Skip to comments.A Step Back For Troops With PTSD
Posted on 03/24/2011 5:15:39 PM PDT by Starman417
Anyone that has followed my blog knows that I am passionate about helping to remove the stigma of PTS and PTSD. When I was first diagnosed (after years of denial), I still didn't really want to accept it. Honestly, I broke down into tears because now I would have to wear that label like a scarlet letter. I still had the mentality that it was a weakness.
For the benefit of those that are new to my writings, let me try and sum up for you what led to my diagnosis. I was a part of the ground assault into Iraq. From about the time I crossed the border into Iraq at 2359 on March 19, 2003, I took part in sustained and heavy combat operations. Just a few days into the war, I was injured, but ambulatory and was treated with pain medication. Part of my duties involved searching dead bodies after the battle for intelligence. I saw innocent civilians used as human shields - and killed as a result. I saw people obliterated into a cloud of red mist and chunks of meat. I saw guys that had been executed at point blank. I've had people die in my arms as I tried to save them, both friendly and enemy. I even saw puppies feasting upon the remains of dead Iraqis. I never took pictures of dead bodies if I could help it, but I did try to at least capture this particular scene without showing the gruesome details:
Bottom line is that I experienced sights and smells that no human being should ever have to experience. They will never leave me. I smell them when I'm awake and see them when I sleep. But, I started a blog to deal with those experiences in a positive way. I refused to let PTSD get the best of me and did the best to cope with in my own private way. Eventually, I could no longer hold it in. Many people around me, including my wife, were urging me to seek help for something I didn't want to admit was there.
Since 2009 when I went public about my private hell, I've worked hard to help General Chiarelli in his effort to remove the stigma of PTSD within the force. Troy and I had him on our show to talk about these efforts and for the first time, I admitted I had a problem. I vowed to seek help and did just that.
I can honestly say that the Army, at least, has made great strides in removing this stigma. There are programs all over the place that Soldiers can use to seek help. If one doesn't work, the Soldier has more than a few other options to choose from. If you ever hear a Soldier say that the Army doesn't care or doesn't do anything for PTS sufferers, he's either lying or just ignorant. I've been through numerous programs, picking pieces out of each one that helps me cope with my inner demons. Perhaps one of the best I've used is called the Strong Star program. Nothing else was helping me deal with my feelings of survivor's guilt and anxiety like this program did. Group therapy helped me get out the things that I couldn't discuss with anyone else but were eating me alive from the inside out.
The problem, as I see it, is that while the Army has done a GREAT job of removing the stigma of PTS within the force, it doesn't do much good when we are outside the sphere of influence of the Army - the civilian sector. Because of our wonderful media *snark*, there is a prevailing wisdom that PTS causes troops to go nuts, kill people, rob banks, beat their spouse, etc. That is just outright false and even if an element of truth lies in those actions, it's such a small minority as to be inconsequential. We know what we're doing. PTS and PTSD does NOT make me want to rob banks. Yeah, sometimes I get the urge to want to put a lethal stranglehold on some people, but no sufferer is so "out there" that they can't process and filter those thoughts out of their minds. We are responsible for our own actions, just not necessarily our own emotions.
(Excerpt) Read more at floppingaces.net...
Sounds like he thinks he was conscipted into a war.
Well, right now the USAF is encouraging everyone serving or has served in Iraq and Afghaistan, regardless if they are a busdriver on base, a groundskeeper, or they are handing out tickets at the airport to file for total disability due to PTSD. You can get assistance in the form of pre-scripted statements from your base medical department
I have several of these phonies in my neighborhood. All drawing 100% disability while doing odd jobs under the table.
How can you have PTSD if you are a REMF who never went out the gate? It’s the USAF Medical Branch to the rescue! If not, they have numerous old timers at the Veterans Help Desk who khow the ropes and the right buzz words.
Like everything else, these are fads and of course many jump on the gravy train.
In the meantime, lose a leg below the knee and get 40% disability.
