Help Is On The Way

Hello friends! As many of you know, Mark suffers from PTSD. With that comes severe anxiety, depression, flashbacks, nightmares, and a degree of memory loss. It has been almost 11 years he has been battling these things. He has been through numerous medication changes, therapy, and even hospital stays to try to combat these symptoms. In many ways he has gotten worse over the years. He has tried a couple times to re-enter the workforce, but his anxiety is just so strong, he was unable to sustain employment.

Well, we have exciting news! It has been suggested by a mental health professional that we get Mark a service dog. After much discussion, prayer, and research we are moving forward with this suggestion. The dog will be trained to help Mark get out of the house more without debilitating anxiety. He has had difficulty even getting out for a walk, going to the grocery store, or even to church. We would be working with the dog in getting it certified as a service dog. Not to be confused with an emotional support animal.

We have contacted several breeders and have the opportunity to purchase a Border Collie. As some of you may know, border collies are one of the most intelligent breeds of dog. We have decided it would be best for Mark if he started with a puppy and worked with building trust right from the start. We have the opportunity to get a puppy this upcoming October.

This is where we need a little help. First and foremost we would appreciate your prayers and support as we dive into this endeavor. This is a big investment. We have estimated the monthly costs for caring for the dog, and we are confident we will be able to handle that end of things. What we could use help with is the initial cost of getting the puppy, getting all the stuff he will need, shots, neutering, and repairs to our backyard fence.

As we stated, we have until October to get things together before we need to pay for things. So, we have set a goal of $2,200. If you are able to help with the cost, we will be accepting donations via PayPal. Any gift is greatly appreciated! Just go to PayPal and use the email kvmoose@yahoo.com

Here’s an article that helps explain the use of service dogs with those suffering from PTSD.
https://www.rover.com/blog/ptsd-service-therapy-dogs/

Thank you all so much! We will keep you updated weekly on our progress towards our goal.

Perspective

I saw this picture today as I was scrolling through Instagram. It came from a satirical news company, Babylon Bee. Yet, the more I looked at that picture, and read those words, it hit me. It’s telling the truth! One day, Jesus will gather His children together in Heaven. And it just made me think… Maybe life isn’t as bad as we think. Yes, the world is in upheaval with the covid-19 virus. And there’s violence out in the streets. But, you know what? This isn’t the end of the story. Is it? The story ends with Jesus as the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. And if we love Him, and accept His gift of salvation, we will be with Him. Forever. The Bible says He will wipe every tear from every eye. There will be no more sadness. The blind will see. The lame will walk. And I won’t have PTSD anymore. In fact, it will be PTSD (Praising The Savior Daily). “Oh, what a day that will be. When Jesus at last I shall see.”

Take care of yourself. Take care of others. Be God’s.

Questions

This is something I wrote a while back. I’m not really sure when. Just some of the things that race through my mind when I can’t sleep at night…

Questions

Have you ever fought the night
Trying not to fall asleep
Cause you know once your eyes close
In the nightmares creep

Did you ever pray to God
“Please erase my memories
Cause I can’t take it anymore
My life’s not what it seems”

Do you lie when they ask How you’re doing today
You say good, and fine, and I’m alright
But they weren’t listening anyway

Do you ever wonder who would notice
Or if they’d even care
Would life go on if you were gone
Without as much as a tear

Am I strong enough to take a stand
To face all of my fears
No, I’m not afraid to die
But I’m afraid of staying here

Some of the questions
That flood through my head
Questions that I wrestle with
When I’m lying in my bed
It’s 3am and I can’t sleep
Gotta keep myself awake
Cause if my eyes should close tonight
The nightmares overtake

Sweet Comfort

“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.”
2 Corinthians 1:3‭-‬4 ESV

Comfort. Noun. “the easing or alleviation of a person’s feelings of grief or distress. For example: a few words of comfort”.

Human nature is a curious thing. As humans, we tend to have almost automatic responses to certain events in our lives. When hard times come along, what is the first question we ask? We tend to say, “why?”. Why has this happened to me? Why am I going through such a difficult time?

I want to propose asking a different question when life throws you a curve ball. Instead of asking why, try asking “what”. What can I learn from this hard time? What can I do to help someone else in a similar situation? I know, it’s not easy to look at rough circumstances in our lives and immediately think of others, but in helping others, you’ll find that you’re helping yourself as well.

I don’t believe things happen by chance. I believe everything in life is planned out in advance by God, our Creator. The Bible says,”Your eyes saw my unformed substance; in your book were written, every one of them, the days that were formed for me, when as yet there was none of them.”
(Psalm 139:16 ESV) He knew what your life would look like, before you lived a day! Just imagine. He planned out your whole life. So, when hard times come, it’s no surprise to God. He can’t be caught off guard, because He knows your story.

