Sunday, February 7, 2016

PTSD Survivors Guide, Proceed With Caution

Between working full time and posting on Wounded Times plus everything else, there are just not enough hours in the day to post here as well.  I left it up for the sake of what is already here.

Reading about a PDF download available with "The Survivor's Guide to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder" made me just about pop my cork! I don't know what is in it but I had nothing to do with whatever whomever put in it. So proceed with caution knowing that.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Combat PTSD Videos for Rainy Day

Here are some of my older videos that can help you understand combat PTSD. Most of them were made before 2009 and used to be up on YouTube. They have helped veterans and their families even though the new generation said the music is "sappy" but they got the point.

Vietnam Medal of Honor Sammy Davis has a message to all the troops coming home. Talk about it! Don't try to forget it but you can make peace with it. Dixie Davis has a message for the spouses too. Help them to talk about it with you or with someone else.

You Can Heal
If you have PTSD, know that you are not evil. Evil people do not feel that kind of pain and the do not grieve for others. You can heal and love again.

Oct 21, 2012
There are many things that keep getting missed when we talk about Combat and PTSD. This is to clear up the biggest one of all. What is courage and how does it link to being "mentally tough" so that you can push past what you were told about "resiliency" training. Chaplain Kathie "Costos" DiCesare of Wounded Times Blog tries to explain this in interview done by Union Squared Studios.
Forever Young
My wish for veterans in the New Year is that all of you know how much it means to be able to spend so much time with all of you.
"May God bless you and keep you always
May your wishes all come true
May you always do for others
And let others do for you
May you build a ladder
To the stars
And climb on every rung
And may you stay
Forever young"

Iraq Vet talks about PTSD and his work with Point Man Ministries and how he didn't want to live.
Part One
Part Two

PTSD I Grieve
For National Guardsmen and why you grieve.

Nam Nights of PTSD Still
Turn The Page of PTSD
Coming Out of the Dark
"Why be afraid if I'm not alone" the song start with and you are not alone. You can come out of the dark of PTSD and heal.
PTSD Is Not God's Judgment

Tuesday, October 1, 2013

Soldiers nothing more than lab rats for research project

Soldiers nothing more than lab rats for research project
De-Tour Combat PTSD Survivors Guide
Kathie Costos
October 1, 2013

Well Suicide Awareness Month is over and so far we have not learned much. At least nothing that is good or hopeful. We do know the answers are out there, just as they have been for the last 40 years but with the way most reporters act, it is almost as if nothing has been learned.

First you need to know that it is not your fault. PTSD goes all the way back to the Old Testament and if you ever read the Psalms of David, you'd see it in his words and his heartbreak. That depth of pain few find the words to express come pouring out of him. It isn't new.

There was a news report released today about WWI soldiers in what was most likely PTSD cases.
Call to rethink cases of French WWI 'coward' soldiers
The report said many soldiers must have had "a moment of weakness or despair"

A panel of French historians has called for the records of soldiers who were shot for cowardice and desertion in World War I to be rewritten.

The historians' report, commissioned by the government, called for the cases of 650 men shot during the war to be reconsidered.

Many of them are "worthy and deserving of moral, civic and public-spirited rehabilitation", the report says.

Veterans' minister Kader Arif has promised to consider the issue.

The report was sent to him ahead of next year's commemorations to mark the 100th anniversary of the start of the war.

It concludes that most of those shot "were not cowards: they were good soldiers, who had done their duty and did not deserve death. The shame which came with their convictions deserves to be lifted."

President Francois Hollande has said that marking the anniversary will be "a major event" in his term of office.
read more here

One more example of how terrible it was back then along with the simple fact, we haven't come very far from those dark days after all the research and funding has been spent. We may not shoot PTSD soldiers anymore but we let the DOD discharge over 30,000 of them under personality disorders.

We need to get something out of the way. I'd rather see you angry than believe any of this is your fault. It isn't.

