Some stories are too hard to tell

Some stories are too hard to tell. I went to do an interview with Barbara on post-traumatic stress (PTS, also known as PTSD) and ended up going through my own soul-searching quest of the mind.

I went with a list of questions and a goal to achieve the answers to those questions. In return, I left with more questions than I arrived with. I left wondering why there is so much pain and suffering in this world and how do we go about soothing and solving the heartaches of the mind. One thing that I took away was a quote that was given to me from Belleruth Naparstek which states, “As hard and painful as the journey to healing is, once people come through it, they usually discover that it brings an unanticipated windfall of blessings. This bounty, bought, admittedly, at far too heavy a price, is almost always shared readily with others.”

I could give you the details of Barbara’s life, how she suffered through PTS and the ways she has found peace in her life. We could look at her story and dissect the situations and solutions, but in the end we would simply have just looked at one life going through PTS. I know that Barbara would not want this, but would prefer that others, through her story, would find help for going through PTS.

Defined by the National Alliance on Mental Illness on its web site, “PTSD includes both an event that threatens injury to self or others and a response to those events that involves persistent fear, helplessness or horror.”

The National Alliance on Mental Illness also explains, “Recent scientific understanding shows that experiencing traumatic events can change the way our brains function. Especially with severe or repeated exposure, the brain can be affected in such a way that makes a person feel like the event is happening again and again. Repeated experience of the traumatic event can prevent healing and keep a person stuck in a pattern that may induce anxiety, sleeplessness, anger or an increased possibility of substance abuse.”

With so many service members, victims of abuse and survivors of natural disasters suffering with PTS, we as a society must step up to the calling of those in need of help. We have all seen the stereotyped veteran who goes through nightmares of a past experience. However, what would we do if that veteran was a friend, a family member or even you? We would all call for more studies and more monetary support for those suffering, but where do we start in reaching recovery for the individual?

There are therapies and medicines for those suffering with PTS, and no one should have to suffer when there are tools in reaching recovery. No matter the illness — schizophrenia, bipolar, depression or PTS — we are all worthy of the recovery that is waiting for us.

For Barbara, recovery found a renewed purpose with an injured and battered stray dog. Barbara found something that was in need of help. The dog that couldn’t help itself was also battling injuries that most would have judged too difficult to recover from. In nursing this dog back from death’s doorstep, Barbara, with the help of her husband, realized that her own life, bruised and battered, could be healed as well.

May we all have the compassion and love to take the time to help those who are in need of help, even if we may never see the results of our help.

Mindfulness is brought to you by NAMI Montelores, your local NAMI affiliate. NAMI is the National Alliance on Mental Illness, the nation’s largest grassroots mental health organization dedicated to improving the lives of individuals and families affected by mental illness. NAMI recognizes that the key concepts of recovery, resiliency and support are essential to improving the wellness and quality of life of all persons affected by mental illness. NAMI provides support, education, and advocacy for individuals and families through community classes, in-service trainings, support groups, and more. For more information please contact Geri Sanders at (970) 759-2416.

Randy Davis is a member of NAMI Montelores . He can be reached at

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