When our son, Isaac, was diagnosed with Autism we were guilty of asking why. We didn’t realize that years later we would have opportunity after opportunity of sharing what we have learned with other families getting that same news. And not just Autism families. We have been able to comfort families going through other things as well.

As I think about my life, I want to be asking God the correct question. What? What can I gain from my PTSD experience? How can I comfort others who are struggling? God has put me here, where I am in life, for a reason. How can I help someone else?

If you are struggling with your own hard times, let me suggest two things. First, ask God to bring into your life someone who has been through similar hard times in their life. Someone who can encourage you as you walk this road. Second, ask God what you can learn through this difficult time that will help you comfort someone else in the future.

It’s not easy. I won’t try to sugar coat it. Life is hard. But God is good. It goes against our nature to see hard times as a learning opportunity. Let alone an opportunity to comfort someone else. Try it. You’ll see, it makes you feel better when you help someone else feel better. It works.

Take care of yourself. Take care of others. Love as He loves us. Be God’s.

What Is PTSD Anyway?

As you would know if you know me, or have read my initial blog post, Who Am I, I suffer from PTSD. You may be familiar with this condition in relation to military personnel having experienced trauma. However, it it can happen to others as well. And, just like so many other mental health conditions, PTSD effects each individual in a different way. I don’t have all the symptoms listed here, but I do have many of them. I have been on many combinations of medication and therapy. I have been hospitalized three times. If there’s anything you are curious about, please don’t hesitate to ask. I have included references for where I got the info, in case you think I’m making this stuff up! 😉

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that’s 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.

Post-traumatic stress disorder can disrupt your whole life ― your job, your relationships, your health and your enjoyment of everyday activities.

Having PTSD may also increase your risk of other mental health problems, such as:

– Depression and anxiety
– Issues with drugs or alcohol use
– Eating disorders
– Suicidal thoughts and actions

Post-traumatic stress disorder treatment can help you regain a sense of control over your life. The primary treatment is psychotherapy, but can also include medication. Combining these treatments can help improve your symptoms by:

– Teaching you skills to address your symptoms
– Helping you think better about yourself, others and the world
– Learning ways to cope if any symptoms arise again
– Treating other problems often related to traumatic experiences, such as depression, anxiety, or misuse of alcohol or drugs
-Mayo Clinic

People with PTSD have intense, disturbing thoughts and feelings related to their experience that last long after the traumatic event has ended. They may relive the event through flashbacks or nightmares; they may feel sadness, fear or anger; and they may feel detached or estranged from other people. – American Psychiatric Association

The Fourth Edition of the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorder (DSM-IV) cites 17 major signs of post-traumatic stress disorder. Just as not every trauma survivor will develop PTSD, not every individual with PTSD will develop the same signs – and rarely do all 17 exist in one individual.

Some of the most common symptoms of PTSD include the following:
-Intense feelings of distress when reminded of a tragic event

-Extreme physical reactions to reminders of trauma such as a nausea, sweating or a pounding heart

-Invasive, upsetting memories of a tragedy

-Flashbacks (feeling like the trauma is happening again)

-Nightmares of either frightening things or of the event

-Loss of interest in life and daily activities

-Feeling emotionally numb and detached from other people

-Sense of a not leading a normal life (not having a positive outlook of your future)

-Avoiding certain activities, feelings, thoughts or places that remind you of the tragedy

-Difficulty remembering important aspects of a tragic event

In the most recent publication of the DSM, the DSM-V, PTSD symptoms are grouped into five different clusters. One or more symptoms are required from each of these clusters in order for a patient to receive a full diagnosis.

Those clusters include:

1.Stressor – (one required)
The person was exposed to injury or severe illness that was life-threatening, which includes actual or threatened injury or violence. This may include at least one of the following:
-Direct exposure to the trauma
– Witnessing a trauma
-Exposure to trauma by being a first responder, such as police, firefighter, medic, or crisis counselor
-Learning that someone close to you experienced the trauma

2.Intrusion Symptoms (one required)
The person who was exposed to a trauma then re-experiences the trauma in one or more ways, including:
-Flashbacks
-Nightmares
-Distressing and intense memories
-Distress or physical reactions after being exposed to reminders, known as “triggers”

3.Unpleasant Changes to Mood or Thoughts (two required) –
-Blaming self or others for the trauma
-Decreased interest in things that were once enjoyable
-Negative feelings about self and the world
-Inability to remember the trauma clearly
-Difficulty feeling positive
-Feelings of isolation
-Negative affect, and difficulty feeling positive

