Episode #5: Post Traumatic Stress, Relationships & Fighting the Dragon

Noel & Keni chat with Pete and his wife CJ. Peter is a Marine Vet who fought in Operation Iraqi Freedom and went on to become a Police Officer in the Pacific Northwest. Together they have learned that PTS is a dragon that you can fight together. They talk about some of the tools they use to help them keep their relationship and family strong amidst the battle.

Stronger Families Podcast
Episode: Heroes at Home – PTS, Relationships & Fighting the Dragon

Tune in for today’s episode of the Stronger Families Podcast! We’re having conversations with real heroes to shed light on the side of Military/First Responder life that doesn’t get talked about. Noel Meador, CEO of Stronger Families, is joined by Keni Thomas to dive into today’s topics of PTS, relationships, and fighting the Dragon. Guests and couple, Pete and CJ, share about their own very real, very serious, and very authentic story of pressing through tough times after deployment.

To kick off this conversation, Noel and Keni introduce this couple and the vast array of experience Pete has in the military, in serving as a firefighter, and now as a police officer. Pete’s story is a familiar struggle to those dealing with PTS, but is one of victory and coming out on the other side! Pete gives a brief recap and takes us all the way back in his journey to where it all started for him—military deployment. Learn about how he started his service and the life-changing experience that would birth the “dragon” that would need to be fought for seasons to come.

Diving into the moment where everything really came to a head for Pete, the hosts ask Pete to share about why the team environment particularly hit him differently than ever before. Learn about his experiencing in training with firefighting—the flood of impact with smells, heat, and noises. Pete shares the intense experiences that ended him up in the hospital and the moment when he realized these moments were flashbacks from Iraq. It was a difficult journey to getting the real help he needed and tearing down the facade he had created in his own mind.

The conversation shifts as CJ joins in to provide her thoughts and where she came in to this story. Learn about their meeting, the moments she often did not understand, and the continual thoughts of her failures to be the wife and support Pete needed. They discuss the pivotal conversation they had when Pete shared he realized he was keeping CJ at arm’s distance, and how this helped both of them move forward. They walk through the journey of CJ asking Pete to attend a program that fundamentally changed their life and family—all the things that had been unaddressed were now un-done and let go! Hear about Pete’s reaction to this and his decision to lean in and be fully committed to the therapies at Mighty Oaks. It was not a new job, or other factors, it was PTS they needed to deal with.

In closing up the conversation, Pete and CJ share their encouragements for those (and their spouses) who are dealing with PTS. CJ emphasizes the importance of community. In a world where we have everything we need to distract ourselves from hard circumstances, what we need is not isolation, it is each other! While it is harder to be intentional and build community—Pete and CJ are confident that it is absolutely necessary! Noel and Keni reflect on this conversation and highlight the great lessons we can glean from this couple. Don’t miss the final quote from Oliver Stone in teaching others what we know, and helping them to find the goodness and meaning of this life!

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0:44 – Welcome to this episode
2:43 – Today’s topic and guests are introduced Pete and CJ are coming on. Pete’s story is real. Familiar struggle to those dealing with PTS, but they came out on the other side. Puts everything into focus. Great authenticity.
4:18 – Guests Pete and CK are welcomed on
5:02 – Pete takes us back to where it all started for him
8:25 – CJ comments on Pete’s life capsule summary
9:37 – Pete’s story of when PTS became evident
15:45 – How Pete got real help and the journey in tearing down the facade
19:09 – CJ shares where she came in
21:20 – When Pete shared with CJ about keeping her at arm’s distance
23:40 – CJ’s request that Pete attend the Mighty Oaks program
24:32 – Pete’s reaction, leaning in, and being fully committed finally
31:38 – Realizing the issue was PTS
32:57 – Encouragement for listeners struggling with PTS
35:20 – Thank you to Pete and CJ
35:47 – Hosts provide recap and takeaways from the interview
40:01 – Final quote and closing

Learn more about Stronger Families and Heroes at Home.
Check out more podcasts here.
Learn more about Mighty Oaks.

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