Below are some additional interactions on the article: When They’re Not the Same. Read it first.
For information about what to do when your family member suffers from combat stress, consult this online resource. It gives you directions for taking the next step in getting help by giving you a list of people you can contact for help. Don’t forget to include your youth leader, small group leader, or other spiritual leader in the process, in order to keep God and his love and guidance present throughout this process. He loves you and will be there for you.
Take some time to really read through the information provided on these websites about how to identify and help people suffering from PTSD and Drug Addiction. Familiarize yourself with them and use them to consider thoughtfully whether or not that is something your mom or dad is struggling with right now. If it is, talk with a trusted youth leader, chaplain, or school counselor about how to take the next step in helping them. In order to keep this focused on loving God and your family, take a few minutes to write a love note (not a blame or venting note) to your parent; be thoughtful and kind. When appropriate, maybe in a week or even a few years, give them this letter as a way to encourage them and let them know how loved they are. Keep in mind 1 John 4:7 “Dear friends, let us love one another, because love comes from God. Whoever loves is a child of God and knows God.”
Sometimes situations at home with a parent who is just not the same can escalate to the point that it is more than you can or should have to handle. If you feel afraid and are worried about your safety, or the safety of a family member, go through this screening quiz to help you determine what to do. Though it is worded for a spouse or girl/boyfriend, it is easy to change the language to suit your circumstances.
Regardless of what answers you gave, if you feel afraid and don’t know how to handle what is happening in your family, talk to your youth leader or chaplain about how you feel and what God says about keeping yourself safe while still treating your parent with love and respect.
Nahum 1:7—The Lord is good and protects his people in times of trouble.
2 Corinthians 12:8–10—When we are at our weakest, God’s power and purpose often emerge the brightest. Consider how this applies to you and also your parent.
Psalm 147:3—God heals the broken-hearted and bandages their wounds.
Romans 5:1–5—Here Paul explains how having faith in God and residing in his love changes everything about how we react and interact with this world.
Isaiah 26:3–4—A call to have faith and confidence in the power, purpose, and peace of the Lord.
Small group guide:
Listen to one 101st Airborne Division Soldier’s story and how he made the choice to reach out for help in dealing with his depression.
Here is a news video clip about how substance abuse has become termed a public health crisis due to it’s growing regularity.
Large group guide:
- Pick a verse that speaks particularly to you and your situation. Rewrite it onto a post-it, notebook cover, or wherever you will see it multiple times a day. Whenever you see it, take a minute to let the meaning sink into your heart. Use that time as a daily reminder of God’s love and his provision. Never forget that he will sustain you and guide you!
- Make a list of the different emotions and reactions you are experiencing in response to your mom or dad. Underline the five most frequent ones you feel. Now take some time to pray and look through Scripture for insight into how God feels about each of those emotions. Remember he accepts and loves you no matter how you are feeling, but he wants his love to shape the state of your heart and your actions toward others, rather than unhealthy and harmful emotions. After you have spent some time considering your list, go and talk with your youth leader or a pastor about what you are feeling and how to continue forward in a God-honoring way.
- Write, draw, sing, in some way just create a part of your own story. Put into it whatever you are feeling and whatever is happening. You may share it, but keeping it private might actually help you more. In a time where everyone is constantly updating their status and sharing the latest thing in their lives, perhaps having something private that captures your heart right now and sharing it with God as a way of drawing closer to him will ultimately be more meaningful. Whatever you decide to do, be honest and use it as a tool to experience God’s love for you more fully.
A little military humor: