I am also a Gulf War vet, was exposed to the PB pills, Anthrax, Oil-burning fields, a scud missile was also intercepted by a patriot missile over my compound. I am 40 years old, and have been suffering from Chronic Fatigue, Muscle and Joint pain throughout my whole body, Sleep Disorders, Depression, Anxiety and Panic Attacks which all of these symptoms occurred shortly after my return from the Gulf; for years I've been told that it was all in my head, recently I places a claim with the VA and was originally awarded only 20% for Muscle and Joint Pain, they categorized this under Fibromyalagia, I went for an Upgrade and was awarded for 40%. To this day, I am unsure if I have been diagnose properly and would like to know what I should do now? I suffer everyday from pain throughout my body, I have been through 2 failed marriages and sometimes I just don't want to go on. I can't afford to file for SSDI, because my family will suffer as well. WHAT DO I DO?????Long after the war ends, the battle still rages. First of all, welcome home brother. Keep fighting, do not give in too the pain and madness. You are worth every battle fought, including the day to day struggle of daily living.
You say you have a family, right? They do not care how much money you make. They do not assign your worth to them in the form of dollar bills. They want their father or mother. They want you to be as healthy as you can.
Call the VA and get some help with your feelings of hopelessness. If you do not like the therapist assigned (try at least 4 sessions, unless they are totally insensitive), you can fire him/her and get a new one. Ask for the form to change therapists at the front desk.
If you are on antidepressants they can sometimes lose their effectiveness after several years, go back to your psychiatrist and start a new regimen of medicines and keep trying until you find the medicine that works. I tried 9 different medications over 18 months until I found a medication that would work.
Fibromyalgia, an illness that has a psychiatric component connected to physiological symptoms–meaning it is not all in your head. I used to think that somatic disease, which fibromyalgia is classified as, was a way for the doctors to discount my PTSD. But, after much research I have found that is no the case. Here is a paper I found on the subject:
Narrative Review: The Pathophysiology of Fibromyalgia
Here is a resource that has many traditional and nontraditional remedies. The author of this site has Chronic Fatigue Syndrome and through many years of research and treatments she has devised an approach that has put her symptoms almost completely at bay. You can contact her through her website and email her, she would be happy to give you advice.
Healing Combat Trauma
If you have to file for social security, then do so. You have probably worked for most of your life. I am pretty sure that fibromyalgia is a condition that qualifies to receive early retirement from social security, not SSDI. I have a friend that just recently received early retirement from social security for bi-polar, full retirement benefits, $1,300 a month for my friend.
If your claim has been within a year you can appeal the award and could quite possibly receive more. almost 90% of all appeals are won, the rating system has the same mandate as the VA bureaucracy, PROTECT THE BUDGET. Even if you are awarded service connection, you can still appeal it for a higher percentage.
Another suggestion, if your 40% rating has been over a year, go to a civilian doctor and have him/her assess your condition and use that as new evidence to open a new claim. Show this doctor your medical file and he/she should be able to better assess your condition. You can get your complete file from the records office at your nearest VAMC, then separate all the information that does not pertain to your fibromyalgia C and P exams and your treat for this condition since then. If you have two or more C and P exams from the separate ratings then include these documents for the civilian doctor.
My last suggestion, do research, type this into your Google search, without the brackets [fibromyalgia filetype:pdf] and you will only receive PDF files on the subject. You will find more peer reviewed research doing this, you can substitute any key words in place of fibromyalgia. You will find both sides of the argument, for and against as is with any point of research. Combine terms to narrow your search, such as [fibromyalgiatreatment filetype:pdf], or any other words such as antidepressants.