Sunday, December 29, 2019

Bill was an owl who taught crickets to scream with the truth that empowered the defeat PTSD

Crickets found microphones to share good news you can use. You can heal PTSD!

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
December 29, 2019

If you think that what you have heard about veterans committing suicide is useful information, think again. The only ones benefiting from it are the people raising funds for doing it. Everyone else is being reminded that others have given up, instead of learning how to fight back.

The help they needed to heal has been available for almost 4 decades, but the noise on social media is all about raising awareness that veterans are committing suicide while passing around a fictions number as if it is supposed to mean something. The only number that really means anything is the ONE who could not be reached in time to save them. 

LADY MACBETH "I heard the owl scream and the crickets cry. Did not you speak?"
Time for more owls to teach crickets how to scream!

With my work on PTSD, it usually comes up at the strangest times. When I was with my family for Christmas, we got into a conversation about when my ex-husband tried to kill me. Not a very pleasant subject for what was supposed to be a joyous day, but it turned out to be a lesson on healing.

When the police took my ex out of the apartment somehow I knew it was just the beginning of a nightmare. Shock wore off and I went into survivor mode fully prepared to fight whatever he had in mind.

I had nightmares and flashbacks, mood swings and everything else that goes with surviving traumatic events like that. The thing that I could not overcome was paranoia.

My ex always drove muscle cars. I used to love that sound but it became torturous.It is the sound I heard when he violated the restraining order. It is the sound I heard when he would follow me on the road. It is the sound that caused panic whenever I heard it coming from another car.

While we lived in the same city, it happened a lot. I got used to the response my body had being fed from primal need to take flight or stand and fight. What I was not prepared for was when my current husband and I moved to Florida, about 1500 miles away from my ex.

No matter where I was, when I heard the sound of a muscle car, it all came back. That spirit crushing sound was a little easier to overcome, but it was still there. It was not until my cousin sent me his obituary notice from the local paper that I started to enjoy the sound of engines again. It all lasted close to 30 years.

Sure, there were many other times when I survived and went through the signs of PTSD, but with work, I overcame them because the "thing" that could have killed me, was fought by a survivor and not a victim, head on with everything I had to fight with. My strongest weapon was my faith in God and what He put within my soul.
" equip the saints for the work of ministry, for building up the body of Christ, until we all attain to the unity of the faith and of the knowledge of the Son of God, to mature manhood, to the measure of the stature of the fullness of Christ, so that we may no longer be children, tossed to and fro by the waves and carried about by every wind of doctrine, by human cunning, by craftiness in deceitful schemes. Rather, speaking the truth in love, we are to grow up in every way into him who is the head, into Christ, from whom the whole body, joined and held together by every joint with which it is equipped, when each part is working properly, makes the body grow so that it builds itself up in love. Ephesians 4:12-16
Life experience is why I understood my veteran husband, even though I never went into combat with the same type of enemy. He understood what events in my life did to me, because we were fighting the same type of battles with totally different outcomes.

It had been over a decade before we met and even longer before he started to get help for his PTSD, but he did and we are living a better quality of life than we could have had we surrendered what could be to what had been before.

The only power anything has over us, is what we allow it to have. No matter what you have done up to this point in time, you have the power to decide what you will do in response to everything. Do you surrender as a victim of something that was not in your control, or do you fight back with everything you have as a victorious survivor?

Begin with changing your attitude toward PTSD. The term itself is empowering. 

Post means AFTER it happened. You are still here, so you are a survivor.

Trauma is Greek for WOUND. You did not to it to yourself but you were injured by it.

Stress comes from surviving it and things change because of what you went through.

Disorder means that things inside of you get messed up for a time, but with work, you put things back in a different order as a survivor. 

With the right help, you can become even stronger than you were before. 

I had to learn with life experience, clinical books and a dictionary while sitting in uncomfortable library chairs written by researchers long before I heard the term Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and that was 38 years ago for me.

Over on the other side of the country, Point Man started in 1984 to address the needs of veterans, along with their families. The kicker here is, it started by a Vietnam veteran...Seattle Police Officer, who understood that healing had to include knowledge of the mind, body and spiritual battles that had to be won.

If you are a member of law enforcement, keep this in mind. Officer Bill Landreth experienced combat, and then risking his life as a police officer, but he also understood what was necessary to heal from experiences as a survivor by addressing his needs as a human. He shared his wisdom willingly and freely, expecting nothing back other than joy of seeing someone overcome their own experiences.

