A Brush With PTSD

Last week I bought a sheet of stamps with the photo of a
plant sprouting from the ground surrounded by dead leaves, and the words “Healing
PTSD” written across the top. I showed them to my husband, a retired career
naval officer and attaché with 31 years of military service, and put them in
the kitchen drawer.  

Last night I went to bed with thoughts of those guarding the
home front as loved ones far away guarded American bases being targeted by
Iranian missiles. At 2:00 AM anxious thoughts surrounded and woke me with feelings
of fear, helplessness and uncertainty. What was wrong with me? Why were vivid
memories of my husband’s deployments to the Middle East during the Tanker War
of 1987, and later as the tip of the spear in the Persian Gulf during Desert
Storm, flooding my mind with distress and my cheeks with tears tonight?

I prayed, wondering why I was so upset. No flag of red and
white with a gold star in the center is displayed in our window, nor does a
placard with the blue silhouette of a wheelchair hang from the rearview mirror
of our car. My husband and family are home, safe and sound. I should be
grateful, thankful for all the Lord had seen us through, not restless and ill
at ease.

The thought of Sleepy Time Tea sent me to the kitchen and
the drawer were spoons are kept. I’ve opened that drawer on autopilot at least
a thousand times, but last night I reached for the drawer where I’d put the
stamps. I chalked the error up to being half awake, and with hot tea in hand
returned to the couch.

Hunley, my sweet Lhasa Apso, came to sit with me. The
comfort of his presence prompted the recollection of therapy dogs I’ve met
accompanying Wounded Warriors and others in need of canine assistance.

That’s when it all came together. The news, the stamps and the
reason for my agitated state of mind. The threat of war in the Middle East had
triggered in me an
unexpected type of PTSD episode.

In no way would I ever minimize the unspeakable tragedies
others have suffered in the aftermath of wars’ terror, nor dare compare my
personal experience with theirs. But my recent brush with PTSD has allowed me
to realize anew that, though we get through traumatic events, we never
completely get over them. They will forever be a part of us. Bouncing
back from the unwanted events of life takes time, and healing this side of
heaven, is a continual ongoing process. 

How thankful I am for the how-to and promise of overcoming
anxiety found in the words of the Apostle Paul’s letter to the churches of
Macedonia. “Do not be anxious about anything, but in every situation, by
prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the
peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and
your minds in Christ Jesus.”
Philippians 4:6-7

If you’re feeling anxious about anything – why not pray and ask
God to give you His peace? Then stop by the post office and buy a sheet of
stamps that will help raise funds for someone else living with PTSD.

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