Recent publications suggest that a significant number of our wounded warriors are coming back from desert deployments with PTSD for which there is no perfected remedy. I believe that there is now good cause to
examine a low cost and evidence based based alternative to the use of SSRI’s (selective serotonin re-uptake inhibitors) as the primary protocol. One very significant downside is that the military cannot employ soldiers on
active duty that are using SSRI’s. Another issue might be that SSRI’s do not address the underlying pathology.
The etiology of PTSD is complex and worth a comment. American soldiers are almost always on the heavy side of tissue iron loading (not measured by blood iron studies) and chromium deficiency: this is caused by their diet and
a lifetime without sufficient sweat. Sweat causes excretion of iron/chromium. The iron is readily replaced but the chromium is not.
The excess tissue iron blocks the proper levels of chromium absorption and retention. The deficiency of tissue chromium reduces the efficiency of insulin signaling and the downstream ability for cells to absorb, iron, chromium, glucose, and amino acids.
Iron accumulates in the liver and other organs. The Substantia Nigra Pars Compacta actually consumes iron in the production of neural transmitters and is one segment of the brain that does become iron deficient. When loaded with iron, the liver secretes hepcidin in most healthy individuals. Hepcidin down regulates the deliverable HCl at mealtime. Low stomach acid prevents the complete digestion of meat proteins and the proper absorption of amino
acids through the gut. Americans lose 1% of their muscle mass each year from their early twenties because of this hypoaminoacidemia.
During desert deployments, American soldiers lose significant amounts of iron and chromium in sweat. The blood levels of iron and chromium are lower because of insufficient digestion of meat (low iron and chromium absorption from the gut into the blood, and low
absorption of iron/chromium from the blood into the substantia nigra pars compacta and all other parts of the body).
Optimizing insulin signaling efficiency increases glucose loading into the hippo campos for cognitive enhancements, increases tryptophan loading into the brain for serotonin conversion-increases perception of well being, and increases iron loading into the substantia nigra pars
compacta for dopamine and neural transmitter synthesis. Optimizing insulin signaling efficiency can be accomplished with Intravenous Chromium Chloride or by applying a chromium fortified topical lotion.
Orally ingested chromium supplements have been proven to be inferior in the optimization of chromium via the transferrin receptor. Modern humans ingest daily approximately 1000 times the amount of iron as they do chromium. The iron easily wins the affinity/abundance battle for space on the safe transport protein transferrin and the chromium is chelated into a useless salt and excreted by the kidney without biological impact. Avoiding the iron rich environment in the gut is of paramount importance in optimizing the biological impact of chromium. It is the transdermal delivery of chromium that makes such a dramatic impact on optimizing the insulin signaling transduction event. This is accomplished in a dramatic and an immediately observable way by optimizing the bio-availability of trivalent chromium.
I used to wonder why someone like Kurt Cobain, who seemed to have everything going for him, could even suffer depression. That is until I suffered a bout of depression, too. (Tuns out that mine may was probably caused by the antibiotics I was taking.)
Don’t feel stigmatized. God never meant for men to have to see death at all, much less the horrible visions of war. I have never been in battle but after watching both “Band of Brothers” and “The Pacific”, I can understand how even the strongest man can break under the stress of watching their friends and innocents die.
I found out many years ago that when you are physically burned that you can either salve it and cover it and prevent yourself from feeling the burn, but eventually, you are going to have to just let it hurt. You are doing what you should, dragging out these suppressed feelings and dealing with them and hopefully, helping others deal with theirs, too.
Your post is offensive and shows your ignorance of PTSD.
It is beyond even responding to..of course you have legitimate sources or documentation for all your “information”.
It is NOT that easy to get PTSD disability, and no, you can’t just come up with some “pre scripted “ phrases. The evaluations are rigorous and with many providers in the VA.
There are of course, always a few who scam anything...wow, how novel of you to tell us that.
The young men and women who had to go through hell in Iraq and Afghanistan deserve EVERY penny they get, Most of them don’t even go for help for a LONG time. You have no idea of what a young woman who is a computer specialist on a base in Afghanistan may have gone through.
It is hard enough for vets to seek help without brilliant people like you rushing to tell them they are all a bunch of phonies who “look just fine to you and do a few odd jobs”..You give away your ignorance about PTSD with comments like that.
