Thursday, January 18, 2018

Be the hope they need to see that suffering is not all there is with PTSD

Not just a face in a crowd
Combat PTSD Wounded Times
Kathie Costos
January 16, 2018

How can you help a veteran with PTSD? The same way they were wounded in the first place. Whenever you see pictures of a wounded service member, you do not see massive crowds surrounding them. You see a few of the members of their own unit coming to help help. 

And that is how it needs to be done when the wound is cut deeply into their soul.

That is what Point Man International Ministries figured out over 3 decades ago. Treat them like a member of your family unit, know them like a brother or sister and then help them by standing by their side. Then they'll know they really matter.

A sailor of the USS North Dakota took a rifle and shot himself in the chest, but survived after crew members spent seven hours doing everything possible to save the unidentified sailor's life. The sailor may have been wondering if his/her life was worth living and they just proved beyond a doubt, it was.

The thing that keeps getting missed when discussing military suicides is, they valued the lives of others, they were willing to die to save someone else. The question is, why, after all these years, do they not see their own life is worth saving to others as well?

They show great courage above and beyond what most civilians are prepared to do. Yet when they are suffering because of what they had to face, they are not courageous enough to ask for help from the very people they trust with their lives.

We keep hearing about how the military and veterans communities have been working on getting the stigma attached to PTSD out of their heads, but that hasn't worked. Why haven't they tried plain, simple logic to explain what PTSD is and why they have it?

Why aren't service members and veterans leading groups after they overcame their own struggles with silence?

It isn't good enough to say you understand what they are going through if you do not have a story to tell of your own. You need to be able to share your own struggles with the veteran you are trying to help. In a large group, it seems that everyone is competing to tell their tales as if it is a contest to win as the most miserable.

In small groups, it is more about sharing and caring on a personal level. You can share what caused your heartache and then share with them how you ended up feeling better about your life.

You can be an example of not giving up on yourself as much as you prove you will not give up on them as long as they do everything possible to heal themselves.

You can make sure you stay in contact with them, encourage them to take the steps they need to get where they need to be. 

The only reason someone gives up is when they believe there is no hope of better days. Be the hope they need to see that suffering is not all there is to the rest of their lives!

If you are a veteran and want to offer this hope contact Point Man and start leading the way out of the lonely darkness and into a family of healing.

If you are a family member, then you can do the same for other families who have not been treated as if they are on the front lines of all of this.

Hotline: 1-800-877-VETS (8387)
Point Man Intl. Ministries
Po Box 267
Spring Brook, NY 14140
E -mail:
HQ Phone:1-716-675-5552
Point Man Intl. Ministries is a 501(c) 3 non-profit organization

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Stop suicide awareness and help them stay alive!

Ready to fight for their lives?
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
January 14, 2018

Exactly what do you think you know about PTSD and suicide? If you're an average user of social media, the chances are you really don't know very much. If you watch the news, then you really don't know much more than they do, and that is pretty close to zilch since reporters never seem to ask any questions. 

I fight with them all the time so they get some kind of understanding beyond what they think they need to know. They keep pushing the "easy to remember number" of 22 or 20 a day, without ever understanding what they should have known before they decided to cover the subject.

You can read all the facts on my other site, Combat PTSD Wounded Times, but keeping this a positive page, I'll leave that out. We can't change the outcome without changing what we do and learning a hell of lot more than what we learned the easy way. To catch up look below for some links.

PTSD and suicides are complicated subjects. They are also depressing as hell to spend time on. Maybe that is part of the problem. Veterans surviving combat then killing themselves is heartbreaking. Everyone wants to do something, but few know what to do.

If you are a veteran or family member, here is what you need to know.

There is a battle going on right now between what you hear and think you know, against what is really known about the battles veterans fight everyday.

They are fighting to stay alive. They hold onto the hope that day will come, change their lives again, so they can feel better about surviving war.
These guys are the reason I do what I do and have done for the last 35 years. Vietnam veterans did not just teach me about PTSD, but they taught me what love really is. It cannot be measured by what most civilians limit it to. Beyond that, it is measured by what they were willing to do for each other.

I grew up surrounded by veterans, but I was blind to how uncommon they were until it dawned on me most of my friends did not have anyone who served in the military. I did not know anything about Vietnam veterans, other than what I heard, until I met and fell in love with one of them. They became my obsession.

The first thing to understand is that there are different causes. There is what civilians face, but then the additional threats of life come with the jobs of far too many. Here at home, we have first responders. They are members of law enforcement, fire departments, emergency crews and members of the National Guards/Reservists. 

