Coping with Trauma as a Christian



As I am writing this blog, I have no idea if I am going to release it.
If I allow myself to be truly honest, this will be the most painful, heart-wrenching thing I have written. Will it benefit me? Will it benefit other believers to share?

If not, it's best just kept between myself and the Lord.

If however, God can use it as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 1:3-5-

Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God. For as we share abundantly in Christ's sufferings, so through Christ we share abundantly in comfort too.

Then that's a different story.

I have been finished with treatment for 4 weeks tomorrow. There was an initial high that came with that. I got through something I wasn't sure I could. I survived the 4 day RV trip home. I started cooking and cleaning.

Then emotions started coming back. The depth and the heaviness of what I have been through seemed to overwhelm me. The pain of the people who weren't there. (And the gratitude for those who were.)

Going back home and losing the ability to walk again. Realizing that if I am exposed again (to mold. See previous blogs), I am in danger.

Being homeless... again. Being just a couple of years shy of 40 and having to start over again... again.
Being terrified of being unable to handle light and sound again and being shut up in a dark room. Facing fears of adding in new foods and supplements.
Facing my fear of driving.
And, overall, feeling like a shell of the person that I used to be.
Wishing I could skip over the painful part of dealing with this and go straight to living. But knowing, deep down, that I have to face this.
This massive giant staring me down.

P.T.S.D.

I used to think P.T.S.D. was just for soldiers. I know now that it's actually more common in women than in men.
It is embarrassing to me that I have it. I was always known as the "happy person" growing up.

But even more than that, I have a deep love for Christ.
He is my everything. His word sustains me. Sermons by Piper, MacArthur, Durbin and Dr White have helped me through some of my darkest days.
I have a deep love for doctrine. Doctrine is getting to know God in His fullness. 
You can not truly love and study God's word without being changed.
I have been changed by it.

That has helped me through that trauma. I will share more about that in a minute. But it hasn't made it go away.

So where does someone with deep trauma go from there?

First, I want to share that it is ok to get help. As someone with P.T.S.D, I will tell you that it helps to get it from multiple sources. Now that I'm home, I will be starting some treatments back up that have helped me as well as (probably) adding some in.

I have been through Biblical counseling. It is possible that, if I find someone where I'm living, I will go through that again. I want to be clear when I am speaking of Biblical counseling. This is someone who counsels with Scripture as their authority. It is hard to find someone that does this and doesn't use secular psychology as their worldview while sprinkling in some Scripture. This is not Biblical counseling.

Secondly, it is ok to have a psychiatrist. Yes, I recognize that is not a popular view among Christians and I do recommend being careful and screening them hopefully as you would a regular doctor. I have a holistic psychiatrist and she has been one of the greatest helps to me of all the doctors I see. What does a holistic psychiatrist do? Mine will use medication and recommend therapy among other treatments as she deems necessary but she also wants to get to the bottom of what's going on and help you get healthy overall. I am on medication. I believe I will be off of it someday, but for now, it helps me a great deal.

One of the most amazing things I have done for P.T.S.D is ketamine therapy. As a side note, it was also what helped me retain any movement at all while we were trying to get to the bottom of what was going on with my mold illness. Ketamine has an amazing track record against p.t.s.d which is incredibly hard to treat because it does change the brain. It is also a very low risk alternative to treatment resistant anxiety and depression.

If you are within driving distance to Knoxville, TN, they have, I believe, probably one of the best (if not the best) ketamine clinic. Revitalist Clinic has on staff certified counselors that are experienced with ketamine. You can pay extra to have one in the room. Ketamine does bring out trauma and these counselors can help you work through it in a safe environment. I absolutely refuse to do ketamine without the counselor because she has had such an impact on my recovery.

Because I have had people ask, I will go ahead and explain how it works. You start out with an initial 6 sessions in 2 weeks. This helps to rebuild neurotransmitters and repair neural pathways. After that, as long as you will allow them, they will keep up with you via a daily text to rate how you're doing on a scale of 1 to 10. If they see those numbers start to drop, they are going to call and check on you and see if you need to get in with either them, your doctor, or both. As someone who has struggled with mental illness for my entire adult life, they are light years ahead of everyone else.

Some people will need to come in for a booster ketamine (this time just one as opposed to 6) every 12 weeks. Some longer. Some will never need to come back. I have found that I am every 8-12. Next week will be 12 weeks which, I suspect, is one of the reasons that I am really starting to struggle.

The last thing that has helped me is journaling. This has been hard but probably the best discipline that I have developed. I like to be in control and I hate dealing with emotions that aren't happy. Ignoring them has been my preferred method of coping (yes, I know that's not coping) for the majority of my life. Sometimes, however, we have to cry and face what we're feeling.

I know, as a Christian, I have worked hard to not let my emotions run my life. That is great, but emotions aren't evil. We were created by God to have emotions and ignoring them does not make them go away. So today, when the overwhelm hit me, I sat down, cried and poured it out into my journal. I usually pour my heart out in my journal in the form of prayers to God. This is one way that I talk to Him. Journaling has also been helpful at helping me reframe my thoughts and to put them in the context of Scripture and prayers. I can not count the number of times that I have sat down with an enormous amount of stress and anxiety and written out prayers, Scriptures, and walked away at peace. God's word really does change our hearts.


There are other treatments that I may try. Red light therapy has been used in treatment for p.t.s.d (see here and here.) Some essential oils have positive research behind them (see here, here.) I am still learning about herbs and adding in some key nutrients. I can continue to share as I'm learning.

I have no doubt that I will overcome this. I can honestly say that for the first time. While at Envita I met some of the most amazing people. Want to know the ones who survive? The ones who say,

"This will not beat me. I have things to do."

And so, I say that. I have seen God do amazing things. Did you miss that time that God provided $30,000, a RV and a free place to stay in less than a month?

God is my hope and my deliverer. What do I have to fear?
He works all things together for my good and His glory.
So even in the midst of this suffering, I know it is not meaningless. I thank God for the depth of His word, His promises and His provision.

I know He will guide me on the next step.

Soli Deo Gloria



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