Hope for Military Veterans with PTSD: Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

By Karen Boerger:

Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder is Real! There is help and hope for military veterans with PTSD.

 


Image by Stuart Miles (FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

I recently heard a presentation by a Major in the Army Reserves (retired), who told her story about her military career.  After her tours of duty in the Middle East, she realized that she didn’t feel that she fit in with family and friends any more, thought about committing suicide, but went back for one more tour of duty.  She was injured and had to go stateside for recovery.

While recuperating in the hospitals, she began to see that there was a purpose in her life.  After much counseling from a pastor, she went for training and is now helping military veterans and their families.  Sometimes when we are at our lowest, we find God right beside us.

PTSD (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) is a very real problem in the military.   The following are some recent statistics:

  1. There are 18 suicides a day.
  2. To seek help for depression or PTSD  (Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder) while serving in the military, there is a 400-day wait to get in.
  3. When a military person receives a Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), it’s found that they are 20% more likely to die from suicide.
  4. One soldier dies every 24 hrs. – not from combat.

There is help for PTSD. Medication and counseling are very effective. If you have had a traumatic event, don’t despair. Seek guidance from a counselor, psychiatrist, or doctor and stay in touch with your pastor.  Healing takes time but can be achieved.

The National Veterans’ Suicide Prevention Hotline is a valuable tool for veterans.  Watch this video to see how important this hotline is to the veterans. For help call 1-800-273-TALK, then press “1” to be routed to the Veterans Suicide Prevention Hotline.  This free service handles about 330 calls per day and has a staff of about 20. Call and talk to someone who understands veterans with PTSD.

 

The Aurora Theater Shooting: Healing from Trauma

Surviving and Healing from the Aurora Theater Shooting; Prayer for the Grieving and Traumatized

 

Used by Permission; Wikipedia, Creator: Algr

Our love and prayers are with the people of Aurora, Colorado and those who lost friends and family members in the theater shooting this week.  We also extend our prayers to the first responders and emergency personnel, as well as all who are grieving in the aftermath of this senseless tragedy.

You are not alone.

First, consider that 10 percent of all Americans have suffered from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), an anxiety disorder created by exposure to a traumatic mental or physical event.  What this really means is that countless people, who have also suffered loss and trauma, have not only healed, but have gone on to live a life of a new normal. So can you.

Consider this: whether you were  in the theater, lost a loved one, helped the injured, or just witnessed the tragedy unfold on the media, you are surrounded by a great company of those who share your pain. So if you are hurting, you do not need to suffer in silence.  Talk about it.  People will understand and listen.  If they don’t, find other people who will.

Thirdly, although it may not seem like it, God is with you, just as he was with those who lost their lives.  In times like these, many people feel angry at God, and even turn their backs on him, saying,
“If God is good, why would he allow this to happen in the first place.”
 Let me answer that question and then I’d like to lead you in a prayer that will help you start to recover.

Know that God did not author this shooting.  But consider that if you walk away from him, you are giving the shooter the power to separate you from God.  Do not let this same evil that inspired this man, inspire you to turn your back on God –for God is the great healer and He wants to help you with your emotional pain.

If you are ready to seek God’s help, pray this prayer:

Dear Lord,
I give you my wounded, broken heart, please restore it with life, and eventually even joy.

(Now, put your hand on your heart and pray the following:)

I canceled the assignment of the spirit of trauma that would hold me captive, and I speak God’s peace, life, and hope into my very soul in it’s place.  I also cancel the assignment of the spirit of suicide that would attempt to make me another casualty of this terrible evil.  I choose to be a victor in God’s love, and ask that God ignite my spirit with life, purpose, and love.   I pray this in the power and authority of the name and the blood of Jesus.
Amen.
If you want to know more about moving into a closer relationship with God, go to:
www.GodTest.com.

Watch my interview with Joan Hunter as she leads viewers into breaking the bonds of trauma.

Survival Tips for Returning Veterans

  Are you one of those looking for survival tips for returning veterans?  So was Jeff, who said:

“You don’t know what it was like for me when I returned to the states after being in Afghanistan. My wife had left me, my children called another man daddy, and my relatives lived their lives as if they were guests on Jerry Springer.  Then, with my PTSD, it took me months before I could shop in a Wal-Mart without wanting to run out screaming.”