They face the same things we do, but for them, the crisis they have to deal with is everyday for them. Often multiple times a day and when it isn't happening, they know it can happen at every moment. When they are not on duty, they are worrying about the others on duty. On duty, they worry about their families back at home, especially when they are on duty during a natural disaster. Forest fires, floods, hurricanes, tornadoes, demand their attention but they know their own family could be in danger while they take care of the rest of their communities.

For deployed military service members, it is the same fear but topped off with the additional stressful occupation that keeps them on edge facing bombs and bullets. They also have to endure the environmental conditions, endless hours, lack of sleep, little rest and the constant threat to their lives.

Veterans of all these occupations do their best to leave it behind them, but it all comes with them. They manage to stay busy until they retire and then it all hits them. Veterans over the age of 50 are 65% of the suicides because of isolation, lack of obligations on their time and what makes it worse for them is they never expected it would hit them. They didn't know it was there all along. 

You may be wondering what you can do to make a difference. First, if you come across any link with "suicide awareness" and a number of "22" or "20" referring to the number of veterans they think are committing suicide, leave a very simple comment. "Why didn't you even bother to read the report?"

Leave them the link to the first VA suicide report with "22 a day" if that is what they claim to be the true number. That report came out with limited data from just 21 states. It also had the highest percentage of veterans committing suicide were over the age of 50. Maybe they need to answer why they did not bother to address the group with the highest suicides?

If they use "20 a day" then leave them this link with the same questions.

Then if you want to, ask them exactly how they expect to help veterans if they did not even bother to read the reports they are raising money to raise awareness for? Then share their answer so that everyone following them or supporting them on their Facebook site learns what they are really all about.

That is a step toward getting the BS out of all this.

The next step if you have a veteran in your own family with PTSD. Normalize it for them. PTSD is what is left over from facing death for 1 out of 3 Vietnam veterans and 1 out of 5 OEF and OIF veterans. One more indication as to why the older veterans are the majority of the suicides. More of them with a higher rate of PTSD.

Spend the time to learn all you can, then get your own emotions out of the way when dealing with theirs. It may be hard for you but it is harder for them to have it.

Understand they can heal and life can be a lot better, but that not only requires you to learn the road ahead, you have to learn what got them to where they are now.

You do not need to know the details of what caused PTSD, so don't ask them to tell you. Plus, if you are not a professional, you may not be prepared for the answer or know how to respond. I've worked with them for over 30 years. Many times I wish they had not shared what they did, but I was trained to handle it without getting too upset or letting my own emotions take over. I just try to process it after I get off the phone or close the email.

No you own limits. Don't try to do something if you don't understand what comes next. PTSD and suicide are complex subjects. If you learn the basics, then you have a better way of knowing if you need to take action beyond what you are capable of. Know what to do next before you start anything.

Also, remember, no matter how much you know, you will not be able to save all of them. I couldn't save my husband's nephew no matter how much I knew. I just never figured out how to get him to listen before it was too late. Something that caused me to take these suicides personally.

Remind them that civilians also get hit by PTSD. It hit them when they survived something terrible, and it only took one time to do it. For occupations, these men and women had, it happened a lot more than once, or twice, but over the years they were on the job.

If it is an older veteran, isolation is a big issue for them. Encourage them to get involved with other veterans groups so they not only find common ground, they gain support. Trust me, they are comfortable with other veterans a lot more than they are comfortable in crowds with strangers.

If they change after retirement, get them to see a doctor instead of a divorce lawyer. They changed for a reason. Listen to them but also pay attention to the way they are acting.

Mood swings, overblown reactions to situations, looking for arguments, drinking more than what had been usual for them, dropping things they used to enjoy, nightmares waking them up or being obsessive about security, paranoia and zoning out, are warning signs they need help.

Understand that you have little to do with causing any of this but you have a lot to do with getting them help. While you cannot force them, unless they are suicidal, you can encourage them to get the help they need, but far too many do not think they deserve it.

None of this is new and most of it is not in the news because too many are willing to settle for what they are hearing, instead of learning what can make a difference.

These folks valued life so much, they were willing to lay down their own lives for the sake of others. To lose them because they no longer value their own lives, is something that should be acceptable to no one!

Remember, they lived for love and need to live for love now too.

This video was done in 2012, 

Kathie Costos DiCesare
Uploaded time:
January 2, 2012 at 9:33 PM
Raw file:

long before it was headline news. The video ends with "18 veterans committed suicide" and back then, that is what the number was being reported as.

Veterans face off with law enforcement almost every week across the country.

