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.
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