Good morning, Dear Readers!
I caught a show on tv last night that was so interesting. It was about PTSD service dogs for soldiers. One man told his story- he was in the marines for 13 years, did 3 tours in Iraq. He came home with severe PTSD. Took 32 (yes, THIRTY TWO!!!) meds, but was still not doing well. Spent his time drunk & hiding in the basement of his home. His wife finally took the kids & left. Then, he was able to get a service dog- a beautiful German shepherd named Axel. He said it was as if having Axel reset his brain. He became able to take less meds, quit drinking & function. Axel gave him security- he said it was somewhat like having his service buddies around, because he knew like them, Axel had his back. It was a lovely story… 🙂
PTSD service dogs are great- they help their person remember to take meds, but they perform other wonderful tasks, such as providing a buffer between the person & others, thus enabling their person to go into public. (This alone is a huge blessing since so many people with PTSD & C-PTSD have agoraphobia.) They keep their person grounded when anxiety & hypervigilance get bad. They offer a sense of security. Truly these service animals are a wonderful blessing! And, not only to the people they serve. K9s for Wounded Warriors only uses dogs rescued from shelters! They save the lives of dogs that might otherwise be put down by kill shelters.
This show also affected me personally.. not only fascinated me because of my deep love & appreciation for animals, but listening to one soldier discuss his PTSD symptoms actually made me cry. It seems so incredible to me that I can have many of the same symptoms a soldier who survived war can have. I mentioned this to my husband, who said that like a soldier, I grew up having to be on alert, waiting & watching for the next bomb to drop. My mother’s moods were my bombs instead of actual physical weapons, but they were also deadly.
It also drove home the seriousness of PTSD & C-PTSD. During the course of the show, one lady was interviewed. She said 3 out of every 5 returning soldiers have severe PTSD, & 1 soldier commits suicide every minute. How heartbreaking is this?! People need to appreciate the great sacrifices the men & women in our armed forces are willing to make for the freedoms we take for granted! God bless these wonderful men & women & their families!
We also need to appreciate the severity of PTSD/C-PTSD. This are potentially life threatening disorders, & need to be treated as such! The rate of suicide with both is quite high in people with these dreadful disorders. I even realized I have some at risk mindsets myself- yesterday on facebook, I saw a list of some of the warning signs people show when they are contemplating suicide. While I am not suicidal, I do have some of the potential signs. It scared me. I have been suicidal before in my life, & I really do NOT want to go back to that horrible way of living ever again! This shook me up, & showed me that I need to take better care of myself. This disorder is nothing to take lightly!
I came up with a few things recently to do to help me take better care of myself. Just some little things to make myself feel good or show myself that I matter. Here are some of them. I would like to encourage you to do the same for yourself. You are worthy & you deserve it!
- Spend more alone time with God.
- Set & enforce healthy boundaries with everyone.
- Realize my own self-worth. (Listen to & believe complements, ask God to tell me what He thinks of me)
- Practice mindfulness when anxiety kicks in.
- Learn to meditate.
- Focus more on accomplishments than failures.
- Do at least one nice little gesture for myself daily (bubble bath, pampering, manicure, whatever!)
- Be patient & understanding with myself. (Would I get mad at someone else for having the same issues with C-PTSD? No? Then why should I get mad at myself for them?!)