When Edie Melson’s military son returned with Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), here’s how she found she could help:
For everyone who asks receives, and he who seeks finds, and to him who knocks it will be opened. (Matthew 7:8)
I can still remember those dark days following our son’s return from his first deployment to the Middle East. I’d been warned that he might have a period of adjustment coming home, but I hadn’t really believed it. I thought that as long as he was home, things would return to normal.
I’d been so anxious to get him home, so overjoyed that he was back safe, that I hadn’t taken into account the time he’d need to process his experiences. Our once fun-loving, happy-go-lucky-son was moody, impatient and deeply angry at everyone and everything.
And anything I did to try to help only seemed to make matters worse.
Our story isn’t unusual. In fact it’s more normal than not.
So many of our men and women in uniform experience PTSD to differing degrees. Part of helping a loved one cope with this disorder is the ability to give them the time and space they need to evaluate what they’ve been through.
I did finally learn that lesson. I realized that hovering over our son was doing more harm than good. So I pulled back and hit my knees. I redoubled my prayers for him, and gave God room to work. Not too long after, my son began counseling with a professional who could help him process his experiences in a healthy way.
Fast forward several years, and I’m happy to report that our son has now received his honorable discharge and has gone on to finish college. He’s once again able to laugh and enjoy life. Every time I see him cutting up with his friends or enjoying time with his wife, I say a silent prayer of thanksgiving.
When he first came home, I felt almost like I’d been given a stranger, and my son had been lost. But he has found his way back to himself and to us. If you’re facing similar circumstances, take heart, there is hope. God is faithful and He works in His own time to return what is lost.