(101) Brain Scramble: Finding Peace with PTSD and TBI

Molly, the service dog

Golly, Miss Molly

A Blog about a Service Dog and her Veteran with PTSD

(Supporting the Veteran and the Family Caregiver)

In the past few weeks, I engaged in a number of discussions with Veterans suffering from TBI and PTSD. In a couple of cases, the words tumbled out in a mess. At first, I thought my hearing failed since it is not as good as it was before chemotherapy. As it turned out, my hearing was not the cause of my failure to hear or understand. In one case, the Veteran apologized and said, “I’m scrambled inside.” In another case, tears welled up in the Veteran’s eyes and he shook his head, retreating from me until I shared with him that my husband suffers from a similar problem.

This week, William began a new medication. It took me several days before I realized the medicine interferes with his thinking process. Getting upset with our conversations, he tried to explain but kept digging himself into bigger holes. The more he sought to explain himself, the angrier I grew. Our life tumbled out of control into chaos.

A contractor who visited our home this week told William he reminded him of Noah because he had two of everything in his garage: two brooms, two snow blowers, two shop vacs, etc. I snickered, thinking William resembles Job more than Noah with all the tragedy he suffers from PTSD and many physical ailments related to Vietnam.

In the teaching part of my life, I studied and spouted the thrill of chaos theory—making order out of chaos. It helped me work through problem after problem as a city manager. The idea is that order ultimately emerges from chaos since the beginning of time. I remembered reading a devotional several years ago that I wanted to find to help me deal with the chaos my husband and I experienced recently. I found the reference in Spurgeon’s Morning and Evening Devotional for May 8. Spurgeon offered the solution to our chaos:

Behold that Spirit of the Lord, who first of all moved upon chaos, and brought forth order; who now visits the chaos of your soul, and creates the order of holiness.

Spurgeon also stated, “Be not satisfied unless you know much of Jesus Christ as your Friend, your Brother, your Husband, your all. Forget not the Holy Spirit; endeavour to obtain a clear view of his nature and character, his attributes, and his works.” All we have to do is invite him into our heart and He will make order in our lives from the chaos of our soul.

The key to finding peace came from Job 22:21.

“Now acquaint yourself with Him, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you.”

I had to get my heart right with the Creator, the Holy God of the Universe, my Good Shepherd.

I do not know if I will ever see the same Veterans again. I can only hope they are readers of the Molly blog. They deserve to know peace. They deserve the order of holiness instead of feeling the chaos of the soul and confusion of the mind. While God may not heal them of TBI or PTSD, He promises He will bring peace.

Be sure to join the Miss Molly blog next week as Miss Molly interviews Veteran Jeffrey Crockett about his fight to ensure public access for service animals. Jeff will share his story about life with his service dog, Phineas.

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About the blogger 

Dr. Penelope “Penny” Culbreth-Graft is a retired city manager and graduate professor. She lives with her disabled Vietnam Veteran husband, William, and his service dog, Molly, on Cheyenne Mountain in Colorado. She writes, paints, cares for her husband, and spends time with her granddaughter.