The Army has just released the suicide numbers for August. We don't know how many committed suicide in September yet but as of August this year has brought the end to 106 Soldiers and 66 Army National Guardsmen and 36 Army Reservists. For 2012 there were 185 Soldiers, 93 National Guardsmen and 47 Army Reservists.

When you consider the troops left Iraq in 2011, the deaths since then are even more telling of the fact they have been nothing more than lab rats for a research project passed off as resilience training. Comprehensive Solider Fitness was based on a research project. The following is from The Warrior SAW, Suicides After War.
David Rudd was scheduled to work with University of Texas Health Sciences Center, the Warrior Resiliency Program at Brook Army Medical Center and the University of Pennsylvania. It was supposed to be “clinical trails” to see if they could reduce the number of suicides because as the article quoted Rudd, “For the first time in history this January, more soldiers died by suicide than in combat” but since we just went through the deadliest year five years after the fact, it should give you a better perspective on what is actually going on here.
The program was designed for school age children and the creator didn’t think there was a single reason it wouldn’t work on the military. Experts started to line up and explain that to put a “program” into this kind of setting without being tested were not justified to justify the Army program.

Bryant Welch was a bit harsher but closer to telling the truth about what many experts had confirmed in a nicer way.

“They had schoolchildren, each night, write down three positive things about themselves. And then they noticed in a follow-up study that those children felt better about themselves. But to go from that to saying that we can have a soldier in a foxhole who says positive things about himself and follows the precepts of this program, is going to watch his buddy blown to smithereens and spend four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan and come out feeling better about himself, there is a shallowness to the assessment that, from my vantage point, I find abhorrent.”

DR. BESSEL VAN DER KOLK, Boston University School of Medicine: “It doesn't make sense from a neuroscience point of view, because -- and what all of our research shows is that trauma affects cognition. And the very piece that you need to think clearly and to be optimistic gets severely impacted by being traumatized. So, traumatized people cannot think straight because their brains are sort of locked in horror and terror.”

“Recently, the Army released an evaluation of the program, which said, in part, "There is now sound scientific evidence that Comprehensive Soldier Fitness improves the resilience and psychological health of soldiers.” But there is disagreement over that statement in psychiatric circles from doctors and Ph.D.s who say the evaluation is flawed and doesn't prove anything. Meanwhile, the Air Force is in the process of implementing its own version of the program.” (Army Program Aims to Build Troops Mental resilience to Stress, PBS News Hour, Judy Woodruff, December 14, 2011)
“The Army and the National Institute of Mental Health have begun a five-year, $50 million research program into the factors behind soldier suicides and how to prevent them, Army Secretary Pete Geren.”
(American Forces Press Service J.D. Leipold October 30, 2008)

It is important to mention what has been going on behind the backs of the American people, especially military families because they thought the military has actually trying to take care of the men and women risking their lives for this country. They weren't.

While I heard the horror stories from veterans dealing with suffering after thinking PTSD was their fault and they tried to kill themselves because of how horrible it made them feel, they pointed to this training above anything else giving them a false sense of their own courage and mental fitness.

While Welch said the program was "abhorrent" what ended up being said last week by Army Chief Ray Odierno actually confirmed what the soldiers and veterans were feeling about the way they were treated in an interview he gave to David Wood of the Huffington Post.

First he blamed the soldiers,
"Some of it is just personal make-up. Intestinal fortitude. Mental toughness that ensures that people are able to deal with stressful situations."
After pushing this programming since 2009 he confirmed what he really thinks so he has no problem at all with what soldiers end up believing.

Then he blamed the families.
"But it also has to do with where you come from. I came from a loving family, one who gave lots of positive reinforcement, who built up psychologically who I was, who I am, what I might want to do. It built confidence in myself, and I believe that enables you to better deal with stress. It enables you to cope more easily than maybe some other people."

