Wednesday, December 20, 2017

Thoughts and Prayers Mean Less Without Actions

Actions Save Lives, Thoughts Equal Silence
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
December 20, 2017

Call this what you will, but right now consider it as a confession from a Chaplain losing hope. It is getting harder and harder to believe that any word I can write here, will make enough of a difference. As long as people keep saying all kinds of things, the end result, shows more harm being done, than the good they may have hoped for.

"Great thoughts speak only to the thoughtful mind, but great actions speak to all mankind." Theodore Roosevelt
It is one thing to think something has to change. Quite another thing to know how to make it so. We cannot change what we do not understand. 

Suicide is a heartbreaking end of a life. It is done simply because hope has been lost. How do we help them hang on if we simply think about them? How do we help them believe they actually matter, if we do nothing to even understand them?

Perhaps the most important question is, how does anyone expect to accomplish any of that by talking about a number from reports they did not bother to read?

I had another of those conversations with a PTSD veteran about the number everyone talks about. That twisted number of "22" referring to the number of veterans committing suicide. It was yet one more of those times when I explained the facts followed up by the data that was missing from the report. He said "22 a day is the number everyone knows" and he walked away soon after that.

Stunts tied to a slogan have done more harm than good, because talking about a number of veterans losing their battle with PTSD proves to another veteran hope may never be restored. What makes it worse is when they discover how many other veterans didn't matter enough to be considered within the number quoted.

The facts are out there and veterans are not that stupid. Believe it or not, most actually want to heal, so they do their own searching looking for answers. 

Do the awareness folks understand what it is like for them to discover they were not even worth the time it took to read the reports or wonder enough to know if that was even accurate?

If you really want to change the outcome, it is time for actions and not stunts. PTSD is complicated. We've been researching it for decades and the answers are out there, but too many won't even look.

If you know a veteran who has you concerned, pick up the phone or spend some time with them. Buy them a cup of coffee. Offer to take them to have them over for dinner if they are alone, or take them out for lunch. Send them an email to let them know you're thinking of them.

All too often, we overlook what mattered to us when we felt lonely or forgotten.

If you belong to a veterans group, invite them to spend a couple of hours when the group.

Above all else, if you really want to make a difference, the next time you read any account on the "22" or "20" a day, please leave this simple question. "Did they even bother to read the reports?"

Nothing will ever change until prove we care enough to take action and stop repeating something that is not true.

Would you want to discover you didn't even matter enough for the groups to understand even the basics of how much suffering is out there?

Veterans considered life so precious they were willing to die to save someone else. These folks are not even curious enough to wonder why that changed.


More on this topic
Stop raising awareness without learning first

If Suicide Awareness worked, this wouldn't have happened

Vietnam Veterans Left Out of Awareness