All these years later, others have come forward in quiet ways, working side by side with those in need. Bill was an owl who taught crickets to scream with the truth that empowered the defeat PTSD. 

If you need support call 1-800-877-8387.

Sunday, December 22, 2019

Speak up when only the male receives a "thank you" for his service

Why do women wonder when their service will count?

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
December 22, 2019

We read about it all the time. A couple is sitting together, both wearing military hats, yet it is only the male who receives a "thank you" for his service.

Someone forgot to inform the "thanker" that women have served this country since before it was a country.
Military women serving in war zones are such a common sight in worldwide media these days that their presence is little remarked upon.

In both Operation Enduring Freedom and Operation Iraqi Freedom, military women from the U.S. and other countries have shown the mental and physical toughness needed to perform well under fire, to defend themselves and their comrades with courage, and to endure the conditions inherent to life in a combat zone.

Officially, women have been serving on active duty in the U. S. military since 1901. Unofficially, they have been serving since the American Revolution, during which time women like Deborah Sampson dressed as men to enter the Continental Army, while others, like Margaret Corbin, accompanied their husbands to camp and then onto the battlefield. It was during the Civil War that the U.S. government first recruited women to serve with the armed forces as nurses, albeit without military status. About 4,200 served with the Army of the North. During the Spanish-American War, the Army again recruited female nurses and again these women kept their civilian status. About 1,500 served. They were so successful that the War Department requested Congress to authorize establishment of an Army Nurse Corps. This was done as part of The Army Reorganization Act of 1901. The Navy Nurse Corps was established in 1908 by the FY 1909 Naval Appropriations Act (Public Law-115).
Today over 210,000 women serve on active duty in the military services of the Department of Defense (Army, Navy, Marine Corps, and Air Force), and another 5,955 serve in the Active Coast Guard—part of the Department of Homeland Security in peacetime.
The Reserve Components are federal forces. Guard components play dual state and federal roles. Like most of the active forces, the Reserve and Guard components have an increasing percentage of women in their ranks. As of February 2018, women constituted 158,090 or 19.8 percent—of all personnel serving in the six DoD Reserve and Guard forces. Women number 1,067—or 17.4 percent—of all personnel serving in the Coast Guard Reserve.
Women have been bestowed with every military medal for heroism, including the Medal of Honor. Dr. Walker not only served during the Civil War, she was a POW.

Released from government contract at the end of the war, Dr. Walker lobbied for a brevet promotion to major for her services. Secretary of War Stanton would not grant the request. President Andrew Johnson asked for another way to recognize her service. A Medal of Honor was presented to Dr. Walker in January 1866. She wore it every day for the rest of her life.
And here are some more women who went above and beyond what many think women do for the country.
As of August there are 613 female Marines and sailors serving in previously all-male units ― representing an increase of 60 percent since 2018, the Marine Corps said. The number comes from December’s quarterly briefing from the Defense Advisory Committee on Women in the Services, a group meant to provide the Defense Department recommendations on how to improve gender integration throughout the military. Marine Corps Times

The first female Marine has passed the Basic Reconnaissance Course and earned the 0321 reconnaissance Marine military occupational specialty, or MOS, the Marine Corps has confirmed. Lance Cpl. Alexa Barth graduated from the grueling 12-week course Nov. 7, 1st Lt. Sam Stephenson, Marine Corps spokesman, confirmed to Marine Corps Times Thursday. Marine Corps Times

Females in the Army have achieved much and you can find a lot of them here.
What was unlikely, when she joined, was that she - a woman - would rise to higher ranks than her father, a Brigadier General. But she did, and on November 14, 2008, Ann E. Dunwoody became the first woman in U.S. military history to achieve the rank of General, which came with three more stars. Connecting Vets

General Lori Robinson, the highest ranking woman in U.S. military history, discussed the challenges that come with leading two commands at an event Monday, emphasizing how she wants to be recognized for her abilities and position—not her gender. Robinson—who is commander of North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD) and United States Northern Command (USNORTHCOM)—explained how she leads “two commands with a common purpose.” Although each command has different responsibilities, she noted that they share the same objective—protecting the homeland. Duke Chronicle

