Combat PTSD Wounded Times
January 15, 2017
Did you know you have the power to heal PTSD within you? How could you know that when the only outcome folks want to talk about is how many veterans they believe are committing suicide? Seems that raising awareness should have started with changing your life instead of leaving you as you were on your worst day.
The only way to have PTSD is surviving a traumatic event. Let's think about that for a second. It did not start within you but happened to you. You survived it. Any shame in that?
There are different levels as well as different causes. Civilians can get PTSD and the only way psychologists understood that was after combat veterans were studied. There is a difference between the type of PTSD veterans have, other occupational causes with law enforcement come close and so does the type firefighters get hit with.
A civilian can have their life changed with one event. For veterans it was a series of events topped off with the threat of more during each deployment. For law enforcement and firefighters the threat is on a daily basis for year after year. To choose any of these occupations requires many qualities. Courage, dedication and an abundance of love to be willing to sacrifice your own life for the sake of someone else. Any shame in that?
What you were willing to do was based on love and faith that you had it within you to endure whatever came with the job. Still, being resilient enough to do your job, did not make you impervious to the pain you would carry within you. None of it was just about you in the moments you were risking your life. The pain you carried away from it was yours but it was also the pain caused to others. Any shame in that?
That ability to love others do deeply also came with the strength to grieve just as deeply. When you were last on the list of people to take care of, to help live, it turned into much more than moments. You became unworthy to yourself to help yourself. That's how much you loved. Any shame in that?
Maybe it is time to think about things differently. Everything you needed within you to do all that was required of you came with everything you need to recover from all of it. What you have convinced yourself is weakness within you, is actually what is strength and all you have to do is channel into that power.
There are many leaders trying to get you to understand that. Military Officers, current as well as retired, have a message for you. They have PTSD too and are unashamed to admit it. You matter more to them than they pride does. They know what you are going through and have come to terms with how to defeat it and win the battle for the brothers and sisters they led. It is what they did for love.
Maj. General David Blackledge
"It's part of our profession...nobody wants to admit that they've got a weakness in this area." He went on to say, "I have dealt with it. I'm dealing with it now...We need to be able to talk about it."
Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo and Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews
Fort Stewart, Georgia - War changes a person. It's a truth Maj. Gen. Tony Cucolo knows all too well from his 29 years of service - and counting - in the U.S. Army.And it's a truth he tries to share with each new man and woman arriving at Fort Stewart to serve in the 3rd Infantry Division he guides."Command Sgt. Maj. Jesse Andrews and I try to speak to each newcomers' group," said the commanding general of the 3rd ID. "We get all ranks - from private to colonel - and in part, we try to impress upon them ... it is a point of moral courage to step forward and say you need help."
General Carter Ham
So he sought screening for post-traumatic stress and got counseling from a chaplain. That helped him "get realigned," he says."You need somebody to assure you that it's not abnormal," Ham says. "It's not abnormal to have difficulty sleeping. It's not abnormal to be jumpy at loud sounds. It's not abnormal to find yourself with mood swings at seemingly trivial matters. More than anything else, just to be able to say that out loud."“Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” That is what Jesus said to the Centurion after he humbled himself in front of his men to a member of the people they held contempt for. Remember, this was during a time when Roman soldiers were treating the people of region as if they should be wiped off the face of the earth. For a Centurion to seek out Jesus and then ask him for this tremendous favor took an abundance of courage fueled by love.
The Faith of the CenturionSaving the life was so important that he pushed his pride aside for the sake of someone else. There is a lot of that going on in this country right now. Medal of Honor heroes talking about their own pain while wearing the highest honor around their necks because they care about others.
5 When Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help. 6 “Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”
7 Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”
8 The centurion replied, “Lord, I do not deserve to have you come under my roof. But just say the word, and my servant will be healed. 9 For I myself am a man under authority, with soldiers under me. I tell this one, ‘Go,’ and he goes; and that one, ‘Come,’ and he comes. I say to my servant, ‘Do this,’ and he does it.”
10 When Jesus heard this, he was amazed and said to those following him, “Truly I tell you, I have not found anyone in Israel with such great faith. 11 I say to you that many will come from the east and the west, and will take their places at the feast with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven. 12 But the subjects of the kingdom will be thrown outside, into the darkness, where there will be weeping and gnashing of teeth.”
13 Then Jesus said to the centurion, “Go! Let it be done just as you believed it would.” And his servant was healed at that moment.
The number of officers coming forward, pushing aside their own pride for your sake, it simply astonishing. All they want to do is let you know you have nothing to be ashamed of and follow their example by healing to live a better life after combat.
Adm. William McRaven (Ret.), former commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command and longtime Navy SEAL
But in its telling, McRaven was forced to stop in his tracks and take a long pause before he could complete his story. For 10 seconds, the audience sat in silence as he struggled through his own emotions to find his voice. It drove home yet another lesson: No one – not the top warrior nor the highest star admiral - is immune to war’s toll.Isn't it time for you to use that power within you and around you to heal? You learned how to be a soldier and now it is time to learn how to be a healing veteran.