BTW, why don’t you tell your thoughts to the thousands of Vietnam Vets who NEVER got help or disability for their PTSD their whole lives!
Have you thought of working for Obama’s Healthcare system...”Here take a couple aspirin, suck it up and shut up!”
Yipes..the brilliant minds are just a multitude here tonight!
Oh, puleez, do give us your actual statistics !!! ....( of course you can’t, cause the stats for your offensive comments just don’t exist.)
PTSD for which there is no perfected remedy.” PTSD for which there is no perfected remedy.”
There’s no perfected diagnosis, either. Just the theory that war is stressful and the existence of many, many styressed out people. And not that I’m saying there isn’t something wrong with them. But what if, PTSD didn’t actually exist? Or, at least, not in the form we know it? Would anyone know the difference? Can psychiatrists be trusted to know what they’re talking about? I don’t think so.
Maybe soldiers should be given a pension, no matter what they did and what they feel, so that we can rest assured they’ll at least be comforetable for their whole lives. And if that means we blowe money on people who could very wekll support themselves...well, that’s what we’re doing anyway. This way, anyway, we’ll avavoid massively deluding ourselves by pretending we know that of which we speak.
Deploying troops taking SSRI's could be very dangerous is the reason. You don't need a guy out in the field all of the sudden thinking his platoon is the enemy. Serotonin balance is a very delicate manner not even some physicans take serious enough when writing SSRI scrips. Once it migrates from the stomach to the brain you in effect have a soldier having LSD type experiences.
PTSD requires years of therapy a lot of times which is out of a shrinks area. Sending a soldier with PTSD back into combat is a sure way of complicating the disorder or bringing a relapse. The mind has had enough carnage for years to come.
“Bottom line is that I experienced sights and “Bottom line is that I experienced sights and smells that no human being should ever have to experience”
If we took this sort of thing seriously, wouldn’t that mean every single one of our ancestors, or at least a majority of them, from back in the bad old days, would’ve been hysterical looneys unable to operate as normal hyman beings. Except they were, most of them, normal human beings. So what’s the deal? Maybe, just maybe, our brains can heal themsleves, and our culture (you know, morality, religion, family, community, etc) was perfectly fine, or fine enough anyway, before psychiatry came along and informed us we weremonsters and unable to deal with what normal huimans deal with.
I mesmells “Bottom line is that I experienced sights and smells that no human being should ever have to experience”
I always figured that ifthat “Bottom line is that I experienced sights and smells that no human being should ever have to experience”
I always fuino human being should ever have to experience”
I’ve always thought
“I used to wonder why someone like Kurt Cobain, who seemed to have everything going for him, could even suffer depression. That is until I suffered a bout of depression, too. (Tuns out that mine may was probably caused by the antibiotics I was taking.)”
Hello! He was a freakin’ heroin addict! Why do poeople constantly forget that little fact?
VEry rarely is a soldier, Marine returned home after War Trauma. Usually they may be given a minor tranquilizer, if that and sent back to “the front” ( whatever that is now)...Most often, troops don’t know themselves they are in shock and most often do not want to leave combat and leave their brothers in arms.
We only have a very very very very small percentage serving now...so there are too many and too long deployments. THAT would be the area to intervene with the least problems...but we can’t cause too many rappers are running arond with their pants hangin low and being tough at the shopping malls!
” I mesmells Bottom line is that I experienced sights and smells that no human being should ever have to experience
I always figured that ifthat Bottom line is that I experienced sights and smells that no human being should ever have to experience
I always fuino human being should ever have to experience
Ive always thought
Please ignore this part of the post. It was an accident.
Hey why don’t you tell your oh so very brilliant theory of War Shock to the Korean and Vietnam vets that never got help and needed it ?
Many of our ancestors were “loonies” , only in the “bad old days” they were the uncle who never talked to anyone and isolated and “just wasn’t the same”; or the guy who lived isolated; or the many, many vets who ended up in “insane asylums” before the 1960’s when we closed the state hospitals and finally had medications.
Maybe, just maybe....SOME VETS ARE OK, AND SOME VETS ARE DAMAGED BY THEIR TRAUMA.