Too many veterans were kicked out of the military instead of being helped.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Stop being a "Vietnum Veteran"

Tired of being numb?
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
January 11, 2018

I was working on a video earlier today when I typed "Vietnum veteran" instead of Vietnam veteran. Before I went to edit the text, I kept looking at it. Then it dawned on me that actually works. Oh, sure you spell numb with the B, but actually "be" has been part of your problem all along. Being willing to settle for just being half alive is not really living. It is existing.
For more than 40 years, you've been focused on what you had to do instead of what you needed to do for yourself...and your family.

You went to work, often doing jobs that were almost as dangerous as being in Vietnam. You raised a family, and in a lot of cases, more than one...and then came the time when you didn't have to go to work anymore. Kids moved out, probably have kids of their own who grew up already. If you managed to stay married, your wife is probably retired too.

My husband had to retire before the age of 50.  Sixteen years later, I'm still working and have another decade to go before I can retire.

Oh, the years that are supposed to be time for you to finally relax turned out to not be so relaxing.

It used to be easy to stay busy, and a hell of a lot easier than getting slammed in the middle of the night by a full force nightmare much stronger than any of the others you had.

Yep, you spent all those years avoiding what you thought you left behind and it caught up with you. What did you think would happen when you did not move forward and heal? Did you think that "some day" would come when you would finally "just get over it" the way your Dad told you that you would? Did he? Safe bet he didn't.

If you have been paying attention to what you brought home with you from Vietnam, then you probably made sure you got into treatment and did everything the experts said you needed to do. Great! My hubby did too, but neither of us expected anything "normal" out of our lives together. Well, not normal to the rest of the population, but certainly normal to the veterans we know. Life isn't all that bad and we learned how to take control over the rest of our years. 

If you haven't been paying attention, then odds are, you have been hit with a sledgehammer! PTSD woke up just when you thought you could relax.

For all the numbers you hear about veterans committing suicide, none of them bothered to read the reports they scooped the number out of, or they would have seen the part where it says that 65% of the veterans committing suicide are over the age of 50! Yep, you guys and if they saw that part, but still ignored you, then it shows all they care about is not changing the outcome for veterans. It is more about what they can get out of it.

Now, here is the other thing they don't want you, or anyone else to notice. Talking about veterans giving up, only enforces the fact giving up was the option for them. How was that supposed to work? Wouldn't it have been a lot better enforcing the fact that you can heal and give you some hope that life can be better for you?


Now you have time to think but it doesn't have to be all bad thoughts. Invest the extra time you have in your days on healing.

Yes, you can heal and life can get a lot better all the way around.

Are you afraid to move forward? Has it gotten comfortable to be numb? Getting numb to pain makes sense, when it is your body. Still, even if your body is felling pain, the first thing you do is go to the doctor to find out what the cause is. Once they find out that the pain is not dangerous, they help you stop hurting. If it is your mind, then same story pretty much. 

They figure out if you have PTSD or not. Then they give you medicine so you stop hurting. Sometimes it works, but sometimes it doesn't.  The thing that it is supposed to do is make you stop feeling pain but that doesn't mean the cause of it is gone.

Getting numb, numbs all the stuff that is supposed to make living worth it. You know. Things like feeling love and happiness instead of being isolated and angry.

Safe bet there is some fear there too. You may keep waiting for the day that you wake up and "you're over it" but PTSD gets stronger and you end up terrified that there is no hope.

There is plenty to hope for. Did you know that 148,000 Vietnam veterans sought help for the first time in 2007? They finally got the message that ya, life gets better.

Consider this,
Over a Quarter-Million Vietnam War Veterans Still Have PTSDForty years after the war’s end, twice as many vets with combat-related PTSD are getting worse as those who are improving
“Fast forward to age 60-something when they may retire, their social supports may erode, their health gradually declines and they begin to face their own mortality. They don’t have the same kinds of structures and responsibilities. More time to reminisce may not be helpful in this situation and may lead to an intensification or reactivation of trauma-related experiences in memory.”

Yes, I know, I'm a PTSD geek! If you are involved with a group of veterans, instead of being isolated, then you'll be doing partial work on healing. If you are in therapy, then there is more work being done on healing. If you're doing what experts say works best, then you'll be living a better quality of life.

What works best? Taking care of ALL of you instead of part of you. Mind, body and spirit.

Do you want to spend your retirement years on the couch with the remote control or do you want to enjoy time to act like a kid again?

What are you waiting for? Take back control of your life!

