Category Archives: Podcast Episodes

022 – Should we drop the “D” from PTSD?

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Does the “Disorder” word/idea get in the way of service members seeking help?  How do potential employers see service members when they are labeled with a disorder?  Does the stigma of being labeled with a “disorder” really impacted those dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress?

 In today’s episode we will discuss:

  •                David’s health update
  •                Dropping the D from PTSD

 Why the delay since the last show?

The last few weeks, with the heart attack in mind, I have been diligently working on my health.  Listen to learn how diabetes is being defeated!

Change to the to:

  •                Post-Traumatic Stress
  •                Post-Traumatic Stress Injury

Why consider the name change?

  • Unlike other mental health conditions it requires on outside force to create the problem
  • “Disorder” carries a stigma
  • “Disorder” implies life long programs
  • Soldiers, especially young Soldiers, believed reluctant to seek help for a mental “disorder”.
  • Consider Dr. Dave Grossman and his view on PTS/D from his gook “On Combat”.
  • Concern over employers not hieing veterans with a mental health disorder.

Some concerns of why NOT to drop the D:

  • Compensation concerns
  • Insurance coverage concerns

Articles for further exploration of the topic:

 Your thoughts!  What to you think about the possibility of droping the “D” from PTSD?

021 – Anatomy of Forgiveness

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David Castillo Dominici freedigitalphotos.com

by David Castillo Dominici, freedigitalphotos.com

“Darkness cannot drive out darkness; only light can do that. Hate cannot drive out hate; only love can do that.”  Martin Luther King, Jr.*

“The weak can never forgive. Forgiveness is the attribute of the strong.” Mahatma Gandhi**

Many offences in life can and should be easily dismissed.  Today, however, we are talking about the deep hurts.  The deep wounds that significantly alter our lives.  Some wounds even threaten to crush us from the inside out.  It is these situations that call for a deliberate forgiveness process.

 Forgiveness is possible!  (See last week’s show: Forgiving the Unforgivable.)  It takes great strengths and courage to enter into a forgiveness process for deep wounds. 

Before we begin:

  • Forgetting is not forgiveness.
  • Remembering is not unforgiveness.
  • Forgiveness is a process.

At the Hope and Restoration Team (HART) we use an acronym to help facilitate the forgiveness healing process.  R.A.F.T.

  • Recognize
  • Accept
  • Forego
  • Trust

Recognize:

We can start with recognizing the wrong that has been done AND the impact it is having on our life.  What has been the result of the hurt, violation, betrayal, etc.?  How have you changed as a result of those events?

Why?  Because we need to be able to deal with the REALITY of what happened to us in order to REALLY forgive.

Example: I was having a post traumatic response when interacting with a particular person.  Fight and flight was kicking in even though there was not perceivable danger.  After some reflection I realized that this person exhibited the same incompetents as someone who nearly got me killed.  After recognizing this I was able to deal with that event constructively.

Accept:

It is one thing to recognize what has happened and how it has impacted and changed our lives.  It is yet a deeper thing to accept this as our reality.  These tragedies are part of how we are right now.  They do not define the totality of who we are; but they are part of who we are and who we are becoming.

Due to the wrong actions of others my lungs were severely damaged.  I live with this reality every day.  Even after dealing with forgiving those involved in bringing this devastation into my life I have to live with these physical problems.

Forego:

Once we know and accept what needs to be forgiven we then forgoing payback, vengeance, and retaliation is part of the forgiving process.  This does not meant that justice will not take place.  It does mean that we let go of being the executor of that justice.

In this step we let go of any demand for payment or payback for the wrong suffered.  It does not mean we will let the offender continue to hurt or damage us.

Consider the idea of a monetary debt.  Someone borrows $20 dollars and promises to pay you back next week.  But instead the next week they come back and borrow $20 more.  This goes on for a few weeks and before you know it they have racked up a considerable sum.

At some point you decide to forgo demanding repayment for past debt.  But that does not mean you allow them to accrue more debt.  You say, “Your debt is forgiven.  But in order for trust to be restored true change (in your life) must take place.”

Forgiving the debt is not forgetting what caused the debt.  It is, however, not demanding payment for that past debt.  Trust needs to be established over time with evidence to demonstrate change (repentance).

Trust:

By trust we are not here talking about trusting the one (group) that has wronged us.  This should be a goal and our desire.  However, for reconciliation to take place and trust to be restored repentance and transformation must take place.

