Living Among Lambs

amonglambsYou are not alone in your struggles. Transition is hard and takes time, but you CAN DO IT!!! This is another battlefield and war you’re fighting. The key now is to learn how to fight it: what are your weapons, how do you use them, who/what is your supply & provision. Most importantly in this battle know that defeat is not an option & NEVER EVER give up or quit fighting!

I ran across this picture that a facebook friend and veteran¬†Marine had posted. It was a visual image reminder that made me think of what God showed me about our combat veterans….

We All Face Challenges

Atop the mountainMy husband doesn’t really enjoy accolades and he’ll tell you that he doesn’t handle compliments very well, to which I respond, “Get over it, because in this family you’re going to get both!” ūüôā This week my husband joined a group of 14 other combat veterans to participate in the Save a Warrior Project hosted here in Kentucky! For those of you who have not heard of this program, in a nutshell it is basically an awesome, tried & proven PTSD Detox program…

Reboot-Refresh: Invisible Wounds Support Group

 

This month, Reboot-Refresh is taking a “field trip”. ¬†We have found out that the documentary, Hell and Back Again, will be coming to Lexington, Kentucky, for one night only. Since the documentary is being presented at the same time we normally meet, we have decided to attend the showing of Hell and Back Again, and then meet afterwards to discuss the film.

We hope you will join us. Here are the details:

The movie is 90 minutes. It is being shown at LexArts, 161 N. Mill Street, Lexington, 40507.  It is free and open to the public. It is being presented by KET as part of the ITVS nationwide Community Cinema program.  We will meet in front of LexArts at 6:00 pm, Thursday, April 19.

Here is some information about our Invisible Wounds Care Group, Reboot-Refresh.   We meet on the third Thursday of each month.  We meet at Southland Christian Church, in Room B133.

Our focus is to support one another and learn to help one another through life after combat.  Many of us are playing a role of primary support for someone who has served in combat at some point in their past.

If you know your loved one is dealing with PTSD or a mild TBI, this group is for you.  If your loved one doesn’t have a diagnosis, but you know life is simply not the same anymore since their return from war, this group is for you.  Statistically, at least 20% of returning troops will have PTSD.  Realistically, everyone who serves will come back changed.

PTSD carries a stigma that we don’t speak of outside our homes. The symptomatic behaviors are often nothing to brag about and we prefer to keep problems to ourselves, hoping and praying that the situation will resolve itself in time. Thousands of veterans return home from war finding themselves unable to fit back into society. These men and women now face a battle on the homefront which can result in broken relationships, substance abuse, mental illness, homelessness, and suicide.

Even if your loved one is seeking treatment, there is much that we, as caregivers, need to learn so that we can help our loved one work towards health and healing.  Often times, our emotional reaction to what is happening will make the situation far worse.  You may even find that you are exhibiting symptoms of Secondary Traumatic Stress and you probably feel overwhelmed and at a loss as to how to get any help for yourself.

We are not experts, but we are survivors.  The purpose of this care group is to provide a safe atmosphere in which participants can share their hearts and their struggles. We have all experienced the spiritual, mental, and emotional battles that come with supporting and loving a combat veteran living with war’s invisible wounds.

We welcome anyone who has already walked this path in supporting a combat veteran.  You can show us some of the lessons and techniques you have learned and teach us to be a better support for our own combat veteran.

If you are a veteran who is willing to share your perspective about living with PTSD, we would welcome your participation and suggestions for helping family members learn to be a better support for their combat veteran.

If you are the parent, spouse, family member, or close friend to one of our nation’s veterans suffering with PTSD and TBI, we hope you will join us on the first and third Thursday nights of each month.  The group will meet monthly, on the third Thursday evening of the month from 6:30 Р8:00 pm.  Childcare is provided.  We will be meeting at Southland Christian Church, Room B133, located at 5001 Harrodsburg Rd., Nicholasville, KY For driving directions, click here.  For a building map, click here.

If you have any questions, please contact Beth at beth@military-missions.org.

Ask Dr Diaz about Secondary PTSD

Military Missions and Voice of Warriors join together each Tuesday night at 7:00 pm to bring you VOW Talk Radio.

When men and women return from combat, family members step up to care for them.  With ten years of war, thousands are returning home with Post Traumatic Stress.  When PTSD is brought into the home, the family is going to be directly affected.  Many family members find themselves experiencing their own symptoms of what is known as Secondary PTSD.

Dr. Rolando Diaz  joins VOW Talk Radio on Tuesday, April 10, at 7:00 pm (EDT) to answer your questions about Secondary PTSD.  Dr. Diaz, a Give an Hour provider, and clinical psychologist with an independent practice in Arlington, Virginia, joins our show on the second Tuesday of each month to answer your questions about surviving life after combat.

Dr. Diaz will be clarifying the distinction between true PTSD, secondary experiences that are tied to the trauma that the service member experienced (e.g., a wife having nightmares of her husband’s accident), and the experiences that result from living with someone with PTSD.¬† All of these get labeled the same way but represent very different circumstances and need different treatment approaches.

Listen live by clicking here or calling the show at 424-258-9240. Don’t forget to join our live chat during the show.

