I will rather boast in infirmities, that the power of Christ may rest in me. Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in needs, in persecutions, in distresses, for Christ’s sake. For when I am weak, then I am strong. 2 Corinthians 12:9-10
PTSD has resulted from war for many years, but has currently been brought to light through media exposure of the returning Veterans from the Iraq and Afghanistan. However, it has not been thoroughly observed or understood as of yet. However, researchers continue to discover the areas of the brain that are most affected by post-traumatic stress and will continue their research as the number of Veterans suffering with it increases. The number of Veterans returning from war in Iraq and Afghanistan will have memories that will last forever. The horrors of what they were exposed to are incomparable to other trauma.
The difficulty with transitioning back to civilian life has little to do with what others see on the surface and more to do underneath it. The journey back to recovery will be a process of maneuvering emotional obstacles set before the Veteran. One of the reasons for this is that the Veteran, once part of a team with a purpose now must face the reality of being alone without a reason to live. It is extremely important for Veterans to feel as if they are still part of the team, whether that is part of a family, community, or Veteran associations. If the Veteran does not learn to reach out then those around him or her then others will be unsuccessful at reaching in to the individual’s life and help them transition back to civilian life.
A combination of Cognitive/Behavioral Therapy has shown to be extremely beneficial for Veterans dealing with PTSD. Tarrier (2010) suggested that clear goals must be set from the very beginning of treatment so that the individual can anticipate hope because of support (p. 138). Still, it could be improved when it is grounded in Scripture and God is allowed to heal those who feel helpless and find it difficult to assimilate back into society.
The Apostle Paul learned the deep mystery of power and perseverance in the face of trauma. When trauma comes unavoidably, let’s embrace it and ask God to work His will in and through it for His glory and our growth!
Tanielian, T., Jaycox, L. H., Schell, T. L., Marshall, G. N., Burnam, M. A., Eibner, C., Karney, B. R., Meredith, L. S., Ringel, J. S., & Vaiana, M. E. (2008). Invisible wounds of war: summary and recommendations for addressing psychological and cognitive injuries. Santa Monica: RAND Corporation.
Tarrier, N. (2010). The cognitive and behavioral treatment of ptsd, what is known and what is known to be unknown: how not to fall into the practice gap. Clinical Psychology: Science & Practice 17, 2, 134-143.
The Working Group, VA/DOD. (2010). Clinical practice guideline for the management of post-traumatic stress. Washington, D.C.