May 31, 2010

In Recognition of Memorial Day




In every war we will have soldiers killed in a combat zone. Today we honor those who did not make it home, the ones who lost their battle, we struggle on so that they will not have died in vain...

What does Memorial Day mean to a Combat PTSD Veteran? It means that I have to think of the dead, again...while the nation rests its conscious 364 days out of the year, me. I am lucky to get 30 days out of a year when I do not see, smell, hear...OMG the voices...they are always there...You see I almost went there again...

I honor those that did not make it back deeply...but I fear for those that did make it back. We loose more Combat Veterans to suicide than from guns of another's hand. We do not have enough mental health practitioners in the United States to help all of our Combat Veterans who struggle with Post Combat Stress Reactions. If left untreated it could lead to a lifetime of chronic and debilitating mental injuries (Check the Facts).

We honor our fallen...

May 29, 2010

Go To Milblogging.com Add to Favorites

Military Blog Profile at Milblogging.com

  • Go there and register, 
  • THEN add PTSD: A Soldier's Perspective to your favorites

Mentally Wounded in Combat

Welcome home brothers and sisters. Coming back home is difficult, in some ways more difficult than the battlefield. At home, we have no reprieve from life, only what we steal in zoning out or losing minutes if not days a double-edged sword that is our relief. At home, we must examine everything in detail, in the battlefield we kill a perceived threat, we don't talk about it and discuss the finer points on the emotionality of the situation.

So, today we perceive everything as a threat...especially unconditional love...in our world...where we never wanted to be...love triggers so many alarms within a Combat PTSD Vet, that I myself after 20 years...cannot differentiate that alarm from the sirens of danger...(my two year relationship w/my ex-girlfriend just ended last night on the same night as my youngest son's message on my phone) "IF you Got ANYTHING to say to me, say it to my face you..." and add any threatening kind of explicative you can think of...so my life still sucks...but...but. My ex-girlfriend and I split because of my inability to connect on an emotional level...I was a good therapist though.
The medicines the VA wants me to take...rob me of my emotions...I cannot feel anything...so when I do it is so intense that I want to take drastic measures...and that has spilled over into my life lately...I might need treatment again.
Then comes the reality that this thing may be for life. I need to know THE latest research...I need the knowledge to understand this thing myself...I need a therapist to help with interpretation as we who hold the HIGH honor of 'Mentally Wounded in Combat' can attest is the even if we don't know it or can verbalize it we have left our SQUAD of soldiers...to hold an eternal sense of shame in doing so..."we just cut our body off" and now we return home with JUST our head and it is fuckin damaged...

But, I am not sick in the sense that we have come down with a malady. I...have had to much damage to our brain...Mine was from witnessing literally (I mean L i t e r a l l y) thousands of thousands...by the official US Army account...my unit, brigade for division...my vehicle on point...me, driver BFV..I was on point for the Division so I saw it all...10,000-35,000 enemy soldiers killed in 100 HOURS (99%), and 3 campaigns later my division was involved in the most intensive modern day desert tank battles in history. Except I am in a little BFV in a big Freaking tank battle. Yep, and I led the the tanks into the battle and then I would get the fuck out as fast as I could...that was my job in the war...I saw over 20,000 PEOPLE get killed in an orgy of killing with and over 40,000 vehicles mangled by explosive twisting forces they were driving...(My Papers, any of the statistics could be me)

I drove for 7 days straight without sleep. No telling what that in itself did to me, of course along with the 100 hours of combat was the easiest part to stay awake for...

My brain is damaged...thats whats wrong with me...I send mixed signals. Yes I do. I get them all the time, and I know that that is me too. I learned all that I have to try and get it back but I cannot...it did not work (cried after realizing that thats why I am stuck today). I try so hard to understand myself...and I am as confused to my understanding as I was decades ago at times. Today I realize that is the MENTAL WOUND that I carry today. Is it a license to go Willy-Nilly? NO, is it something that I struggle with on a daily basis (technical shit)? Shit yes, DO YOU WANT A FUCKIN BROKEN BRAIN? I will trade...today.

May 28, 2010

PASP(1) Resource Seal of Approval: The Minnesota Model


The Minnesota Model






Brock Hunter has worked hard to capitalize on gathering forces to build upon the momentum he begot belonging to the stable, steady and stern crusade of helping veterans. His calling in life is to help define at which length will we as a Nation will go to help those that went further.

So long story short...veteran killed 27 1/2 peoplein combat (shared credit w/someone else)...and he cannot turn the killing off...so at home he only kills one or two...(no this is not a tale of hero returns home...this is the tale of after he returns to find no help...)

...So, in swoopsBrock Hunter (the Caped Crusader of Combat PTSD), which is he more like? Superman or Batman? While you decide that let me, let you in on some of his creative genius.

Click here to read his Foundational Papers that have sparked a movement...

May 26, 2010

Playing Videogames Can Protect Gamers from Nightmares

If I could have THE video gaming device? Are you serious? Uh...well if I didn't have to worry about the cost or anything and the VA was going to pay for it (what)...did you say?

Over at GameSpy, Mike Sharky Reporting,
And it's only Wednesday. On Monday, we heard from the a UK therapist that said two hours of gaming produced the same effect as snorting a line of cocaine. A Harvard economist wondered aloud on Tuesday if the nation should thank videogames for its dropping crime rate. Today, a Canadian psychologist suggests that playing videogames can protect gamers from nightmares.

