Great blog!In the first two years after I got home, the only times I would cry would be in packed grocery stores. I didn't cry in therapy until recently, after 15 years. I was always jacked up, emotional and confrontational even. Had I had a therapist who could have gotten past their petty reactions, a social worker less depressed then me or an empathetic practitioner who could have opened a therapeutic window so they may intuitively guide me through the landmine field residing in my consciousness in the first two years I may not have had a lifetime of emotional and spiritual pain. If you were looking for me to cry in therapy you would have labeled me a malingerer.
I've been working with Combat PTSD Vets for 11 years. It brought up a couple things for me and I'd have to agree w/ the survey. There are out there what I call "Wanna bes", which is about one or two percent of those I've worked with. However what sux is those 1 to 2 % ruin it for those who do have it and do need the benef
Cant help but note you have a sidebar the Support our Incarcerated Veterans. I was giving a lecture on how to start a PTSD program in confinement. Question from Head of Army Clemency & Parole Board: "How do you know if someone was where they say they was or was really deployed , where they say the are?"
My answere after I showed some assessment tools and and other ways I work to sort out the wannabes: When I'm counseling someone one I can notice the differnce in the way a person reacts when they say i was sniper andI 10 confirmed kills and he's talking about it like, how aabout those Bears!" And The way a person describes what was like to be in the midst of a firefight have a buddy beed out in his arms and questioning himself, if i only would of ... he night be alive today!" His affect, emotion and how he can barely get the words out with tears streaming down his cheeks.
I guess my answere wasn't good emough because she went to the head man of military confinement and told him we could be misdiagnosing our guys and giving them clemeny & parole they might not desrve. So i walked into that shit storm after vi returned back to work after visiting my son who just returned from Afghanistan,
It also brought up a few more thought.
One) alot of GWI vets got the parades & then the period of thanks by America. You guys kicked thier ass, 100 days. Yee haa! How ever Non -military civilians don't realize there was the build up. The war and worse yet the aftermath plus all the other factors oil well fires, death, chemicals, depleted uranium, anthrax shots etc. Then after the hoopla America forgot.
2)Then there was were you in direct combat how do we know what you saw can cause pTSD, lets detemine that with out the person asking the questions with being in war an its environment. How do you know what they saw? I've seen many veterans suffer in poverty while some idiot trys to figure this out and then come back & say, "We need more information. Or we can't explain what you have because it hasn't been given a name."
3) Just like alcoholism not all cases of PTSD are not as severe as others, but does that mean a person does not have it. Who is qualified to say whose demons that haunt the soul of someone with PTSD, Combat Stress, Post Deployment Operational Stress Deployment what ever name one choses call it, is not as bad as his or hers.
Bottom line PTSD f's one up physically, emotionally, mentally and spiritually. Plus the loss of innoccence that the world is safe. These individuals gave ,so it is up to our country not to forget, be it in the honor or the compensation for those who gave while others sit on thier assess and decide if we should go to war or not.
Maybe the bean counters who send us to some wars we don't need to be in should count the post cost of war and its devestation after the war. Before jumping into a war.
Thanks for all of you have served may you get the honor & the compensation you ddserve!
Second, the last post was not about a survey; it was about a memo from a therapist who gave an opinion based in his beliefs, not in facts or recent events such as the Veterans Administrations investigation. The Army took a reactionary response to a burnt out therapist who cannot get past thinking about the LESS than 1% and concentrate on the other 99 Combat Veterans who walk in the door. Thirdly, the less than 1% are not the issue that matters. Hold them responsible, yes. Tie their integrity to mine? I have issues with that. Their deception is not a good reason to jeopardize or threaten my benefits.
If we held financial institutions to the same standard we would not have banks or money. The research and investigations so far show a low fraud rate, to suspect every veteran who walks through the door is counterproductive to a healing environment and not grounded in evidence based science or facts.
Why are we talking about the ONE puke out of a hundred and attributing his behavior to veterans asking for help? That maintains the culture of disbelief in the military and the VA, and blocks the fostering of rapport building, a crucial first step in therapy. I have gone through dozens of therapist for many of these kinds of reasons. Right out of the gate I have always told the doctors and therapist what was going on with me as explicit in detail as I could about the flashbacks and what I was experiencing. Mostly I saw disbelief in their eyes, and many told me directly to my face that I was lying. Decades stacked up this way, I would not get help because a therapist had a idea of what to expect from a combat veteran.
I am usually very agitated and stressed in therapy sessions because I know I am going all in. I would probably seem excited to the person looking for it, but my anxiety level gets me all jazzed up talking about my combat experiences. There are many reasons why a combat veteran would seem excited or want to talk about their combat experiences to an empathetic therapist. For me, every time I went into therapy I was at my wits end, it is always kill myself or go and try and get help. So I spill my beans, all of them, I regurgitate the undigested contents of my emotional stomach. We assume therapists are empathetic, but from my experience most are not.
I went through so many hack therapists at the VA it is a joke, but let’s not talk about that real issue. They have their checklists and surveys to go by and cannot connect in a meaningful way to facilitate healing. A therapeutic window is the term used, whereby an empathetic connection between the therapist and client enables a safe place for exploration of traumatic events. I finally wound up with the department head as my psychiatrist and I will only see a therapist he recommends.
We are killing our veterans by treating everyone of them who walk in the door as though they are faking PTSD! We already know we will be treated as malingerers if we ask for help. One of the tasks for us sadly is finding a therapist who will not let their personal beliefs and issues leak into the therapy sessions.