Summary: Our Veterans have defeated physical and mental enemies.
Regardless of which war or conflict you look at, high rates of post-traumatic stress disorder or (PTSD) in veterans have been found. Throughout history, people have recognized that exposure to combat situations can negatively impact the mental health of those involved in these situations. The good news is if you are a veteran, the National Center for PTSD provides some excellent information on coping with the effects of war. Veterans returning from War, have at their disposal, information about VA Transition Centers and additional resources that are also provided. Additionally, if you are a family member of a veteran, important information is available to you too, pertaining to living with, and caring for someone with PTSD.
The decision to get care for PTSD symptoms can be difficult, but Veterans have learned that they are not alone. It is not uncommon for people with mental health conditions to want to avoid talking about it. But getting help for our symptoms is the best thing we can do. It also coincides with Phil 4:8. The Message translation says, we’ll do best by filling our minds and meditating on things true, noble, reputable, authentic, compelling, gracious—the best, not the worst; the beautiful, not the ugly; things to praise, not things to curse.
Veterans have found several effective treatments for PTSD, such as therapy techniques and medications that have been very useful for people struggling with PTSD symptoms. These treatment methods have been used to help minimize, or even eliminate, distressing symptoms that people with PTSD often experience.
The discipline, drive, and determination that our Veterans have used to defeat this mental enemy, can also be duplicated in our own lives. The different methods, coping strategies, and family support must be replicated, so that we can experience the same peace that our Veterans have found. In other words, we can learn a lot from a Veteran on how treatment can defeat mental illness.
A. TREATMENT CAN HELP US MAKE SENSE OF THE TRAUMA
(*EX: THE STORY OF PASTOR KATHY AND HER BOUT WITH DEPRESSION)
1. We must be gentle with ourselves because we are all struggling and doing the best that we can
2. We must be grateful because cultivating a practice of gratitude can shift our view toward greater trust
3. We must be vulnerable because our deepest connections with others revolve around our experiences of suffering
TRANS: The mind governed by the flesh is death, but the mind governed by the Spirit is life and peace. Romans 8:6 (NIV)
B. TREATMENT CAN HELP US LEARN SKILLS TO BETTER HANDLE NEGATIVE THOUGHTS (EX: HOW I DEALT WITH REFLECTING DEPRESSION)
1. Veterans know we have to remove the shame and stigma associated with mental illness
2. Veterans know we have to remove barriers to getting treatment because people keep silent for fear of being judged
3. Veterans know we have to let God’s people know that brain diseases are not a result from sin, but an opportunity for God’s work to be displayed
TRANS: God can heal any illness; and he can use whatever means he chooses, to bring help and healing, whether it's medical professionals, family, friends, or the church.
C. TREATMENT CAN HELP US RECONNECT WITH PEOPLE WE CARE ABOUT
(EX: Jesus rebuked the impure spirit, healed the boy, and gave him back to his father. Luke 9:42)
1. Jesus reminds us that we must support others to get help and know that life can be better
2. Jesus reminds us that God hasn't finished with us yet and he can restore us, if we let him
3. Jesus reminds us that brokenness is in all of our stories and that’s why he’s our savior
In closing, Veterans remind us that when we hide away and don't get the help we need, life becomes dark, distorted, and stuck. The story of God's perfect love, peace, and healing calls us out from hiding, to bring our brokenness to him, and allow it to meet his wholeness. Life becomes lighter, clearer, and unstuck when this happens. These are the things that we can learn from a Veteran.
God bless you, God Bless our Veterans, and God Bless the United States of America.