Signs and symptoms that may indicate Secondary PTSD

  • The survivor may lose interest in family or intimate activities and may become emotionally isolated or detached. ¬†Family members may feel hurt, alienated, frustrated and discouraged.
  • The survivor may exhibit behaviors that indicate he is irritable, tense, anxious, worried, distractible, startled, enraged, controlling, overprotective, and demanding. Family members may feel like they live in a war zone, often reacting in anger, or purposely distancing themselves from the trauma survivor.
  • Even if the trauma occurred decades ago, the survivor may act feel as if the trauma is still happening.¬† Family members may also feel as if their secondary trauma is still happening.¬† As time passes, the family may begin to avoid activities with others, and become isolated from friends outside the family.¬† They may feel that no one outside the family could possibly understand their situation.
  • The trauma survivor often feels there is no future for which to look forward. Family members may find it very difficult to have a cooperative discussion with the survivor about important plans and decisions for the future.
  • The survivor may have difficulty listening and concentrating. He may become easily distracted, tense, or anxious. He may become hyper vigilant, displaying angry and overly suspicious behavior toward family members. The trauma survivor may become fearful about problems becoming terrible catastrophes.¬†As well, the family may find it difficult to discuss personal or family problems because the survivor may become controlling, demanding, overprotective, and anxious.
  • Family members may become over involved with the lives of healthy family members due to need for positive emotional feedback, or they may ignore the healthy members of the family giving all of their attention to the trauma survivor.
  • Family members may find their sleep disrupted by the survivor‚Äôs sleep problems (reluctance to sleep at night, restlessness, severe nightmares or episodes of violent sleepwalking).¬† Family members also often find themselves having terrifying nightmares, leading to a fear of going to sleep, or difficulty getting a restful night‚Äôs sleep.
  • Ordinary activities, such as shopping, driving or attending a movie may trigger traumatic memories and flashbacks throwing one into ‚Äúsurvival mode‚ÄĚ suddenly and without explanation.¬† The survivor may shut down emotionally, or leave abruptly leaving family members feeling stranded, helpless, and worried.
  • Trauma survivors with PTSD often struggle with intense anger or rage and often have difficulty coping with the impulse to lash out verbally or physically. Family members can easily feel frightened and betrayed by the survivor, despite feeling love and concern for their loved one.
  • Family members are also frequently exposed to emotional, financial, and domestic problems. Survivors experiencing PTSD may seek relief and escape with alcohol or other drugs.¬† Addictive behaviors such as gambling and eating disorders are common.¬† Addictions offer false hope to the survivor by seeming to help for a short time.¬† Soon these addictions increase the fear, anxiety, tension, anger and emotional numbness which go hand in hand with PTSD.
  • When suicide is a danger, family members face the unavoidable strains of worry, guilt, grief, fear, and anger.

Warfighter Mindset

Did you know that Military Missions Inc partners with Voice of Warriors each week to bring VOW Talk Radio to the airwaves?  Military Missions founder, Beth Pennington, joins Patti Katter, founder of Voice of Warriors and Christian Military Wives each Tuesday night to bring you VOW Talk Radio. The show airs via BlogTalk Radio so you can tune in each Tuesday evening at 7:00 pm (EDT) right from your computer or using your phone no matter where you live in the great USA!

We have a great show coming up tonight. Boone Cutler  and Shawn Gourley  will be joining VOW Talk Radio us. The warfighter mindset will be our focus as we discuss the role that education plays in the law enforcement community.  We are referring, of course, to education about Post Traumatic Stress experienced by our combat veterans.

Boone and Shawn will be sharing about their upcoming participation at the Western States Hostage Negotiation Association’s conference  in June.

Warfighter Boone Cutler is an author and Veteran‚Äôs Rights leader who has become the first nationally recognized on-air personality who is also a Warfighter from the current war. ‚ÄėTipping Point with Boone Cutler‚Äô airs Saturday mornings on Fox News Radio.

Shawn is the author of The War at Home: One Family’s Fight Against PTSD.   In her book, Shawn and her husband, Justin, share their personal experiences living life with Post Traumatic Stress. Best known for starting Military with PTSD on Facebook, Shawn leads a unique community of veterans and their family members who offer support to one another. Shawn joins the VOW team on the third Tuesday of each month to discuss issues relevant to families facing life after combat.

 

Our Military Kids: Building Dreams

Have you heard of Our Military Kids?  Join Military Missions and Voice of Warriors on VOW Talk Radio and hear our interview with Greg O’Brien who will be sharing all about how the nonprofit helps dreams come true for the children of our National Guard and Military Reserve personnel deployed overseas, as well as the children of wounded warriors from all branches.

Our Military Kids awards grants to pay for participation in sports, fine arts, camps, tutoring programs, and a variety of other opportunities to nurture and sustain children while a parent is deployed or recovering from injury.

There are many psychological benefits to having a child enrolled in an activity. For wounded warriors, the family’s daily life almost always revolves around the injury and recovery process.  Grants provided by Our Military Kids allow children to be involved in something that is all about them.  Activities allow children to focus on a positive experience at a time when they may be dealing with a lot of negativity or an inability to understand why a parent has returned with injuries.

In the case of Traumatic Brain Injury and/or Post Traumatic Stress, the soldier may look the same, but act very differently.  Allowing a child an opportunity to focus on something positive, interesting, and just for them, is a great way to keep the child healthy through the challenging times the family will face during recovery.

If you or your loved one are serving in the National Guard or any branch of the Military Reserve, you are likely living a fair distance from a military base.  Because the family programs typically offered on a military base are not something in which you can take advantage, Our Military Kids can give you the opportunity to let your children live out their dreams too, by taking classes or being part of a team.

Find out how to apply for a grant, what types of activities are eligible, and what type of impact these grants have on the children who receive them. Click here to listen! The show airs at 8:00 pm on Monday, November 28. Listen live or download the show and listen after it airs.