Showing Empathy for Those Suffering From PTSD

By Brenda Calloway PTSD. What is it? The dictionary's definition says post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condi...

By Brenda Calloway


What is it? The dictionary's definition says post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a mental health condition that's triggered by a terrifying event — either experiencing it or witnessing it. Symptoms may include flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety, as well as uncontrollable thoughts about the event.

I have heard this term many times throughout my life, but have never truly reflected upon its meaning or what it would be like to live with it. As we celebrate our nation’s freedom or any of the holidays that have to do with soldiers and what they have done for us, I thought a little reflection on this is in order.

I have always enjoyed a good adventure, and on one of these experiences, I broke my leg while cliff jumping. Now I have jumped off some decent sized cliffs, and these weren’t even big cliffs. I happened to jump too far to the right and my right foot hit a sand bar and rolled. I broke my leg completely across in one spot and spiral fractured it in another.

We were hiking a place in Zion National Park called the Narrows and we were nearly 2 ½ miles into the hike. If you haven’t seen this amazing and beautiful place, it is truly breathtaking. You have beautiful canyon walls that go up on either side of you for most of the hike. The hike also consists mostly of wading through water and over river rock.

I managed to drag my sorry tail out of there after the unfortunate event. But after that experience, I am a tiny bit more careful about what I am ready to do. After this experience, I enjoyed many leg healing hours to reflect upon different things.

I had weird thoughts pop into my head over and over for months after my notorious plunge. Many times a day, I would think of walking down the stairs and rolling my ankle, and it would freak me out. A woman could walk by in some heels and I would involuntarily picture me with those heels on, rolling my injured ankle and a nice re-break occurring.

I thought for a few months there that I was losing my mind.

Why do I tell you this tale of misery and woe? Because I had an interesting epiphany from this experience of mental fragility. I received just the tiniest bit of a glimpse into what our fellow Americans, who have served us so bravely, must be going through.

One of my wonderful son-in-laws suffers from this, and he is truly an amazing trooper! He astounds me with his good heart and desire to heal. He loves, laughs and enjoys life while dealing from PTSD. I have watched him through ups and downs, through good times and really hard times. And after my experience, I have a much greater appreciation for what he (and countless others) must be going through.

I am so grateful for him and all of the men and women who deal with such difficult things throughout their lives, for the love and service of others.

To all of the soldiers out there who have served our country, are serving now or will serve, we honor you, we pray for you and we are grateful for you and all that you do. Thank you from the bottom of our hearts!

Even though I don’t have a cure and can’t make anything better, I thought it would be fun to share a recipe that can be made to share with one of the amazing heroes in our lives:


1 c. warm milk, (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
2 eggs, room temperature
1.3 c. margarine, melted
4 1/2 c. bread flour
1 t. salt
1/2 c. white sugar
2 1/2 t. bread machine yeast

1 c. brown sugar, packed
2 1/2 T. ground cinnamon
1/3 c. butter, softened

1 (3 ounce) packed cream cheese, softened
1/4 c. butter, softened
1 1/2 c. confectioners' sugar
1/2 t. vanilla extract
1/8 t. salt

Place ingredients in the pan of the bread machine in the order recommended by the manufacturer. Select Dough Cycle; press Start.

After the dough has doubled in size, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface, cover and let rest for 10 minutes. In a small bowl, combine brown sugar and cinnamon.

Roll dough into a 16x21 inch rectangle. Spread dough with 1/3 cup butter and sprinkle evenly with sugar/cinnamon mixture. Roll up dough and cut into 12 rolls. Place rolls in a lightly greased 9x13 inch baking pan. Cover and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat oven to 400 degrees F (200 degrees C).

Bake rolls in preheated oven until golden brown, about 15 minutes. While rolls are baking, beat together cream cheese, 1/4 cup butter, confectioner's sugar, vanilla extract and salt. Spread frosting on warm rolls before serving.

Brenda Calloway is a happy wife and a mother of five beautiful daughters. She loves her family, the outdoors, to read, bake and all things medicinal.


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