Friday, April 29, 2016

Dangers, toils, and snares of PTSD

Living A Life of Joy and Peace
Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
April 29, 2016

"Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares, I have already come;'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home" written in the song Amazing Grace followed by "A life of joy and peace."

That is what you can have living as veteran no matter which country you risked your life in because the cause you risked it for was to save the lives of those you were with.

The dangers, you knew far too many. The toils, you were willing to endure again for the sake of those you serve with. More often than not, veterans speak of the cause of their pain originating during combat yet it was not until they were all back home they allowed themselves to feel it. When asked how they just pushed past all of it, they said others were counting on them to be there for them. That is why the most dangerous times come after combat to the survivors of it. That is the snare you are trapped by and it has a name.  Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, more often called simply PTSD.

Grace can lead you closer to really being home than drifting away from those you love. "With the message that forgiveness and redemption are possible regardless of sins committed and that the soul can be delivered from despair through the mercy of God, "Amazing Grace" is one of the most recognizable songs in the English-speaking world."

Amazing grace! (how sweet the sound)

That sav'd a wretch like me!

I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
'Twas grace that taught my heart to fear,
And grace my fears reliev'd;
How precious did that grace appear
The hour I first believ'd!
Thro' many dangers, toils, and snares,
I have already come;
'Tis grace hath brought me safe thus far,
And grace will lead me home.
The Lord has promis'd good to me,
His word my hope secures;
He will my shield and portion be
As long as life endures.
Yes, when this flesh and heart shall fail,
And mortal life shall cease;
I shall possess, within the veil,
A life of joy and peace.
The earth shall soon dissolve like snow,
The sun forbear to shine;
But God, who call'd me here below,
Will be forever mine.

John Newton, Olney Hymns, 1779

"He promised good to me" and that is a righteous promise. Jeremiah 29:11
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.

If you were called to be among the number of men and women putting their very lives on the line for the sake of someone else, then you need to understand what that means. If you were tugged to join the few serving the many, then the desire was put into you along with all you needed to do it. The physical strength and endurance. The courage to react and compassion to take action. Everything you needed to do your "job" was already there. The part that has been kept secret from you is what you need to recover from doing those "jobs" is also within you. He planned for the price you would pay for what you did for others.

There are many different causes of PTSD and levels but there are also different types of it.  The one we need to focus on now is the one that began all the research into what trauma does to survivors.  In this case, you are dealing with something rare because you rare.  

If you served in the military you are less than 10 percent of the population of the US yet "Here are some facts (based on the U.S. population):
  • About 7 or 8 out of every 100 people (or 7-8% of the population) will have PTSD at some point in their lives.
  • About 8 million adults have PTSD during a given year. This is only a small portion of those who have gone through a trauma.
  • About 10 of every 100 (or 10%) of women develop PTSD sometime in their lives compared with about 4 of every 100 (or 4%) of men. Learn more about women, trauma and PTSD.
While all generations of veterans came home changed by what they had to face for the sake of others, it was not until WWI when a psychiatrist was embedded with troops to study what it was doing to them but if you read any part of the Bible, you'll also see it written along with ancient accounts of war.  

The term PTSD began when Vietnam veterans came home and fought for the research and that led to a greater understanding of humans surviving everything else.

It is human nature to ask why you lived when others did not.  It is yet another snare when you think you should not have survived.  When suffering begins to take over the life you have, then you begin to think that surviving is punishment instead of anything else and very far from being blessed by the grace of more days to spend with family, friends and doing what you love to do.  Far removed from "a life of joy and peace" you begin to believe that it is all impossible for you but it is possible because it is all within you.

Start with what this week means to Orthodox Christians.  This is our Holy Week. Today marks the time when Jesus was taken down from the Cross and He said,

 “Father, forgive them, for they do not know what they are doing.” Luke 23:34

There is nothing you cannot be forgiven for if Jesus forgave the people who nailed Him to the Cross and you also need to know that it is also written there is no greater love than for a man to lay down his life for the sake of his friends but should have added being willing to lay down their lives for the sake of strangers. That is what you were willing to do and there was no evil in that.

There is no cure for PTSD but there is limitless healing.  You can never go back to the way you were before but no human can go back to the person they were yesterday.  The power PTSD had over you a second ago no longer has the same power in this moment and the next is within your power.  Your future is in your hands and grace can lead you home to live a better quality of life beginning with this moment.

Healing PTSD requires understanding what it is so you can get the rumors out of the way.  It also requires involving the whole you, mind, body and spirit, since all of you was involved in combat itself.  You need psychological help, physical help to teach your body to calm down and react differently as much as you need help spiritually to help your spirit use the power you were given to heal.

Time to kick the snares out of your way and live a life of joy and peace.  That is what you really need to be made aware of with all the talk about "raising awareness" from others.

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