As MSNBC reports, Jayne Gackenbach, a psychologist at Grant MacEwan University in Canada, studied lucid dreams for years before becoming curious about her young son's infatuation with videogames. After initial research, she began to find "several surprises, although suggestive associations rather than definitive proof."

Some of those suggestive associations include: lucid dreamers and gamers appear to have better spatial skills and are less prone to motion sickness. The two groups also demonstrate a higher level of concentration and focus.

Based on her initial findings, Gackenbach began more detailed studies and discovered gamers were more likely to experience lucid dreams than non-gamers. She was able to duplicate the results in a number of different studies and found that gamers were also better able to control their lucid dreams than non-gamers.

Curious what her research meant in regard to nightmares, Gackenbach conducted another study with 35 males and 63 females. More on the study from MSNBC:

[Gackenbach] used independent assessments that coded threat levels in after-dream reports. She found that gamers experienced less or even reversed threat simulation (in which the dreamer became the threatening presence), with fewer aggression dreams overall. In other words, a scary nightmare scenario turned into something "fun" for a gamer.

"What happens with gamers is that something inexplicable happens," Gackenbach explained. "They don't run away, they turn and fight back. They're more aggressive than the norms."

According to MSNBC, Gackenbach hopes to continue her research and discover if videogames can help veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder [PTSD]. Combat veterans with PTSD [Combat PTSD] typically experience dramatically higher rates of nightmares, and Gackenbach thinks videogames might be able to help.
Uh....Playstation 3 of course.

May 25, 2010

History Channel: TV's Next New Hit Show

Rooted in history, skilled marksmen compete for $100,000 prize package and bragging rights as HISTORY’s…

TOP SHOT
First competition series from HISTORY, premiering Sunday, June 6 at 10pm ET

Hosted by
Survivor Contestant Colby Donaldson (I AM DROPPING THE BOMB...says Mr. Lee...turns out that Colby is The Hero of Survivor's Hero and Villains)

New York, May 24, 2010 – Whether it's William Tell using a crossbow to shoot an apple off his son’s head, or Annie Oakley using a hand mirror to make a shot with a rifle slung over her shoulder, history is filled with legendary tales of amazing marksmanship. Now, HISTORY is tapping into these inspiring feats of sharp-shooting for its first-ever competition series, TOP SHOT, premiering Sunday, June 6 at 10pm ET.

Sixteen of the nation’s most skilled marksmen have been carefully selected to compete in the new 10-episode series. Some have professional shooting experience, some are amateurs - all will showcase breathtaking timing, speed and accuracy in their quest to win the $100,000 prize package and title of “Top Shot.” The winner will ultimately have to be skilled in everything from muzzle-loading muskets and modern pistols to slingshots and throwing knives.

The series is hosted by actor, adventurer and athlete Colby Donaldson, a born competitor whose experience as a contestant on Survivor brings a unique perspective to HISTORY’s first elimination series.

Each week, contenders will face both team and individual elimination challenges until one winner remains. In the series opener (Sunday, June 6), contestants are immediately divided into two teams and then compete in a “Rifle Relay,” an obstacle course using standard-issue rifles from four different wars. In the elimination round, two contestants go head-to-head in “The Long Shot,” a long-distance sniper challenge which will send the first person home.

In episodes 2 and 3 (Sunday, June 13 and Sunday, June 20), contestants’ skills with the pistol and bow and arrow are put to the test. From muzzle-loading muskets to throwing knives, every challenge will focus on weapons, technologies and techniques of different eras in history as high-speed HD cameras capture the skillful execution of each test in extreme slow-motion.

Contestants vying for “Top Shot” include professional shooters and world-record holders, but there are also amateurs, including a Wild West entertainer, a historical firearms collector, and a radio gun show host. They range in age from a 22-year-old rifle prodigy to a 47-year-old retired New York cop. There is also one female in the group, the first female in the history of the Chicago Police Department to become “Top Gun” of her graduating class.

TOP SHOT is produced for HISTORY by Pilgrim Films and Television. Executive Producers for HISTORY are Dirk Hoogstra and Paul Cabana. Craig Piligian is Executive Producer for Pilgrim Films and Television.

Stuff ya probably don't want to read...

Back Up and Punt Anonymous!

It seems a fellow military spouse feels that my comments about my husband on my blog are unfair to him and if I feel this badly about him, "move on". I "am unpatriotic, selfish and undeserving of a Veteran". My comment of " It would have been easier to have him killed in action/ lose a limb than come home this way with severe PTSD" has really disturbed her.

Well, first off....this is a "self-help" blog set up in "my perspective". Adding myself to Scott's site is in hopes that maybe other wives will read what I have to say and say "Man, so I don't feel like a total horse's ass because look here! Someone else is dealing with it too!" I am not writing about how God helped me through all this, because although a strong God believer, so far he hasn't helped one bit. Before you cast stones, we have been down that route and didn't get much help. I am a firm believer that God has a plan for me, and so far he hasn't let me down in the past...it's just recently I feel like he got busy elsewhere and momentarily forgot us. I am not going to blow smoke up other spouse's asses reading this, because how is that fair to them or make them feel that they aren't alone in probably similar thoughts?

