December 31, 2010

Cardiac Lab Procedure at the VA Hospital in Houston Texas

I had been having chest pains for a couple of months, which finally manifested themselves into my conscious realm of not being able to ignore them any longer. As it so happened I had chest pains while seeing my Prime Care doctor at the VA and he put me in the hospital. OK, we will find out what is going on.

Early the next morning a young woman came in pushing what I thought to be an EKG machine. It turned out to be my doctor pushing a notebook computer on a cart like contraption. I use the words young woman loosely; she did not look old enough to be out of high school. Really, no exaggeration on this point. She introduced herself as Dr. ??? and I said OK. She also informed me she would be the doctor performing my procedure in the ‘cath lab in a few minutes.’ In a few minutes; I had gone from waking up to being primed for a cardiac procedure in a few minutes. NEAT… Dr. ??? is asking me questions and typing her data into the computer as we speak. Man, this is neat… This doctor comes to my room herself to get my info. Wow… Did I mention that I was her first patient and that she was so excited that she literally ran all the way from the cath lab to my room to get her lab rat ready? She did not mention that to me at the time either.[...]

November 8, 2010

VA Celebrates National Family Caregiver Month

WASHINGTON (Nov. 8, 2010)- The Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) is marking National Family Caregiver Month by honoring the service of family members and friends who have dedicated their lives to caring for chronically ill, injured, or disabled Veterans.

"Caregivers are the family members and loved ones who take care of the severely injured Veterans who need assistance on a daily basis," said VA Secretary Eric K. Shinseki. "These mothers, wives, fathers, husbands and other loved ones make tremendous sacrifices to be there every day for the Veterans who served this Nation. They are our partners in Veteran health care and they deserve our support."

November is National Family Caregivers Month, and VA medical centers nationwide will offer locally sponsored events for caregivers. Because caregivers often experience stress, burnout, or feel overwhelmed by the caregiving experience, planned activities will provide useful information about VA and community resources that offer support and assistance to caregivers and Veterans.

Caregivers provide a valuable service to Veterans by assisting them beyond the walls of VA medical facilities with support such as accessing the health care system, providing emotional and physical support, and allowing injured Veterans to stay in their homes rather than living their lives in an institutional setting.

Caregivers help Veterans maintain a better quality of life and gain more independence. As the Veteran population ages and continues to increase, the role of caregivers as partners in supporting Veterans is even more prevalent. The Veteran population aged 65 and older is expected to increase from 37.4 percent to 44.8 percent by the year 2020. VA is also treating a new era of younger, severely injured Servicemembers. Many Veterans from Iraq and Afghanistan will need lifetime care. VA recognizes the support of their caregivers is vital for these Veterans.

On May 5, 2010, President Obama signed into law the Caregivers and Veterans Omnibus Health Services Act of 2010. Passed by Congress, this law will allow VA to care for those who provide supplemental help to family caregivers of the most severely wounded veterans returning from Iraq and Afghanistan. VA has been consulting with Veterans organizations, as well as individual Veterans and their family members, to ensure these new programs are implemented to provide the best possible support for those who have sacrificed so much.

These benefits will add to the wide range of compassionate and practical programs for Veteran caregivers that are already available from VA:
  • In-Home and Community Based Care: This includes skilled home health care, homemaker home health aide services, community adult day health care and home based primary care.
  • Respite care: Designed to temporarily relieve the family caregiver from caring for a chronically ill, injured or disabled Veteran at home, respite services can include in-home care, a short stay in a VA community living center or other institutional setting or adult day health care.
  • Caregiver education and training programs: VA provides multiple training opportunities which include pre-discharge care instruction and specialized caregiver programs such as polytrauma and traumatic brain injury, spinal cord injury/disorders, and blind rehabilitation. VA has a caregiver assistance healthy living center Web page on My HealtheVet,, as well as caregiver information on the VA's main Web page health site; both Websites include information on VA and community resources and caregiver health and wellness.
  • Family support services: These support services can be face to face or on the telephone. They include family counseling, spiritual and pastoral care. Polytrauma Centers also offer family leisure and recreational activities and temporary lodging in Fisher Houses
  • Other benefits: VA provides durable medical equipment and prosthetic and sensory aides to improve function, financial assistance with home modification to improve access and mobility, and transportation assistance for some Veterans to and from medical appointments.
Caregivers should contact their nearest VA medical center for caregiver activities in the local area. Facility locators and contact information can be found at

