Post traumatic stress disorder, where do we go from here

There are few things that many of us will ever accomplish in life, especially the things that many of our military servicemen and women do every day. But, there are also the trials of being in the service. Trials which only those who have been there can know. The only trials which some of us may know a little about are the kind which come during times of stress and pain and danger to us or to others around us. It is true that those of us who have never been in war-time situations will never really understand them, and truly that is a good thing in some respects.

In our country, America, we are privileged to have armed men and women who, in some instances, consider it an honor to serve their country so that we don’t know armed conflict in our streets the way it is elsewhere. I served in a branch of the service years ago, in the Air Force, but being an only child I didn’t go to war or to serve in far away places. My mother became disabled and I got out of the service because I was needed more at home.

The men and women who come back from service today come home with injuries which are evident to some but then some injuries are not so evident. Yes, there are many who come home with limbs missing, some with TBI (traumatic brain injury), many come home with moderate to severe PTSD. It is this ailment which is the type which many of us civilians can relate to. Some who are in relationships which are abusive know of this condition, some who are in police service or fire service know about it too, yet their struggles are also un-heard or disregarded just as the veterans who have served and come home still feeling the effects of trials and trouble and pain.

I will admit that I have only suffered from PTSD while being a fire-fighter/EMT during my time of service in that occupation, but even though it has been twenty years or so since that time I still feel its effects sometimes. With God’s strength and His help I have been able to overcome many of its demons, but there are many who are not that fortunate. Many of our servicemen and women are plagued by it all of the time, many women are haunted by it due to an abusive relationship that they either can’t get away from or maybe are afraid to get away from. Police and firemen/women are haunted by things which they have seen during their duty tours. The biggest problem that the public has with this is that PTSD is un-seen from the outside. It is a mental disorder and one that many people, myself included, don’t want to bring to light or are ashamed to do so because of the stigma which mental disorders seem to have in our society.

We are fine, in a way, when seeing a veteran come home with a missing limb or some deformity which is visible to the outside world, but when the issue is inside everyone seems to treat you as if you are crazy! You have lost it. You should be locked up to protect society from your rantings and possible outbursts which might kill someone. This is what our society has become over time. We look at war as we see it depicted by Hollywood, but we don’t believe what we are seeing or that it could somehow break down someone’s mental fortitude. The problem is that there are things which we don’t know about in wartime or in peace, on the streets and in homes which are so violent and cruel that our minds never were designed to process those kinds of feelings and the pain that comes with them, the fear that is there but we can’t or won’t show it.

God did not create mankind with the mindset to be hateful and cruel. This came to us as a result of Satan’s influence and the fall that was experienced a long time ago, which we are still feeling the effects of today. Many of our veterans are suffering from this brain injury, the kind which doesn’t go away with pills or treatment because it is part of your memory and unlike a computer our brains don’t have a delete key. We can’t just purge these sights and sounds and pains away. You just can’t do it, whether it was caused by abuse from a spouse or parent or in the middle of a fire-fight in the middle of Ramadi or in a gun fight on main street or even when you were on the scene of a murder or a fire in a small town or a big city. These things were not supposed to be this horrific, but it is part of our world today.

The only cure, the only person that can help is Jesus. The Word of God which became flesh and dwelt among men to know their pain and suffering so that He could understand more fully and be the Helper and the Physician to heal our hurts. Help me in the process of helping those who are in need of it. The homeless vet or battered wife or husband, the cop or fireman or woman who has seen much more violence and hate than they should. I don’t have the resources to do much, but prayer can go a long way toward helping more people than we realize. At least do that for all of them.

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