Monday, August 7, 2017

Take a different view of you

Take a different view of you
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
August 6, 2017

Sometimes it may feel like you are driving alone, far behind everyone else.
You decided where you want to go. You found out the best way to get there. Picked music to listen to. Pulled over to get gas to get wherever you are heading for.

Without warning it happens and then, what was behind you, catches up.
It can be a shock to see something that isn't there anymore. It can make you feel as if you've lost your mind.

The choice is, do you keep going alone or do you find someone to share the driving with?

This is a post I did back in 2010 and it will give you a better idea of how to get there. Keep that in mind when you read some numbers.

Finding Forgiveness After War
Over the years many veterans come to mind when I read something like this. One Marine stands out in my thoughts right now. I was at the Orlando VA with my husband waiting outside with the smokers for his appointment to be over. I sat with a couple of young Marines as they struggled to fill out paper work. One of the Marines broke down while we were talking. I took his hands in mine and asked him if he wanted to talk. Tears flowed more.

He kept repeating "I'm a Marine" as he apologized for crying and then told me he wasn't supposed to cry, that I didn't understand, he was a Marine and Marines don't cry. I asked him if he was ever told he was no longer human by the Marines. We talked some more and he told me that he just didn't train his brain as well as he was supposed to. He was supposed to be able to take it all. Then it came out he had BattleMind training and thought it was his fault he didn't train his brain enough to prevent it. I help him in my arms as I prayed for him and we talked some more.

"Many of the troops kill themselves because they feel that those kinds of experiences have made them unforgivable," said Dr. William Nash, a top PTSD researcher. "It's a lot harder for most people to forgive themselves than to forgive others."

He couldn't forgive himself for what he had to do anymore than he could forgive himself for not preventing PTSD. I told him that it took more courage for him to be carrying that kind of pain while he was in Iraq, still doing his duty, still watching over his brothers, still being there when he was needed and putting others first while his soul was so wounded. It was not until he was not needed to save their lives and back home that he allowed himself to feel the pain.

God sees it all. He knows what is in the heart of the warrior and what the intent was. He knows that the parts of the human mind go to war with each other as they struggle between what the think is right and what they believe in against what ends up causing in the process. They believe in fighting for their country and for their brothers, but they end up having to do horrible things just as they have to witness horrible things being done. They wonder where God was when man is capable of such acts and innocent people die, just as they wonder why they lived but their friends did not or why the enemy put innocent civilians into the violence instead of protecting them from it.

They may be reminded that Christ Himself forgave the people who nailed Him to the cross and there is nothing they cannot be forgiven for, but the hardest part is to get them to forgive themselves. They can no longer see what was in their hearts (soul) before the horrors of war invaded it. It was not their intent to kill as many people as possible as much as it was to be there for their friends and to do what the nation asked of them. Yet after they only remember the evil they participated in or witnessed. They take on that evil in their souls and it haunts them.

Even when they believe God has forgiven them, they still have to struggle to find forgiveness for themselves. This is nearly impossible for those who still do not know what PTSD is or what caused it to enter into them.

We will see so much more suicides and attempted suicides until they get the message that it is not their fault, they are not guilty beyond forgiveness and PTSD is not the judgement of God against them.
Psalm 4

1 Answer me when I call to you,
O my righteous God.
Give me relief from my distress;
be merciful to me and hear my prayer.

2 How long, O men, will you turn my glory into shame

4 In your anger do not sin;
when you are on your beds,
search your hearts and be silent.
8 I will lie down and sleep in peace,
for you alone, O LORD,
make me dwell in safety.

Psalm 6
3 My soul is in anguish.
How long, O LORD, how long?

6 I am worn out from groaning;
all night long I flood my bed with weeping
and drench my couch with tears.

8 Away from me, all you who do evil,
for the LORD has heard my weeping.

9 The LORD has heard my cry for mercy;
the LORD accepts my prayer.

Psalm 7
8 let the LORD judge the peoples.
Judge me, O LORD, according to my righteousness,
according to my integrity, O Most High.

10 My shield is God Most High,
who saves the upright in heart.

This is what Combat PTSD is all about. They can try to wish it away, but the truth is, it has entered into the souls of those we send to fight. It comes into the souls of the courageously compassionate, willing to die to save someone else because they care so much. PTSD only comes from a traumatic event and is not born in the mind as much as it invades it. Once they understand it, they can begin to heal.

Reading the Bible, it is not about one religion over another, but is a historical account of what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. We tend to push out of our memories exactly what war was like in ancient times and how many of the heroes of the Bible were in fact warriors and commanders as well as kings. They had great faith but even with that spiritual connection, they struggled with finding forgiveness for what they had to do. The Bible is full of these accounts and many of the Psalms show just how deeply that wound cut into their soul.

