How long is recovery from PTSD?

One of the most common questions someone has went they realize they are dealing with PTSD is what is the path to healing and how long does it take? These are fair questions to ask but are they the right questions?

Someone suggested that I read Creating a healing society by Susan Lawrence. To be honest, she is a humanist by her own admission in the book on page 145. The answer to trauma is never in our humanity but in the finished work of Jesus.

In the book, she presents an idea that we can heal ourselves through come to know our humanity and as a result, we can overcome as an society. She seems to relate repentance to “remorse by service.” That people who are remorseful want to serve people that they do not end up in a similar position. This is complete humanism and a belief that we can do it without the power of the Spirit.

On page 86, she says that “trauma recovery is a process rather than a state of completion.” While I am not sure what she really mean by that; I know, from experience, that PTSD can only be addressed by the power of the Spirit and the presence of the Lord.[1]I am not saying someone can’t be healed of PTSD but hope is more likely

Is there a timetable for PTSD?

According to the Veterans Administration, you can’t be healed of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.[2]National Center for PTSD (PTSD) They say it can be managed by talk therapy and meds but never truly healed. Personally, I do have concerns about people claiming healing from PTSD as it can be deadly to go off treatment.[3]There needs to be confirmation of any healing by Professionals However, I do believe it is possible. (Sorry, VA!)

However, the question remains: is there a timetable? The answer is more foundational than that. The humanistic ideal has it takes year to heal. The biblical answer is the healing in the presence of God. In short, the only true recovery from trauma is a direct manifestation of Pentecostal power. Therapist can talk to you but only the glory of the Lord will transform you. In His presence is healing. In His presence is deliverance.

The bible is full of people that had traumatic events. The reality is they all had different timetables of deliverance. While this is true, there is something in common with all of them (besides Judas). They had to come to realize that only encounter with God would set them free.

While this is what it will take, the process to get there can be different. Simply put, it is hard to put an amount of time on it. PTSD is a friend to no one. I know that it took almost three years to have the encounter that made things lift. It was not easy in the process. For others, it takes decades. For some, it does not take months. I know the pain of it all personally.

The answer to trauma is not found in the process but in the presence of the Spirit.

Is Homelessness a game changer?

Most people who are homeless, especially on the streets and in the camps deal with some level of trauma and many are clinically dealing with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. Does this make the process to having an encounter harder?

The Bible tells us of many people who had no place to live that had dramatic experiences that alter their soul. You can think of Elijah and Paul for example. Even the Savior had powerful encounters in the wilderness that empowered Him. (See Luke 4)

While the issue of homelessness does make the trauma more current, it does not mean that the direct impartation from the Spirit for healing is harder for God in any way, shape of form. He can break in right in the middle of a tent while they are doing drugs and set the person free from it all.

The important thing to understand about PTSD in the context of homelessness is that it might not (normally is not) their fault. People who assume that being homeless is their own bad choices alone need to wake up to what is really happening. Trauma is normally something that happened to them without their agreement and the homelessness is the result of that event. The drinking, the drugs, the prostitution is a way to not face the pain of the event, not the lifestyle choice.

What the homeless need is compassion, not judgement. Most people do not have the trauma event that they have no grid.

How to pray for the Traumatized

The best way to partner with them in prayer is the prayer of the Apostle Paul to the church at Ephesus. Just as much as it was real to them in 62; it is real to people struggling in 2022.

that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give you the Spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of him, (Ephesians 1:17)

The Father of glory is really translated as the giver of life[4]patḗr – father; one who imparts life and is committed to it; a progenitor, bringing into being to pass on the potential for likeness. in the manifest presence[5]δόξα: honor, renown; glory, an especially divine quality, the unspoken manifestation of God, splendor.. When Paul was praying for them, he was asking for the giver of the presence of God to come and meet with the people tangibly. The physical presence of the Spirit changed everything for them and it does today for the broken in our day.

He was asking for wisdom or  “divine intelligence[6]Greek Word is σοφία” in the presence of the Spirit. There is things the Spirit will give you to help you address the challenges. This is what we call the gifts of knowledge and wisdom.

The revelation of the unveiling[7]ἀποκάλυψις: (“revelation, unveiling”) is principally used of the revelation of Jesus Christ (the Word), especially a particular (spiritual) manifestation of Christ (His … Continue reading of Jesus. God will reveal Himself to the those struggling and they would be transformed.

