TM versus PTSD

TM versus PTSD

Transcendental Meditation Joins the Battle

Transcendental Meditation (TM) has proven to be a life-changing revelation for those who’ve tried it. Finding peace of mind is the goal of any PTSD therapy. Our goal is to offer those fighting PTSD free and drug-free, conventional and unconventional, approve and un-approved  options. Therefore, TM gets our support as a weapon in the fight against PTSD and beyond. For those with PTSD or those looking to improve, TM could be a life-saver as well as a life-changer.

TM Lights Up Your Brain To Overshadow PTSD

I recently spoke with a representative from the David Lynch Foundation about TM for Veterans. They are actively promoting TM as a therapy to give Veterans another tool to fight their drug-resistant PTSD. Their Operation Warrior Wellness builds resilience for Veterans and active duty. They partner with other Veteran nonprofits and numerous military bases to create a new and better warrior. Their site offers many access points for those looking for more information and steps to get started.

David Lynch famously directed mind-bending movies so it would fit that his Foundation would seek to spread awareness of TM. His celebrity testimonails videos really bridge the gap between thinking about trying it and doing it. Listening to them extol the benefits makes it seem doable.

Watching Jerry Seinfeld, Martin Scorsese and Paul McCartney (this is the one that got me) get so enthusiastic feels genuine, even though this is from people who are paid to fake it. Quickly you see that there’s something going on here that good for all.

PTSD Veterans Testimonials 

Along with testimonials from regular folks, you see Veterans telling their stories about PTSD and TM. From both groups you see hope and joy where before there was twisted desperation.

“After starting TM, my heart and mind were calmed. I had my first full night of sleep in 21 years. I have new goals in my life, and I haven’t stopped smiling ever since my first meditation.”

—Carlos, veteran of Operation Desert Storm and Liberation of Kuwait

When I came back from Afghanistan, I was angry, depressed, and suicidal. Transcendental Meditation has lifted my depression, eased my pain and given
me my life back.”

– Luke Jensen, Operation Enduring Freedom Veteran

TM is an ideal fit for anyone looking to relieve stress, refresh their minds, and gain a new way to control their world. Here’s why TM works. It is:

 

  • Simple to learn: Accessible to both civilian and military practitioners—standardized instruction ensures consistent results
  • Easy to practice: Does not involve concentration or controlling the mind—difficult practices for those suffering intrusive thoughts and flashbacks
  • Confidential and portable: Can be practiced privately, anywhere, at any time

Brain scans show how TM lights up your brain. Effects are fast acting and universal. One session is all it talks to feel the full impact.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Three Calls To Make After a Veteran Suicide

Three Calls To Make After a Veteran Suicide

Get Help With Decision Making in the Hectic Aftermath

Our families report that once you get the news of a suicide, it quickly becomes the least of their problems. You will be overwhelmed from all sides. Critical decision-making is required at this time.

Funeral homes use this to their advantage as death is their business. They may not tell you all you need to know. Regardless, the choices you make will impact you for years to come financially and emotionally. Here’s three calls that we’d make upon hearing the news that we’ve lost another soldier to suicide.

Call Our Time of Need Help Line

Call our support line (202) 305-0537. Open from 8-8 EST, you will find a compassionate and helpful voice on the other line who’s ready to help.  Our staff are not trained or certified counselors, but through the experience of speaking with other Veteran families who’ve been faced with the same issues you are, they can provide another point of view. 

Our goal is to help you find the right way to honor your loved one and help you make your own decision with a long-term prospective.

Call Funeral Homes

If you’re looking to find a funeral home that will do a direct cremation, you will need to call more than the local ones. Direct cremation is the most economical option. Here’s more about why we think this is a great option for some families. Remember to ask for an all-inclusive price so there are no surprises. 

Call the VA

Initiate your claim at eBenefits.va.gov or call 1-800-827-1000 for assistance. Your claim will take a while to get to you. That means that the sooner you get it started, the faster you’ll see the money. Expect a range of benefits, from $500 – $2,000. but not in your time of need. If you want to take advantage of their other benefits, like the plot, marker and service, this is at the top of your list.

