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!

Monday, May 1, 2017

PTSD Patrol "the direction of your life changes to forward"

Welcome to PTSD Patrol! It is May 1st, and Military Appreciation Month. I couldn't think of a better day to start this site.

Have you ever heard the term "MAYDAY-MAYDAY-MAYDAY" and right away acknowledged someone needed help? Do you think the one calling it out is too weak to take care of themselves? Or do you think they need help? Ok then WFT is your problem being on the other end of the help line?

WARNING: I am a Greek/Scottish/Chaplain originally from the Boston area, hang out with veterans and bikers, plus I drink, smoke and swear. If you're looking for spiritual healing, you'll find it but keep all that in mind. I don't mess around with words.  I've been doing this work for over 3 decades, so don't be shy about using the words around me either. As we go along, this site may have to be member only, but we'll see how it goes. I work full time but will try to do something everyday on here.

Up to this point in your life, you've heard a lot of the tragic outcomes of suicides connected to service. Bet they didn't tell you exactly how tragic it is when we're talking about folks putting so much value on other lives they were willing to die for their sake.

Yep, that came with the jobs all of you had. No matter what price you had to pay, the hardships and endless hours, you were willing to do it. Sure other humans get hit by PTSD by one single event, but your risk came with your job.

From this point on, the direction of your life changes to forward because we're going to get you to stop looking back. It isn't about forgetting what happened, as much as it is making sense out of it and making peace with it. 

What is PTSD?
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder seems like a bad term but when you break it down, it actually makes perfect sense.

Post means after something. Trauma is Greek for wound. So far you have experienced something that changed your life and left a wound. The event caused your whole body to go into stress mode. Everything you thought, felt and what was "normal" in you got out of order. See the hope there?

Ok then, try this. It means you survived "it" and all wounds can heal with the proper treatment. Stress does not last forever and for the "disorder" part, it means that it can be put back into order again. Nothing fell out of you even though it fell out of place.

The "you" you always were is still in there. With a lot of work, you can change how you are living and stop suffering as much as you are. There are things about PTSD that cannot be reversed but you can lean how to cope with them. The even better news is that you can actually come out on the other side better than before.

PTSD is change. Basically, you can change again.

The most important thing of all is understanding what it is and why you have it. It is not a mental illness. It is not even considered an anxiety disorder anymore. It is all by itself because the only way to get hit by PTSD is after trauma slams into you. It does not begin in you but invades you.

It has nothing to do with being weak at all but more about the strength of your emotional core. You carried away your own pain but the pain of others as well.

Starting today, take back control over your life.

A wise Marine veteran said, "PTSD does not have to control you. Just because you have PTSD it does not mean it has you!"

No doom! No gloom! No bad news on this site! Just a reminder of this simple fact. This second onward is within your control!

"Can you imagine how I feel today?"

PTSD Patrol Kathie Costos June 15, 2021 "Can you imagine how I feel today?" is a question no one would have to ask if they talk...

PTSD Patrol

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It is your life, get in and drive it