doing the same. Taking care of ALL coming to them in spiritual crisis.
Chaplain / Pastor - Is There a Difference?
A question that has often been asked of me is—what is the difference between a chaplain and a pastor? That is a very legitimate question and one that needs to be answered, for many people are under the impression they are one and the same.

Both callings are wonderful callings on a person’s life, and are desperately needed, but they are very different in ministry. A pastor’s ministry deals mainly with in-reach, or we can say is church-based. Whereas, a chaplains ministry deals mainly with out-reach, and is community-based. A simple definition of a chaplain is, “a minister in the workplace.” In other words, Chaplains have a home church they attend, but their church is actually outside the walls of the church building. It’s called the community. Chaplains serve people of all faiths.

I am not saying the church does not do Missions work, for it does great missions work—locally, nationally and internationally. However, a chaplain at the local and national level has Constitutional protection, whereas a pastor does not. An ordained chaplain is recognized by the government, whereas an ordained pastor is not because of the separation of church and state issue.

If military Chaplains were doing their jobs and civilian members of the clergy were doing theirs, they would be a lot more involved in what heals.