One of the ways we tend to look at things is by thinking that if we do not do something by a certain time, we’re a failure. It is called “All-or-Nothing” thinking, and most of us indulge in it at times in our lives. Although, if we do think about it closely, we realize that it is not true, we don’t tend to think about it closely. We just accept it as being the way things really are.
I recently worked with a veteran who told me he felt he was a failure because he would soon be 40 years old and he was still unmarried. He was successful in every other area of his life, but he felt he was a total failure because he had not found the right woman, married and had children. He had told himself throughout his life that this was a goal he had to meet.
I suggested he try the PTSD Coach website that the VA offers. On the site, he was able to print out a worksheet and then work through this thought pattern. Once he considered it, he realized he wasn’t a total failure because he had not found the woman of his dreams, he was holding out for a relationship that was balanced and healthy. That made him a success! He was also able to see that he had met his goals in many other areas of his life, and that turning 40 without being married didn’t mean he was a failure.
PTSD Coach is a good tool for helping you cope with PTSD. Please consider using it to examine your own thoughts and challenge those that are not healthy and are holding you back from finding peace.
The Veteran Choice Program allows veterans who have an excessive waiting period at the VA Med Clinic to go to their own health care provider in the community for services. The eligibility criteria for the Choice Program includes enrollment in the VA health care system, and:
- Live more than 40 miles driving distance from the nearest VA medical facility with a full time primary care physician
- Have to wait more than 30 days for an appointment
- Face an unusual or excessive burden traveling to the closest VA medical facility based on a geographic challenge, environmental factor, medical condition, or other specific clinical decision
- Call the VCP Call Center at 866-606-8198 to verify eligibility and set up an appointment
The Choice Program falls under the VHA Office of Community Care.
One of the most interesting things I find with PTSD is there are so many different symptoms or ways it affects us; hypervigilance, sleeplessness, isolation, flashbacks, and on and on. Avoidance is one of those symptoms that we may indulge in without even realizing we are doing so.
Excessive sleeping is a form of avoidance, and there are times I find myself using it as a coping mechanism. If I am so tired I can’t participate in activities I probably should be involved in, it becomes a good excuse to not take part. Excessive sleeping can look like depression too as it can also be a driving force in that way.
Avoidance prevents us from engaging in life, and that is not healthy. We need challenge in our lives and we need interaction with other people. Avoidance prevents that. Sometimes the challenge becomes forcing ourselves to participate in events in our lives so we don’t indulge in avoidance.
Whatever stressors we’re dealing with, financial troubles only make things worse. Given that we all need to be able to handle our basic finances, I’m amazed that more attention isn’t given that topic while we’re young. Good financial training should be part of everyone’s basic schooling…or at least, I think that would be an excellent beginning.
When you’re trying to fight your way out of financial crisis, one of the best pieces of advice I can give is write things down! Start with listing what your sources of income are each month. You need to know what you’ve got to work with in order to decide where it needs to go.
Next, write down where your money goes. Are you paying bills? Are you spending money without paying attention to what you’re buying? By tracking your spending, you’ll know just where your money is going.
Prioritize your bills. Know when they are due, what the minimum payment is, and pay them first before you fritter money away on things that are wants rather than needs. Do you need to look for ways to earn a bit more money, or to sell items you no longer need? Can you cut costs by canceling memberships or services you don’t really require? Believe me, it’s worth doing without if it keeps the creditors off your back!
If you have to pay your bills over the course of the month, consider the order you need to pay them in. Some bills are more important than others. For example, if you don’t pay your rent or mortgage, you may get evicted making it harder to find alternate housing.
If you need help developing a plan for paying your debts, call the National Foundation for Credit Counseling at 800-388-2227.