October 29, 2010


I took a couple of elective courses during my Masters’ work and came away feeling like the courses were established for “normal” people and not Combat PTSD veterans… I know you are going; DUHHH!!!  I was hoping to find some answers other than in the numerous psychopathology courses I had taken on why my dream world is so much better than my real world.  I don’t mean the night mares, flashbacks and hallucinations; I mean real pre-combat like dreams.  The think I wanted an answer for “why aren’t I an active part of the dreams?”

A phenomena related to the dreams is that I don’t even recognize the places or people, and I am not a part of the dream.  I am aware subconsciously that I am observing things; but I am not an active part of the interactions of the characters that make up my dream world.  Is this a preview of my next life?  Is my subconscious picking up on wishes and/or subconscious parts of my pre-combat self that was good and innocent to the cruelty that man can inflict on man in the name of war?  I am even able to feel emotion in these dreams; unlike my post-combat self that many times have to manufacture emotions to satisfy the needs of others.  I am not saying this is all of my dream world, because it is not.  But it is the part that I do not want to wake up from.  This dream world is so much better than the real world that I exist in on a daily bases.  Reaching out to satisfy others needs in not part of my dream world.  The emotions I observe are not pretentious, but overtly genuine.

How many of us have wanted to reach out and give our wife, husband, or child and give them a hug; but this terrible disorder keeps us at arm’s length?  My wife tells me she understands; but this is only empathy and not true understanding.  Myself, along with many of you, I am sure feel different levels of sorrow for our loves ones.  Why could they have not loved someone else?  Why did they get stuck with us?  Someone who is capable of returning true unadulterated love and emotions from a person that has not seen the horrors of war?  Why did our children have to have someone like us as a parent?  Why could they have not been blessed with a parent who still viewed the good in things and not the negativity that accompanies Combat PTSD?  I will talk more about this at a later date; but I hope this some small manner answers a few questions for the family members of Combat PTSD veterans.


October 24, 2010


Psychotropic medications for Combat PTSD that are prescribed for you by your doctor; DO YOUR RESEARCH BEFORE YOU START TAKING THE MEDS… 
After my crash I came in under the old VA model of fill your butt full of psychotropic meds and adjust downward.  The young warriors are under the new VA model of cognitive intervention along with medication as needed.  BUT NOT IN ALL CASES!

Do your homework on your meds. If you yourself are having too many problems to do the research, and when I mean research I am speaking of the side effects of the medications, have your wife, partner, or someone you trust Goggle or better yet if you have a psychopharmacology book look it up.  I will get into this in much greater detail in the future; but for now please don’t just stick meds down your throat because the VA says you need them.

You may wish to live with the disorder on a different level than the side effects of the meds dictate you to live your live on.  I will list all my meds that I have been on over the last ten years in a later post…  I decided pleasing my wife sexually, and dealing with the hallucinations and night terrors was preferable to the medications.  I am on a regiment of meds.  But it is a regiment that my psychiatrist at the VA and I have agreed upon and he had done his best to minimize the side effects that undesirable for me.  THINK… 

October 5, 2010

First Person: Combat PTSD

My name is Rob Honzell, Sr. and I am a Marine Combat Veteran who served in the Vietnam War. I served two tours with 1st Recon eventually assigned to the Phoenix Program. I am the author of First Person: Combat PTSD. The offering was self-published, not by necessity, but by choice. The two publishers that bid on the book wished to turn my life’s journey into a novel. I did not reveal very intimate details of my live to have it turned into something that the average combat vet and his/her family could not relate to. The most gratifying emails and comments concerning the book are, "I read your book and realize that this is my husband", "I now know why my dad acts the way he does", and "My wife is a different person since she came back from Iraq, now I know why." This is why I chronicled my life and laid it out for public scrutiny and examination, and why I gave up so much in doing so. In a later contribution if I will explain the previous statement in greater detail.

