A U.S. Marine veteran is changing the way people are thinking about how to conquer PTSD. During the Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump’s town hall in Virginia, the topic of PTSD came up and one person in the crowd proposed an unconventional idea: fight it with faith.
At the meeting, veteran and former MMA champ Chad Robichaux asked Trump about using religious programs to fight PTSD. Robichaux, founder of the Mighty Oaks Foundation, had his own personal struggles with the illness – which is defined as a mental health condition triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event, the Mayo Clinic said.
“While the military and [U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs] are working on the problem, their efforts continue to fall short,” Robichaux, 41, told the Republican presidential nominee at a Oct. 3 campaign event in Virginia, the Washington Post said.
“Spiritual fitness works on these types of problems. The government is not taking advantage of these programs and services. Will you support and fund a more holistic approach?” said Robichaux, a man that started the Mighty Oaks Warrior Programs in 2011.
Robichaux, a man that risked his life in Afghanistan, talks from personal experience.
Shortly after returning, his personal life fell apart and he dealt with suicidal thoughts.
So what turned him around? According to him, it was his faith in the higher power that allowed him to crawl out of it and restore his marriage.
His thought, perspective and actions brought up another interesting point, how can sufferers of PTSD use their faith to heal themselves?
The Christian Post reports that recovery is possible through eight biblical steps:
1. Acknowledge the reality of your trauma. Admit to yourself, to God and to at least one other person that you are hurting and in need of healing. Identify the symptoms you are experiencing, their frequency and their impact on your life.
“Trust in him at all times, you people; pour out your hearts to him, for God is our refuge” (Psalm 62:8).
2. Recognize the source of your trauma. Explore and discover the source of your pain, then share what you experienced with a trusted, mature friend. Explore subsequent experiences that have been spin-offs or repercussions from your original trauma.
“Wisdom is a shelter … Wisdom preserves those who have it” (Ecclesiastes 7:12).
3. Seek counseling for severe symptoms. Process flashbacks, dreams, nightmares and other troubling experiences with a trained professional. Inform a medical doctor if depression becomes severe or chronic.
“The prudent see danger and take refuge, but the simple keep going and pay the penalty” (Proverbs 22:3).
4. Realize present situations can trigger buried memories and more emotional pain. Sights, sounds, smells, touch, etc. can all prompt emotional and physical reminders of past pain. Be increasingly cognizant of your personal “triggers.”
“Those who suffer he delivers in their suffering; he speaks to them in their affliction” (Job 36:15).
5. Commit to journaling as you travel on the road to recovery. Recording thoughts, feelings, insights and breakthroughs are invaluable markers for monitoring the healing process. Reading your journal provides encouragement and becomes “your story” on paper, a testimony perhaps you can share one day with someone who is hurting.
“Go now, write it on a tablet for them, inscribe it on a scroll, that for the days to come it may be an everlasting witness” (Isaiah 30:8).
6. Examine self-injurious thinking or behavioral patterns. Honestly evaluate how negative thoughts are resulting in negative behavior, and deliberately replace them with loving, encouraging thoughts based on God’s heart for you. Pinpoint ways you could be sabotaging yourself professionally or personally and explore the reasons why with a person who understands PTSD.
“We all, like sheep, have gone astray, each of us has turned to our own way; and the LORD has laid on him the iniquity of us all” (Isaiah 53:6).
7. Investigate emotional and psychological walls you have erected and self-protective tools you have employed. Enlist close family and friends to help you consider the illegitimate ways you have tried to meet your God-given needs for love, significance and security. Explore all defense mechanisms designed to keep relationships superficial or separate from your past traumas (isolation, anger, critical spirit, etc.).
“Nothing in all creation is hidden from God’s sight. Everything is uncovered and laid bare before the eyes of him to whom we must give account” (Hebrews 4:13).
8. Find freedom from the bondage of past pain and begin anew. Dealing with painful experiences is painful, but it is critical to healing and to the hope of a promising future. Pain held captive in silence is pain never freed. Remember that pain expressed is pain released.
“Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32).
Check out more details from the Sand Diego Union-Tribune, and check out Chad’s powerful testimony courtesy of I am Second.