A Soldier’s Fearful Battle to Survive

++++I am very excited to announce we have a new guest blogger. Michael Thorin is joining us each month on the third Sunday of each month. He has some inspiring thoughts and ideas to share. His first post is about PTSD, and how he found his way out of the fog of this world. 

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I am so honored to be with you each day sharing hope. The outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. There are over 50 new subscribers a day. The site just past 106,000 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

+ WE HAVE A WINNER IN OUR PROMOTION.  THE PERSON WHO HAS THE 105,00O REGISTRATION WILL WIN SOME NICE PRIZES. 

We are starting a new promotion tonight. The person who is our 110,000 followers will win some great prizes. As you can see it goes fast. Don‘t miss out. 

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Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more updates about the new book.

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“Where Were You? Where Are You? Where Are You Going?”

This will be written from my perspective on how I chose to cope with PTSD, and how my decisions brought me from a wrecked marriage, anger and depression to a life full of love, joy, and comfort.

Where Was I?

First off, I served 3 months in Afghanistan as a medic for OEF, and then a year and a half in Iraq as a scout. I was assigned to a gun truck platoon performing convoy security and route recon operations on the most dangerous roads in Iraq.

This time was spent dodging bullets, getting hit by IED’s, and essentially being targeted over 90% of the time. I saw things and did things that had no effect on me at the time. I was simply numb to what was going on around me. I had become callous as my family was back home growing more and more emotional, while I lost my emotions to a darkness to the fog of war, and its’ effect on my body, mind and soul.

Where Am I?

Yesterday I was preparing a devotional, and I was hit with a wave of emotions. The devotional is simply related to the effects of PTSD, and how the VA approaches its treatment of PTSD. My wife had forced me to receive treatment in 2014, or she was taking the kids and leaving me.

Something snapped. Since I had gotten home at the end of 2006, I was miserable. Worse, I made my wife and daughters lives painful and miserable as well. I received treatment and still could not get rid of the nightmares, insomnia, anxiety, lack of trust, and my inability to feel any semblance of emotion. I was essentially a zombie with an attitude and a short fuse.

I was broken.

During my time of PTSD counselling, I found one thing very interesting; the counselors could provide self-help techniques for me, but they could not offer me what I needed: redemption and forgiveness.

What I found interesting was that all of the techniques could bring you back from the bad, but could never help you resolve the bad. While I was receiving tips, I was not receiving forgiveness, and this is what I believe to be the root of the problem.

One of my biggest problems was my inability to feel emotions for what I had been through. I thought I should feel guilty, but I didn’t. I thought I should be upset, but I wasn’t.

What kind of a person was I? Where are my emotions and why does nothing in my family concern me?

I was no longer worthy of my family’s love, and I was determined to drive everything I loved away from me, because no one could understand what I was going through. I began having fits of rage and anger.

I needed forgiveness, pure and simple. I needed to know I was still worth something, and that I wasn’t too far gone to become human again. The only way I could feel forgiven was to seek forgiveness from a higher power. The second person I needed forgiveness from was myself, and then my family. I needed to right my wrongs there and then, or I would not be able to go on with my future in peace.

My choice was relying on my Christian faith and realizing that I was worth so much that Christ had hung on the cross, beaten and torn, for me. I was worth forgiveness, and I believe I cried for an hour when that finally hit me.

Where Am I Going?

While I was fumbling through some pictures to prepare the devotional on PTSD I spoke about earlier, I found one that made me stop and thank God for the miracles he worked, and how blessed I was to have not taken the “easy” way out and gave myself a chance at life, a chance to be as close to normal as possible, and that was the answer.

I was no longer beyond saving. I was no longer worthless. I was no longer the guy that could not rectify what he had seen and done with what he was “supposed” to be. I was finally human again, and not an emotionless robot.

This picture made me realize the importance of forgiveness and redemption; they are invaluable tools in the fight against PTSD and veteran suicides.

I hung in and persevered through my faith, and continue to grow and see miracles and blessings in my life, and the lives of those I care about and love. Had I given up, I would have never experienced the miracles of seeing my daughters grow, and then give us two beautiful grandchildren.

My miracle is that I am still here to enjoy my family, and had I given up in the dark days, I would have never been around to see the brilliance of these good days. As I sit here writing this blog I can’t help but shudder at the thought of my never getting a chance to see these two miracles.

