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As with many young men returning from war, I struggled with religion. I was not sure how a God could allow such things to take place. But as I grew older and wiser in the understanding of God and free will and so on, I understood much better.
I was born and raised a Catholic and found, as I got older, many of my beliefs conflicted with the core beliefs of the Catholic church, and that threw me for a loop as well. Although I get grief from those in established religion when I say this, I think my spirituality played a huge role in my recovery, but not religion in general. I believe in God; what denomination He comes from is irrelevant to me. I meet Him on my walks, in my house, with my dog. He is everywhere for me, and I have come to rely on Him for everything.
It is not easy sometimes to understand there are reasons for all that is happening or all that has happened. I guess that is why faith can be so difficult to grasp—yet so wonderful when you do hold on tightly to it. I think PTSD is an injury to the soul as much as it is to the mind. In order to truly treat it, you have to make the soul whole again.
Any program that is put in place for these warriors must have an element of spirituality to it. Having said that, I know of some who lead with that as their moniker, and though I applaud their forthrightness and dedication, for many in the raw state of PTSD, it is something they are not ready to tackle yet. For those who can start at that point, God bless them, but it usually takes some time before that component of PTSD can be handled.
PTSD is not a mental illness but an injury of war. It can be a fatal injury if left untreated. However, with proper treatment it can be controlled. Seek the treatment that fits for you. Think outside the box, and open yourself up to new ideas. “Traditional” therapy is not always a fit for everyone.
The longer you think you can overcome this on your own by denying it, self-medicating it, or running from it, the bigger it grows and the more overwhelming it becomes. Do not let it overwhelm you. PTSD is a formidable enemy, but you are a warrior; remember the warrior ethos, apply it, and defeat the enemy!
The following was taken from the book, Warrior SOS: Military Veterans' Stories of Faith, Emotional Survival, and Living with PTSD, currently on sale at cedarfort.com.