I still have family members and ex-wives not talking to me over the book. It is what it is; a detailed account of my combat experiences in a special operations unit. An account of the trauma that precipitated the onset of the anxiety disorder labeled as Combat PTSD.

August 30, 2010

When PTSD Wins: A Veteran's Prayer - Battlefield of the Mind

We wage a raged filled battlefield ringing across our mindscape's eye; at times I witness up the periscope as the field of vision erupts with wreckage strewn across the grounds - not back in the place of death and decay, but at home - we brought it home.

I left everything that was good in me back there; I return there where I desire most to be, the me who I was before the me I am today. When I try and tap into the good part of me, the thing that took over me - has a death grip on my soul. I wage a battle today for my subconscious control that intercedes rather objectively when in spirit I pray for others and in deed serve others.

When do I who fought and continues to fight receive the help that I so greedily gave away? I pray this in His name.

August 27, 2010

To Whom It May Concern

I am a combat veteran of the first Gulf War and have been living with the debilitating effects of Combat PTSD for 19 years. I am 30% service-connected for PTSD and will soon receive an increase of at least 50% if not 70%. I have been under a psychiatrist and therapy for the last 5 years and still keep getting worse, I have flashbacks and hallucinations - both audio and visual continuously, I can tune it out sometimes but it it still swirling around me all day. I feel the need to hurt myself and other people, the anger and rage has returned along with the PTSD monster - I need help, I am asking for help. I keep asking for help and they give me another appointment.

I have an appointment on Sept 2 to sign papers for admission to an inpatient program, both my doctor and therapist think I need to go. But, from research I have done the waiting lists for most VA inpatient hospitals are beyond 2 to 4 months. I cannot wait that long, I need stability now. My mind is playing tricks on me, it is descending into oblivion and I can see it playing out over and over. The vivid combat scenes rage through my head, rolling along the crushing weight of treaded metal - fire ablaze everywhere. I should not be alone with my thoughts, but here I'll sit. Because I fear to take myself with me when I go anywhere.

I need a stable holistic environment to heal in, I am seeking help...I do not know if I can hang on much longer.

August 25, 2010

Combat Vet Remembers More of the War: Jumbled Memories

This takes part after my formation took enemy artillery, where one of our BFV's lost their track and I disobeyed a direct order from both my TC and my CO. I saved our guys lives that day, but we took a multitude more in return. The story picks up from here.

We had boxed the enemy tanks in, after my unit withdrew from the line of engagement the tanks were brought up and began firing into the hemmed in enemy tanks and support vehicles. Our A-10 Warthogs were strafing them into the dust as we lobbed round after round of sabot metal punching spears, erupting into forced infernos where molten metal and steaming entrails form a fiery vaporizing spray. Erupting upwards hundreds of feet or so; turrets flipping end over end and fire blazing everywhere. I can hear the whole battalion over my headphones reporting the grim realities, friendly fire report comes in.

Now we are terrified somewhere in our minds that the pull of the trigger is killing my own; we must compact our overseer part whom questions so much and rely more on training than ever before. Thus cementing the thing blocking us today; the primitive mind becomes stuck as our way of engaging everything and everyone, where the capacity of engaging in mayhem lies. Some of us have tried to wrest away from the passion of vengeance and the kiss of ruination, to no avail as her talons dig deeper and we resist but the seduction of darkness and damnation lies hidden in all the shadows.

Ah, the smell of death at high noon as we sift through the hollowed detritus of war.

August 22, 2010

Prayer and Community: A Shelter from the Heat of the Day

Photo by Scott Lee
When I need inspiration I will pray on it and then turn it over to God and forget it...outside of writing it down, well usually, lol. I find most of my inspiration through conversations with other vets and advocates, God gives it to me through others, it is up to me to listen for the answers I prayed to God on and he returns my honor of Him and blesses me as he feeds me inspiration through the mouths of others in my community.

Praying and community; it all comes down to the most successful tools I have ever learned.