So far 65% of blogs I have read talk about how things get better, how "good" days are absolutely peachy king and bright. How paying for their own psychiatrist out of pocket helped them and how wonderful things are now that their soldier is cured. I know Vietnam Veterans who aren't cured, and it's been 25 years!

Castrated Hearts



US Military Veterans of all branches, eras and backgrounds are represented in Castrated Hearts: People Traumatized Shouldering Darkness, a collection of poems and photographs written by veterans which depict the experience of military acquired Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).

"These stories have to be told," said contributor Donald Loomis, a Purple Heart recipient who served in Vietnam. Loomis was a Chief Warrant Officer and Army helicopter pilot who states that his six and a half years of service in the military were both the most exciting and most tragic years of his life.

"Post Traumatic Stress Disorder is the most devastating affliction that any member of the US military can suffer, whether acquired in or out of combat. PTSD kills people, destroys families, and ruins lives," states Loomis.
My hope is that this book would raise awareness of PTSD throughout the United States. Currently PTSD is a phantom affliction. It's not talked about and is well repressed except for a small arena in the Veteran's Affairs Administration.
Check the book out above and the rest of the Press Release here...

May 24, 2010

Yellow Ribboned Nooses

Hello everyone! Just recently got an invite to participate in this awesome blog! I guess I should start by introducing who I am. I am a 34 year old Army Reservist wife, FRG (Family Readiness Group) leader for my husband's unit, Mother of three boys, official peace keeper and candle maker. My husband served in Iraq for 15 months as a combat medic in the triangle of death; Ramadi for those not into nicknames. My husband returned home as Dr. Jeckyl and Mr. Hyde, I was ill prepared and life hasn't been the same since. My husband was recently diagnosed with severe PTSD, and now TBI. Psychiatrists state he is not able to hold down a job, nor would they recommend that he be in the working public. That advice/letters from three psychiatrists and it was only worth 30% of disability according to the VA. I think he doesn't need to be out in public period without support, but hey what do I know.

You will want to read the rest of her introduction?

I learned pretty quickly as an FRG leader and as a spouse, that guess what! The military isn't there 24 hours a day, 365 a year as promised, and there are more closed doors than open ones. I started blogging to self-help myself because obviously being married to a soldier with PTSD is considered to be a taboo subject that no one wants to talk about or help with. I have been there done that with counseling sessions, spousal support groups at the VA, trained with the military by some top notch military individuals, voluntarily educated myself on the rest that was not given, and found that this Yellow Ribbon of support, is quickly becoming a noose around my neck. Failures of the military and the disappointment sometimes chokes the pride and suffocates what support you had right out of you.

As a spouse of an Army Reservist and as FRG leader, I learned that the "silent ranks" are basically the red headed step children of the Army. Because we are geographically not located near an army installation, we do not have the same resources if there even are any, available to us. Because we are National Guard or Reservists, some organizations do not help us period because we are not Active Duty and what resources that are available to us are "no longer available" or seven hours away across the state. After doing some research though, I learned that it's the same with Active Duty side as well. It almost feels like some type of front put up to cover up the bad business. There is the number they give you to call should you or your spouse have trouble, there is someone who answers the phone, but then you get there and nothing. We have gone around and around the block of crap resources and have fought along the way. The military says, "Go to the VA that's what it's there for!" Well, it took us seven months for an initial appointment, another year and a half to get him doped up so much he really doesn't function that well, and you know what? STILL THE SAME but just medicated. I feel like seeing a doctor twice a year and a psychiatrist once a year is absolutely unacceptable.

I really feel deep down, that the Army screwed us and the VA doesn't want to do anything about it except dope them up and send them back to the families. The spouses are filled with empty promises of gold at the end of the rainbow and find there is nothing but disappointment. They instead turn to the Family Readiness Groups at their unit because that's what they are told, and we in turn must send them right back to the same resources that don't work because that's what they give us as well! So here we are, a bunch of family members and soldiers, trained volunteers; hopeful and readily seeking help only to find that we were left on the side of the road with no way back home or left for dead.

Uncle Sam put out the call for the military to serve overseas in a war that has long surpassed idiotic, and promised the families and soldiers that they will be taken care of. I can probably give you five hundred examples of how they have failed not only our soldiers, but our families as well. It's in my opinion, that our soldiers are no longer worthy once they come home. Rather than have a "Welcome Home" banner in place, we should have one that says "Now that you're back-bend over" because that's how it feels. But wait! A year later, they sure as hell don't mind calling you back up and want you to do it all again! The families cry and wear their "Support our troops" t-shirts, and think "Ok, I can make it through another deployment" when all the while they are trying to figure out the resources once again. Spouses like me wonder what's going to happen to my already shaky husband once he comes back home again? Perhaps with more and more spouses coming forward to talk about their problems, we can get someone's attention. As anyone in volunteer organizations such as a FRG in a unit, speak out! Fight as I have done for our men and women in my unit. One voice can't be heard, but many can't be ignored too long!

I am hoping that in the near future I can voice my opinions on a variety of subjects, and give another spouse a "I can relate" topic so they know they are not alone in dealing with the pressure, stress and issues that come from living with someone with Combat PTSD. I hope that my views on being FRG and the issues that have come from that, will give someone else the understanding that the FRGs are just like spouses, having to rely on the same information and feel the same disgust. As a spouse, I hope that I help someone to breathe and realize they are not alone. There are many of us out there suffering alongside our soldiers but in a different way, and sometimes you just need to know someone understands what you are going through. Until next time......