References

References
1 I am not saying someone can’t be healed of PTSD but hope is more likely
2 National Center for PTSD
3 There needs to be confirmation of any healing by Professionals
4 patḗr – father; one who imparts life and is committed to it; a progenitor, bringing into being to pass on the potential for likeness.
5 δόξα: honor, renown; glory, an especially divine quality, the unspoken manifestation of God, splendor.
6 Greek Word is σοφία
7 ἀποκάλυψις: (“revelation, unveiling”) is principally used of the revelation of Jesus Christ (the Word), especially a particular (spiritualmanifestation of Christ (His will) previously unknown to the extent (because “veiled, covered”).

How to help someone with PTSD

The greatest need for someone with Post traumatic Stress Disorder is not someone to tell them the answers or even point them to a professional (that often does more damage than good.) The answer is compassion. It is hard for many to do it but it makes all the difference. All most people with PTSD need is compassion and concern.

People are often telling people with trauma to get over it. If they do not, they are saying they need to go see a therapist so they can be “normal.” There can be often suggestions like pastoral care. The problem is none of these will work. They are just understood by the person with the trauma as they are broken and not worth your concern. They are being pushed away until they walk away.

As a ministry that focuses on reaching people with PTSD, the answer is not the government (who admits they have no answers) nor is it the mental health industry (that also admits they have no answers). The only hope for the people with trauma is the gospel of Jesus and the compassion of the believer.

What does the scripture tell us about compassion for people suffering?

Word used Original WordMeaning
Merciful eleémón (2)merciful, acting consistently with the revelation of God's covenant.
Mercyeleos (27) properly, "mercy" as it is defined by loyalty to God's covenant.
Compassionsplagchnizomai (12)to be moved in the inward parts, to feel compassion
Mercyeleeó (32)to show mercy as God defines it, i.e. as it accords with His truth (covenant).
Mercy hilaskomai (2)to extend propitiation, showing mercy by satisfying
Compassionoiktirmos (5)deep feeling about someone's difficulty or misfortune
comfortparamuthion (1)consolation (comfort) produced by using soothing words 
gentlymetriopatheó (1)to feel appropriately, i.e. with divinely-measured intensity
sufferingsumpatheó (2)to have a fellow feeling with, i.e. sympathize with
Compassion polusplagchnos (1) "many-boweled," referring to full affection
Sympatheticsumpathés (1)suffering or feeling the like with another, sympathetic
no pitysplagchnon (11)gut-level compassion (visceral feelings); the capacity to feel deep emotions.

Compassion and New Testament

As you can see, the New Testament has much to say about the issue. There is at least 87 references to the need for compassion or mercy on someone hurting. Having compassion on someone is related to understand God’s covenant, walking in truth, and having godly passion in the Kingdom. The totality of the New Testament paints a picture that how you teach the broken is a mirror of how you see your relationship with the Father.

It is understandably hard to walk someone in a relapse with PTSD and just have compassion on them. It can hurt to know there is little you can do, outside of loving them, but is that the bedrock for healing when things normalize again.

When I had my nasty relapse in 2016-2018, I had a lot of people trying to be Dr. Phil to me and it was offensive and shown me they were more interested in the issues going away under the rug than they were in my overall health and ending the cycle.

I sit at doctor offices because they is what people told me that I needed to do. It only got worse. The problem was they want to give answers, not compassion and not be sympathetic. It was actually very problematic and only made things worse for me.

The only answer was the gospel of Jesus. People are not called to be the answer but just walk in and be deeply moved by compassion. Anything past that is outside the biblical norm of being a comfort to others.

The man or woman that is hurting need to know they are cared for and there is hope for tomorrow. When we fail at this level,  nothing else really matters and the sin issue is on the person that does not have the trauma.

Why Compassion is hard for many?

The truth is that people who do not understand the challenge of a PTSD cycle do not have the capacity to feel deep emotions for the person. They have not been there.

It is like what Peter and John dealt with in Acts 3. They could only give what they had received themselves. If you have never had to walk through a trail or grief, it is very complex to have empathy on someone else that does need it.

Someone born rich does not know what it means to be poor. It is hard for them to relate to people who live from welfare check to check. Why? They never had to do it. However, someone like Manny Pacquiao that was once a street kid in Mindanao (Philippines) remembers where he came from. He has a grid for the suffering.

I have a friend who works with the homeless population but he came from a middle class family and worked as an engineer because the Lord called him to work with the people he serves now. He has told me that he wonders how he could understand them better given that he has never been homeless or understand the plight of homelessness. He openly said there is a limit to the compassion simply because he does not have the experience.

It takes more purposefully work to operate in mercy when you do not have the understanding personally. It is not impossible, though. My friend is proof of that.

Do you know Jesus?

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