For me the trust aspect is about trusting God to take care of me.  It is about entrusting the process to the One who is greater than I.  Trust in a God how is just, merciful and loving in ways I can only begin to comprehend.  Trust in God that no matter what the other may choose to do or not do that God will provide, care for and supply all my needs.

http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/martinluth101472.html#8Ke6Q2VSXC4gyPk0.99

** http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/m/mahatmagan121411.html#PhXxeQWq7lUWqJom.99

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020 – Forgiving the Unforgivable

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Photo, "Silhouette Of A Man" by Markuso on freedigitalphoto.net

Photo, “Silhouette Of A Man” by Markuso on freedigitalphoto.net

The concept of forgiveness runs deep at the core of any society.  If we cannot find a way to forgive then vengeance is all that will be left in the end.  But is it always possible to forgive?  Are some actions unforgivable?  What does forgiveness look like?

Today we remember the genocide in Rwanda that took place in April 1994.  This was 100 days of slaughter.  10,000 people killed per day.  In total, over 1,000,000 dead—1/8th the country’s population.  Either such destruction will lead to more destruction or forgiveness can lead to healing.

We will hear from some of those involved in the healing and reconciliation process.  The topics come from excerpts for the PBS show, “Religion and Ethics Newsweekly” from April 2005.  As you listen to today’s podcast and look over the note please feel free to enter the dialoge via the comments section.

Facing reality/the truth:

We were hut specifically, we must forgive specifically.  At some point, when we are ready, we have to come to terms with what has happened and the impact it is having in our lives.

“The wounds and the healing is a process that we continue to engage deliberately.”

“To tell people they just can’t cover it up.  We need to be able to unearth it and deal with it head on.”

Benefits of forgiveness:

“Forgiving not only benefits the criminal, it benefits me.”

When we forgive we are set free.  We also open up an opportunity for the offender to find freedom.

It is a process:

Repentance – Counseling – Forgiveness – Reconciliation.  This did not spontaneously happen.  And in order for reconciliation to take place the offenders had to “repent”.  In this they took responsibility for their actions and committed to living life in a new direction.

Sometime reconciliation is not possible.  They offender may not be willing to repent.  They may be dead.  We may not know who assaulted/hurt us.

As a result we may take it out on the group or kind of people involved in our PTSD.  Even if we cannot reconcile with the individual(s) we can reconcile with the gender, ethnicity, or group they represent.

The power of three words:

“You killed my wife and my child.   I will not do wrong to you…I forgive you.”

There is such power in saying and hearing the word, “I forgive you.”  This man captures the heart of forgiveness when he declares, “I will not do wrong to you.”  Forgiveness is not devoid of justices.  Rather it is giving up our right to vengeance or us exacting whatever we consider justice.

Bitter:

First bitter, then…remember Christ’s words on the cross.

“He did not wait for the paint to subside.   He cried to the Father, ‘forgive them for they know not what they do.’”  “The fact that Jesus called from within the pain is a guide and a teaching for us to forgive.”

Willing to repent:

Some offenders may never have a conscience concerning their evil actions.  While others seek transformation.  Especially during war wrongs are due by otherwise decent people.  These “moral injuries” can cause deep pain.  This can lead to repentance and transformation.  Seeing the offenders ad humans can help us do our part in the forgiveness process.

Many who have done wrong to others suffer from fear, nightmares, guilt, and self-loather.  One part of us may say, “Good for them.  They deserve it.”  Forgiveness would lead such people toward repentance.

It is not magic:

We have to continue to work the process until completion.

Forgiveness and your journey:

Next Week:

We will consider specific steps toward forgiving the deepest of wounds.

Where are you in this process?  Do you feel stuck?  Are you ready to consider moving forward?  If so and you want someone to walk along side you on this difficult part of the journey contact me, david (at) HealingTheWoundsOfWar (dot) com

Full video of Religion and Ethics Newsweekly story on Rwanda Reconciliation

Questions:

Why is forgiveness so hard?

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019 – 3 Barriers to Healing & Tips to Knock Them Down!

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It may be important to understand barriers; but we do not need to focus on them.  Instead, we can focus on positive actions we can take to overcome the barrios.

Stuart Miles FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Stuart Miles FreeDigitalPhotos.netIt may be important to understand barriers; but we do not need to focus on them.  Instead, we can focus on positive actions we can take to overcome the barrios.

In this episode we will discuss: (Note: topics are not necessarily in this order.)

