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.
I am making up a word here to describe one big step forward for me in my battle with PTSD. The word is "picturizing." Actually, I can't take credit for the word as it possesses a history with me.
During my many years in Southern Africa, I was privileged to know many wonderful groups of people. One such group was the Zulu nation. I developed some wonderful & close relationships with many Zulu folk. One such person was Wiseman. Wiseman was a very colorful guy, and I particularly enjoyed his English. Being fluent in English, and I myself fluent in Zulu, we both used to regularly butcher each other's language!
Well now, Wiseman when he spoke English did something very common, and that was to speak English from Zulu grammar. So, in effect, unbeknownst to him, he made up words; a lot of words! One such word when imagining something was the word "picturize" or "picturizing." Often he would say something like this, "Jabulani (my Zulu name) I, I, am picturizing this thing is my head." Translation, "I am imagining this . . ."
Another reason I am fond of this word is because since I am not in the psychological profession, it helps me ensure that my thoughts and advice are my own, and does not bleed over into the very complicated fields of psychological thought and science.
So, here is something that is really helping me. My counselor Tom started helping me with it a while ago. You see, for me, in my PTSD, with my abuser - just one of my issues, I imagine that person as a adult differently than I saw her as a child. I've learned in my adult brain to picturize that person as a small child, standing on a chair, playing cards, and acting in the manner that she did when she was an adult and I was still a child; only this time she is a cigarette smoking five year old card player.
As an adult, this helps me see who that person really was in her adult years; a wounded out of controlled dangerous child. Picturizing her as a child led me to begin to think about her more; her adult relationships, her family relationships with siblings and parents, and her opposite sex relationships, and well, you get the idea.
One picture that keeps appearing in my mind is this adult woman as an ten or eleven year old girl standing with her back towards me turning her head back around over her left shoulder as she just looks at me. In this imagine, I see a young girl who's face maps out sadness, hurt, disappointment, fear, and pain. It's very much a dejected unloved look. This is the image I picturize in my mind a lot these days. The face I see accurately portrays this person's condition.
I think it helps my logical brain or adult brain guide my emotional brain to a better place. And, with some of my issues I brought back from Africa affecting my PTSD, it also helps me to logically and rationally think taking my emotional brain - child brain to a more secure safe place.
I remember a story of a woman who was abused as a child. She learned to picturize her abuser standing on the floor only two feet high with a goofy hat on his head jumping up and down speaking in a squeaky mousy voice. Looking down on this little creature as an adult gave her a safer better picture of thinking about him. For her it helped.
For those of us who's PTSD springs out of childhood memories, perhaps picturizing in this way might actually help. It helps me, and I really want to help you too.
As always these are 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.