May 23, 2010

Resource Seal of Approval: The Augusta Model





I believe that there is a model of treatment for Combat Stress is here now in the community. Well, thats what I would like to say but that is not the reality of the situation as it stands on the grounds stateside. If we can duplicate this model in every community then we can begin to help our heroes remain so when they come home.

The Augusta Model: Focusing on Unique Assets, Increasing Information Flow and Coordination and Reintegrating Warriors after Combat
  • The system at that time needed a lot of attention and has had exceptional upgrades
  • Wholly unprepared for the Wave of Combat Stress Responses from veterans returning home with no connection to the community can become dangerous.
  • The Augusta Model has the portability--franchise type expansion--
  • By allocating block funds at the community level
  • For the treatment of combat stress we,
  • Tap into resources already in existence
  • A model of hope and that's what I believe this to be.
  • A piece of the blueprint for addressing this problem
The facts are in the website, track them and you find a trove research...dig in whats keepin ya?

Scott A Lee

Book Review -The Haunted Self; van der Hart, Nijenhuis and Steele

Structural Dissociation of the Personality

The leading theorists on the subject recognize that reactions to extreme stress can lead to one or more differing diagnosis, and that inherent in said traumatic reactions is structural dissociation of the personality. Where three types of structural dissociation have been postulated: primary structural dissociation, secondary structural dissociation and tertiary structural dissociation.

Primary structural dissociation involves simple PTSD, and dissociative amnesia, where the Emotional Personality (EP) and the Apparently Normal Personality (ANP) have become disenfranchised or fragmented. The EP "...is fixated in the trauma and associated experiences....[and the ANP]...is fixated in avoidance of the trauma, manifesting detachment, numbing, and partial or complete amnesia" (Steele, van der Hart, and Nijenhuis, n.d., para. 8).

PTSD is not only about personal protection or self preservation but in its essence a mechanism of such endeavors, thus becoming a self-perpetual entity in of itself (the EP can develop into a sub-personality, a component of Dissociative Identity Disorder [DID]). Almost as if it has become self-aware and not only will it steer one away from danger, but also away from its own demise; a seemingly serendipitous supra-intelligent guidance of the subconscious.

The EP has evolutionary roots in defensive mechanisms that propelled us through the traumatic experience(s), an inborn reactionary system that can become entrenched within the mind. The EP's success in our survival leads us to firmly identify with this part of ourselves and engages in obsessive and compulsive rumination of the defensive mechanisms and exhibits as symptomatology.

The ANP has become the mode of operation whereby the individual can engage everyday operational tasks. Such as "...attachment, energy management, reproduction and rearing of children, socialization, play, and exploration" (para. 12). To do so, the ANP’s main function is to avoid the intrusive thoughts and fear potentials.

In a constant threat environment, the evolutionary response system and the benefits of survival further encapsulates the differentiated states of mind. Secondary structural dissociation is a result of this prolonged and saturated state of being. A fluid environment demands that we engage in concerted efforts to survive, to do otherwise means death. Animalistic reflexive defense mechanisms such as the fight or flight response or submissive freezing, delve into the realm of “…complex PTSD or disorders of extreme stress (DES), trauma-induced borderline personality disorder, and dissociative disorders not otherwise specified” (para. 12).

Tertiary structural dissociation results from the complete fragmentation of the EP and the ANP. Whereby numerous ANP’s can develop to engage different aspects of a persons life, such as putting on your “work hat” to enable the separation of a traumatic existence to a work self, the social self, etc. Here we find the diagnosis of DID, where traumatic associations or triggers have inundated the individual and submerges them into a function of constantly changing identities governed by situational exchanges.

May 22, 2010

Sentencing Alternatives for Veterans

One county over from where I live, there is a special Veterans Court which offers a second chance to current and retired service members who commit crimes while struggling with war-related psychological wounds, notably PTSD and traumatic brain injuries. The aim being to identify and treat veterans before they get deeper into trouble with the law and their crimes become serious and violent.

The defendants accept treatment and regular monitoring in lieu of jail time however if they don’t comply with the conditions of their treatment program they land in jail as the judge can revoke the suspended or reduced sentence they received. Anyone with half a iota of common sense, should realize this is a huge step in the right direction.

I come from a correctional background, working in a jail and seeing veterans incarcerated without the proper treatment they need is a national disgrace. I was embarrassed to be a part of a system that couldn't pull it's head out of its ass for veterans yet offered Sentencing Alternatives and multiple treatment options for Sex Offenders.

There are barely twenty veterans courts around the country, a woefully inadequate number yet still encouraging when compared to two years ago when the first one was started in Buffalo, NY.

The Buffalo court has had a zero recidivism rate, surely those kinds of results and the potential tax dollar savings will encourage more of these courts to spring up around the country.

I stumbled across this PBS News Hour Veterans Suspected of Crimes Swap Guilty Pleas for Rehabilitation report I thought was worth sharing.