  • Barriers to healing
  • Tips to overcome these barriers
  • My 7 Day Green Juice Fast
  • Principals learned from dealing with diabetes that can also help me deal with PTSD

7 Day Green Juice Fast: Cucumbers, celery, kale and all their friends.

  • Why?
  • Diagnosed with diabetes about 6 years ago
  • Not obese
  • I tried to control with diet and oral medication; but nothing seemed to work well enough.
  • Started experiencing diabetic complication (eyes, feet and heart attack)
  • Started using insulin a couple of months ago

Expectations

Our mindset is important.  Do we see PTSD as something that can be dealt with?  Do we see it as something that can and will bet better?

 “While some people do suffer from full-blown PTSD, most cases are mild. What often occurs is that a doctor tells a patient that his symptoms look like PTSD, and that diagnosis impacts that person right between the eyes as if he were told he had cancer. Well, it is not like cancer; it is more look like PTSD, and that diagnosis impacts that person right between the eyes as if he were told he had cancer. Well, it is not like cancer; it is more like being overweight. If you weigh 30 pounds more than you should, those extra pounds, while tiring to lug around, are probably not life threatening.”

Grossman, Dave; Christensen, Loren W. On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and Peace (Kindle Locations 6690-6693). Human Factor Research Group, Inc..

“It is important that you bring the issue into perspective and think of it more along the lines of being overweight than being stricken with cancer and all that that means. Put it in perspective and make peace with the memory.”

Grossman, Dave; Christensen, Loren W. On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and Peace (Kindle Locations 6697-6699). Human Factor Research Group, Inc..

If we do not expect to succeed, or get better, we are not likely to even try.

Knocking down the negative expiration barrier:

  • Listing to others.  What worked for them may not work for us…but it might.
  • Stepping out in faith-even if we do not see the improvement at the moment.  Allow time for small things to add up to bigger changes.
  • Changing our mindset.  Philippians 4:8

Desire

Asking ourselves some difficult questions:

  • Do we really what to get better?
  • What does it cost to get better?  I am not specifically referring to money.
  • What are you willing to pay?
  • What are you willing to do to get better?
  • What are you willing to do to get 1% better?

Fear

What if I try and do not get better.  Other people have gotten better.  What does that say about me if I try and do not get better?  In fact, some people fear getting partially better and losing their disability check.

Knocking down the fear barrier:

  • Listing to the stories of how other people have overcome adversity.
  • Beginning to trust.
  • Stepping out in faith.

Discussion Questions:

What do you think about Dr. Grossman comparing comparison for dealing with PTSD?  Is it more like losing weight or having cancer?

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018 – Healing PTSD: The Role of Grace, Mercy and Forgiveness

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There are many parts and paths involved in any healing process.  Post-Traumatic Stress is no different.  We have to address physical, psychological and spiritual need.  Some aspects of these needs we all share in common.  Other aspects may be unique each of us.

The ideas of grace, mercy, repentance, reconciliation and forgiveness are part of the PTSD healing process.  To one extent or another these concepts impart our lives and our recovery process.

In this episode we will,

  • Go beyond the dictionary definition to practical application in a spiritual and healing context. (Dictionary referenced: www.merrian-webster.com)
  • Discuss the relationship between repentance, reconciliation and forgiveness.
  • Forgiveness: what it is not

Question: Is it ever right to not forgive someone?

Request: If you have been blessed by any of our programs.  Please drop us a line and let us know.  Leave a comment, a voice message via Speak Pipe or send an e-mail to david(at)HealingTheWoundsOfWar(dot)com

(Scriptures referenced: Romans 5:8; Matthew 18:21-35)

017 – Balancing Criticism and Encouragement: Finding the Right Ratio

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Stuart Miles - FreeDigitalPhotos.com

Stuart Miles – FreeDigitalPhotos.com

The benefits of encouragement and the need for criticism.  It is easy task to balance negative reactions and positive actions toward our family, friends, coworkers and especially those facing a difficult recovery.

Our relationships would benefit from more positive and encouraging interactions.  This also seems to be true when dealing the Post-Traumatic Stress.  Our minds tend to already be drawn to the negative.  We often already know how we are messing up.  However, sometimes we need to hear it anyway.

What ratio of negative to positive is best?  In this episode we explore this complex subject.

Build off the positive.  Even if it is difficult to find the positive, keep looking until you find the positive.

It starts with our own attitude of gratitude.  How critical are you of your own thoughts, words and actions?  We need to show ourselves grace.

Some Other Resources:

When it come to the need for change, do you respond better to criticism or encouragement?