“Did you think about suicide?” I asked.

“A lot.”

“What got you through it?”

“Only God.”

“What would you say to other struggling vets?”

“I can’t promise that it will be easy, but when you live through it, you’ll be stronger for it. That’s how you’ll prove to everyone you can make it.”

Are you feeling suicidal after returning from a term of military service?

 

According to the Make the Connection website, there are some additional tips to help you survive your return home:

  • Reach out to other Veterans or Veterans’ groups for social support
  • Exercise regularly and eat healthy meals
  • Practice relaxation techniques, such as deep breathing
  • Recognize that others may not always agree with you or understand your military service; agree to disagree
  • Be prepared for insensitive questions or topics of conversation; practice how to respond ahead of time
  • Respectfully decline to talk about things that make you uncomfortable
  • Have a plan of action for your adjustment that includes a list of goals for your transition, your future, and your personal life
  • Try to get a good night’s sleep
  • Avoid unhealthy “quick fixes” that you think may help you cope, like drinking alcohol, taking drugs, or smoking cigarettes.

If you or someone you know is suicidal, see Make the Connection  for more tips.

Listen to other vets talk about the difficulties of transitioning into civilian life in this YouTube video below:

You might also be interested in the comprehensive 600 plus page PDF book, The American Veteran’s and Service Members Survival Guide – How to Cut Through the Bureaucracy and Get What You Need—And Are Entitled To – from the Veterans of America. Click HERE to download a free copy.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are a vet who is depressed or in danger of harming yourself or others, contact Veteran’s Crisis Line or call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

If you want to find out how to reach out to God, click HERE:

Help for Suicidal Veterans

By Linda Evans Shepherd

If you are a struggling veteran, you don’t have to struggle alone.  The VA’s Veteran’s Crisis Line has answered more than half-a-million calls made from veterans of all ages and circumstances.

Many of the responders are veterans themselves and understand what military servicemen and women, and their families and friends, have been through and the challenges veterans of all ages and service areas face.

In addition they have created a series of videos that encourage veterans to call, including the one below:

Help for Suicidal Veterans

PLEASE NOTE: If you are a vet who is depressed or in danger of harming yourself or others, contact Veteran’s Crisis Line or call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

Please comment here to let us know what you think of the video.

Dogs Help Stop Suicide in Military Veterans

By Linda Evans Shepherd

Dogs Help Stop Suicide in Military Veterans

Many of our veterans are returning home with Post Traumatic Stress (PTSD) and are in danger of losing their lives to suicide.  So, could it be that a wagging tail could help stem the tide of this heartbreaking loss of life?  Yes. Dogs help stop suicide in military veterans. According to Web MD, pets have the power to improve mood and to provide unconditional love.

Alan Entin, PhD, a psychologist in Richmond, Va is quoted in the Web MD article saying,

“Dogs, in particular, are always glad to see you,” he notes. “When you are feeling down and out, the puppy just starts licking you, being with you, saying with his eyes, ‘You are the greatest.’ When an animal is giving you that kind of attention, you can’t help but respond by improving your mood and playing with it.”

Entin added, “Having a pet takes the focus off the owner’s problems, Entin says, since having a pet is a commitment–you need to feed and care for the pet. “When people have a pet in the house, it forces them to take care of another life,” Entin says. With the focus outward, he says, the pet owner may not dwell on their depressed mood as much.”

Vets adopting pets is a great solution for the animals too as 6 to 8 million dogs and cats are euthanized every year, simply because they need a home.

To see the power of a dog in a vet’s life, check out the video below:

Video of How Dogs Help Stop Suicide in Military Veterans

Pets can be found in shelters and can even be what the doctor orders via prescription.  Also organizations exists, like Pets for Vets, to help military veterans reclaim normalcy in their lives through companion dogs.

PLEASE NOTE: If you are a vet who is depressed or in danger of harming yourself or others, contact Veteran’s Crisis Line or call 1-800-273-8255 and Press 1, chat online, or send a text message to 838255 to receive confidential support 24 hours a day, 7 days a week, 365 days a year.

See related article, Finding God Through Your Dog from Finding God Daily.