Asking for forgiveness is not that hard, accepting that we have received forgiveness is another matter. I found that my comfort in Christ was the only reason I can write this blog. It is simply a miracle. Reach out and find forgiveness, and you should also forgive yourself. It makes life work, or at least it has not failed me yet.

Where do you want to go with your future, and who will you rely on to get there?

“For I know the plans I have for you”, declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.”

Jeremiah 29:11

“Nothing in the world is worth having or worth doing unless it means effort, pain, difficulty… I have never in my life envied a human being who led an easy life. I have envied a great many people who led difficult lives and led them well.”

Theodore Roosevelt

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Michael Thorin

Fultonale, Alabama

 

 

 

 

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Time to Remember Family and Veterans

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 104,300 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are in a new promotion. The person who is our 105,000 will wins some nice prizes. We are only 700 away from our next goal . It goes very fast so don’t miss out. 

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Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more updates about the new book. 

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+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor recently. Now I wait and see how many red marks she will have in it. 🙂

There will be some incredible interviews with veterans in this book. Up to twenty different veterans agreed to let me ask them some very personal questions. Some answers will have you in tears.  Some are actually humorous. 

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This weekend is Memorial Day weekend. It is a time to remember those who have gone before us and protected our country, or to remember loved ones who have passed.

There are far too many stories to share on our fallen heroes. I will share about them but first, I will share about losing our family loved ones who have passed first.

My brother and I went out to the cemetery where our mother is buried. We go out every Memorial Day to stand silently by her grave, and bring back thoughts of good times.

Our mother was a hero to us. She was a single mom, back in the forties. That wasn’t very common back then. Other relatives shunned her. She did everything she could to provide for my brother and I. When she was off she would do a second job like being a waitress. On the weekends she went to the farms to hand weed the crops.  She never had a day off in her life up until she retired.

She made sure we didn’t feel poor. I still to this day can’t figure out how she bought us a house to live in, provide food to eat, and still keep us happy. Her treat each Saturday was to give us a dime so we could walk to the Hollywood movie theater and see those serial shorts and a movie. (I was in awe when the hero in the serials looked like he was dead in the clip we saw one week, only to have him make it somehow the next.)

My mother was Wonder Woman. She never brought attention herself. She always put us first in her life. I miss her dearly, but I know God has a special place for her in His mansion.

The war combat heroes are many. My book I am writing called, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and out of the Trenches of Life,” is full of heroes. I have written about many who talked to me on the phone and shared their story.

I have shared my experiences while deployed to Korea. I speak out against soldiers giving in to PTSD. I cry for those who are maimed and in wheelchairs. I share thoughts on how to survive in this not so friendly world.

One of the heroes I talked to I met accidently. I decided to stop a t Carl’s (Hardy’s) fast food. I got my meal and was walking towards my seat. I walked by a man that was obviously a Vietnam veteran and a Marine since he wore a hat that said so. I thanked him for his service, and eat my meal.

I watched him. He was in pain. He had a cane. He was bent over. He was younger than I was. He got up to throw his trash away, and I saw legs that couldn’t hold him up too well. He had a heavy limp. As he walked by me, I asked him if he would like to sit and talk with me for a few minutes. He had that look like no way man, but when I told him I was a veteran as well, he sat down.

I started asking him questions knowing I had to walk a thin line so I didn’t intrude into area he didn’t want to talk about.

Her is how the conversation went.

Me: Where and when did you serve?

Marine: I was on a helicopter ship off the coast of Vietnam.

Me: What did the helicopters do?

Marine: They sent supplies to troops; Carried troops from one battle station to another; sent food to the villages for the food who were starving.

Me: What was the worst moment you had while stationed there?

Marine: My very best friend was a helicopter flyer, and one mission his helicopter had a problem;  went off the end of the ship down into the water. He and another Marine were trapped in the helicopter and it went to the bottom of the ocean. The water was to deep to try to recover their bodies.

Me: So Sorry my friend. Were there any other bad moments for you?

Marine: When  we came home on the planes the people lined the terminal and called us names, and had signs that called us murders and other things.

I have more from this hero, but you will have to buy the book to read the rest of his story, (This is called a hook!) and many other from WWII, Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan

I want to thank all over our veterans and current military, for their dedication and service to their country. God bless each and everyone of you.