About Once a Soldier

Started in 2017, Once a Soldier is the only nonprofit in the USA to reach out to the families of Veteran suicide. With your kind support, we will continue to do the hardest job for the most deserving 

Dr. Bridgette Everhart Hardin’s Book of Surviving the Grief of Suicide

Dr. Bridgette Everhart Hardin’s Book of Surviving the Grief of Suicide

Her Advice Based on “Living Beyond the Why: Navigating the Journey of Suicide-Related Grief”

Offering relevant information on how to navigate through grief by experts in the field of bereavement, author Dr. Bridgette Everhart Hardin writes about her personal journey through suicide-related grief. Order her 5-star reviewed book here.

Specifically, the book provides information on how to Identify personal grief patterns, insights on how to recognize relevant and beneficial coping strategies used to promote emotional healing; and information on the various resources available to anyone traversing the journey of suicide-related grief.

Seven Questions with Dr. Hardin

How important is it to pull in other family members/friends into a “grieving circle?”

Quick answer- it is EXTREMELY important. When we lose a loved one to suicide, we often feel isolated and alone. Our grief holds us hostage, only feeding us sadness, guilt, and possibly, regret. Recognizing that there are other individuals ‘out there’ who are grieving over the loss of your loved one, be it an acquaintance or a close relative, helps us to realize we are not alone and that we do not need to feel isolated in our loss.

Suicide is a tricky, sensitive subject to talk about. Establishing a grief circle, comprised of fellow mourners, allows for opportunities to communicate and emotionally heal without judgment, criticism, or stigma.

 

What’s the top thing that you hold onto that keeps you moving forward?

Daily, I have to work at focusing on the love I have for my brother, and not the anger that wants to invade my thoughts. I have to remember how fortunate I was to have been loved by my brother and that my love for him continues on. This form of emotional redirect allows me to focus on the positive aspects of the relationship with my brother, while minimizing my tendency to fuel the negative thoughts focused on loss, sadness, and anger.

 

Did you feel that you needed to radically change your daily emotional/physical routine in order to break the cycle of misery?

This is a tricky question to answer, for when someone is in the ‘throws’ of raw grief, they do not readily recognize how their grief is shaping their day-to-day routines. Over time I realized that I was not truly living, but merely existing through each passing day. I knew I wanted to experience joy again, and authentically smile and laugh when opportunities presented themselves to do so. Yet, I didn’t have it in me to ‘step outside’ of my grief. I allowed the grief to rule my existence.

Then, by chance, at a wedding reception, I found myself authentically laughing at a story being told during the Best Man’s speech. The Best Man had the crowd in stitches, and me along with them. This was a breakthrough moment for me. I realized I needed to take inventory of my actions and my emotions, and find my way back to ‘the land of the living’. So, while I didn’t find a need to ‘radically change’ my routine, I did recognize the need to empower myself over my grief. Once I felt empowered, I was then able to take gentle steps forward to live a life full of promise and hope.

 

Did you feel like you could have done something, that guilt, and how did you manage it?

Oh yes- the guilt. I refer to guilt in my book, and reference the ‘HAVE Siblings’- Would Have, Could Have, and Should Have. It was so easy for me to go down the path of guilt over my brother’s suicide, as I was the last person to see him alive, just moments before he took his life. I often wondered if my brother was mentally swirling in his thoughts of suicide as he conversed with me during our last conversation. For quite some time, I harbored such guilt over not being able to influence my brother to stay ‘with us’. If only I would have been able to talk with him about the issues he was dealing with. If only I could have read or recognized any warning signs. I should have been able to see my brother’s emotional pain.

Again, those HAVE siblings were fueling my grief. The only way I conquered my feelings of guilt was be stopping those guilty thoughts in their tracks by recognizing how my brother’s actions were his to own, and not for me to own. I did not have the locus of control over my brother’s actions.

 

Did you feel like maybe that person was better off and that you were being selfish? If so, what’s your take on that emotional quandary?

With regard to my brother, I felt sorrow in that he didn’t feel as if he could share his issues with me. I thought my brother and I shared everything with each other. Between the moments of typical sibling bantering, we had great conversations and experiences together. I thought I knew everything that there was to know about my brother- alas, I was wrong. I think it is often easy for us to see the lives of others as ‘the grass is greener on the other side of the fence’. When, in all reality, we don’t take into account the struggles our loved ones endure on a daily basis. I think if we all step back and realize that one person’s ease over something is another person’s struggle, it would allow for all of us to be more empathetic.

 

Were you or are you a victim of PTSD before or after the suicide?