Laura Yeager originally joined the military to help pay for college. Her father, retired California National Guard Maj. Gen. Robert Brandt, was a helicopter pilot who served two tours in Vietnam, but, she said in 2017, “I think my father was more surprised than anyone that I joined.” It was the start of a history-making career that has spanned more than three decades. Yeager flew Black Hawk helicopters in Iraq and served as the first female commander of Joint Task Force North in Fort Bliss, Texas, and on June 29, she became the first woman to lead an Army infantry division when she took command of the 40th Infantry Division in the California National Guard. TIME

FORT BENNING, Ga. -- Two Soldiers from the South Carolina and Pennsylvania National Guard are the first enlisted National Guard females to graduate from U.S. Army Ranger School. U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jessica Smiley, a South Carolina National Guard military police non-commissioned officer serving with the U.S. Army Training and Doctrine Command, and U.S. Army Sgt. Danielle Farber, Pennsylvania National Guard 166th Regional Training Institute Medical Battalion Training Site instructor, completed the mentally and physically challenging school at Fort Benning Dec. 13. The school prepares Soldiers to be better trained, more capable and more resilient leaders. US Army
One of the Navy's smallest and most elite communities may soon have its first female members, has learned. Three enlisted women are now in the training pipeline to become special warfare combatant-craft crewmen, small-boat operators frequently teamed with Navy SEALs for infiltration and exfiltration missions. They also conduct reconnaissance and other missions in shallow-water regions.
None of these women were afraid to put their lives on the line when they enlisted. So why be afraid to to speak up and say that you served too?

Sunday, December 15, 2019

Keep fueling up with a try-full lifestyle

If you are right, giving up is wrong

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
December 15, 2019
“Most of the important things in the world have been accomplished by people who have kept on trying when there seemed to be no hope at all.” ―Dale Carnegie

When you know you are right about something, you fight to prove it. You do not give up on what is important to you. At least that is the way it is supposed to work, but sometimes, no matter how hard or how long you try, fighting can drain whatever hope you have left. But fighting is what keeps us moving forward.

When I moved to New Hampshire, I brought a truckload of misery with me. I did not notice I packed every rotten thing that happened there 1,600 miles away.

Last week I had to call my friend Dana Morgan, the past President of Point Man, because I could not bring myself to pick up the phone to contact some of the groups up here working on veterans issues.

All the doors slammed in my face in Florida, caused a panic within me just thinking of dialing the number I had written down. Too many times I asked for help for what I had dedicated more than half my life to, yet few wanted to help me. The thing that got to me the most were those who constantly expected me to help them do what they wanted to do.

I knew my motivation was pure. I knew my knowledge was vast and well researched. I knew it helped veterans and families, like mine, learn to thrive in spite of PTSD trying to take over their lives. Just as I packed a truck load of misery, all of that came with me.

Talking with Dana, he made me realize that the worst that could happen was to hear "not interested" from people I was contacting. He suggested I call the one I though would reject me the worst. I called and was put in touch with someone higher up. While some want to trifle with me, I'd rather have a "try-full life" when I wake up and try again.

Finding someone higher up can only happen if we do not settle for "no" or "not interested" for an answer. Work your way up the chain until you find the right kind of helper to get you to where you want to be.

If you have PTSD and know what it is, then you know the truth about part of your life. You know what is inside of you that has been there all along, as well as you know the changes that "what happened" caused. The thing is, you can change again and everything that was in you, all the stuff that made you "you" is all still there.

If anyone tells you that you are doomed to suffer, feel sorry for them because they are too miserable in their own lives to bother to learn anything factual.

Fight to regain what is right within you so that you can break through the pain and doubt that has you trapped. The worst thing that can happen, already did and you survived it!

Tuesday, December 3, 2019

Devastating to discover we were wrong

Getting wrong kind of help worse than none

PTSD Patrol
Kathie Costos
December 3, 2019

If you are wondering why I could not post on this site for a while, it became impossible to be upbeat and share anything encouraging when we were being tortured for trusting the wrong people.

There are people we think we can count on to help us get to where we want to go. It can be devastating to discover we were wrong.

My husband and I decided to sell our house in Florida so that we could move closer to our daughter in New Hampshire. We turned to "friends" we had known for 15 years to sell it. Worst mistake of our lives!

I found a buyers agent to help us in New Hampshire. Catherine Allen was a stranger turned into a blessing. Our house was not getting much attention and she took a look at the listing. Catherine said the pictures were the biggest part of the problem and so was the price.

When I told our "friend" what Catherine said, that was the last time she took my phone call and would not respond to emails. I had no clue what the hell was wrong with her but what made it worse was what it did to us personally knowing that "friends" would treat us like that. 