So when you read about all these deaths, consider this. In 2009 after reading about this program and their attempts to brainwash the troops with a research project, I offered this warning.
"If you promote this program the way Battlemind was promoted, count on the numbers of suicides and attempted suicides to go up instead of down. It's just one more deadly mistake after another and just as dangerous as sending them into Iraq without the armor needed to protect them."
I was right and so were the troops. They believed the DOD was blaming them and it turns out, they were.

We do know how to treat PTSD but it doesn't cost billions a year. As a matter of fact, it is free to anyone wanting to heal and has been done for almost 30 years. If you want to be cured, you can't be but you can be healed. You can live a better quality of life and heal where PTSD lives. In your soul. Contact Point Man International Ministries or me and lets get the stuff the DOD told you out of your head. It doesn't belong there.

As for not being tough enough, put it this way. Ask yourself how you managed to survived combat if you were not tough enough? Bet you pushed all that pain you were carrying aside because your buddies lives depended on you and you didn't allow yourself to feel it until you got back home. How tough it that? How much courage did that take? How much love did that require of you? See anything evil in there anymore? Good. Those thoughts don't belong in you anymore than what the General said.

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Note to readers

I am on a temp assignment again so if you need to keep up on the news, I am doing the best I can on Wounded Times to make sure reports are not forgotten about. A good example of this was the fact Green Berets, other elite Army forces ordered to stop taking anti-malarial drug mefloquine after reports came out in 2004 about how dangers this drug was. Sorry there has been little time to keep this page updated, so please go to the Wounded Times link above. I hope to be able to post here over the weekend.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Do you think you are evil because of PTSD?

Suicide prevention starts with what works and you can get a basic idea of what I'm talking about. It all boils down to one simple fact. What you need to heal is already within you. You just need help getting it all connected back again.

Do you think you are evil because of PTSD?

by Kathie Costos
Wounded Times Blog
April 22, 2013

I hear it all the time. Veterans thinking PTSD is some kind of punishment from God. They start to believe they are evil because of the flashbacks and nightmares centered around what happened during combat. The things they see stay with them. That is why I wrote the title of THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR. With the bombings in Boston, many said they saw things no one should ever have to see. Most of them were veterans. Seeing what man can do to others hits hard. It was not just seeing the evil that happened, but what came afterwards that was loving, kind and compassionate as total strangers rush to help the wounded.

Two people decided to do evil but hundreds decided to do good.

When men and women are involved in combat they tend to focus on only the bad around them but even during war, there are acts of kindness and compassion surrounding them and when people are able to hang onto what is good surrounded by what they view as evil, there is evidence of God. It is hard to see Him when they see so much horror but He is always there.

Many believe because they are being haunted, it is punishment and then they do things based on that belief. They push people away, afraid to let them get too close or judge themselves to no longer be worthy of being loved. They cannot see the goodness that still remains within them.

There are questions that have to be asked of them usually centered around things they have forgotten. Ask them why they wanted to join the military and usually it is about someone else. They wanted to serve the country. They wanted to help the others serving. They wanted to give back. Is there anything evil or selfish in any of those answers? No. They forget that part. Ask them what they want to do once they heal and usually the answer is they want to help others heal too. Anything evil in that? No. Ask them if they grieve. Usually the answer is centered around other people they grieve for and not for themselves. Anything evil in that? No.
How do they go from being so unselfish to believing they are evil? They are judging themselves with focusing only on what was wrong, what they did wrong and the wrong done to others. No one showed them what they were unable to see. Once they see they grieve because they still have goodness within them, they begin to heal. They heal faster when they can forgive their enemies and even faster when they can forgive themselves.
Learning to Forgive Yourself, by Jean Lawrence on WebMD explored forgiving.
"I think people often try to forgive themselves for the wrong things," says Joretta L. Marshall, PhD, a United Methodist minister and professor of pastoral care at the Eden Theological Seminary in St. Louis. "We think we ought to forgive ourselves for being human and making human mistakes. People don't have to forgive themselves for being who they are -- gay or lesbian, or having some kind of handicap. Forgiveness means being specific about what we did that needs forgiving."
Forgiving yourself isn't a slogging, long-term, "good day/bad day" type of thing, Marshall says. "At some point," she says, "you reach a turning point. Something shifts. You feel less burdened, you have more energy. You live longer, you have better health."