Tell the many vets who were and are being helped by the mental health profession that they should just ‘suck it up and be normal!”
First of all, thank you for serving your country.
I am married to a Vietnam veteran who in the last 3 years of his life, began suffering tremendously with an autoimmune disorder. His weakened muscles have caused him to not be able to hold down a full-time job.... something he has been able to do since he was 14 years old. The experiences that he has sedated over the past 40 years - either by alcohol or ummmm other things - began to not be enough to contain the nightmares he suffers on a nightly basis. This stigma of being a loser and riding on the gubmint teet is still something he has to deal with. Some people can be so cruel. I am most grateful that our VA truly recognizes the incredible service our men and women endure and am proud that he can gain some treatment for this so-called PTSD. A lot of the Vietnam veterans are experiencing a latent effect of Agent Orange and it is difficult to prove that it is service related. It disgusts me to no end that our military gets treated in such a demeaning manner.
I hope things begin to go well for you, but just know that I am one who is most proud of you.
Maybe the heroin was an attempt to relieve himself of the depression.
We can't keep deploying a limited number of the same troops up to 4-5 times per enlistment into combat for a year at a time and not expect major cognitive issues. We need a military with a one deployment per enlistment policy into combat with a 18 month limit.
We can do that but congress has held the End Troop Strength numbers at 1996 manpower levels in the active forces since 1996. You can't run a machine without needed downtime nor can you a human being.
My God, Your post said it more eloquently than my ranting, angry posts.
thank you...I bet you got through to a lot of the angry posters who are so “disgusted”.
I pray that you and your husband find help, peace and strength.Thank you both for your service.
Don’t forget the major drinking that many WWII, Korea, and Vietnam Veterans did for YEARS after returning. I truly believe many were self-medicating.
Fortunately we now have very effective treatments for PTSD,
We have Brain scans, SPECT analysis ( Dr Amen) ...EEG therapies ( similar to biofeedback); good medications when used appropriately, and many new cognitive behavioral and EMDR therapies; new medications and therapies for substance abuse. Vets are getting better, and sooner in their lives. This not only helps them, but their families, especially their children...who now have a healtheir parent.
You are right.
We have a friend, 65, who is a Viet Nam vet.
He has applied for the PTSD disability. It involves a 9-week residency in a VA center. He will be evaluated, observed, taught coping mechanisms,participate in individual and group therapy, try out various meds. At the end he will get some disability compensation up to $2k/month.
Since he has always worked and since he is an articulate, gentle guy with a decent attitude toward life, we expect him to get something less than the maximum disability.
Does he have PTSD? I actually don’t think so, but his wife says he still has nightmares and wakes up in a sweat, getting only a few hours sleep per night.
It does seem like a rigorous evaluation with a multi-focus approach towrd coping. It doesn’t seem likely to encourage fakers.
The sooner the treatment the less time it has to fester in the brain. Family support is very necessary as you mention. PTSD can be set off by things persons would never consider. Words, common smells, weather, a TV show, you name it. I'm a firm believer in therapy as in seeing a therapist and talking it out along with any additional methods used. Going to a shrink once every few months for pills won't do it. It will mask symptoms but not help eliminate the disorder itself. The therapy sessions be it one on one which is usually the first six months to a year or group which can last 5 or more is the most important part of it. They are the ones to retrain the mind and stop the circle thinking or bad movie as I called it.
My brother is 65 and has recently been diagnosed with PTSD. He hadn’t had a problem until the last couple of years, but has flashbacks while he’s at work.
He also has some fairly serious neurological damage, apparently from the Agent Orange and is now on full disability but continues to work - though he is moving toward retirement.
The VA has been super with him.
I should try to be less judgmental, I guess.
None of us really knows someone else, especially in their nightmares at 4 a.m.
I hope the vet I mentioned gets helped and I don’t begrudge him a disability pension. He is one of nature’s gentlemen, despite having had a lousy life. I do know that the prospect of treatment has had an obvious effect on him. He is noticeably more relaxed than he was. We had chalked up the tension to the fact that his wife’s daughter was living them and she is a selfish, immature piece of work. The parents have managed to separate themselves from the daughter, which could also have had a calming effect.