Last year, 52 Marines took their lives. Thirty-six of those troops had seen combat, and 11 of the self-inflicted deaths took place in Iraq and Afghanistan, Driver said.

Suicide rate confounding Marine Corps
'We have to get to the solution,' a top general says

Story Discussion By MARK WALKER

A steady rise in suicides is confounding Marine Corps commanders, despite years of efforts to assure troops their careers won't suffer for seeking mental health counseling, a top general said Tuesday.

"We have to get to the solution," said Lt. Gen. Richard Zilmer, deputy commandant for manpower and reserve affairs, during a three-day conference on combat stress at the Town & County Resort and Convention Center in San Diego.

"We are at the point where we need to take action. It won't get any better with the status quo."

The Marine Corps' suicide rate has reached 24 per 100,000, a rate that surpasses all the other services. The rate was 13 per 100,000 in 2006. The latest available figures put the civilian suicide rate at 20 per 100,000.

So far this year, 14 Marines have killed themselves, including seven with combat experience. An additional 72 attempted suicides were recorded in the first four months of the year, according to Bryan Driver, a spokesman in the Personal and Family Readiness Division.
click link above for more

They stop seeing themselves as noble individuals willing to risk their lives for others and start to see themselves as evil abandoned by God and thus the haunting of their souls is judgment from God. They begin to believe they are guilty instead of being heroic. They forget the sounds of appreciation coming from crowds and begin to hear the sounds of battle as battle becomes them.

As soon as the military understands this, they will then begin to be able to help them heal and what they will have after are stronger, braver, soulfully fortified military men and women still willing to die for the sake of others.

Now, you may have asked the question "how are you" a lot of times everyday to other other people. When was the last time you asked yourself how you are? Time to change the answer from hurting to healing?

Friday, July 7, 2017

Suicide Awareness Equals Dead End

The sign reads "Suicide Awareness Dead End" because that is exactly what all this talk about numbers leads to.

"False words are not only evil in themselves, but they infect the soul with evil."

Veterans already know they are killing themselves. What they do not know is that they can heal and make the next day better than their worst day.

No, your worst day is not this day you are in misery. It is the day that PTSD hit you. You forget you survived that worst day already. 

Our job, if we are truly seeking to help veterans stay alive, is to make you aware of, not just that fact, but help guide you toward taking back control of your life.

He is a man of courage who does not run away, but remains at his post and fights against the enemy. Socrates 

The enemy is the ignorance of people more interested in spouting bumper sticker slogans than learning about the cause of suicides. It is our job to fight against this unacceptable outcome and provide veterans with the right directions to heal!

This is from 2005 and as you can see, the book was already written and self published. So, no I did not come to this road in this decade, or a decade ago. As a matter of fact, it was over 3 decades ago.

We actually knew more back then than too many know now. As with all things, the roadwork was already planned and done long before the newer veterans joined all other generations. 

The choice is yours. Do you go downhill just because the road you know about takes you toward the end of your life? Or, do you go the other way back to what others had already paid the price to navigate? 

Saturday, June 10, 2017

Stray Kitten Gave Soldier Something Worth Living For

Pet Tales: A kitten saves a soldier's life
Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
By Linda Wilson Fuoco
June 10, 2017

After suffering a brain injury in Iraq, Army Sgt. Josh Marino “was in a really, really bad place. I did not want to deal with it anymore.”
Exhausted from his struggle with the “invisible wounds” of post-traumatic stress disorder, he planned to end his life one night in 2008 at Fort Riley in north central Kansas.

“I took out one of my knives ... I wrote a letter on my computer” and went outside to smoke one last cigarette.

Then he heard a soft “meow,” and a small black-and-white kitten emerged from the bushes.

“I broke down crying.... He saved my life ... I stopped thinking about all my problems and started thinking about his problems and what I could do to help him.”

Mr. Marino recounts his story in a 6½-minute-film, “Josh and Scout,” featured on, the website of a non-profit organization whose mission is “revealing the impact people and animals have on one another.”

Mr. Marino, 37, is a native of Turtle Creek who now lives in Brookline with his wife, Becky, and their daughter, Penelope, who was born Feb. 24. They have three cats and three ferrets.

After eight years of service, he was medically discharged from the Army in July 2009. He moved back to Pittsburgh, got married in September 2010, and earned a master’s degree in clinical rehabilitation and mental health counseling. He now works in the Human Engineering Research Laboratories, a program operated by the University of Pittsburgh and the Department of Veterans Affairs.

