He was in the Scout Platoon, lean with lots of muscle. Lifting weights helped him cope with the stress and anger he brought back from deployment—except it wasn’t working anymore. He was missing formations, getting into fistfights, having anxiety attacks. He’d cry for “no reason.” He didn’t understand, nor did the chain of command. One day the chaplain got a text, “I need you to stop them. They’re making me go to the range. I’m not sure what I might do with my weapon. I’m dangerous.”
“And my God shall supply all your need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus” (Philippians 4:19, NKJV).
You might be asking, “Do I have PTSD? When is it time to get help? How do I get help?” If you think you have PTSD, you are not alone. Many have walked the path before you, and God is with you. God has also provided a lot of caring people who want to help.
In extreme cases like the one above, immediate hospitalization is necessary. Have a colleague, friend, or family member take you to the hospital. You should not be left alone until you get help. If symptoms ramp up and are left untreated, the situation will only get worse. The sooner you begin the journey to wholeness, the better.
It’s normal to experience post-combat stress, especially if you had traumatic experiences. It’s what you do with these experiences that makes or breaks you. Don’t let your ego get in the way. Many have avoided help and only made matters worse, losing their career, family, and even their lives. But others moved beyond their embarrassment, got help, and came out healthier on the other side. Note this: The Department of Defense policy protects service members from reprisal for seeing mental health providers for post-combat stress reactions.
If you consistently experience traumatic stress symptoms for more than three months after returning from deployment, it’s time to get help. Visit your military health clinic and talk with a doctor. One option is medication, if your doctor thinks it would be beneficial. Another option is to see your chaplain. The chaplain can help you begin your journey to wholeness.
Your chaplain is uniquely qualified to address the spiritual side of what you’re going through and will keep everything you say strictly confidential. Though other counselors are trained to help you gain insight, the spiritual dimension allows you to go deeper and become more comprehensive in your healing.
God’s provision of your needs (Philippians 4:19) includes ways for you to become mentally and emotionally healthy. There are various counseling solutions with your chaplain, pastor, civilian counselor, doctor, or support group. You may find excellent support from someone in your chapel or church. A comprehensive approach will address physical, mental, spiritual, and family considerations. The journey of a thousand miles upon return from deployment begins with a first step. So take that first step and get help.
The content of this article comes from “The Warrior’s Bible” (2014) and is copyrighted by Life Publishers International. Used with permission.