PTSD: I’m Free

ptsdHello, friend, my name is Sarge. I was a Recon-scout in Iraq with over 250 combat missions in my last deployment alone. While I was in-country, I grew comfortable with that environment to the point where it was my “normal.” You see, we were maxing out our souls with a heavy burden of guilt with no thought of how the decisions we were making today would affect our soul tomorrow. It didn’t start out that way, of course. It started with stars and stripes in all our eyes.

Upon my return to the states, real fear gripped my heart because I knew I was a wild animal now. Yesterday, I was expected to follow orders to my death and kill if necessary. Today, I am expected to sit in church; be polite, and don’t offend; smile, of course, and tell people, “Jesus loves you.” The Preacher says, “Hello, Sarge. Glad to have you back!” Everyone claps in agreement to say, “We missed you.” The sermon is about forgiving your enemies. By this point, my worst enemy is me. Unbeknownst to those around me, vivid visions filled with the sights and sounds of another world are relived in my mind as the Pastor gives his message. My mind is meditating day and night on bitter memories with no understanding of how to calm the sea of rage inside my soul. Nightmares turned into day and life became numb. My days were filled with high-octane, rage-fueled adrenaline-pumping highs. My nights were filled with depressed suicidal lows. I couldn’t sleep with the internal demonic voices of hopeless defeat, a worthless future, and my helplessness to stop even the smallest attack on my soul. It was getting so bad that I was considering suicide. My wife begged me to seek help; so I did. The church was my first stop. While my Pastor wanted to help, he lacked the understanding on HOW to help me, and one day sent me away in frustration. So, I turned to drugs and alcohol to numb my senses. I knew I could not live this way anymore, but HOW could this maniac I now was be brought into his right mind?

I was desperate. I was without hope. I was considering suicide more seriously. My strong wife begged me to get help. I went to the VA. They diagnosed me with PTSD, Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder. “Disorder,” that word brought new levels of hopelessness to my condition. They rated me and gave me fistfuls of drugs. Twenty percent of all suicides in the U.S. are veterans battling PTSD. More than one a day die from suicide. No doubt the VA thought I’d be dead within 24 months.

It all came to a head on a day when I took three times the recommended dose of narcotics in order to control the excruciating pain from a back injury I had sustained while in the Army. Plus, I took a fistful of anti-depression pills and anti-anxiety meds. Unfortunately, while feeling sorry for myself, I added alcohol to the VA cocktail and compounded the problem. Somehow I got home, because the next day I woke up on my bathroom floor covered in puke. Failure filled my heart. The hurt in my wife’s face was super evident. Looking at my children through bloodshot eyes, I was overwhelmed with defeat again. I remember my oldest daughter, who was 3 at the time, looking at me with such loving eyes and pride in her daddy. I was her hero daddy. I thought, one of these days that little girl is going to have a broken heart when she figures out that her daddy is a drunken, druggy loser. In my exhaustion, I whispered a prayer of desperation in my mind, “God, send me someone who can help. Fix me so I don’t die. Deliver me. I don’t know how to deliver myself!”

Golden State Baptist CollegeThe week passed and Sunday came around again. This time I went to a different church in my town that had an RU, Reformers Unanimous, program. RU is a faith-based addiction recovery program. The RU director handed me a book titled, “The Revived Life.” I went home from church and read the first page. The verse jumped out at me, “Oh wretched man that I am, WHO shall deliver me from the body of this death?” (Romans 7:24) It’s a WHO, not a what! I was trusting in all these whats to help me through my battle with PTSD. Church is a what. Drugs is a what; legal and illegal. The VA is a what. Jesus is a WHO!!! I suddenly saw it all clearly. I had not trusted Jesus to heal me. That first simple truth began my journey in the making-me-free process. That was some time ago. I have learned many more truths since then. Deception had enslaved me. Bitterness had demanded meditation and plunged me into despair. The Devil had lied to me, destroyed my life, and almost killed me. Jesus is the truth that makes me free! My new church helped me learn truth through my spirit-filled Pastor and RU director. Jesus taught me the HOW I had been seeking. He taught me that as I received Him, so I walk in Him step-by-step each and every day. It’s all by grace through faith. I trusted Him for my salvation to deliver me from Hell; God’s penalty for sin. Where I lacked understanding was this: I did not know I must also trust Him to save me from the power sin had over me. He is accessible NOW, at this very moment; if we but ask and receive it!

Friend, are you tired? Are you experiencing hell-on-earth and considering suicide. Jesus said He came to give you life, and life more abundantly! It is available right now! Go to Jesus and seek a relationship with Him, for He is the only one WHO can satisfy a hungry soul and fill it with goodness. I have remained sober from all drugs, even my prescriptions from the VA, since seeking a relationship with Jesus with the help of RU. Christ is living through me now. My children are happy. My wife loves me even more than ever, and I am sitting in my right mind in church with no help from the VA drug cocktails. In fact, I went to the VA after the last demon of hell left my soul. I told the VA I was cured, and it was Jesus Who healed me. They expected a relapse in the future because as far as the VA is concerned, what I said is impossible. That’s a lie! I know better. Jesus is able and willing to do what is impossible with men.

What do you have to lose? Without Christ there is no hope!