“It was an honor to serve,” Mr. Marino said. “I am still serving. I am just serving in a different uniform.

“I love my job. I work with people with disabilities every day.”

His counseling includes telling veterans about the kitten who saved him. He directs them to Humane Animal Rescue shelters in Homewood and the North Side to look for animals who need a home.

read more here
Mutual Rescue
Josh and Scout, a Mutual Rescue™ Film

It can be almost impossible to have a positive outlook when all you hear is something negative. Check Facebook on veteran suicides and you'll see what I mean. Aside from it mostly being wrong, there is nothing helpful in "raising awareness" it is happening especially when the numbers are worse that they are quoting.

That is the bad news. Now the good news. Most veterans are living with PTSD and defeating it! They have been living for 30, 40, 50 years and longer after they survived combat. Hell, most of them didn't get help until 2007 when 148,000 sought help within an 18 month window. 

Oh, all of them knew there was something wrong, but they didn't know what to do about it. Back then there was a dire need to make them aware of what PTSD was and that help was available. That was already accomplished but too many groups found that making folks aware of the worst was more important that what was actually healing veterans!

John 16
20 Very truly I tell you, you will weep and mourn while the world rejoices. You will grieve, but your grief will turn to joy. 
21 A woman giving birth to a child has pain because her time has come; but when her baby is born she forgets the anguish because of her joy that a child is born into the world. 
22 So with you: Now is your time of grief, but I will see you again and you will rejoice, and no one will take away your joy.
33 “I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
Now back to Josh's story. He had nothing to live for and was planning on ending his life. The kitten came to him looking for help and he gave it. It turned out, the kitten he named Scout was just what he needed to find something worth living for...putting the kitten's needs ahead of his own heartache.

Sometimes all you need to know that you can still make a difference. After combat, after risking your life for the sake of someone else, that is a part of who you are. 

Can you still make a difference? Yes! Do whatever it takes to heal and then pass it on to others needing to be helped.

Scout saved Josh because he could help. Josh went on and got married and then went to work helping others just like him.

Your story is not on the last chapter and does not have a predicable ending. That ending is one you write yourself and you have the power to change this moment on.

It is time to take control away from PTSD and drive your life toward what is possible!

Friday, May 19, 2017

All you need to heal is in your soul

Simple Man
Lynyrd Skynyrd

Mama told me when I was young
Come sit beside me, my only son
And listen closely to what I say
And if you do this
It will help you some sunny day
Take your time...don't live too fast
Troubles will come and they will pass
Go find a woman and you'll find love
And don't forget son
There is someone up above

And be a simple kind of man
Be something you love and understand
Be a simple kind of man
Won't you do this for me son
If you can?

Forget your lust for the rich man's gold
All that you need is in your soul
And you can do this if you try
All that I want for you my son
Is to be satisfied

And be a simple kind of man
Be something you love and understand
Be a simple kind of man
Won't you do this for me son
If you can?

Boy, don't you'll find yourself
Follow you heart and nothing else
And you can do this if you try
All I want for you my son
Is to be satisfied

And be a simple kind of man
Be something you love and understand
Be a simple kind of man
Won't you do this for me son
If you can?
All you need is in your soul is a message that I've been sharing for almost 35 years. You may think that if you are brave, you don't need faith, or help, or anything from anyone. How is your life now? Are you happy? Have you made peace with what happened during your service? Do you feel love, or do you only feel anger and regrets? Are you still drinking or doing drugs so you don't have to feel anything?

Well, I got news for you, not healing is just plain stupid! Why on earth would you want to go from a person so filled with courage and compassion that you were willing to die for someone else, into this half alive person? What are you afraid of? Admitting you need help?

Suck it up and remember what it was like when your job almost killed you. Did you ask for help back then when you were outnumbered or did you try to pull a Rambo? Chances are you were smart enough to ask for whatever the hell you could get to stay alive.

As for the rest of the ego thing, pity isn't your type of party. Is it? If you're miserable and suffering then folks will feel sorry for you, but if you do whatever it takes to heal and fight this battle, you become an inspiration!!!!!

