Looking back over my life from the vantage point of my age, (72) I find that the happiest times, the best times were those times when I was involved with helping others. In fact, when I was suffering PTSD and when I still suffer it I find focusing on the needs of others relieves many of my symptoms. Even when the symptoms don’t go away I find I feel much better when I’m concentrating on the needs of other people.
That’s why I put on the face of my challenge coin my motto, “others not self”. There is a tendency in each of us especially when we feel bad to focus inward, to dwell on our own problems. It’s natural. Our minds when focus inward, in my opinion magnify our problems whether physical or psychological. However, when our mind is focused on something greater than ourselves those problems diminish tremendously. Why? I firmly believe that it is a gift of God. I believe that it is the way God designed us. Or maybe it’s a natural law that those who put others first find relief. Or maybe it’s when we concentrate on the needs of others our problems diminish because we recognize the pain in others that may be worse than our own pain. Or maybe we just too busy to think of our own issues our own pain. Whatever is whatever you choose to believe I know beyond any question that when we concentrate on others and ourselves we diminish our own psychological and physical pain.
Learning From Experience
Sadly is I was going through PTSD in my 20s, 30s, 40s, and yes even in the my 50s I never had the wisdom to realize that the times that I felt better, the times that I felt better in regards to the PTSD were those times when I was concentrating on my dad’s cancer, my mother’s stroke, my mother-in-law’s rheumatoid arthritis, talking at grade schools, high schools and colleges about the Medal of Honor, being bullied. All of these things took the focus off of me and put it on something bigger than myself and by doing that my depression, my anger all of it diminished. My wife Susie, she who must be obeyed, often tells me I dwell too much in the past and I suppose I do. But, I continuously find myself being angry that I didn’t know any of this until I was in my late 50s. Which is why I suppose I want to share this with you the reader. I’m hoping that you can learn from my experience. You don’t have to go through the things that I went through, not that I went through that much I am blessed with two functioning arms, two functioning legs, a functioning mind, and pretty good health. Most of my aches and pains are from age and thinking that I was going to be 19 forever. Had I known then what I know now my PTSD would not have gone on as it did. I would’ve had tools to fight effectively.
I know this God has a plan for you if and only if you will allow it. You have a choice you can choose to fight the enemy PTSD. You can choose others not self or you can go down a very negative path that leads only to destruction. In the end as with me the choice is yours.
Sgt. Allen Lynch
Allen Lynch is a former United States Army soldier and a recipient of the United States military’s highest decoration, the Medal of Honor, for his actions in the Vietnam War.Read more from Sgt. Allen Lynch