This is another area I bring up in the book. Before my brother died, I didn’t have any post traumatic episodes. After my brother’s suicide, I encountered many episodes. Having been the person to hear the gunshot go off in the house, and find my brother post-gunshot, was traumatic for me. Seeing my brother lying lifeless in his own blood spurred a series of nightmares for me right after his passing. There was one instance when some family members thought it would be a good idea to throw a surprise birthday party for my mother, as a way to break her out of her intense sorrow. When my parents and I walked into the room, and heard the booming shout-out of ‘SURPRISE’ from the party guests, I found myself shaken. My heart began to race, my chest tightened, and sweat began to bead at my brow. I was reliving the sound of the gunshot and wanted to run out of the room as fast as I could. To this day, I have flashback moments whenever I witness a scene in a movie involving gunfire, or whenever I see anything red split on the ground.

 

What advice do you have for those who find or identify the body at some point?

The image of your loved one, post-suicide, will always stay with you. Allow yourself to process what you have seen, and give yourself permission to be shocked by it. There is strength in recognizing our emotional and mental limitations. If you find yourself having nightmares about the last visual of your loved one, or find yourself unable to stop thinking about what you have seen, then you may benefit from talking with a mental health professional. For me, I turned to my parents and a counselor for support as I worked through the mental images of my brother. Over time, I was able to replace the horrific image of my brother’s death with images of happier times- such as traveling together and other common experiences (mental redirection).

Four Ways to Defeat Depression

Four Ways to Defeat Depression

Author Michael Davis Shares How He Survived Suicide Attempts and Deep Depression

I went through a decade of major depression. I was pretty deep. I was always thinking of suicide. I made one attempt in 2002 in Portland, OR. I took 32 sleeping pills and drank a liter and a half of wine. I am a suicide survivor.

Before I changed, I was manic/depressive. Through that decade I went on a roller coaster ride of emotions. I would get so depressed that I was always looking around for a way to end it all. After the actual attempt I made I had a thought. I had just met my 9 year old great niece, Azure, a year earlier. I began to realize that my suicide could affect her all her life. I did not want to cause that. What follow are the four ways I believe you can use like I did to move on.

 

Four Steps Away From Depression

Step One: Pay Attention to the Good Things

Nice things that happened every day. If someone passed me on the sidewalk and said something nice, even just a smile and a “Hello.”, I would purposely commit that to memory. Do the same for any pleasant experience. Make an effort to commit them to memory.

When unpleasant events happen to you, draw from those good memories to stop the
thinking that bad always happens to you. It will block the initial formation of a neural
connection that will enable your depression.

Step Two: Think Before You Choose

“You are the result of all the choices you made in life. How’d that go?”

I realized I had made some poor choices that affected my life greatly. My normal action when faced with a choice was more knee-jerk. I would just make a quick choice and get on with it. I decided to be more mindful when presented with a choice. I would give it a few seconds while I thought over the potential results of a choice. I began to make better choices.

I believe it is a good thing to pay attention to your mental processes. Why just jump into a choice without giving it some thought? Maybe in some deep dark corner of my brain I would self-sabatoge when a choice was to be made and this would cause me to make many poor choices.

Step Three: Find New Perceptions

Whenever you have a negative feeling about something try to look beyond that to see something positive. Then trace back your thinking to try to understand WHY you feel that way. There’s a good chance you will find there was some simple misunderstanding somewhere that created a negative brain app that interferes with your perception of this situation. You may find a whole new situation or thing that you will love from there on.

I drove taxi at night. I once picked up a young man that, to my first impression, looked like he was in a gang. I just decided to get him where he was going and be done with him. Then he happened to mention he was in college. So I asked about the major. He was a physics major, which was not only surprising to me, as I had so misjudged him, but physics is a big interest to me. We had a nice talk from there. And now, 20 years later, it is still a positive memory that influences how I deal with people now.

Step Four: Make Real Friends

During your rise from depression start looking for friends that can be more
supporting of what you want to be like. Find people who add value to your efforts to
rise up and be happy. Find people who can contribute their support for
your efforts.

The important thing is to get rid of the negative people in your life. You are trying to
change your way of thinking to positive. It is destructive to that effort to have someone
that is negative telling you it can’t work.

Believe me, there are PLENTY of good people out there that, once they know what
you are working on will do whatever they can to help you be successful. Then, as you
become happier, you will have some new TRUE friends that are not challenged by
your success.