Jeff Streucker didn’t invent the phrase “God in the foxhole,” but it certainly applies to him.The retired U.S. Army major is a veteran of military operations in Panama, Iraq, Somalia and Afghanistan and has earned a chest full of medals for distinguished service. His heroism was depicted in the popular war movie “Black Hawk Down.” But Streucker is more focused on a heavenly reward. As the lead pastor at Calvary Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia, and a highly sought-after speaker, he is just as interested in winning souls for Jesus Christ as he is protecting his country from its enemies.
Don't worry, I'm not going to get all preachy on you but one thing is for sure. God doesn't screw up. Humans do. Whatever got in your head making you think that it doesn't get any better than this moment is, everything you need is in your soul!
In Jesuit Father James Conroy, the White House Jesuit Retreat in south St. Louis County has perhaps the perfect leader for its annual veterans retreat — Friday, June 30, to Sunday, July 2, just before Independence Day.Being a Jesuit priest at a Jesuit retreat center certainly qualifies in the spiritual aspect, but Father Conroy also fulfills the temporal nature of the retreat, connecting him quickly with men and women who have served their country.He's a veteran himself, of the Vietnam War. 
Now, you ready to get to work and start getting your life back? Whatever is wrong with you is because of what is strong within you. Hint: The same thing that gave you all you needed to do what you did and make it this far is the same thing that can heal you!

Saturday, May 13, 2017

PTSD: Can you find your way to truly go back home alone?

"You've always had the power to go back"
PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
May 13, 2017

It is no secret I love old movies! As a child, they got my imagination into high gear. When I grew up, knew more about what makes us who we are, I noticed how many lessons on life were actually in the script.

One of my favorites is The Robe. I tell veterans they need to watch this movie and see what Combat PTSD is. It has all of it but few connect the life of Tribune Galio to all the symptoms of PTSD. 
"In the Roman province of Judea during the 1st century, Roman tribune Marcellus Gallio is ordered to crucify Jesus of Nazareth but is tormented by his guilty conscience afterwards."
Tribune Galio was haunted by the sound of the nail being driven into Jesus, had nightmares and during flashbacks he kept asking, "Were you there?" He had mood swings, anger issues, you name it, all classic symptoms of PTSD. He believed he was possessed by the Robe that Jesus wore on his way to be crucified. 

In the end of the movie, there was an awakening to the power he had within him all along to heal. He believed in the power of love again to the point where he would rather die than return to the way he was before.

Dorothy couldn't have gone through what she did alone. She had friends walking by her side. It was a walk she had to do but she didn't have to do it alone. Why do you think you have to?

There is no place like home!
Dorothy: Oh, will you help me? Can you help me?
Glinda: You don't need to be helped any longer. You've always had the power to go back to Kansas.
Dorothy: I have?
Scarecrow: Then why didn't you tell her before?
Glinda: She wouldn't have believed me. She had to learn it for herself.
Scarecrow: What have you learned, Dorothy?
Dorothy: Well, I—I think that it, that it wasn't enough just to want to see Uncle Henry and Auntie Em — and it's that — if I ever go looking for my heart's desire again, I won't look any further than my own backyard. Because if it isn't there, I never really lost it to begin with! Is that right?
Glinda: That's all it is!
Scarecrow: But that's so easy! I should've thought of it for you...
Tin Man: I should have felt it in my heart...
Glinda: No, she had to find it out for herself. Now those magic slippers will take you home in two seconds!

Dorothy: Oh! Toto too?
Glinda: Toto too.
Dorothy: Now?
Glinda: Whenever you wish.
Glinda: Then close your eyes and tap your heels together three times. And think to yourself, 'There's no place like home'.

She had the power inside of her all along. Can you find your way to truly go back home alone? Were you alone while you were away?

That's the biggest secret of all. The power to do what you did in the military was within you. The courage was not something you were taught. You already had that. The compassion to care enough to be willing to endure whatever you had to go through to do what you were sent to do, was in your soul from the moment you took your first breath. No one trained you to care.

Resilience was already in you. The "training" you got was nothing more the BS. You already had all of it but what they didn't tell you is that you also had all that you needed to heal afterwards.

I have no magic wand to suddenly make it all better for you. Believe me, my life would be a lot easier if I could do it for you. But that is something you have to do for yourself for a change, in order to really change.

All I do is help you to see things in a different way and discover what is already inside of you. You can take the power way from what is haunting you, like the Tribune did and you can use the power you had all along to go back home.

PTSD caused the change in you but no on told you that you had the power to change again and that, that is the key to fight your way back to a happier life.

Sunday, May 7, 2017

Help veterans take back control of their lives

PTSD Patrol 6TBC
PTSD Patrol
May 7, 2017

It has been proven that peer support is the best medicine but when you have untrained folks offering the support, everyone remains lost and, so are far, too many lives are gone.

After almost 35 years of watching all of this, I've seen what has failed but I've also seen how lives are changed when they take back control of their lives. TBC? Really? Yes, one more thing that people forget to tell veterans searching for some hope. Tomorrow can be oh so much better than their worst day.