As they say: it’s complicated.
I had a friend just like you from Vietnam. He too suffered PTSD and heard the voices, saw the people and the invented movies that played in his mind over and over.
He had two purple hearts and a bunch of other medals and commendations. I never knew about them until I helped his father clean out the house.
This happened when the demons and monsters that preyed on him for 30 years finally killed him.
He had been an exemplary mentor to others suffering from PTSD, but one day he decided to stop the medication he was taking that made him stable.
He still went to the classes but he stopped taking the pills that helped him cope because they made him feel dead.
One day he said some funny things and we all laughed at his jokes. Thing is he was planning his exit the whole time and telling us. We just didn’t know.
At his memorial, with the VA and the section that deals with PTSD, his doctor and mentor broke down so hard in tears it took him 30 minutes to compose himself enough to tell us my friends work was beyond amazing and it is so unexplainable that he died.
You see, he made one phone to another friend, leaving a voicemail about how everything had been so wonderful between them and it was a beautiful day.
Approximately 30 minutes later the demons that had haunted him for 30 years decided to kill him and he put a gun to his head and ended the pain.
PTSD is very real and the things those brave men do and see are unbearable for the rest of us.
Thank you for your story.
Word on the street was that Kurt Cobain had a longtime, recurring stomach ailment that caused him a lot of pain, and doctors sorta poo-pood his malady; he began to self medicate because of that, and eventually became addicted to heroin.
But really, if I was married to that wench I'd eat hard drugs by the mouthful too. (Acually he had this problem long before he met that woman. I am just being snarky).
“Maybe the heroin was an attempt to relieve himself of the depression.”
Yeah, I wouldn’t doubt that. But I have a hard time comparing the two—hard drug addiction and underlying depression—side by side and settling on depression as the primary cause. There’s first of all the nebulous nature of depression. Was it ever clinically diagnosed, or might it derive from a general sense of his unhappiness based on gloomy lyrics, dirty hair and clothes, a sullen visage, etc.
Secondly, though we have no way of knowing, except perhaps to consult relevant facts pertaining to whatever therapy and addiction treatment he may have undergone, there’s the question of to what degree the drugs exacerbated the underlying condition. They tend to do that.
Thirdly, there’s the firm connection between hard drug use and self-destructive behavior/short life spans with or without depression.
“Word on the street was that Kurt Cobain had a longtime, recurring stomach ailment that caused him a lot of pain, and doctors sorta poo-pood his malady; he began to self medicate because of that, and eventually became addicted to heroin.”
Not that I’d suggest it was psychosomatic to begin with, but for argument’s sake let’s take him at his word. If he was that adamant about it, there must have been a good reason (unless his reason was he was already using and already needed an excuse to continue). People do indeed get hooked while soothing legitimate pain, most commonly involving the mysterious back (actually, I just made that up; I have no idea if it’s most common, but I bet it is).
Most commonly, as well (and this I do know), their symptoms persist as a factor of their disease (addiction, that is). So that we’d never know whether the stomach pain was chronic, since he was never off his emolient long enough to check. Hence his using it as an excuse to keep using, along with his convenient distrust of doctors, all of which contributed to his successful avoidence of treatment.
Not that treatment isn’t generally a crock. But sometimes it does work. In Cobain’s case the stomach thing sounds like a perfect excuse. Again, not to say it was psychosomatic from “go.” Perhaps his gap of care or low quality of care due to his period of homelessness and poverty contributed. Certainly once he got his millions and the gates of quality healthcare opened, he was already adrift on a gentle sea of opium.
Bandwagon and self victimization are alive and well in America. They span all races, religions, the sexes and national origin.
I'm sure if you'd go to some blog where they are more in touch with their “inner feelings” and have links to Oprah and the View you'd get better re-verb from your “belief” in these imaginary disorders.
“Oh, puleez, do give us your actual statistics !!! “ You say. Well, what I said is a fact and verifiable if you care check. The loss of a leg below the knee will give one a maximum disability of 40%, but for PTSD you have thousands diagnosed (based on some relative gibberish they tell a Psychologist) that are actually 100% disabled.
