Freedom from post-traumatic stress disorder

A Christian Science perspective.

Reports of people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) are frequently in the news. It’s a global health issue affecting millions, which is associated with experiencing a terrifying event, such as war, domestic abuse, a car crash, or a severe storm, wherein the person is haunted by recurring, uncontrollable thoughts about it. Like many others, I find myself responding to such reports with a deep, heartfelt desire to help. But how?

Christ Jesus brought freedom to many people tormented by physical maladies and mental illness. We can tap into that same power, which transcends pain and suffering through God, by letting “this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 2:5).

This healing power does not originate in the brain. Divine Mind is Spirit itself – the active, universal source of the life, intelligence, wisdom, and spirituality of each of us as God’s sons and daughters. To understand God as the one great Cause is also to know our true identity as made in His own image. Understanding the spiritual nature of God’s children as the likeness of divine Mind leads to health and wholeness.

All truth is in the divine Mind, and all discord, pain, and fear are not from God. Such devilish thoughts come to us as our own thinking, and, if not rejected, induce us to believe, “I feel it” or “I fear it.” So it was with Job, whose story is told in the Bible. He was distraught, diseased, and forsaken. He regained his health and family and was no longer impoverished when he acknowledged God as the sole source of all goodness.

Mary Baker Eddy founded The Christian Science Monitor and discovered Christian Science – the Science of man’s true being. She explained how sound physical and mental health is available to everyone. She wrote: “We are all sculptors, working at various forms, moulding and chiseling thought. What is the model before mortal mind? Is it imperfection, joy, sorrow, sin, suffering? Have you accepted the mortal model? Are you reproducing it? Then you are haunted in your work by vicious sculptors and hideous forms.... The result is that you are liable to follow those lower patterns, limit your life-work, and adopt into your experience the angular outline and deformity of matter models” (“Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures,” p. 248).

Mrs. Eddy goes on to describe the remedy for such fearful images, which to me is applicable in seeking relief and permanent freedom from PTSD: “To remedy this, we must first turn our gaze in the right direction, and then walk that way. We must form perfect models in thought and look at them continually, or we shall never carve them out in grand and noble lives. Let unselfishness, goodness, mercy, justice, health, holiness, love – the kingdom of heaven – reign within us, and sin, disease, and death will diminish until they finally disappear.”  

We reach the pinnacle of prayer through such correct self-identification, conscious of our individual existence as God’s own image and likeness. By accepting the spiritual identity of each of God’s sons and daughters, we see that suffering is not inevitable and that no event or memory of it – no matter how horrific or hateful – can inhibit the power of divine Love to help and heal. Divine Love forgives and ends isolation and resentment. So it is that with divine help, freedom from PTSD is possible.

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Dear Reader,

About a year ago, I happened upon this statement about the Monitor in the Harvard Business Review – under the charming heading of “do things that don’t interest you”:

“Many things that end up” being meaningful, writes social scientist Joseph Grenny, “have come from conference workshops, articles, or online videos that began as a chore and ended with an insight. My work in Kenya, for example, was heavily influenced by a Christian Science Monitor article I had forced myself to read 10 years earlier. Sometimes, we call things ‘boring’ simply because they lie outside the box we are currently in.”

If you were to come up with a punchline to a joke about the Monitor, that would probably be it. We’re seen as being global, fair, insightful, and perhaps a bit too earnest. We’re the bran muffin of journalism.

But you know what? We change lives. And I’m going to argue that we change lives precisely because we force open that too-small box that most human beings think they live in.

The Monitor is a peculiar little publication that’s hard for the world to figure out. We’re run by a church, but we’re not only for church members and we’re not about converting people. We’re known as being fair even as the world becomes as polarized as at any time since the newspaper’s founding in 1908.

We have a mission beyond circulation, we want to bridge divides. We’re about kicking down the door of thought everywhere and saying, “You are bigger and more capable than you realize. And we can prove it.”

If you’re looking for bran muffin journalism, you can subscribe to the Monitor for $15. You’ll get the Monitor Weekly magazine, the Monitor Daily email, and unlimited access to CSMonitor.com.