May 21, 2010

Another Soldier Receiving Prison Time

Angry commenter (pissed I'd say because pukes who willfully failed this man who served without question),
I posted here sometimes last year about my Marine son being in jail for Domestic Violence and his girl being angry because he messed around on her. Anyway, she being a scorn woman after hearing all the stories of my son messing around on her from other women, put a robbery and burglary charge on him for alleged taking of her necklace out of spite. He was sentenced to 3 years in prison a few days ago. He has been in jail for 13 months already because the judge slapped a $125,00 bail on him, and now he has to do 16 more months in prison. I got the VAMC to go to the jail and have him assessed by a VAMC Clinical Social Worker. The conclusion and recommendation was, he's suffering from PTSD and they recommend he would benefit from treatment. Another Veteran Bureaus Affairs guy did an evaluation and said that my son had brain injury. I guess he and my son discussed what he went through. The judge gave him prison instead of health care. What a bitch!

A War Zone in Emmonak Alaska?

Joshua Saul reporting from the Alaska Dispatch,
Spring comes late to Emmonak, a muddy village of 800 on the Yukon River delta not far from the Bering Sea.

About 85 military veterans live in "Emo," and on Monday a crew of volunteers flew 500 miles from Wasilla to make sure the vets are getting the services they deserve...
Maurice Bailey, a veteran of the Vietnam War, founded VAO in 2003. He chose Emmonak as one of the group's first destinations this year. The village has suffered because of the decline of the fishing industry, and Bailey figured the village's vets, especially the elders, could use a hand..

The VAO volunteers would leave the next day the way they came, on an airplane bound for that world known to most Americans, the world of fast food and discount malls. They left behind some of what they'd brought to the village -- boots and blankets for veterans and some food.
Blood, boots, blankets and some food.Fuck that sounds like shit they hand out to you when I was in the field. Oh let me spell that "field" means to the layman. Wanna Read how our Emmonak Brothers are Living? Click here...

It's either rained all day and your poncho is soaked, oh and you've been running all day in your combat boots, which by the way...are wet, get this--you have been carrying about 60-100 pounds of gear and ammo the whole time on a 60 mile trek through an old growth German Forrest! Don't forget your fucking rifle soldier!!!

Or it is, it is 110 degrees outside of your huge iron mechanized vehicle and 140 degrees on the inside where I had to stay to be battle ready. Oh yeah, I had on a MOPP suit (chemical protective suit--and full winter gear for some), plated armor on myself-yes, metal the heavy kind, AND lets not forget the fire retardant suit with a full neck and head sock!!
Or it could be rural veterans with their livelihood having been destroyed by mother nature. In Alaska, if you need anything. If it cannot fit on an airplane it does not get there or back. Native Alaskan Veterans are not being taken care of as they deserve. My point is, when we start thinking that boots, blankets and some food have become a luxury then your living conditions have similarities to combat. How can a struggling veteran stay afloat in a sea of hopelessness

America we can do better for all of our Emmonak veterans; who allowed by shear will alone, have afforded you the opportunity to ignore them. We who have afford you the opportunity to ignore us, can you hear me?

Combat, War and Forgiveness: A Father and Son's Perspective

My son and I talk about some our his and mine shared memories that we have never spoken about. Edited somewhat...he needs no introduction...

Anthony said...
Well I am the son of Scott A. Lee, and the person mentioned above is a moron. I've lived through the same situation, not the war but the after effects and anguish that I and my family suffered for years. So back off of it if you have not experienced it first hand, I too witnessed the drugs, and alcoholism and the narcissism at our pain.

I was physically and mentally beatin down for years and years, but my defense for that was turning cold to the world and people in general because of the pain, I have been hit, dragged across the room, screamed at and punched. I've had my hair pulled, I've been called names. I remember the manic states of panic my father was in at night frantically looking around, out the windows and so on then we would start beating, not hitting but beating her, then I would scream and cuss him out then he would come after me then I would run and hide. I was horrified for years many years full of hate and disdain for what I lived through what my family was put through...all the beatings and lies, betrayel and distrust, the discord, so do not insult the victims with your flawed ideology.

PTSD is real yes how could somebody not suffer after the chaos of war? In my closing statement, I wish to say I am now past the hate [and that] I let that go shortly after I turned 18. I looked at you and forgave you one day out of the blue for everything you have ever done to me but most of all my brother and mother. It was a massive weight off my shoulders. But know [this] I will never forget it, to all on here what does not kill you makes you stronger.......(sorry if there are any errors I am on a smartphone)
Anthony said...
The her above is my mother I should have put that in there. It was the senseless beatings for no reason. Is PTSD a hundred percent to blame? No, but a big part of it is and yes it is real PTSD.
Scott A. Lee said...
Yes thank you Anthony you are absolutely correct. Well done on a smartphone, we can feel the passion in your voice coming through. My son has grown beyond my years at the age of 22.

Resource Seal of Approval: Real Warriors




Real Warriors Need Real Advice, now.


If your veteran is "out in the field" and lost within Combat PTSD then they will need no nonsense advice and access to resources for them and their families.
  • I just had a conversation through an online help service to assist our soldiers and veterans within their community. Roman General (RG) is a pseudonym for a "Roman General with PTSD" kind of slant when I use sometimes when moving blindedly in writing...
  • I gave'em hell and put it all out there, doesn't matter if you are Active Duty, National Guard, in the Reserves or a Veteran of any war!
  • They have someone to help you and your family!
  • This website is top notch, it gets my PASP(1) Resource Seal of Approval! ~~Scott A. Lee
  • This is http://www.realwarriors.net/, someone will be right with you. Hello, this is someone;
The conversation between I and 'Someone' within the resource Real Warriors,
Someone:
Good Evening Roman, how may I help you?

