Olivia, Me, and PTSD

Grace to you and peace from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.               –1 Corinthians 1:3 (CSB)

IMG_2668Some of you may know Olivia my 11 month old Beagle/Swiss Mountain dog. I got Olivia last March after not having a dog for two years. I have had many dogs throughout my life and have thoroughly enjoyed each and every one.

When I originally picked Olivia up it was just to have another family pet and close companion. I just like to have a dog around to keep me company. I am not a big fan of being alone. The problem with that is I am also not a big fan of being around to many people. You see the real problem is I have a great fear of being completely by myself or being overly crowded. It is a fear of being abandoned and of being suffocated.

This fear comes from having PTSD. It comes from events that have occurred in my life in general and from my time spent in the military. I am not going to try and explain everything that is involved but will let you know that when PTSD kicks in it can be debilitating for me and causes great anxiety. Anxiety to the point that in recent months when it is getting hard for me I have headaches and dizzy spells that cause me to fall down and not be able to walk. Back in 2008 I had a series of mini strokes so when the dizzy spells started it gave me great concern.

An interesting thing with all this though is I noticed that Olivia can sense when this anxiety is occurring. One of the things she will do is lean up against me or sit on my feet when she senses I am getting uptight. This helps me realize the situation and find ways to change the situation that is causing my distress. Because of this Olivia is now in training to be my service dog. I adopted her for a pet but God already knew she would have a greater purpose.

Admitting I have PTSD has been a difficult thing. Why? Because as a typical man I didn’t want to admit my weakness. I have always tried to push through and tell myself and others I will be alright and I don’t need help.

Even tougher than admitting I have PTSD is coming to grips with the fact I can’t fix it on my own. I need help. Doctors, family, Olivia, and most of all God and my Savior Jesus Christ. You see I know that my God will not let me down. I don’t understand why I have to go through this but I do understand that He is sovereign and in total control. It is up to me to lean on His strength and allow Him to use me and my PTSD for His glory. That is where I will ultimately find my peace.

And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds in Christ Jesus. –Philippians 4:7 (CSB)

3 thoughts on “Olivia, Me, and PTSD

  1. So glad Olivia found you! I’ve seen the power of a good service dog on a man who needs a friend. Jim’s dog Moose helped him more than I could ever imagine possible. Moose is gone, but we got another dog that Jim bonded with before we had to put Moose to sleep. It amazes me how much the dogs pick up!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love you Dad, I’m happy to see Olivia be such a blessing to you and I’m excited to see her help you through strife with her unique sense of love and her ability to see things that are beyond our comprehension and be by your side to help find peace, solace and strength through times of trial.

    I love you pops! You’re an amazing father, a great friend and a beautiful human being.

    Liked by 1 person

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