To Hell, Back, and Beyond is an account of living with post-traumatic stress disorder. During therapy, the author developed a personal approach to managing his PTSD – an approach he uses every day and believes will be of benefit to others.
Don Mingo transparently shares his struggles dealing with years of trauma as a child growing up in Minnesota and as a missionary living in Africa for over 20 years. How does one coexist with this cumulative trauma? Understanding and living with PTSD challenged every aspect of his faith and being.
Don’s Boundaries, Accountability, Confession, Knowledge, and Sorrow (B.A.C.K.S.) approach is not meant to diagnose or replace any therapy or medication that you are currently undergoing to help with your condition. Instead, it offers camaraderie, transparent insight, prayer, and exercises to fully explore life with PTSD.
Don currently serves in Member Care to missionaries around the world. He holds several degrees, is a trained life coach, and carries several certifications in Fire/EMS/Police Chaplaincy.
Your traumatic experiences need not define you. They can instead propel you towards a greater purpose. This is his story of seeing PTSD as a gift rather than a curse to tolerate through life.
After twenty-two years in Africa while working with HIV-AIDS orphans and seeing some of the most horrendous stuff imaginable, a South African coworker, Dave, looked me in the eye and said, "Don, you are finished here. You are worn out, grounded down, and empty. Go back home to the United States. Go back home my friend, we can handle it here." Six months after our conversation, Dave, a younger man than myself, dropped dead of a heart attack. I knew deep down inside Dave was absolutely right. Seeing too much suffering, too much tragedy, and too many children and young people dying from AIDS had taken its toll. I just needed a break. So, we moved back "home."
Upon arriving in the States, my "home" really was not my home. I was as much as a foreigner in the United States after being gone so many years, as in any country in the world I'd lived or visited. My symptoms as Dave pointed out to me only accelerated and grew considerably worse upon my arrival back to Minnesota in 2006. I tried every approach in dealing with my problem. Only my closest friend, Kathy - also my wife, and myself knew about my condition. So, I embarked on a self-help journey. Receiving training and certifications in Critical Incident Stress Management, Psychological First Aid, Mental First Aid, Depression Recovery, and Chaplaincy; training all paid by two Fire Departments I served with as Chaplain, but I knew I needed more help. Here's the thing, on the Fire Scene during some of the most traumatic situations, I excelled in offering care and service. Even the really bad stuff in the United States seems, to me, hopeful compared to the suffering I'd witnessed in third-world countries.
Possessing no insurance, a friend of mine whose church, Constance Free Church, enjoys donors who provide money to help people struggling from this kind of stuff offered assistance to see a licensed counselor. Tom is his name, and over the course of a year we started working together as I was diagnosed with PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Syndrome. Upon, learning of the diagnoses, my world began turning around. As I continued with Tom, I began learning about the characteristics of PTSD. It gave me great hope when many of my symptoms matched the clinical characteristics of PTSD. With friends like Chuck, Randy, Kathy, Steve, and others, I began to learn how to manage my PTSD, and today am living proof that you can come through trauma, tragedy, and live a full and meaningful life!
I prefer not to call myself a PTSD survivor. I am a PTSD Thriver! My life is fuller and more meaningful today than ever before. My PTSD has helped me focus me like a laser beam to the really important stuff of life! I choose to Thrive seeing my PTSD as just one my tutors in life.
Just My Thoughts.
Don spent twenty-two years with his wife, Kathy, serving orphan children and HIV-AIDS families in KwaZulu Natal, South Africa. Towards the last few years in South Africa, close friends and family noticed he was struggling with something. No one was quite sure. So, with a return to the United States Don thought a change was all he needed.