-A great cash cow for psychologists, something that expands the budget of the VA, a booming industry.
-The VETs cashing in on this ~6% that come out of the military won't complain about the extra cash in their pocket.
-Politicians and even to some degree the average citizen wants to “support the VETs” and no one wants to deprive them of the assistance they need, so like issues of race or religion there is a sensitivity regards this issue that prevents a rational dealing with it.
-To the left this was just another opportunity to highlight the horrible consequences of this war. To the left soldiers are only worth mentioning when they are victimized or bad mouth the mission and leadership. Any other time they will villinize the soldier as a blood thirsty savage. So the left jumped on this PTSD bandwagon as well a few years back.
The consequence: Vets with real trauma, real medical issues such as loss of extremities, severe burns over large parts of their body, disfigurement in the face, loss of hearing, equilibrium, eyesight are not given the full extent of care possible because we're diverting funds to these phantom diseases that are not really measurable, quantifiable nor even have any real coherent definition (i.e. sexual trauma, PTSD, etc).
Look, if someone wants to mooch or have a relative who does, it's technically difficult to prove and near impossible to go after them. You're not going to get in trouble by being a moocher, but don't try to tell us about the severe unimaginable pain and suffering and this horrible disease they're suffering from. If that were the case, everyone in chicken farm, slaughter house for pigs or cows, morticians at funeral home...... By the way, I took pictures of the dogs at BIAP munching down. A while later I took more pictures of the dogs munching on the bloated remains...... of “what” I won't say. lol
Here's the bottom line. You're a predatory animal and you need to be just for sustenance. You have depth perception (Stereo scopic vision), canine and incisor teeth..... Your body has a difficult time getting all the protein it needs on a Vegan diet. You are a carnivore and killing comes natural to us. In fact, it sort of feels good, but you have to be careful who you tell that too since we've become very gay as a society. Likewise, death is part of life so is risk, pain, fear......... Frankly, the “feelings” people talk about are natural and just like MOST kids put on Ritalin a few years back were diagnosed as ill, it's a fad and mostly based on junk science. Over time these feelings will fade, you come to realize that they are part of who you are and in a way make you stronger, not weaker. It's like the first time you hunted and shot a deer, boar....etc. You learn that “you” are king of the jungle. You, have taken life and are among the few that hunted the ultimate prey. You are the sheepdog that killed the wolf, and unlike most the sheep, you're the strong one.
Don't let the sheep define what strong and weak is.
The stomach ailment thing is very interesting in light of this:
Mate, if that’s what you have to tell yourself to be able to sleep at night, then so be it. Whether its some part of us that has changed since our ancestors or maybe modern society has us too far removed from the ‘real world’, I do not believe that we are meant to experience these sorts of things and not come away affected by them. To me, it is part of being a rational, moral human being that we get affected by witnessing these things. In previous wars, there was usually some sort of downtime between leaving combat and coming back to the real world. Time that the men could use to decompress and swap stories so that everyone knew they weren’t the only ones to see what they saw and feel what they felt. I think part of PTSD is the feeling that you are the only one that reacts this way to the events. Feeling like everyone else saw the same things or did the same things, but came away OK, even if they didn’t. Are there those who use this as an excuse to ‘get what’s mine’ fromt he system? Of course. You are painting with far too broad a brush, though. As far as waiting for the feelings to fade and realize that this is just what we are; well, maybe some of us want to be able to think better of ourselves. BTW, while I do see the VA for the pain in my back and leg that will be with me the rest of my life, I do not speak to them of the nightmares that awaken me or some of the things I still see when I close my eyes sometimes. That is my choice, though. I will never think less of someone who is MAN enough to admit they have an issue and seek treatment (and yes, that includes women).
What kind of disability are they drawing?
Maybe he volunteered without knowing the reality of war. Not many young men fresh from their mother’s bosom have any idea about the real world. Some make it, some don’t. Nobody gets out without scars of one sort or another.