Roman General:
Well as can be generally, except lately

Someone:
Why is that?

Roman General:
Was just looking around here and saw your chat feature. could you tell me more about your program?
Click here if you want to read the whole conversation...

May 20, 2010

Combat PTSD's Stigmata: Why We Hesitate to Ask For Help

The jail was not only a place of employment and a source of income, it also provided me with an invaluable education; especially as far as mental health issues are concerned. I've dealt with bipolar females off their meds getting into physical altercations with loved ones taken into custody actively resisting. I've gone "hands on" with these fellow human beings who have no more control over their actions than any of us can suppress a sneeze or hiccup.

Schizophrenic males screaming at demons taunting them into cutting themselves with plastic spoons filed into a sharp edge on concrete walls, placed on mandatory 15 minute observations draped in suicide smocks in bare cells with lights on 24/7 like some Victorian science experiments. In the beginning I would come home and cry about the plight of incarcerated mentally ill individuals, now I've resigned myself to the fact this is how it is and I cannot possibly take on all the troubles of the world when I have so much going on in my personal life.

So is it any wonder there is a stigma attached to mental health issues given the high profile certain conditions are afforded, which can lead some veterans to conceal the true havoc PTSD is wreaking on their lives deterring them from seeking the help they so desperately need. After all, a soldier is supposed to be strong both physically and mentally right? They may have concerns about being perceived as being down right crazy or weak, or someone who could no longer be counted on, maybe even passed up for a promotion.

And as a spouse, there is a stigma attached to admitting you are unable to cope, overwhelmed and uncertain what to do for the best. It is easy to become angry about being the one that makes sure everything keeps functioning as it should… the laundry, the housework, the cooking, the finances, the kids… it can leave you feeling swamped almost to the point of breaking. But how do you say I’m hurting too, when your loved one has just returned from combat? The veteran has been through so much and your urge to shield them from any additional trauma, to protect them from the stress of dealing with the minutia only heaps it onto your plate making matters worse. For me, I worried admitting to my own issues would somehow be in direct competition with my husband’s needs, a fear I now know was irrational and totally unfounded.

Yes there is a stigma, a stigma which only the truly belligerent of us despite what we're experiencing can shake off, thankful we're not suicidal in a 5x5 cell wearing a tear-proof velcro-fastened smock, not too proud to stand up and wave our hand above the crowd to say "over here people, I'm over here."

May 19, 2010

STUCK IN THE SAND - PTSD and College

WTF? Go away. Take your flashbacks with you.
Dear PTSD,

Why did you hate me today? I was sitting in a lecture hall, paying attention to the lecture, taking notes, and you decided it was flashback movie time. You hit play, again and again. I did my best to pay attention to the professor, and you kept upping the ante. I pushed your movies away and you brought more, more different, more intense movies, until I was just taking notes and not absorbing anything.

I recorded the lecture. I'll sneak up on you, soon, and listen to the lecture, and go over that material again, and this time you won't interfere.
MeDelete lecture hall and insert a word of your choosing and do this often, you may be a combat vet.

I Am Rated 30% Service-Connected Disability for PTSD Due to Combat

38 C.F.R. § 4.130, DC 9411 GENERAL RATING FORMULA FOR MENTAL DISORDERS:

30% Service-Connected PTSD (Vietnam Veterans of America),
Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks(although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal), due to such symptoms as: depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events).
50% Service-connected PTSD
Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as: flattened affect; circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining Effective work and social relationships
But I swear to God that I am right in the middle of 50% range of hell.

Men Are From Mars, Combat Vets Are From... ?

Communication comes in many guises; men communicate differently than women, disparities we try to recognize and appreciate in our partners to better understand just where they are coming from. And then there's the combat veteran... a whole other beast with a mix of PTSD/TBI problems thrown in to further cloud the issue, a mysterious blend of "fuck the world" and "can't remember jack shit"... an emotionally detached entity with a hair trigger.

And when it comes to the world of emotionally charged forms of conversing aka The Hissy Fit, I've not quite mastered how to satisfactorily engage my husband, so more often than not find myself walking away from a situation in which I'm about to unleash holy hell recognizing I've made no attempt at rationalizing my thoughts into an acceptable form of communication.

I choose to walk away because...
  • Coming unglued on a combat vet such as my husband would only send him deeper into his foxhole... after all, he's been able to shield his emotions from the sight of death and devastatingly hideous combat injuries, from the fear of being fired upon by sniper and mortar rounds. How the hell do I expect my one-woman tirade to have any meaningful impact?
  • It's not fair to engage someone with a TBI in an emotionally stressful situation, demanding timely and well thought-out answers and snappy responses to my side of an out-of-control verbal assault.
  • It is highly inappropriate (although oftentimes tempting) to use their TBI as a weapon in which to club them upside the temporal lobe.THWACK "You're the one with the TBI, not me!"
There's probably never going to a time we'll engage in a two-way humdinger, he's so fragile and numb in that regard. So I'm not sure which planet combat veterans are from, all I know is that mine is out of this world!