"We all screw up sometime," Hartman says."Forgiving ourselves is as close as we come to a system reset button."

There is no trick to healing them. It is not magic. It is not anything I can do for them. It is what is already inside of them to heal. They just have to find the connections again and that has to start with helping them to see the goodness that still lived through everything they faced.

It is not up to us to dismiss what they feel they need forgiveness for but it is up to us to help them find it. It is not up to us to judge what they have done but to help them find peace. This is not about one group or denomination among Christians. It is not about one faith over another. I am a Christian, so that is what my work is based on but no matter what faith they have or lack, they are addressed as other humans based on what they already believe. My job is to help them rediscover everything they were born with and help them get past the pain by reminding them that evil people do not grieve for others or regret anything they did.

That is the mission of Point Man International Ministries. It isn't expensive. Taking time and talking to veterans doesn't cost more than some books and coffee usually. Done in small groups, over the phone or thru emails, veterans have been healing since 1984 but this "moral injury" has been reported going back the the days when King David wrote about it in Psalms. You won't see huge fundraisers since most of us operate out of our pockets and don't have a clue how to raise money. Most of us are supported by generous churches valuing the work we do. It takes time, patience, compassion and love. We wouldn't do this work for "evil" people simply because it wouldn't work on the selfish. Selfish people do not care what God thinks of them. Loving people do. 

Last week I wrote two posts on healing and survivors guilt.Walking Point out of PTSD darkness and "It should have been you" said dying Marine Looking for more details to put into my new book, THE WARRIOR SAW, SUICIDES AFTER WAR, I found one going back to a month after I started this blog. Considering yesterday I celebrated the fact this blog has been read 1 million times, I thought it would be good to share it with some of the new readers.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007
Kathie Costos for Wounded Times
To lay down his life for the sake of his friends.

Do you think God abandoned you still? Come on and admit that while you were in the center of the trauma, you either felt the hand of God on your shoulder, or more often, never felt further from Him. In natural disasters, we pray to God to protect us. Yet when it's over we wonder why He didn't make the hurricane hit someplace else or why the tornadoes came and destroyed what we had while leaving the neighbors house untouched. We wonder why He heals some people while the people we love suffer. It is human nature to wonder, search for answers and try to understand.

In times of combat, it is very hard to feel anything Godly. Humans are trying to kill other humans and the horrors of wars become an evil act. The absence of God becomes overwhelming. We wonder how a loving God who blessed us with Jesus, would allow the carnage of war. We wonder how He could possibly forgive us for being a part of it. For soldiers, this is often the hardest personal crisis they face.

They are raised to love God and to be told how much God loves them. For Christians, they are reminded of the gift of Jesus, yet in moments of crisis they forget most of what Jesus went through.

Here are a few lessons and you don't even have to go to church to hear them. ( Matthew 8:5-13)

As he entered Caper'na-um, a centurion came forward to him, beseeching him and saying, "Lord, my servant is lying paralyzed at home, in terrible distress." And he said to him, "I will come and heal him." But the centurion answered him, "Lord, I am not worthy to have you come under my roof; but only say the word, and my servant will be healed. For I am a man under authority, with soldiers under me; and I say to one, 'Go,' and he goes, and to another, 'Come,' and he comes, and to my slave, 'Do this,' and he does it." When Jesus heard him, he marveled, and said to those who followed him, "Truly, I say to you, not even in Israel have I found such faith. I tell you, many will come from east and west and sit at table with Abraham, Isaac, and Jacob in the kingdom of heaven, while the sons of the kingdom will be thrown into the outer darkness; there men will weep and gnash their teeth." And to the centurion Jesus said, "Go; be it done for you as you have believed." And the servant was healed at that very moment.

