Love Our Vets-PTSD Family Support
7/9/15 at 09:25 PM 2 Comments

PTSD Awareness & Resources: What's Missing?

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PTSD Awareness and Resources: What's Missing?

by Welby O'Brien

The month of June was dedicated to PTSD Awareness. Thankfully for the first time in our history, there is an abundance of information about PTSD and help for those who struggle with it (which just in the U.S. alone is millions!). So why then are so many – including all their loved ones around them – still seriously suffering? I think I have an answer to what may be missing.

In this age of “political correctness,” too many tend to cower, and as a result sometimes helpful solutions get suppressed. So today I am stepping out and sharing my personal take on what I believe truly can make a difference. It IS possible that good things can come out of the PTSD, and those who have it and those who love someone with it can truly live fulfilling lives (not perfect, but alive and growing.)

It has been said that the only thing worse than the horrendous trauma itself (which can happen to ANYONE!), and living with the Posttraumatic Stress for the rest of one’s life, is experiencing it all alone. For most, the moment of terrorizing trauma was a frightening feeling of aloneness, helplessness and hopelessness. The utter absence of help, hope, comfort and companionship.

For me and my veteran husband, who has battled PTSD for over 40 years, as well as for many others I know, wholeness begins with connection. Having someone who cares and is present. With you. PTSD and all. In the flashbacks. In the depression. In the anxiety. In the aftermath of nightmares. In the fear and dread. In and after the triggers.

We who love our PTSD survivors, whether veterans or not, do not need to always totally feel – or understand – what our loved ones go through. And that is okay. What is important is caring. And being there. Not to fix. Just to support. Listen. Love. Encourage them to get help and support, and respect their need for healthy space. (While at the same time we have to remember the importance of caring for our own needs regularly…see LOVE OUR VETS: Restoring Hope for Families of Veterans with PTSD).

In addition to connecting with those who care, the other vital connection is with God. For me personally it is through prayer, music, reading the Bible, and walking alone in the beauty of nature. For my vet, it is reading his Bible, praying, listening to his favorite gospel radio and T.V. shows, and connecting with other men who also want God in their lives.

All the wonderful things out there that help with PTSD are also very important. But I liken it to someone with a serious heart condition. All the lifestyle changes and proper meds will do a world of good. But how much more so if in addition to all that, it were possible to have a healthy and successful heart transplant. There would still be pain, and it would not be perfect, but what a world of difference to have a totally new heart.

Same with God. The PTSD and all of life’s challenges will always be there. But what if you knew that you would never again be alone? What if you had promises, and hope for today, tomorrow and every day after? God offers so much that even the best doctors and the best loved ones can never provide.

The missing parts?

Connection with those who care, and connection with God. I am able to say this with confidence because I am living it. I see it every day in my life and my vet’s life. He will always face the challenges of PTSD. (We both will). But I have seen him come alive in these last few years. He is no longer numb. The depression does not hijack him into a deep dark cave for days/ weeks at a time. We can connect. We can pray together. I can sit with him in his pain and dark times. We can talk and pray about everything, including his fears, guilt, memories and nightmares.

I am learning to stay mindful of me also. I am no longer numb as I had been most of my life. And I do have my own issues to work on as well. Together we are growing and learning in the ups and downs.

But not numb. Alive.  Not alone. Connected.  With each other and with God.

If you struggle with PTSD, or know someone who does, I encourage you to contact your VA or other local chaplain if you can. Also please feel welcome to check out the excellent resources on our website. (

Finally, I want to THANK all who have served and sacrificed, and all who are still serving and sacrificing so I could have the freedom to post this, and you could read it. May we always be a country that can freely talk about God and celebrate our freedom to connect with Him at any time.

God bless YOU!

~Welby O'Brien
LOVE OUR VETS - PTSD Family Support, LLC

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