Resource Seal of Approval: Wounded Warrior Care Project





The CSRA Wounded Warrior Care Project needs funding to spread throughout the country to aid the soldier and veteran who needs the most urgent care.
  • Shes home now, she has not been trained to battle a force that can overshadow the imagination
  • In your neighborhood a combat mentally disabled veteran needs your help, she has been lost in an alien world where the most mundane things can get her killed
  • We as a nation have been in denial long enough, if we do not act now we will begin to a see major increase in posttraumatic responses from combat veterans within more communities
  • Wounded Warrior Care Project is This website is top notch, it gets my PASP(1) Resource Seal of Approval! ~~Scott A. Lee
Today, one in four veterans will find themselves in need for urgent care and a facility that has the appropriate training and sensitivity to care for our men and women, a one stop shop for veterans and soldiers. These figures taken with the above place todays estimate on levels of combat PTSD today in soldiers and veterans of our nations modern wars at 23%.

Again I say,
Statistics have amassed enough for all to see that combat posttraumatic response levels are necessitating something be done now to safeguard what could become to define a generation.
With a Wounded Warrior Care Project in EVERY community we can begin to heal from the wounds of war, both in person and a nation.

May 18, 2010

The Tidal Forces of Combat PTSD

Response to Associated Press's "PTSD is Real, PTSD Fraud is Not"

AP say's:
Department of Homeland Security. "They'd rather pay and chase."
Referring to whether or not, we combat veterans, would ever run away from any trouble. Let me spell it out for you, you moron. The reason I have PTSD is because I never once acted on running away, it was 'do what needed to survive' and get out. The situations I was in, had I done what the AP's article insinuates then I would be dead, dead. They dropped the "Dept. of Homeland Security name, really? What does homeland security have to with paying combat veterans service-connected disability?

It is tough to make people understand the mental feats that I have to accomplish within my head and then to have people look at me like I’m crazy is just maddening! Either way it is uncomfortable to be considered a malingerer when your sanity is closely escaping. Statistics have amassed enough for all to see that combat posttraumatic response levels are necessitating something be done now to safeguard what can become to define a generation.

Then we have this genius (Malingering PTSD: Could Certain Soldiers be Faking it?), and he might be, but not on Combat PTSD as his narrative on his credentials entails.
In medicine, things are a bit different. Although doctors might use your self-reported symptoms as a starting point on how to diagnose the medical problem you present with, they can usually followup by ordering a series of laboratory tests to confirm their diagnosis. There is no equivalent for mental health concerns (although there are many paper-and-pencil psychological tests have very good validity when it comes to differential diagnoses; these, however, are rarely used in daily practice).
Apparently any mental health practitioner is just a paper pusher, is that what he really said? What really burns my ass if that we keep having to talk about these same issues. Is PTSD real, uh yeah it haunts me most days and nights. Does your stupidity take a day off? Is it all in your head? Wish you could keep it there too..

May 15, 2010

My Army was Not Your Army and I Thank God for That, PASP(1)

As a Gulf War I veteran, I fought the Iraqi Republican Guard in three campaigns within 100 hours of sustained combat, after, driving three days straight, with no sleep. Yes, seven days with no sleep. I did, because we would not have survived had I not. I took every right turn and even left when needed, but it was the right turn at the time. More than I can count on my hands the decisions I made where either life savers or not.

I was driver of a Bradly Fighting Vehicle on point vehicle for the brigade, my TC and were like Jedi's in communication without saying anything. He imagined it in combat and I did it. The same for our gunner except he was as much a bastard as me but actually had rank too. I saw shit that my captain did not see...so I was eyes to the Captain, my TC, the Gunner, and the 6 Infantryman in the back. While with no rank beyond PFC I actually used personal judgement on when to move my fucking vehicle at least two times, OK probably more than that. All vehicle move off of me, so as I am relaying data on enemy positions, that die by my identifications and how are you supposed to take that home? If my vehicle does not move at the right time people will die, you must watch the ground littered with the previous battle, do not touch what the fuck you do not know anything about. I will kick your ass again, and I fucking mean it.

I retreated twice, right where bombs fucking landed the second before, thats the only reason I did not get in trouble was because I saved lives. Yeah, seriously. My Army was not your Army and I thank God for that.

May 13, 2010

US Department of Justice Reports 9.3% of Incarcerated Veterans

Fences of a Federal Prison in the U.S.Image via Wikipedia
Should we really throw our expensive Prison Forces against our returning veterans?

November 2009 VA FACT SHEET says,
The most recent U.S. Department of Justice Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS) Survey of Inmates in Local Jails (2002) data indicate that 9.3% of people incarcerated in jails are Veterans. Historically, reports of Vietnam and post-Vietnam era Veterans with histories of civilian and/or military trauma have suggested an association between trauma and subsequent contact with the legal system. Half of homeless Veterans have histories of encounters with the legal system, and the news media report with frequency stories of returning OEF and OIF Veterans being arrested for a variety of offenses, a number of which appear to be related to reactions to extended periods of battle readiness and combat exposure over multiple tours in the current wars, and maladaptive coping upon return to life in the U.S.
If we take our sons and daughters to war with great effort, pride and honor and do not return them home in much the same way...then many will become lost.

November 2009 VA FACT SHEET says,
In sum, these data indicate that there are substantial numbers of Veterans in jail eligible for VA services, they have high levels of health and mental health service need, and many of them are potentially eligible for referral to, and are good candidates for, drug or mental health court intervention as an alternative to incarceration.