It's not surprising that in a society with a victim mentality, where you have an emasculation of men, where people get sick if they see how the sausage is made and decide to become Vegans, that they have such issues as PTSD. The point is this, if you're being told you're a victim, that those feelings are somehow bad, unnatural, unhealthy or wrong, eventually you believe it because we are after all social animals. It's a feed back loop. Given the right conditions, smart people that are not otherwise crazy will fly airplanes into ships, they will self disembowel themselves or stand together at the Alamo and make a certain fatal decision fully aware and having a choice. Do you really think the Comanche's, Spartans, etc suffered from PTSD? Do you really think they needed group sessions where they sat around and talked about their feelings?
I “believe” some people indeed do have some issues, but those are a consequence of two factors:
1. They were not properly trained, i.e. desensitized to killing and the sights, smells, etc. thereof. That's why IMO it's so important that hand to hand combat training be conducted even for those that aren't per say combat arms. The killing of animals (As with the chicken killing in RGR school) should be part of training for the same exact reason why we use human shaped targets on the qual-range. I would take it a step further, I think the targets should be even more lifelike and we should also have “live target” training (pigs). It's largely a frame of mind that you have to create over time by socializing (Not just a single school you go to once like Ranger TRNG- but a constant expose) them to become warriors. I believe this is more important today than ever before because the US has become more urban, more of a technology, information and industry based society than in WWII and hence the kids joining today are completely off base in perceptions and values. Most have never fired a weapon, killed an animal or field dressed it. They need to get roughed up and exposed to killing. I don't doubt that people really feel weak and pass out when they have blood drawn, but what do you think is the real issue there? With the right frame of mind, you can put that IV in yourself.
In the Cold War the DoD had ideas like “Project Warrior” which purchased board games, books, movies..... available on post/base (library for example) but all with the end to develop views/attitudes and skills geared towards developing a warrior. That's what we need.
2. The feedback loop that is created when they return home. Over this the DoD has at best little control (on the installation and in their publications, internal TV (AFN)/radio etc). The feedback loop today isn't one that is generally negative towards the soldier in US society at large, but is certainly one of victimization. I wasn't of the Vietnam era, (OEF/OIF for me) but I can only imagine what it must have felt like returning home and being expose to music, movies, art, literature, news, cultural leaders and even fashions that all belittle one’s mission, actions, leadership, etc. From Hair to Apocalypse Now, what society was pumping into our men wasn't good. If society sends a message like this, it's a powerful force on the soldier and I don't belittle them for feeling the way they do. Like an anorexic or bulimic that is killing themselves because of a self image they have and the pressure and norms they're trying to conform too, the soldier in this context is a victim of a political decision to wage war and a society that changes it's mind as soon as things take a bit to long and get messy. There is no doubt, the anorexic really feels the way she does about her weight. For the soldier in this case the best remedy is information and teaching about the social context and controlling the message in the limited area's one has control over.
Given the other extreme of influences, men can kill other men and use their bones as ornamentation. Yes, a few really do have issues I'm sure, but PTSD is one of those gray areas where abuse is rampant and it's the consequence of training and weirdo society.
Thank you for a reasoned post.
Most PTSD sufferers do not “show “ symptoms. They are not crazed, violent veterans that join crazed militias like Nappy Janet is worried about.
Their wives may see the symptoms, nightmares, night sweats, hypervigilance and anxiety and depression. Very often they isolate, avoid social gatherings frequently. So these type of problems are not very “obvious”. If they try to self medicate with alcohol, what you may see is an alcoholic and not “see “PTSD.
BTW, treatment is totally seperate from compensation within the Va..they are two seperate tracks, although evaluations are also done by compensation.
The Va now also has weekly PTSD therapy groups ( number of members; 6 to 8; no of sessions , usually 8-10 weeks ) that are called “Seeking Safety” , a cognitive behavioral approach. The groups are comprised of a cohort ( same people from start to finish of the group).
You are right that therapy, indvidual and group and other treatments are needed, not just meds.
I am Sorry for your loss of your friend.
Thank you for posting this. Perhaps it will offset the moronic, ignorant and pompous jerks that are posting here such as whatever the poster Red6 is...who posted this gem...