About Michael Davis

Mr. Davis reached out to OAS and asked if he could share his story with our audience. We were delighted and with his permission have republished some of the content that you can find in his blog here.

You can book him for a speaking engagement in the San Diego area and beyond here.

Substance Abuse Help for Veterans

Substance Abuse Help for Veterans

Find Recovery Centers Near You

Once a Soldier is teaming up with Help.org to bring you resources for Veterans who are struggling with substance abuse. It’s a simple trap to fall into: substances that first help turn destructive and potentially fatal. Whether it’s doctor-prescribed meds, street drugs or legal drinking that can spin out of control, Veterans seem to suffer more. So do their families.

We receive many requests to post helpful information aimed at Veterans, and we are picky about who we partner with. Help.org, and their resource guide, both offer something that we feel has your best interests in mind.

With their permission, I am reposting their resource information here, and linking to their full page full of helpful resources here. From Help.org:

 

Updated September, 2019

In 2015, 1 in 15 veterans had a substance use disorder, and they are more likely than civilians to have substance abuse problems with alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs. According to a study by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA), around 3.7% of service members before the Vietnam war reported substance abuse, but recently, 12.7% of members who have served since 2001 reported drug abuse, more than tripling the pre-Vietnam rate.

While other segments of the population might turn to substance abuse for a variety of reasons, veterans often turn to substances like alcohol, tobacco, and prescription drugs when suffering from difficulties like post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and homelessness.

The good news is that if you are a veteran who struggles with substance abuse, you can receive a variety of services for free from the VA including help detoxing, treatment in facilities, individual or group therapy, medications, and other services.

We compiled information to walk you through each step of the process – from learning about substance abuse treatment programs to accessing treatment. We also provide additional resources, hotlines, and funding programs to supplement or help make treatment possible.

Go to the source page for this article with lots more useful information.

ABOUT ONCE A SOLDIER

Our Veterans are killing themselves in record numbers mostly due to PTSD. An overmatched VA can’t take care of them or their families. We will.

Soldier suicide leaves Veteran families with thousands of dollars of bills unpaid, mostly bank loans.

We are the only nonprofit standing with the families after a veteran suicide. Stand with us.

Our Mission: Become the preferred channel for donors, advocates and volunteers who care about veteran families left behind after a soldier suicide.

Grief Support Resources After a Veteran Suicide

Grief Support Resources After a Veteran Suicide

Compassionate Friends Connects Parents Who’ve Lost Children

We just became aware of The Compassionate Friends website from our next door neighbors who lost their son in a plane he was piloting. There’s no getting over the loss of a child, especially under tragic circumstances like suicide. But there are places where you can feel that you’re not alone, that others are dealing with the pain just like you.

My next-door neighbors lost their son in a tragic plane crash that also took his biological father. The mom’s world literally crash all around her. It’s been four years and she is just now starting to find a way to remember the good things along with the tragedy. There is hope, but the road is long but you don’t have to go it alone.

Telling the Children

One of the main challenges confronting adults is how to explain death to surviving children. Explaining death to children forces one to come to terms with the finality of death themselves. This is not easy. Children need to have an understanding of physical death. The correct terms, “dead,” “death,” and “died,” should be used when discussing the situation—never suggesting that the child is sleeping. Even though young children don’t know what the words mean, they will eventually develop an understanding. Death as a physical event can best be discussed as part of the cycle of nature. “Dead means not alive anymore. It’s like the leaves on the trees in the winter or flowers that die. Life is over. The body doesn’t work anymore. It doesn’t move or hear or breathe or feel pain or sleep or need to eat. It just stops.” A clear simple explanation should also be given to each child about the cause of death. It should be geared to the developmental level of the child and may need to be repeated several times. It is important to reassure them that they did nothing to cause the death. They also need to be assured about the normality of their body so they are not scared they, too, may die.

About The Compassionate Friends, Inc.

The Compassionate Friends offers friendship, understanding, and hope to families grieving the death of a child at any age from any cause. With more than 600 chapters and more than 25 closed Facebook pages, it remains the largest self-help bereavement support organization in the U.S. Local chapters offer monthly, peer-to-peer support meetings. Often special events for bereaved families such as a Walk to Remember, a butterfly release, or lantern launch are planned to allow the families to celebrate the lives of all the children gone too soon. These local chapters also often publish periodic chapter newsletters, maintain a website, or host a Facebook page. Chapters can be found by going to the chapter locator on the national website and simply inputting your zip code.