This sounds like a great act Jesus did. You think about the Roman Centurion, powerful, commanding, able to lead men into combat, perhaps Jesus even knew of the other men this Centurion has killed. Yet this same man, capable of killing, was also capable of great compassion for what some regarded as a piece of property, his slave. He showed he didn't trust the pagan gods the Romans prayed to but was willing to trust Jesus.

Yet when you look deeper into this act, it proves that Jesus has compassion for the warriors. The life and death of Jesus were not surprises to Him. He knew from the very beginning how it would end. This is apparent throughout the Old Testament and the New Testament. He knew He would be betrayed, beaten, mocked, humiliated and nailed to the cross by the hands of Romans. Yet even knowing this would come, He had compassion for this Roman soldier. The Romans had tortured and killed the Jews since the beginning of their empire as well as other conquered people. The Roman soldiers believed in what they were doing, yet even with that, there was still documentation of them suffering for what they did.

Ancient historians documented the illness striking the Greeks, which is what we now call Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. There is evidence this illness hit every generation of warriors. Jesus would be aware that saving the Centurion's slave, because of the faith and trust He placed in Jesus, would be reported from soldier to soldier. Jesus showed compassion even to the Romans. How can we think that He would not show compassion to today's soldiers? How can we think that He would look any differently on them than He did toward the soldiers who would nail Him to the Cross?

God didn't send you into combat. Another human did. God however created who you are inside. The ability to be willing to lay down your life for the sake of others was in you the day you were born. While God allows freewill, for good and for evil, He also has a place in His heart for all of His children. We humans however let go of His hand at the time we need to hold onto it the most.

When tragedy and trauma strike, we wonder where God was that He allowed it to happen. Then we blame ourselves. We do the "if" and " but" over and over again in our own minds thinking it was our fault and the trauma was a judgment from God. Yet we do not consider that God could very well be the reason we survived it all. PTSD is a double edge cut to the person. The trauma strikes the emotions and the sense that God has abandoned us strikes at the soul. There is no greater sense of loss than to feel as if God has left you alone especially after surviving trauma and war. If you read the passage of Jesus and the Roman, you know that this would be impossible for God to do to you. Search your soul and you will find Him still there. For the last story on this we have none other than the Arch Angel Michael, the warrior angel. If God did not value the warrior for the sake of good, then why would He create a warrior angel and make him as mighty as he was?

Michael has a sword in one hand and a scale in the other. God places things in balance for the warriors.

And in John 15:

12 My command is this: Love each other as I have loved you.
13 Greater love has no one than this, that he lay down his life for his friends.
When it comes to waging war, issuing orders, God will judge the hearts and minds of those who sent you and He will also know yours. If you feel you need to be forgiven, then ask for it and you will be forgiven. Yet if you know in your heart the basis of your service was that of the willingness to lay down your life for your friends, then ask to be healed. Know this. That if Jesus had the compassion for a Roman how could He have any less compassion for you?

Because the military is in enough trouble already trying to evangelize soldiers for a certain branch of Christianity, understand this is not part of that. It's one of the benefits of having I don't care what faith you have or which place of worship you attended. If you were a religious person at any level before combat, your soul is in need of healing as well. There is a tremendous gift when the psychological healing is combined with the spiritual healing. If you have a religious leader you can talk to, please seek them out.
If you doubt this, the top post on Wounded Times is "For those I love I will sacrifice" and has been read over 35,000.

If you don't have one, or one who will listen to you, call me at 407-754-7526 or email me

If you don't want to talk to a woman than go toPoint Man International Ministries site and use the drop down menu for OUTPOSTS find your state and contact them.

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

De-Tour Combat PTSD Survivor's Guide, healing

Start healing by understanding. Jonathan Shay has been trying to get you to understand combat and PTSD before it became popular to do it. He wrote Achilles in Vietnam so it is a good place to start with what he has to say.