They cannot change anything in their rear view mirror but on the road ahead of them it can be like a Sunday drive. 

They are not in a hurry to get to work or to a doctor's appointment but they may get lost and have to ask for directions.

They may encounter folks driving too slowly in the passing lane and have to switch lanes to get around them.

They may have to seek alternative routes to get to the destination they are headed for.

Pretty much a good day to start this. We have to help them take back control of their lives if we want them to stop taking those lives.

As I wrote in the beginning of this site, there is no doom and gloom allowed here. Veterans have had enough of that and we've seen the appalling results. 

If you're interested in doing what is easy, like talking about their problems, because it is easy for you to do, please just go away. This road crew doesn't have time for you.

The Workers Are Few35 Jesus went through all the towns and villages, teaching in their synagogues, proclaiming the good news of the kingdom and healing every disease and sickness. 36 When he saw the crowds, he had compassion on them, because they were harassed and helpless, like sheep without a shepherd. 37 Then he said to his disciples, “The harvest is plentiful but the workers are few. 38 Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field.”

My friends and I came up with a 6 week training program so that you can actually be the one to help them find the road home to healing and give them back control of their lives.

My life has been a very long list of times that should have, not just could have, caused PTSD to hit me, but it didn't. There are actually ways to prevent trauma from gaining access to your soul. If it already has, there are ways to help healing.

Some get confused on being one who risked their lives to save others and being someone who had to kill to do it. That answer is clear in the following passage.
The Faith of the CenturionWhen Jesus had entered Capernaum, a centurion came to him, asking for help.“Lord,” he said, “my servant lies at home paralyzed, suffering terribly.”Jesus said to him, “Shall I come and heal him?”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. 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 Roman Centurion was a leader of the soldiers controlling the Hebrews, and crucifying them. When the Centurion went to Jesus for the sake of his servant, soldiers in his command were with him and witnessed him "lowering himself" to a Jew, the people they were trained to hate. Yet they also saw how much courage he had to do it in front of them and how much love he had within him.

That part always gets overlooked. Jesus knew how He would die and by whose hands would hammer in the nails. He did not send the Centurion away, judge him unworthy nor did he ridicule him. He knew what was in his heart and honored his request. 

I am a Chaplain, so naturally I use Christian based spiritual therapy but when I address veterans, and they do not believe, I tell them to just think of what I say as a story. The power is in the message of hope and healing, not in making any converts to Christianity. Besides, this Christian Chaplain isn't sinless. I drink alcohol, smoke and swear. I also hang out with bikers. As for my personal relationship with God and Christ, I argue with them all the time before I do what THEY want me to do.
Jesus Sends Out the Seventy-Two10 After this the Lord appointed seventy-two[a] others and sent them two by two ahead of him to every town and place where he was about to go. He told them, “The harvest is plentiful, but the workers are few. Ask the Lord of the harvest, therefore, to send out workers into his harvest field. Go! I am sending you out like lambs among wolves. Do not take a purse or bag or sandals; and do not greet anyone on the road.“When you enter a house, first say, ‘Peace to this house.’ If someone who promotes peace is there, your peace will rest on them; if not, it will return to you.Stay there, eating and drinking whatever they give you, for the worker deserves his wages.
In my case, the wage I receive is watching them change from someone knocking on death's door to wanting to help other veterans get to where they are in life filled with hope and living a happier life.

This cannot be about going to the media or pulling a stunt. We have to be like the "72 others" going out "two by two" standing by their side. No one knows who those 72 were but everyone knows what they achieved when they went out and spread the hope and message of love.

I cannot talk about the veterans or families I work with and that is a promise I have kept all these years. It is not my story to tell and the pain they carry is theirs. How could I ease that pain if I talked about them? How could they trust me if I called a reporter every time I saved a life or restored a family? After I help them, I go back to being a wife, friend, writer and oh, almost forget, go back to my regular job for my paycheck. You have to be willing to do the same.

The training is in six parts once a week. One hour of a video and information followed by another hour of refreshments and conversation for five weeks and then on the final session, the road map is laid out.

If you are a local veteran's group and want this training, contact me and we'll set up the dates. If you a veteran's group too far for me to get to, also contact me and we can work it out.
Call 407-754-7526 after 1:00 pm Monday thru Friday, from 9:00 to 9:00 weekends.

It is time to change the conversation if we really want to change the outcome!

Be the hope they need to see that suffering is not all there is with PTSD

Not just a face in a crowd Combat PTSD Wounded Times Kathie Costos January 16, 2018 How can you help a veteran with PTSD? The same way t...