Catherine proved she was watching out for us and knew the market in Florida even though she was in Maine.

I called Zillow to see what they would offer to just buy the house. Agents like our "friends" are a great reason why people would be willing to lose more money on the sale of their home and avoid a lot of extra stress no one needs piled on to their shoulders.

Zillow said that the agent would have to release it or we would have to pay the commission to them as well as the fee to Zillow. My husband called the husband of the agent since both of them were agents and thought of him as a true friend. Needless to say the response we got was that the would not release the listing. I was fed up!

I called the head of the agency and told him what they were doing and he said he would have them straighten it out. What followed was a series of angry emails from the husband. Since I worked for a title company, I turned to our agents and in turn to our legal department to find a lawyer we could trust.

Leo Brito of Nishad Khan got all the details on what happened. When he was reviewing it, more angry emails came in from the agent. The last one had two lies in just two sentences. He wrote that "we had an offer come in from "opendoor" are you interested in hearing the terms and conditions of that offer?" (He must have forgotten who I worked for, and knew how that business worked.) The next sentence was that his boss just talked to him, even though he had already sent the angry emails. I responded by telling him to stop contacting me and that he would be hearing from our lawyer.

I called Open Door and asked an agent if they ever cold called to make offers. After that agent stopped laughing, it gave me more ammo for our lawyer.

To top that off, Zillow contacted his wife to make an offer based on our conversation. As soon as he said who he was, she told him he had the wrong number, then hung up the phone.

Leo sent them notice that if they did not release us, it would head into litigation. They released the house so that we could get an agent who was actually interested in doing the work to sell the house and earn his commission.

We went with Wes Garrison of REMAX and he explained why the house was worth thousands less than it had been listed for. He sent our a professional photographer to take stunning pictures, including drone views of the area. We ended up with so many people coming to see it that we lost count. He was responsive to all of my questions and restored my faith in real estate agents. Basically he busted his ass to sell our house.

In less than 2 weeks, our house was under agreement! The best part of all is that the buyers were people we already knew. They loved the house almost as much as we did.

Hurricane Humberto was taking time going up the east coast, so we had to wait to fly up to New Hampshire to start looking for a house. Catherine had what we were looking for all lined up. We thought we found the right house in Maine and she got things moving fast since our house was being sold.

We flew back to Florida to start packing and she went to the home inspection, plus set us up with a mortgage broker. Brad Kelly of AnnieMac walked me through everything they needed and pushed to get it done in our timeframe. His whole team was fabulous, but the house we were planning on buying was not.

The inspection was bad enough that we had to walk away from it. We wanted to keep our word to the sellers, so we kept packing. On our 35th wedding anniversary, we sold the house. After the movers left, we headed to a hotel with our dog Murray.

Considering I was then unemployed and we did not know where we were going to end up living, basically homeless, this could have destroyed us if we let it. To top that all off, I left a job I love and people who were more like family than coworkers. 

I turned to my husband and said, "Yahoo! Our 35th anniversary...we're homeless and I'm unemployed! Second honeymoon road trip!"

Long story shorter, Catherine found us the house we ended up buying and the team at AnnieMac got it together so that in less than a month, we closed on this house in Rochester New Hampshire.

Murray settled in by claiming the family room as his.
Appropriately enough, less than a month after we moved in, we got this over the last couple of days. 

This is the view across the street. The snow plows cleared the road! Much like I hope to do for female veterans here in New Hampshire with clearing their way to healing after getting the wrong kind of help from people more interested in getting what they could instead of doing their jobs to help those who turned to them.

There is so much they cannot find because the road has been blocked by too many snow jobs making them believe there was no hope for them to get to where they want to go. They need to know that they can heal PTSD, and their lives can be so much better. So far, it seems that female veterans have been disregarded by most of the groups. When some people hear that a female veteran has PTSD, they automatically think it was sexual assault instead of caused by combat experiences...the same kind males go through. 

Point Man is ready to change that! I will be working with female veterans from all generations to let them know they matter equally They earned the gratitude, respect and help we are providing for free. With the veterans I have helped over all these years, I can attest to the fact that seeing their lives turn around is priceless!

Starting next Sunday, I'll begin the Sunday Morning Empowerment Zone again. I will also give updates on where the meetings will be as soon as I figure that one out.

If you are a female veteran in New Hampshire or Maine and need help, call me at 407-754-7526 or email

"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...

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