PTSD DOES NOT JUST AFFECT VETERANS

It affects a wide range of people who have survived any number of extreme circumstances. This is my introduction post to a series called “Dealing with PTSD” outlining what God has taught me about dealing with PTSD and some practical steps to help to those suffering from PTSD cope.

It was November of 1987 and I was teaching one of the general sessions at a large veteran’s conference sponsored and hosted by CBN in Virginia Beach. A few days before we’d been interviewed on The 700 Club by Sheila Walsh about Point Man Ministries and how we were ministering to Vietnam vets and their family members. As I shared how wives and children of veterans suffer from their own Post Traumatic Stress symptoms just by living with someone suffering with PTSD, I had yet to realize there was more to this than met the eye.

I distinctly remember standing before a few hundred veterans and their wives and addressing how sights, smells, or sounds can trigger the veteran and launch a full scale adrenalin surge resulting in anger and rage, or the other end of the spectrum, isolation, depression, and possibly even suicidal thoughts.

I had studied Dr. Archibald Hart’s book on adrenaline and stress and was discovering some amazing connections to those suffering with PTSD. At this point in the 80’s, PTSD was just beginning to be diagnosed in war veterans by the Veteran’s Administration… and putting a name on it and describing the symptoms was an important step in helping combat survivors begin their healing journey.

As they met in small groups in churches across the country and shared their stories, often for the first time since coming home from Vietnam, questions long since left unanswered were beginning to find resolution. Adding the spiritual element of surrendering to Jesus the baggage carried from the war experience and forgiving the Viet Cong, Jane Fonda, and other officers whose decisions resulted in the death of fellow soldiers was the key to true healing, even though the VA declared PTSD incurable.

As I stood before these men and women it finally occurred to me that I had an attitude of “you guys really have a problem and here, I’m going to give you some answers.” In reality, I was beginning to see in myself and many of the other women who were married to vets, those same symptoms of PTSD, but not because we were married to vets. No, it was from our own traumas that we’d stuffed away in shame and guilt, and never dealt with ourselves. It was the sexual abuse, the rape, the abortion, the domestic violence, the alcoholic parents, and the list went on and on.

No, PTSD was not just for veterans…many of us had our own, and God was lovingly pointing it out so that we, too, could allow Him to come in and heal those ravaged places that had been shoved aside and stuffed away because they were too painful to confront.

OVER THE NEXT NUMBER OF POSTS, I’LL BE SHARING SOME OF WHAT GOD TAUGHT ME IN THIS AREA AND SOME OF THE PRACTICAL STEPS I LEARNED IN DEALING WITH THE TRAUMAS IN OUR LIVES. STAY WITH ME…IT MAY BE A HEAVY TOPIC, BUT I PROMISE, WHERE WE ARE GOING WITH THIS WILL ENCOURAGE YOU. READ MORE NOW OR CHECK OUT THE ENTIRE SERIES.

4 Comments

  • From 1969 to about 1989, I did not know what was wrong with me other than I was upset and sometimes dsepondent that we left so many guys behind in Laos (about 600) and in Vietnam and other countries (about another 2000) as well as those who were taken to Communist Bloch Countries!In 1989, I went to an All Vets reunion near Scott AFB and it was called Tribute 89!I toured the various booths and on this display was several brochures! One of them was a Civilian Brochure with the title Post Traumatic Stress Disorder ! It showed some pictures on the front of Combat Soldiers so I picked it up with others to see what it was about!As I opened it and read the info, I was shocked, it described everything that was going on with me. I was married at the time and called my wife over to show her the brochure! She looked and said, That’s you! to the points!That was the first time that I had to face the fact that I had PTSD!We went from there to Jefferson Barracks to the All Vets reunion and a few days later back to Hannibal Mo!I called the VA either July 3rd or July 5th to ask what I needed to do to get help!I had my orders sending me to Vietnam as well as a letter awarding my with the Combat Air Crew Badge but my major information is classified and will likely always be classified!The woman on the phone said I did not have enough proof that I was in Combat and as such forget trying to get help!In 1995, I visited the VA in Omaha and they determined that I had PTSD, but they would not help me since I could not prove that I was in Combat! I even got told that I was never wounded and that PTSD was only for those who were wounded!In 2001 and 2002 after 9-11, I had access to the internet and found the FAS web site and found out the the EC-47 and the RC-130BII and the RC-135 had been downgraded for what we did (overt classifications only) so I could finally discuss the basic flights!I asked Rep Steve King’s office for help and they got me in touch with the AIA and they wrote a letter to the VA and others stating that I was indeed in a Combat role (an yes they even sent another copy of my orders and the Combat Air Crew Badge letter!I was finally awarded 30% disabled for PTSD which I appealed and got 50%!I have been able to chase down more info in the time after this and found out more details!I have found out that we were awarded 2 Outstanding Unit Citations as well as a Presidential Unit Citation! You do not get these unless you are a Combat Unit!I am not going into all the things I experienced, but suffice it to say that even coming

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