Massive Block Grants to Fund Treatment for Combat PTSD

This post all fits together in some fashion or another...dissociation. If you want to discover my perspective on the whole situation, you will have to read all of the roads herein to understand your war veteran.

Dissociation is best written about and described in short and choppy details, blocks really well, because it comes and goes in clarity and can and probably will be anywhere in between. So, now try and keep up. Because now you must check the information you told yourself to remember and now you cannot forget what you just told your self too forget which gets in the way of what you would like to remember, ad nauseum.

The best way I can detail what this means for someone who has combat PTSD is to filter it through my personal experience and hopefully a bit of my wisdom sprinkled on. Since May 7th I have been writing about different thoughts that I have to get back into the "this is my life, again..." to the reality show that is my life. Have you ever watched one? You may wind up in some situations that will require your next move to either save your life, someone else's or die and not necessarily in that order. Better have your shit jacked!

I was writing about the conversation that made me realize the Central Thesis of This Website. If we are not helping our veterans who scream for help, then we are criminalizing the treatment of combat PTSD (More on this to come, hmm cool epiphany). If we can save these mens lives, then we can begin to treat them. Even though they deserve to be saved before they are jailed, become institutionalized, kill others or die at their own hands or police-assisted suicide. If we did not help them, then who's fault is that?

If we were serious about the urgency in treating our modern combat veterans, NOW. We would at this moment be unveiling a massive and expansive vision to triaging the incoming PTSD invasion.Millions going to universities who could put together grant proposals for full federal block grants. Put together a top notched stand alone proposal and you will find an endowment for the best evidence-based solutions in the treatment of complex trauma based on a holistic perspective.

Three years ago I said it when no one else was, "So, does that mean that it will be ok to have a 30-40% PTSD rate for the Iraqi War? We are now, three years into this movement and we must act now to save as many as we can.

If I had a title for this post it would be "Massive Block Grants to Fund Treatment for Combat PTSD." If we are taking the plight of our veterans and soldiers who keep falling, falling from mental wounds seriously.

Then we are committed to them as they were to us! Really, must it be a perfect world for this to happen?

Massive Block Grants to Fund Treatment for Combat PTSD, tweet it, Facebook it, past it on!

May 12, 2010

PBS's Frontline Season Finale: The Wounded Platoon

FRONTLINE INVESTIGATES A Cluster of murders, violent crimes, MENTAL HEALTH DISORDERS and drug abuse among a platoon of soldiers returning from Iraq.

FRONTLINE Season Finale

THE WOUNDED PLATOON

Tuesday, May 18, 2010, from 9 to 10:30 P.M. ET on PBS

www.pbs.org/frontline/woundedplatoon

www.facebook.com/frontlinepbs

Twitter: @frontlinepbs

On November 30, 2007, 24-year-old Kevin Shields went out drinking with three Army buddies from Fort Carson, a base on the outskirts of Colorado Springs, Colo. A few hours later, he was dead—shot twice in the head at close range and left by the side of the road by his fellow soldiers. Shields’ murder punctuated a string of violent attacks committed by the three, who are now serving time in prison for this and other crimes, and it contributed to a startling statistic: Since the Iraq war began, a total of 17 soldiers from Fort Carson have been charged with or convicted of murder, manslaughter or attempted murder committed at home in the United States, and 36 have committed suicide.

In The Wounded Platoon, airing Tuesday, May 18, 2010, from 9 to 10:30 P.M. ET (check local listings), FRONTLINE investigates a single Fort Carson platoon of infantrymen—the 3rd Platoon, Charlie Company, 1st Battalion, 506th Infantry—and finds a group of young men changed by war and battling a range of psychiatric disorders that many blame for their violent and self-destructive behavior. Since returning from Iraq, three members of the 3rd Platoon have been convicted on murder or attempted murder charges; one has been jailed for drunk driving and another for assaulting his wife; and one has attempted suicide.

To read more...

May 7, 2010

Wartime Trauma Versus Childhood Trauma

For the last year or better whenever I am stressed or have highly emotional experiences I find myself being brought back into my wartime memories, flashbacks, emotions and perspective.

I was having a conversation the other day with someone close to me about the possibility that my wartime trauma may be getting in the way of healing from my childhood traumas. She suggested that I have a pattern of submerging myself within my wartime trauma to avoid healing from my childhood trauma. I talked to my therapist yesterday about my childhood issues and as we talked she commented that it appeared I had done a lot of work in that area. I was pleased to have her discern the 18 months of therapy that I spent on the topic. I do have more work to do in this area, but I think that my wartime trauma gets in the way of my recovery today.

My therapist and I made a deal to begin processing my wartime trauma with Acceptance Commitment Therapy and EMDR in conjunction.

(After reading this I realized that I spent too much time on my childhood trauma lately [before a couple of months ago] that I was unable to test reality against each other because I would get false positives out of it. In that, had I tested reality against others around me. I couldn't do that well with others in my family because they also carry the triggers of war...I battled on

I hear the chatter on the intercom of the division radio within my BFV, when I put on my new hearing aids I was transported back in combat, I had my headset on, I looked around to check if it was real...and it was....till I realized the hurting in my ear and remembered that my new hearing aid was probably hurting. But the Veil of Combat did not come down until I removed the hearing aid....)