The United Church of Christ pastor shares the inspiration of her book and the mission of her ministry to end suicide.
Pastor/chaplain Dr. Pamelajune “Pj” Anderson appeared on the nationally syndicated radio program America Tonight, hosted by Kate Delaney, to talk about her book, Soul Fiber for Soul Fitness, extol the benefits of journaling, and discuss the risk of suicide among veterans.
A product of therapeutic writing, Soul Fiber for Soul Fitness is a collection of articles Dr. Anderson wrote in 2018. Some of the articles are published in newspapers in Ohio and Michigan. Writing the articles that would make its way in Soul Fiber for Soul Fitness allowed her to heal.
The author’s journey to journaling
How did Dr. Anderson discover journaling? It all started with an experience she had when she served as a chaplain in the Gulf War in Operation Desert Shield and Operation Desert Storm. It was her first time away from home for a long extended period of time.
Being the only female chaplain, she found the experience both traumatic and troubling. She had to endure demeaning comments from colleagues who thought she didn’t have the right to wear their uniform or to be in ministry. And with no one to turn to for help, she ended up being diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She also battled voices in her head telling her to end her own life.
So, to overcome her feeling of inadequacy, she turned to journaling. “Journaling is a very healthy way of putting on paper what’s going on in a phase that almost defies description.”
Journaling did wonders for Dr. Anderson’s self-esteem. “As a result, I was able to self-heal as an officer serving as a chaplain. It was an amazing experience. Journaling, for me, was an opportunity to become whole. I continued that when I came out.”
Her ministry to veterans
Journaling also helped Dr. Anderson develop the skills needed to minister to veterans and military people, especially those who harbor suicidal thoughts as they already feel quite disconnected. There is a high risk of suicide among military people because they are often isolated from their families for periods of time or have multiple deployments.
She used her experience to help veterans and military people get a grip on themselves and eliminate suicidal thoughts. She deems it important that veterans talk about and share their experiences overcoming suicidal thoughts.
Though a clinical approach to dealing with suicide would help, it’s the last thing veterans need,
said Dr. Anderson. She emphasized that people need something like inspirational news, the
Good News, or affirmations that feed the soul.
“We need folks that will talk with us from a spiritual perspective, that will talk to our soul, that
will help our soul stay in fitness.”
To purchase Soul Fiber for Soul Fitness or know more about Pamelajune “Pj” Anderson, DMin.,
and her ministry, please visit her website http://www.udeservelifesbest.com/