Please know you are not alone

Danei Edelen Guest columnist

Danei Edelen Guest columnist

Like everyone, Russia’s invasion of the Ukraine horrified me. Heartbreaking pictures of families fleeing for their lives shattered my perception of our fragile facade of civility. Suddenly, I felt shells going off inside my weary soul. “Not again,” my heart cried.

As the tanks roll across the landscape of the Ukraine, our fragile emotional worlds are once again devastated. This time by design. Just when our COVID-19 wounds started to heal, Russian tanks drove right through them digging trenches in their wake.

About PTSD

Traumatic events such as an accident, assault, military combat or natural disaster can have lasting effects on a person’s mental health, according to NAMI. While many people will have short-term responses to life-threatening events, some will develop longer term symptoms that can lead to a diagnosis of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). PTSD affects 3.6 percent of the U.S. adult population — about 9 million individuals. About 37 percent of those diagnosed with PTSD are classified as having severe symptoms.

Cliff Bauman, retired military officer and motivational speaker, knows all about PTSD. “One thing I talk about a lot is PTSD never goes away. PTSD is always there. I can be talking to you, or staring out the window, or walking across the street, or driving the car, and PTSD will snap back. Through therapy, I have learned various techniques to manage my PTSD. Participating in the NAMI Brown County Zoom calls helps me as well.”

NAMI Brown County

During the NAMI Brown County Zoom calls on the second and fourth Thursdays of the month, we have developed into a community of safe, supportive people. Everything we say is confidential. We treat each other with dignity, empathy and respect. We start with a “check-in” to see how everyone is emotionally doing. Using the NAMI Emotional Stages of Recovery, we articulate if we are in crisis, learning to cope, or moving to advocacy. We celebrate our little wins and problem solve our current challenges. We discuss our lived experiences and coping mechanisms to help each other to deal with today’s fragmented system.


Recently, I discussed my thoughts related to a community of safe supportive people, or “tribe” with Jessica Vadovicky, psychiatric mental health nurse practitioner of Foresight Mental Health. “Tribe is so powerful. I have seen a patient that I was working with that had extreme trauma history. Not until this person found a very close-knit group of people that had also experienced high levels of trauma, did I see this person begin to make progress. When I think back on my career in mental health, serving as a pseudo tribe until those bonds are formed has been the most rewarding part of my job.”

As we collectively grapple with the traumatic images daily, please know you are not alone. Regardless of where you are, you are welcome at NAMI Brown County.

Danei Edelen is president of the NAMI Brown County Ohio affiliate and a spokesperson for His Will Homes. She has 20 years of marketing experience working for technology companies like NCR, Oracle and Amdocs. She has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Malone University and a market research certificate from Northern Kentucky University. You can contact her at [email protected] or 513-436-0010.

Danei Edelen Guest columnist Edelen Guest columnist