Monday, September 9, 2013

Step four, De-tour Combat PTSD Survivor's Guide

Now is the time to start healing. Hopefully you did the first parts of this and have taken a look at why you wanted to join the military in the first place. That should prove to yourself that it was far from selfish.

Every part of your life before you were deployed went with you just as every part of you returned home after deployment. Everything you went through is a part of you.

You can't run from it, hide it with booze or drugs or legal medications. You can't shove people out of your life because you are afraid they will see who you think you have become. Hopefully you have finally discovered that you are not evil, crazy or anything else that popped into your head.

If you grieve, then you are still able to love even though you may think you can't.

Frankly there is only one reason I am doing this and that is my husband. I remember what it was like in his darkest times but this month we're celebrating our 29th anniversary. We still hold hands, kiss goodbye and hello and manage to even hug when our dog cannot see us. He jumps in between us every time he catches us.

So let's get a few things out of the way.

You are not alone with feeling the way you do.

The VA study said that 22 veterans a day commit suicide but there was a VA lawsuit in 2007 that showed there were 1,000 veterans attempting suicide every month within the VA system. That means there are 55 of you every day feeling so hopeless that suicide seems to be the only answer. It isn't.

Veteans are double the rate of civilians committing suicide.

Almost half of PTSD patients are not identified "PTSD is currently diagnosed solely on the basis of clinical interviews, and patients sometimes misrepresent their feelings, often because they are trying to avoid the memories and emotions associated with their trauma. Nearly half of PTSD patients are not identified, by some estimates."

USA Today story Military divorce rate at highest level since 1999.

This is not even addressing the suicides and attempted suicides of servicemen and women. We also know that 2011 showed that attempted suicides have been under-reported.
2011 Air Force 50 241 attempted suicide
Army 167
440 attempted suicide
Marines 32
156 attempted suicide
Navy 52
87 attempted suicide
Department of Defense Suicide Event Report for 2011
For 2011 there were 935 attempted suicides in the military with 915 individuals trying to kill themselves. 896 tried once, 18 tried twice and 1 tried three times.

What do you need to stay here? Obviously you want to heal or you wouldn't be reading this. There may be a part of you believing that you are a burden to your family. Well, you're not alone on that feeling either and Medal of Honor hero Dakota Meyer knows that feeling all too well. While the media jumped all over the time when Dakota had the medal put around his neck, they didn't pay much attention to the fact that before that day, he put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger. Someone took the bullets out, probably his Dad.

If you feel like a burden, then understand something. You are not a burden, they just don't understand what is happening to you, so they get sad, they get angry and they wish to God that you'd just go back to the way you were before. I know because in the beginning I felt all of that with my own husband but the kicker is, I knew what PTSD was way back then.

I loved him and it was hard to see him suffer but when it came to the time when he wanted to die, I did all I could to keep him here.

In an article called 'Shattering of the soul' that inspired me to write more on this, there was what a Vietnam veteran had to say.
Maj. Gen. Bill Libby, Maine's adjutant general, issued orders this year for every National Guard member who returns from Iraq or Afghanistan to talk one on one with a counselor.

"We are all Type A's," Libby said. "Lots of us don't like talking about our feelings. We'd rather do something."

However, Libby knows the emotional healing needs to happen.

"These men and women have been forever changed by their experiences," said Libby, a veteran of the Vietnam War. "Thirty-eight years later, I am still struggling with my experiences."

Explain it to them. No, not the details. At least, not the details you really don't want to talk about. Let the professionals listen to them. All your family and friends need to know is why you act the way you do and that you need their support to get better.

They care about you but they don't understand something they never experienced. Don't expect them to. Tell them you are hurting because you cared so much, after all, you were willing to die for the sake of someone else. That takes a lot of love. It is probably the quality that made people care for you before but they are assuming you are just turning into a jerk. Let them know you are still in there.

Now for the healing. There is the biological changes your brain goes through but the biggest change came within you spirit.

Tomorrow we'll talk more about your healing, not just your life, but being able to help others are you are stronger.