For those who have lost a loved one, like family, I feel your pain. I have been there. God is our strength, and our fortress. He will see us through the storms we face.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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Stop the World and Let Me Off!

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 101,100 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

We are starting a new promotion. The person who is our 105,000 will wins some nice prizes. It goes very fast so don’t miss out. 

_____________________________________

Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Look for updates here.

+ Update! The book has been sent to my editor this week. Now I wait and see how many red marks she will have in it. 🙂 

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The saying, “Time flies when you are having fun,” sure fits my life right now. My life right now is like going faster than a race car, and I am holding on for dear life. Here is my agenda the last week or so:

  • Put out posts on three blogs or websites, every day. (www.dailysignsofhope.com, www.dougbolton.com, www.victoryforveterans.org.
  • Connecting with thousands of veterans on RallyPoint (A social network just for veterans) You can join yourself at www.rallypoint.com/join/spc-douglas-bolton.
  • Writing my book, Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life. I just sent most of it to my editor. Still doing some interviews of veterans for the book.
  • Staying close with friends and family. A must in anyone’s life.

This keeps me hopping like a cat on a hot tin roof!

Do you get so busy you don’t know what end is up? Have you forgotten more then you know because your list is too long?

We all need to know that it is OK to slow down. It is OK to pause. We live in an intense rat race, but know that even rats rest.

Think of the tides of the ocean. They come in in a furious pace, and go back out at the same speed, but there is one point at the peak where they do not move for a few minutes. That is called high tide.  So even the oceans rest.

Stop! Stop, and think about life. God says, “Be quiet and know that I am God.” He even wants us to concentrate on Him, and not of this worldly havoc.

Take time off for you. Take time off to take a breath. Take time to make sure you are OK and not wearing down. Rest is a marvelous healer.

 

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up! 

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Walking an Unknown Path Can be Scary

We are so  honored to be with you each day sharing hope. Our outreach has grown at a tremendous pace. We are averaging over 100 new subscribers a day. We just past 99,000 in followers. That’s because people are searching for hope and we provide it.

In our current promotion the winner will be the person who is the 100,000 subscriber will win some nice prizes. We are down to the last 1,000. It will go very fast. This is a huge milestone for us. 

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Doug Bolton, the founder of Signs of Hope, is writing  a new book, “Signs of Hope for the Military: In and Out of the Trenches of Life.” It reaches out the military and veterans who may be battling anxiety, fear, depression, addictions, rejections, PTSD, and many other usual suspects. There are 22 military connected suicides every day. That is almost one every hour. We need to help stop those statistics. Be looking for more details about the new book. Look for updates here.

UPDATE!!  In the final stages of having the book finished. Much of it is already sent off to my editor. The countdown begins!!

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I have walked a straight and narrow path the last few years. It has been very hard. Every bend in the path causes me to wonder what is around that bend ahead of me. I have often prayed about it, and God seems to be telling me, walk by faith!

It is easy to say OK, Lord, but in truth it is very hard sometimes. The unknown is often scary. I learned that during my time in the military. There were many bends in our paths, and I had no idea what was around that next bend for me.

Faith is what we cling to. Faith is what keeps us going. Faith carries us over the walls that block us.

I weighed in this morning like I do every morning. It is required by my cardiologist. If I am up two pounds overnight, I have to increase my “water pills,” to a whole one instead of a half. It is usually because fluids are building up around my heart. Not a good thing.

So, I weighed and I swore it said, ONLY ONE PERSON ON THE SCALES AT ONE TIME!

I was up 1.6 pounds. Not enough to increase meds, but degrading just the same.

Losing weight, or maintaining it, is a full time job. It is a job no one really gets excited about doing.

I look at like its my life. I need to do inventory everyday to see where I am at. I need to correct some things if it looks like I have faltered a little.

Do I love weighing in every day? I think you already know the answer to that. However, if I don’t I will be paying serious consequences that could even lead to my death.

The same goes for my daily life. I need to check my path constantly. I need to adjust my thinking; my attitude; my outlook on life, and I have to do it often.

With the world we live in now, it can be very easy to give up and go with the flow. It would be easy to not fight the dark side.

Don’t allow this to happen. You also need to take inventory of your life, EVERY DAY!

Stop the creeping vines that are wrapping around your legs, and be strong. Let God be your guide. Lean on His strength.

Remember:

You are never alone.

You are never forsaken.

You are never unloved.

And above all…never, ever, give up!

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