What you will find here

This is a place to examine plans filled with hope; plans which promise a refuge from chaos; plans which will shape our futures. Veterans with and without PTSD, Pentecostal Presbyterians, Adjudicated Youth, and Artists-Musicians-Writers: I write what I know. ~~~ Evelyn

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

When the World Says, "You can't teach an old dog new trick"

2 Corinthians 5:17
Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, that person is a new creation. The old has gone, the new is here!

When a soldier is subjected to trauma, the soldier's brain tissues thicken.  The thicker the brain tissue, the less able it is to learn and adapt to new situations.  So the way a soldier reacts to the traumatic situation is (supposedly) the way the soldier will react to any similar situation, since the brain can no longer learn a new way to deal with it.

Well, seems to me, if something changes a brain, then the brain can be changed again.  Right?

Stroke victims retrain their body parts to function.  Athletes change their muscles and their mental acuity.  It may take a little more effort, or a new strategy, but brains are brains.  If one thing changes it, another thing can change it, as well.  

I'm not saying the brain will go back the way it used to be.  Nothing goes back to the way it used to be.  But you can be a new creature. 

There are many different strategies available to help change the way you react when you live with post-traumatic stress disorder. A popular one now is Cognitive Behavioral Therapy.  Recognizing when your body is reacting due to PTSD rather than rationalizing the present situation is vital to finding new ways to react.  Opening up to and training family and friends about your condition is also very important.  Never use it as an excuse for your actions, though. You are not an old dog.  You are still in charge of your body and your mind.  Keep yourself out of situations that you will not be able to handle. Seek out help.  If you are not improving by using one method, find a new one.  What works for one person may not work for another.  

When the world says, "You can't teach an old dog new tricks," 
God says, "Behold, I make all things new."

God, it's happening again.  My face is clammy, my heart is racing, my stomach is in knots and I'm going to throw up.  I'm not even sure what set it off this time, but I think it was someone's perfume.  Smelled of almonds and that made me think of C-4 and that made me remember.  And God, you know what happens when I remember that time.  So now God, I've admitted to you why my body is reacting.  I can take a calming breath now.  I can wiggle my toes and unclench my jaw.  Now that I know it was just something here and now, I can relax.  I can remember I'm here and now.  I'm in a new place.  I am a new person.  In you, Christ, I have become someone that isn't terrified all the time.  In you, Christ, I have become someone that isn't angry all the time.  In you, Christ, I have become someone I like again.  Someone new.  Amen.

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