A 27 March the Iraq and Afghanistan Veterans of America (IAVA) will place a spot light on this problem. Volunteers will place 1,892 flags on the National Mall in to honor these fallen.
You can possess all the necessary knowledge of how to accomplish a task and not follow through to completion. Even with the right knowledge we often need is some encouragement. Sometimes we need just a little and other times we need a whole lot.
We may hold the need for encouragement in common. However, each of us responds differently to different kinds of encouragement. Different circumstances, such as training, family, or work can call for different kinds of encouragement. Words, gifts, awards, smiles, quality time, express gratitude and confidence are just a few tools we can use to encourage others.
Perhaps I can speak best from my own experience. What have I found most encouraging over the years? [NOTE: I am not real comfortable sharing this kind of info in such a public space.]
Truthful, sincere acknowledgment of something I have done or said that has made a difference.
For me it is important that the words, award or whatever the acknowledgement, must be objectively truthful. Platitudes or untrue statements do little to nothing to encourage me.
We should try and understand how those in our own lives receive and respond to encouragement. A few encouragement suggestions:
- Experiment – What encourages you may not encourage someone else.
- Smile more often.
- Listen. Really listen.
- Give thanks – expressed in words, deeds, and acknowledgement. Be specific! Even when the outcome is not what you or they may desire, give thanks for their quality efforts.
- Express your confidence in someone’s ability to accomplish whatever they are facing. Sincerity is key!
Perhaps our expression of gratitude goes along with encouraging others. What do you think? What encourages you? (Leave a comment–link is on the top of the post.)
“The Quiet Power of Encouragement”
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:
- A good blog hosted by a woman that is recovering from PTSD: http://healmyptsd.com/
- A nice collection of entries focusing on the spiritual aspect of PTSD: http://www.ptsdspirituality.com/
- Our website: http://www.healingthewoundsofwar.com/
- and our Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/HopeAndRestorationTeam
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?
What role does helping others play in our own recovery process?
We will start out with an update of our 21 day gratitude experiment from last week’s episode: Can Gratitude Save Your Life?
3 Reasons to Reach out: The Power of Outreach
[Note: You do not have to be a veteran and suffering from war related PTSD to help a veteran with moving forward in their lives. The same is true for veterans. What you learn through your battle with stress, anxiety and PTSD can benefit non-veterans.]
- Gets focus off of you and your situation.
- Reinforces what you already know.
- It helps discover areas for improvement.
- Reaching out to others gets the focus off you and your situation. It can be easy to become consumed with our own immediate and long-term problems. Even in partial state of growth it is possible to reach out to other in need. It fact we will always be in a partial state of growth. Now may not be our moment to reach out. We should reach out in an area that we have experienced some victory.
- Reinforce what you already know. By reading out to others we strengthen the foundation we have been building the in RESTORE and START process. We have the opportunity to teach another what we have learned from our resources (tools) and experience in applying those tools.
- At the same time we may discovers even more effective ways of addressing areas in our own life’s and situation.
Some quotes about helping others… (from www.GoodReads.com)
- “No one is useless in this world who lightens the burdens of another.” – Charles Dickens
- “You have not lived today until you have done something for someone who can never repay you.” – John Bunyan
- “Non nobis solum nati sumus. (Not for ourselves alone are we born.)” – Cicero
Listen to Devastation or Transformation for an overview of the START goal setting process.
Listen to RESTORE: 7 Practical Parts to the RESTORE process for a summary of the process.
- Question: How has reaching out to help other assisted you in your journey?
If you believe someone is considering suicide, is it OK to ask: “Are you thinking about committing suicide?” or other direct questions? This is one of the questions addressed in this episode.
Hopelessness seems to be overtaking an increasing number of people–veterans and civilians alike. This is showing up in an ever increasing suicide rate. We will discuss this difficult topic and look at some practical ways of addressing this issue. There is hope! We can take action.
Let’s get right into today’s topic: Suicide
– About 12 (to 14) per 100,000 death are from Suicide in the U.S. (CDC report from 2009)
– For the Veteran population it is more than double at 30 per 100,000 http://www.publicintegrity.org/2013/08/30/13292/suicide-rate-veterans-far-exceeds-civilian-population
- 49,000 Veteran suicides between 2005 and 2011
- 2012 VA study reports 8030 in the year 2010 (22 per day)
- Up from a previous study of 19 per day
- Suicide and PTSD
– The BBC reported that British Soldier suicide outpaced combat death in Afghanistan in 2012
50 suicides (active + veterans) and 40 KIA
- Increase in the number of suicides from 1999-2010 affects all ages, genders and ethnic groups
- In U.S. the number 10 leading cause of death among all age group, genders and ethnicities
- 50 to 59 years old increased by about 49%
The loss from any to suicide is tragic. However in the U.S. more men than women and more whites than any other ethnic group commit suicide.
White males most affected – Second leading cause of death ages 10-24. The largest single teen group affected, 19 out of every 100 death, boys (white) ages 15-19.
People from all ethnicities, genders and age groups are increasingly losing hope and increasingly deciding to end their own lives. Why the increase? Let us know what you think in the comments section or leave us a voice message.
4 practical arts to become part of the solution…
Some warning signs:
- Increase/decreased sleep, eating, aggression (sings of depression)
- Withdrawing for relationships and society
- Drug/Alcohol abuse
- Talking about giving up, ending it all, never returning
- Possibly giving away possessions
- Express a hopeless view of the future
- Express feelings of worthlessness
- Significant Loss: Relationship, Job, Identity, Ability
Look: for any of the warring sings (and many others) listed above. Has your friend, coworker, child, spouse, gone through a major change? Not every one that is depress or gone through a loss will commit suicide.
Listen: Listen for any warning sings. Are they talking about death, dying, “going away” or any permanent change that raises any red flag?
Lead then to safety and to help.
- Doctor, psychologist, ER, ASIST trained cooworker, police, first responders,…
- Don’t ignore or dismiss the sings
- Don’t leave them alone
- Don’t be afraid to ask the question: “Are you planning/or going to commit suicide?”
Need help! This is a list of crisis lines for several countries:
Share your thoughts with us! Ideas, experiences… What is your school, community, church, company or organization doing to help people in crisis?
Below is the Mayo Clinic Teen Suicide Prevention video. It provides practical advice for any age group.