Over the last 15 years, God has provided me with two major blessings in my life: my dad and my ex. My dad, being the first man in my life, gave me everything I needed to know in life ranging from how to survive a 72 hour period with just a backpack, to discerning between right and wrong. My ex, being the first man I “fell in love with”, means so much to me still to this day.
Both are Army men (There’s strong, and then there’s Army strong) and both have faithfully served overseas in various locations. Both came back with more emotional problems than they can even express to other people.
PTSD comes in various forms. For my dad, it came in hallucinations, night terrors, and the constant fear of going under attack. Constantly wanting death, but not seeking it for the benefit of the people around him. For my ex, it came in the form of depression, a deep depression where there was no purpose in being here….no goal to achieve…it was the, “Now what?” phase.
Now, coming to today, my dad still struggles with it and I’m sure my ex does too, but I have a third man in my life who has expressed his form of PTSD to me. Being HR at the office, people come to get counsel and I’m given the task to check in on the employees around me. One, in particular, told me yesterday that he is constantly afraid of dying. Constantly he is afraid his body is shutting down. Constantly his mind goes to the darkest of places and eventually it brings him to a panic attack. Last week, it took him to the VA hospital over in Long Beach and this week is full of different doctor appointments and tests. His tour was over in Iraq years back and I could see the expression of fear in his eyes when he was telling me about it. Luckily, he felt comfortable telling me and at the end of the day was very thankful I knew, but it was something that really struck a chord with me.
With my dad and my ex, I know they have a relationship with Jesus and that’s a hope they can hold on to. With my coworker, he doesn’t have that to depend on. At all. Every night before he goes to bed he reads forums from other worried and sick people who are also struggling with the same thing. He takes medication, he sees a psychiatrist (which I encourage) but still feels lost and hopeless. He teared up expressing all of this to me and what ended up comforting him the most was not only me knowing, but also me praying for him. To me, I thought, Huh? prayers bring comfort to a non-believing soul? To be that desperate in seeking answers must be tough….there’s nowhere else to go but to God when it’s all said and done!
I desire to be in constant prayer for him. I desire to seek the best for him, and I desire for salvation to ring in his heart as it did with my dad and my ex. I desire to see a changed heart, that even though it will be tough there will be something, in the end, to hold on to. In the end, he can cling to Jesus, the author and perfector of our faith. He can have an assurance and know where he’s going after he dies when that day comes in his life. He can rest in a peace that surpasses understanding and find comfort in God’s neverending love. Nothing on this earth can bring more peace than Jesus can.
As I continue to know and love people who struggle with PTSD, this is my prayer. Please pray along side me for people who struggle with PTSD.