Tuesday, February 16, 2016

Today Can Be Your Last Worst Day

The Last Worst Day Begins
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
February 16, 2016

You may think that you lost everything but remember you were surrounded by people who care about you and love you.  That, that is the greatest thing all of us need.  To know we do matter in this world. Possessions are not always something that you buy but they still belong to you.

Cambridge Dictionary defines possessions this way.

[C usually plural] something that you own or that you are ​carrying with you at a ​particular ​time:
You carry the good wishes of everyone surrounding you and that is priceless. 

You carry some bad memories, like all of us do, but you also carry good memories, again, priceless, yet you seem to be in so much pain, the bad memories and what you have lost make you grieve.  

Try to see what you have in your life and let them gain strength over the bad memories.  They are limited to what you are willing to surrender to them.

If you believe in Christ and that is important especially when you consider His worth was not based on what He had possessed but what He was willing to give. After all, most folks tend to forget He was homeless, possessed nothing of material value and had to rely on the kindness of others for basic needs. Food, shelter, even clean clothes to wear.  Yet with what He lacked, He was willing to surrender His own life for the sake of others.  

That is something veterans have in common with Christ.  You were willing to endure hardships in the military as well as sacrifice your own life for the sake of others. Again, something that is priceless along with being very rare in this world.  

We are a nation of over 321,368,864 people. Yet there are only 21,369,602 veterans among the rest. Think of how rare you actually are. 

It is hard to lose things but as you already know, it is much harder to lose someone very close to you.  You are left with a lot of questions. Some of them can be answered but some cannot.

Why did you survive and others are gone? Why didn't someone you cared about ask for help? Actually that is an easier question to answer for you because you were the same way at one time or another.

When you are the person people turn to in need, you do for them but find it hard to ask them for help in return.  Why? Ever wonder about that one?

Think of all the times you were in combat.  When the enemy forces were too great for you to fight, did you think you could just do it alone or did you ask for all the help you could get?

If ground troops were not enough to defeat the enemy, did you just settle for what you got for help or did you call in for more help?

Safe bet you got everything you could and didn't give up until you were able to walk away with as many lives as you could save.

That is what you need to do now.  Call in for as much help as possible until you get what you need to defeat this enemy.

I know it isn't a popular notion right now when there are so many vultures raising awareness off your suffering, but the only thing you need to be actually aware of is that from this moment on, you could have actually experienced your last worst day.  It doesn't have to end with your life, just the life you're living changing for the better.

That's right! You can change for the better. First know that PTSD is something that happened to you, not the other way around. Not something you were born with other than the fact your emotional core is so strong you just felt the wound deeper than others.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder actually means, after wound you were stressed and things got out of order.  Trauma is Greek for wound.  Now you get it?  It hit you! Your life was on the line and that tends to change things.  Change the way you feel about your life, the way you think and the way you believe in God or not.

If you walked away thinking God spared you, then it isn't as bad as if you think God did it to you.  How can you believe in a loving God you can ask for help if you think He did it all too you?

He didn't.  He did send people to help you and to show you that you do in fact matter.

More tomorrow.

Update February 17, 2016

There were people in your life while you were in the military, just as there were folks in your life before you joined.  The difference between being home and coming back is usually not that obvious.

They pretty much stayed the same because their lives did.  Your life changed when you went from civilian to service member.  It changed again when you went from service member to veteran.  Notice you didn't go back to taking the title of civilian again? That's how it works. Honestly makes a lot of sense considering you really couldn't go back to being just one of "them" again.

You still have the regular problems everyone else has.  Work, food, shelter, family, relationships and dealing with selfish folks along the way.  Hearing folks whine about lack of this, or complaining about stuff you think is total BS makes you want to scream "You have no idea what a real problem is!" but you hold your peace and walk away. After all, you know they'd just never understand what it was like for you then anymore than they can have a clue what it is like for you now.

That is the biggest reason why veterans do not do very well in civilian groups, feeling as if they just don't belong, but you do belong somewhere.  You'll fit in perfectly with other veterans.  Not that you have to spend all your time with them, but it does give you a sense of belonging again. You understand them and they understand you no matter which generation they belong to, they are also among the rarity-minority.

Find a group of them you feel comfortable with.  Soon you'll figure out that you are far from alone.  The only reason you feel as if no one understands you is that you've surrounded yourself with folks who can't understand something they never experienced.

More tomorrow but leaving you with this video to help make tomorrow a bit better.  At least you'll understand what I've been saying this far.

UPDATE February 18, 2016

If you are in crisis

The Veterans Crisis Line connects Veterans in crisis and their families and friends with qualified, caring Department of Veterans Affairs responders through a confidential toll-free hotline, online chat, or text. Veterans and their loved ones can call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1chat online, or send a text message to 838255 

If that doesn't work, then use the same number but don't use the "1" and see if they answer there.

If that doesn't work then call 911 and ask for fire response.  Explain what is going on and that you are a veteran in crisis.  Then lock up whatever weapons you have.  Put your dog in a cage or in another room.  If you can't then go out of the house so that firefighters or emergency responders are not in danger. If you are in crisis, your dog can sense that and may want to protect you.  

I talked to a firefighter to double check on that one.  Sometimes they do have police officers as backup but they will wave them off if they are not needed and will get you to the emergency room where you can get help.

If you just need someone to talk to, you can still call those numbers, but you can also call family, friends, other veterans and folks like at Point Man International Ministries (no matter where you live) and this is one of the groups I belong to.  Hotline: 1-800-877-VETS (8387)

If you don't know how to ask a buddy for help or let them know you need some help, then try to send them this or put in on Facebook.

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