I was deeply saddened reading about a 20 year old girl who was granted euthanasia due to, what her doctors diagnosed, ‘incurable’ post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) from being sexually abused from the ages of 5-15. Boy, doesn’t that one sentence bring a flood of emotions: euthanasia, PTSD, sexual abuse, incurable.
There is so much I am feeling. My first emotion is anger. As a licensed professional counselor who practiced over 10 years and is a Christian, the foundation on which I stand upon to persevere with some of my most wounded clients is I never, ever give up hope for my clients. Never.
I am not sure what the doctors tried and how long they persevered. But I am saddened and angered that her PTSD was diagnosed ‘incurable’. When a vulnerable person puts her life and hope in the hands of people and they tell her she is ‘incurable’, what is she going to believe about herself? She probably felt she is not worth fighting for, she is damaged goods, she is hopeless.
I’ve had some really tough clients. There are times I have almost given up hope. It’s not that I give up hope on my clients. I can give up hope on myself to help that person. That is when I am grateful I am a Christian. When I come to the Lord for strength and I petition for the hearts and souls of the people who are crying for help, He always comes through.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me, because the Lord has anointed me to bring good news to the afflicted; He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to captives and freedom to prisoners; …To comfort all who mourn, to grant those who mourn in Zion, giving them a garland instead of ashes, the oil of gladness instead of mourning, the mantle of praise instead of a spirit of fainting.” (Isaiah 61:1-3)
There are many clients I worked with who I thought in the beginning how am I going to help this person? Today, they are heroes and giants of the faith. Rape, abortion, sexual abuse, and the list goes on. The Lord has indeed turned their mourning into gladness.
Let me end with practical ways you can help a person who is wounded:
1. Never give up hope. If you are out of words and ways to help someone, just be present with them. That alone communicates they are worth fighting for.
2. Recognize when you feel helpless. People are never hopeless. We, as helpers, can feel hopeless in our own abilities.
3. Rally other people who can help. There are numerous resources: counseling, doctors, support groups, church community, pastors, etc..
3. Pray!!! Oh how many times the Lord answers my prayers and reminds me it is not by my strength that can help but the Lord’s strength and power that delivers people out of their darkness.
I hope I don’t sound arrogant. Honestly, I’m not sure how tough the girl’s case was and I’m sure the doctors gave their best. But there is so much more available (Jn 10:10).