4.Avoidance (one required) – This occurs when a person tries to avoid all reminders of the trauma, including:
-Avoiding external reminders of what happened
-Avoiding trauma-related thoughts or emotions, sometimes through the use of drugs or alcohol

5.Changes in Reactivity (two required) – This occurs when a person becomes more easily startled and reacts to frightful experiences more fully, including symptoms of:
-Aggression or irritability
-Hypervigilance and hyper-awareness
-Difficulty concentrating
-Difficulty sleeping
-Heightened startle response
-Engaging in destructive or risky behavior
-Difficulty sleeping or staying asleep

-blackbearrehab.com

According to our diagnostic manual, one must have symptoms for at least one month following an event to receive a PTSD diagnosis. In some cases, particularly where it is not treated, PTSD can last a very long time, perhaps the remainder of one’s life. – Brain & Behavior Research Foundation

Happy Birthday Robin!

Happy birthday Robin! You made us laugh…and sometimes cry. I remember hearing of your death just before being released from the hospital. After what I had experienced and the people I met, your death really opened my eyes to just how important mental health is. I’m sad that you took your life. But, I can say I understand. When you’re completely broken and in the deep pit of despair and utter sadness, all feels lost. I’m sorry you felt there was no way out. There but for the grace of God go I. I am truly blessed to have an amazing, wonderful, forgiving wife. Without her love I fear that I too would have reached the same conclusion.
.
.
Severe depression is something that can only be truly understood by those who have lived with it. Those who have been sucked into life’s deepest black hole. There is no light in that desperately void darkness. Without intervention, it will consume you.
.
.
Save me by Skillet
.
.
This is the place that no one sees
I don’t like to show
This is the darkness over me
It’s just the world I know

Reachin’ for the light
Reachin’ from inside
Help me tonight

I’m closer to the edge (Tonight)
I’m standin’ on the ledge (So why)
Won’t you reach out your hand
To save (To save), to save me? (Tonight)
I’m damaged if you dare (Tonight)
It feels like no one cares (So why)
Can’t I come up for air?
Just save (Just save), just save me
What are you waitin’ for?
Someone save me

Peel back the skin, exposed to you
Take pleasure in the pain (Please don’t stop it)
Tell me what I’m supposed to do
It ain’t easy to open up this way

Reachin’ for the light
Reachin’ from inside
Help me tonight

I’m closer to the edge (Tonight)
I’m standin’ on the ledge (So why)
Won’t you…
.
.

.
.
.
#mental
#mentalhealth
#mentalhealthawareness #suicide #depression #anxiety #fear #lonlinesd #despair #lyrics #skillet #ptsd #ptsdawareness #hope #god #jesus #savior #love #christ

Wounds

Wounds

It’s the wounds from within
That are oh so hard to heal
It’s the words of a “friend”
That change the way you feel
It’s the unexpected sting
Of the hurt deep in your heart
You wanna heal but don’t know where to start

(chorus)
I’ll start with You
Cause You’re the one who heals
I’ll call on Your name
Cause I know You know the pain
When wounds are deep
And I can’t see through the rain
I’ll start with You
Cause You have been here
Yea, You have been here too..

It’s the wounds no one can see
That are hardest to explain
It’s the hurts you bear in silence
You fake a smile to hide the pain
It’s the loneliness you feel inside
Praying today the clouds will fade
Will you see the sun shine through the dark
And see the beauty God has made

(repeat chorus)

You know how it feels
You’ve been here before
Your friends ran away
As they lead you through that door
With a kiss You were betrayed
Another lied and cursed your name
So, when I feel this way I sit back and think
You know all about the pain

(Repeat chorus)

I’ll start with You
You’ve got wounds too
I’ll start with You
I’ll start with You

-mark visscher

Verge of a Miracle

Clung to a ball
That was hung in the sky
Hurled into orbit
There You are
Whether you fall down
Or whether you fly
Seems you can never get too far
Someone’s waiting to put wings
Upon your flightless heart

You’re on the verge of a miracle
Standing there
Oh you’re on the verge of a miracle
Just waiting to be believed in
Open your eyes and see
You’re on the verge of a miracle

Here in your room
Where nobody can see
Voices are loud
But seldom clear
But beneath the confusion
That’s running so deep
There is a promise you must hear
The love that seems so far away
Is standing very near

You’re on the verge of a miracle
Standing there
Oh you’re on the verge of a miracle
Just waiting to be believed in
Open your eyes and see

When you’ve played out
Your last chance
And your directions
Have all been lost
When the roads that you look down
Are all dead ends
Look up
You could see if you’d just look up

You’re on the verge of a miracle
Standing there
Oh you’re on the verge of a miracle
Just waiting to be believed in
Open your eyes and see
You’re on the verge of a miracle

-Rich Mullins

I just love this song. So many times we feel less than enough. We feel like everybody else has it all together. Then there’s me. Ever feel that way?