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016 – Six Things YOU can do to help someone dealing with PTSD

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You can make a difference!  You do not have to be a doctor, psychologist, clergy or other professional to make a difference in the life of someone with PTSD.

We are not helpless when it come to helping ourselves of helping others dealing with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.  We do not have to face our own PTSD alone and we do not have to face the PTSD of our loved one alone.

Below is a brief list of things that I have found helpful in dealing with PTSD in my own life and helping others in my role as a Chaplain, Pastor and a friend.

1. Educate yourself

Useful Books:    (share what books have help you in our comments section)

  • On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in War and in Peace, Lt. Col. Dave Grossman, Loren W. Christenson
  • Achilles in Vietnam: Combat Trauma and the Undoing of Character, Jonathan Shay
  • War and the Soul, Edward Tick
  • After the Trauma the Battle Begins, Nigel W.D. Mumford

A few web resources:

2. Accept this reality
3. Have reasonable expectation of both them and yourself
4. Establish boundaries (physical abuse is always over the line)
5. Be willing and prepared to listen. (Know your limits: boundaries and expectations)
6. Be willing and prepared to join them in their journey. 

Some Other Lists:

 Question of the Week: What books/resources have you found helpful?

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015 – Restoring Reason During Anger

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Are you ready to take back control?

 Anger, Stress, Anxiety and Post-Traumatic Stress response can all involve the Fight/Flight response.  We do not have to let this response take, or keep, control of our actions.

 In this episode we will discuss:

  • Physical manifestation (symptoms) of acute “stress” and escalating anger.
  • The Autonomic Nervous System (ANA or aka. involuntary nervous system): responsible for heart rate, respiratory rate, digestion, perspiration, urination and much more.  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Autonomic_nervous_system
  • Heart Rate: An accelerated heart rate due to stress indicates other physical changes are taking place as well.

Condition: (base on heart rate beats per minute -bpm)

  • White: 60-80 bpm (at rest)
  • Yellow: 80-114 bpm
  • Red: 115-145 bpm (optimal performance level for combat and survival)
  • Gray: 146-174 bpm
  • Black: 175 bpm (significant ruduction in cognitive (thinking) ability)
  • [Chart and further discussion available at: http://www.killology.com/art_psych_combat.htm]
  • Affect of stress, anger, anxiety on the brain
  • Controlled breathing = direct way to impact the Autonomic Nervous System!
  • Tactical Breathing: (starting at 12:48): A pattern of 4s

Featured Resource: On Combat: The Psychology and Physiology of Deadly Conflict in Ware and Peace by Dave Grossman and Loren Christenson

On Combat Book Cover

014 – 3 Practical Steps to Gaining Control Over Anger

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Last week in “Anger!!! What Lies Beneath” we discussed the fuel underneath anger.  It seems to be largely connected to fear and its friends: shame, guilt, etc.  This week we continue on our path toward growth and victory.

Out of control anger does not only affect our relationship; but it also physically affects our hearts—and a lot more of our bodies.  So how do we START to deal with problematic anger?

1. The R and E of RESTORE

Recognize and Evaluate:

But there is more to it R and E.  We can learn to detect the sings in our bodies as we start to escalate.  We can learn to identify the thinking patterns that start to lead us down the road toward rage.

(See Episodes 002 RESTORE and 003 Recognize)

2. Physically Prepare: Sleep, Eat and Exercise

Sleep:

What happens when you do not get enough sleep?  For starters: increased depression and moodiness.  Your brain goes through a rest process when you sleep.  While sleeping the electrical and chemical makeup of the brain changes.  This is apparently necessary for proper function while you are awake.  Without proper sleep we are also likely to gain weight, have trouble learning, focusing and remembering.

[CDC Sleep Report; Effects of the Lack of Sleep; Anger and Heart Disease]

A few things about PTSD that can add extra complication to the sleeping problem. 

Hypervigilance (always on guard) can make it difficult to fall asleep.  For some, they are easily awoken by sounds.

Nightmares: These can interfere with sleep on many levels: (a) wake you out of sleep; (b) keep you from falling back to sleep; (c) interfere with the quality of sleep.  Even if it does not wake you out of sleep the thrashing screaming and sweating can interfere with the quality of sleep.

What can I do to get a better night sleep?

  • Exercise – 5 to 6 hours before attempting to sleep.  20 min of intensive activity (Talk with your Doctor before starting an exercise plan) [Exercise and Sleep]
  • Get rid of the electronics/TV watch from the bedroom
  • Exposure to outdoor (bright) light in the morning

Eat:  Ok, we constantly being told how we need to eat a balance and healthy diet.  Well, it is true.  But there is too much to really get into this topic here – although I mention a couple of things that you may find useful in the show.