“You are a carnivore and killing comes natural to us. In fact, it sort of feels good, but you have to be careful who you tell that too since we’ve become very gay as a society. Likewise, death is part of life so is risk, pain, fear......... Frankly, the feelings people talk about are natural and just like MOST kids put on Ritalin a few years back were diagnosed as ill, it’s a fad and mostly based on junk science. Over time these feelings will fade, you come to realize that they are part of who you are and in a way make you stronger, not weaker. It’s like the first time you hunted and shot a deer, boar....etc. You learn that you are king of the jungle. You, have taken life and are among the few that hunted the ultimate prey. You are the sheepdog that killed the wolf, and unlike most the sheep, you’re the strong one. “
I guess there are fearful people out there..even on Freeper.
Maybe just defending against their own fear of “Mental illness”. People like that just can’t handle that anyone coudl have any kind of emotional problems...just too scariy for them to admit.
Scaired of being called “gay” if you have emotional problems?
............”You are a carnivore and killing comes natural to us. In fact, it sort of feels good, but you have to be careful who you tell that too since we’ve become very gay as a society.”
Guess you are still with the group that is terrified that any emotional or mental weakness must be a sign of cowardice or sexual problems. Methinks you doth protest too much!
I am glad you have no emotional problems and hope you never experience them. But if you ever do, or if any of your family has emotional or mental problems, I hope they get help from someone more helpful and compassionate than you are demonstrating now.
Wow, what a profound, articulate post.
Thank you for posting a response that was more articulate and well thought out than my angry rants at the poster.
You have put the subject in excellant perspective and presented the moral aspect of humans in an eloquent manner.
Their wives may see the symptoms, nightmares, night sweats, hypervigilance and anxiety and depression. Very often they isolate, avoid social gatherings frequently. So these type of problems are not very obvious. If they try to self medicate with alcohol, what you may see is an alcoholic and not see PTSD.
I confess that I have always thought of it as having a trip-wire temper, freaking out in a destructive fashion, etc.
Now that you explain the symptoms, and with the added info from his wife, I can see them in our friend. Especially, his tendency when just hanging out to sit sort of in a corner, arms folded tightly across his chest, with a *stone face*. We could coax him out of it, and it never happened when we were outside or doing something, but only if we went in to have a cup of coffee and sit down to talk. It was odd, but, you know how you just accept some behaviors that don’t seem self or other-destructive.
He doesn’t drink, but, like most of the 60s generation, he does inhale.
His eval ends in June. I do hope he gets something.
What a compassionate and supportive friend you are...of all the help a veteran can get, it is always family and friends that make the difference.
I am sure your friend will get a lot of help, the VA has many, many types of treatments now and overall a committment not to repeat the neglect of post Vietnam. Your friend will also be able to get support from fellow veterans in treatment....a very positive factor.
I had forgot about that post. Went and read it and started crying.
He just nicest guy. His smile and laughter were very infectious.
Still can’t believe did that. Then again what were his choices?
Continue with the meds and feel emotionally dead or hear monsters?
I actually wonder if he didn’t make the right choice. I wish to hell hadn’t and pray God forgives him.
As for that other poster, I’m certain he never experience anything more than being Bitch Slapped by his little sister.
PTSD is a cruelty that reminds us of the horrors of war.
His own father never knew his son had so many commendations and medals.
I will never forget opening that box and staring at them.
His dad wanted me to take care of them for him.
I couldn’t bear the weight of having them in my house and declined. I never saw a man cry that deeply before.
Sir, have you yet been introduced to the 501c that Army Col. Antonio Monaco founded? It is found at www.patriotoutreach.org and Col. Monaco’s free gift to all Vets, even civilian veterans of any war can be accepted in a truly anonymous fashion by being downloaded from his site. Rave reviews are coming in about it, without exaggeration. The 82nd. Airborne ordered thousands of free copies last year, I think it was, for a segment of their command headed for Afghanistan, so I was told and I heard the ordered more.
That terrorism went down at Ft. Hood, someone there heard of the colonel’s “Coping Strategies” and phoned, saying “send us all ya got” sort of thing.
God bless you and I hope you go read the colonel’s message about it, as he can explain it better than I ever could.