One of the major parts of living with PTSD involves your self talk. That is, the way you think about yourself. I’ve struggled mightily with this. I find flaws in everything I do. I’m never right. How can a perfect God love someone just as messed up as me? This type of thinking is toxic. And the enemy, the devil, will throw these ideas back in your face all day long. He wants you to doubt God’s love. He wants us to feel so low that we question why we are even here.

So, back to the song. The story goes, that Rich was helping out at a camp, working with kids. He originally didn’t want to go because he had so much he was already doing. But, he went. He felt the Lord wanted him there. So, one day a boy came to him and revealed that he had tried to kill himself. He didn’t think he deserved to be alive. He didn’t think God cared about him. It was that conversation that inspired Rich to write these words. Go ahead and go back and read it again.

You know, I have no clue who will be reading this. I write these things and send them off into the vastness of the internet. But, if you’re reading this, and you don’t feel that God could possibly love you, then this song’s for you too. God does love you. He’s crazy about you. So much so, that He sent His son to earth. He lived and loved and taught the people what they needed to know about God’s love. Then, He gave Himself up to be brutally killed, hung on a cross. He took with Him your sins and mine. He proclaimed, “It is finished!” And with His death he paid the penalty of every sin you’ve ever done or ever will do. He was buried in a borrowed tomb. He rose again on the third day to claim victory over death and Hell.

Why? Why would Jesus do this? Why would He endure such agony? I’ll tell you why… He loves you. So, if you find yourself “waiting to be believed in/ Open your eyes and see/ You’re on the verge of a miracle”…

Are You Green?

There is a question we all need to ask ourselves sooner or later in this life… And maybe it will need to be asked numerous times throughout life. That question is…Am I Green?

The answer to that question is determined by how much water we are receiving. Have you ever gone away on a trip and left your house plants without water? They don’t look so good upon your arrival back home, do they? Most likely the leaves are no longer green. You see, the color green is an indicator of life and health. Strong and healthy plants are lush and green. Unhealthy plants are bare and brown.

So, when I ask you if you are green, what am I really asking? I’m asking if you’re strong and healthy. Are you getting enough water? Are you planted close to the source, soaking up it’s life-giving liquid? For the tree, that source may be a stream. The roots stretch out and soak up the water. The roots have grown deep and are strong.

Now, other trees, trees not planted by the source may be green as well. As long as they are able to get water from rain. But what happens when the rain doesn’t come? When the roots start to dry up. Will the tree remain healthy and green? No.

You are like a tree. Did you know that? You need water to survive. Spiritual water. Life-giving water from Heaven. Imagine if a tree could decide where it wanted to be planted. They would all choose next to the water source. Well, we have that choice. We can plant ourselves next to the source of life, Jesus Christ, or we can plant ourselves in the barren desert. The smart man, the blessed man, will be planted by the water source. And when the rain stops falling, and the hot sun is baring down on him, he will continue to grow. He will be as green as ever. Why? Because he is connected to the source.

So too, is the wise man, who stays in connection to Jesus. Even when the hard times come, when the heat is on, he remains safe and healthy with Jesus as his source.

So, are you green? Have you planted yourself next to the source of life itself? Are you growing strong and healthy when others around are withered away? Because the sun will shine. The heat will come. Winds will whip through your life. Are you planted next to the source? Are your roots deep and strong?

The good news is, you can pick yourself up and plant yourself next to the source. You can take a step of faith and ask Jesus to be your Lord and Savior. He will give you the water of life. All you need to do is ask. He loves you. He always has and He always will…

Ready To Live

Ready to Live

When you’re not afraid to die
It’s then that you’re ready to live.
When you’re prepared to see the other side
You can accept what this life has to give
And I don’t know about you
But me, I’m ready to live
I know who holds the future
And I, I’m ready to live

When your life flashes before your eyes
And the story’s incomplete
There’s a job here left to be done
And there are goals you’ve yet to meet
You say to yourself “I’m ready to live”
So watch out world cause me, I’m ready to live

When you see the world through a different lens
And you finally open your eyes
Bluer blues, reds, green, and orange
It’s then, my friend, you realize
Not gonna give up now, I’m ready to live
It’s a beautiful day, I’m ready to live

When you hear the sounds all around
A grand new symphony
Waves crash and birds will sing
In a heavenly harmony
I wanna sing, I want to shout, Yeah I’m ready to live
Hear myself whisper out loud, I am ready to live

I’m ready to live

  • mark visscher 2014