“But caffeine doesn’t keep me awake.”  I hear this a lot!  Studies show that it does interfere with the quality of sleep.  In other words, even when you sleep it decreases the quality of sleep.  Suggestion: don’t drink caffeine after lunch and only a couple cups of caffeinated coffee or tea in the morning.

[Effects of caffeine on sleep]

3. Practice Tactical Breathing

Say what?  Yes, you can significantly change your body and mind by learning and practicing a breathing technique known as “Tactical Breathing”.

When the body is in the fight-flight response the blood flow decreases to the reasoning center of the brain and increases to the mid-brain focused on preserving your life.  Researchers have developed a breathing technique that has proven useful to people in tactical situations to help them lower their heart rate and help reestablish more control.

It is not difficult but it takes practice.  Like with most skills used during a crisis mode we need to first practice them when we are not in a crisis mode.

Question: What helps you deal with anger?

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013 – Anger!! What Lies Beneath

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Anger affects more than just people with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  Some people just seem to be wired to be more volatile.  All of our life circumstances and experiences help us cope with the “stuff” that we encounter.  We can learn new ways of dealing with whatever we experience or feel.

People dealing with PTSD are often also dealing with deep anger.  Learning to “manage” anger is extremely important.  Part of that process is gaining insight to what lies beneath the anger.

In today’s episode:

  • Is anger “bad”?
  • Quiet vs. Loud Anger
  • Physical Impact of Anger (+ stress and fear)
  • Can anger be managed?
  • Analogies of anger: Diet Coke; lighter
  • The Fuel of Anger
  • PTSD and Anger
  • Taking responsibility

Some quotes on anger:

“Anger is an acid that can do more harm to the vessel in which it is stored than to anything on which it is poured.” Mark Twain

“Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one who gets burned.” Buddha

From —   http://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/topics/topic_anger.html

Yoda on fear and anger … 

“Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hate … to suffering” Star Wars Episode 1

http://youtu.be/kFnFr-DOPf8

Is anger “bad”?

No.  Anger is a normal human emotion.  It is what we do when we are angry that brings most of the problems.  It can have bad physical results on our health when it dominates our emotions.  Consider these words of wisdom, “And “don’t sin by letting anger control you. Don’t let the sun go down while you are still angry,” Ephesians 4:26a (Holy Bible, New Living Translation).  Mahatma Gandhi made a similar observation, “Man should forget his anger before he lies down to sleep.”    It is what we do as a result of anger that gets us in the most trouble.  The Buddha on anger: “A man conquered by anger is in a mass of darkness.” Kodhana Sutta: An Angry Person

Loud vs. Quiet Anger (Aggressive vs. Passive)

Not everyone screams and shouts when they are angry.  Sometimes passive aggressive behavior is rooted in anger.  Also some people will hold it in and withdraw from relationships.  It can show up in giving someone a cold shoulder or a fake smile.  Anger may also be behind some self-destructive behaviors.  Some may quietly literally feed their anger with food.

The Biological Reality of Anger (+ stress and fear) 

Anger is a biological process…

Hormones and Steroids flood the body causing, among other things, a rise in blood pressure, decrease blood flow to the reasoning center of the brain (pre-frontal cortex).  All this is part of the Fight or Flight response—very much like stress and fear.

Can anger be managed?

Yes! (Don’t miss next weeks episode when we discuss strategies we can do before during and after we are angry.

Analogies of anger: Diet Coke + Mentos(TM) (thank you Mythbusters); a lighter

 Diet_Coke_Mentos_CC

Courtesy of Zan  FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Courtesy of Zan FreeDigitalPhotos.net

The Fuel of Anger – What lie beneath?

Anger does not just happen.  It is tied to deeper emotions.  Most of us may rather admit we are angry than afraid.

PTSD and Anger

A great book on PTSD by Dr. Shay: “Achilles in Vietnam”
PTSD anger complicated by “What’s right” being violated.  Trust is lost …

Taking responsibility

People may push our buttons; but they are our buttons.

 Sometimes when I’m angry I have the right to be angry, but that doesn’t give me the right to be cruel.  – Author Unknown

Check out some other resources:

How Anger Words  http://science.howstuffworks.com/life/inside-the-mind/emotions/anger2.htm

Understanding Your Emotions  http://www.wire.wisc.edu/yourself/Emotions/Understanding_emotions.aspx

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