August 21, 2010

The Desert Storm Myth

When I first had to prove my combat experience and therefore my stressors, to finally receive my benefits, I had to research what the hell my unit did so I could piece my memory together with the After Action Reports. Upon my research I came across a website run by a Desert Storm Vet and found this account of my unit's three campaigns, of the 1st Armored Division, Delta Company, 6th Battalion, 6th Infantry, I was on point for the 3rd Brigade and we took the brunt of combat.

It was not a Desert Storm, it was a storm in Hell.
The 7th Corps under Lieutenant General Frederick M. Franks, Jr. was composed of the 1st British Armored Division, the 1st US Armored Division, the 3rd Armored Division, the 1st Infantry Division, and the 2nd Armored Cavalry Regiment.

...On the US 7th Corps' right flank, the British 1st Armored Division continued to maul the Iraqi 7th Corps.3 In the center, the 2nd US Armored Cavalry Regiment led the 3rd US Armored Division and 1st Infantry Division towards the Iraqi Republican Guards. On the 7th Corps' left flank, the 1st Armored Division captured the large Iraqi supply installation at Al-Busayya (that stored food, water, medicine, fuel, repair parts, clothing, etc.) and then turned east, almost on line with the 3rd US Armored Division.

...The three armored mechanized divisions included the Tawakalna Division, which fought against the entire US 7th Corps as described in this article; the Medina Armored Division, which battled the 1st US Armored Division on the afternoon of 27 February 1991 west of the Al-Ruqta oil field; and the Hammurabi Armored Division, which fought against the 24th US Mechanized Division at Al-Tawr al-Hammar, on 2 March 1991, after the cease-fire.

...The Tawakalna Mechanized Division of the RGFC was positioned about 25 miles west of the Kuwait border, located exactly in the center of the US 7th Corps' sector; The Tawakalna was probably the best division in the Iraqi Army. It had fought with distinction during the war with Iran and was one of the lead divisions in Saddam Hussein's invasion of Kuwait in August 1990 (4). Its two mechanized brigades and one armored brigade were equipped with the most advanced equipment available in the Iraqi Army, including 220 T-72 tanks and 278 infantry fighting vehicles. On 25 February it had moved into a blocking position west of the Iraq Petroleum Saudi Arabia (IPSA) pipeline about 80 miles from Kuwait city. In spite of the air campaign, most of this division was in position and ready to fight when the US 7th Corps arrived on 26 February 1991 (5).

...With the destruction of the Tawakalna Division, Franks was able to focus the combat power of the 7th Corps towards the other heavy divisions of the Republican Guard Forces Command. Although part of the Medina Division would stand and fight against the 1st US Armored Division, the Iraqi high command ordered the Hammurabi Division to start moving north, across the Euphrates River and away from the American attack in the west. The Tawakalna Division's defense gave the remainder of the Iraqi Army in Kuwait the time it needed to evacuate most of its mechanized forces to Basra.

...When the confusing mêlée was over, the 1st Division tanks discovered that they had destroyed five of their own M1 tanks and four Bradleys. Six brigade soldiers perished in these attacks and thirty others were wounded.

...While most of the Tawakalna Division commander's attention was focused to his division's front, its right flank was about to be attacked by a fourth American unit, the 1st Armored Division. Major General Ron Griffith's primary military target had been the Medina Division about thirty kilometers father east (54), but one battalion of the Tawakalna's 29th Mechanized Brigade occupied positions in Griffith's 1st Armored Division's zone of operations (55). That Iraqi battalion lay directly in the path of Colonel Dan Zanini's (one of Griffith's three maneuver brigades) 3rd Brigade, 1st Armored Division (my unit baby, in the path of the Tawakalna Division!!!!!!!!!!!!!, we actually received credit for fighting all three Republican Guard divisions, 56).

August 20, 2010

Combat PTSD Vets Return to Combat: Easier than Coping Back Home

Comment from a reader on July 24, 2010 from the same dang awesome post I wrote on November 11, 2009. It shares with you a more complete picture or a typical face of Combat PTSD Home and its members; we are the Families of the Combat Veteran.
Scott, your blog has been an unbelievable insight into combat PTSD and given me so much to think about. Thank you. My friend came back from Afghanistan a few months ago and has found it quite difficult to re-adjust but I only realised how much he was suffering during a huge drunken breakdown a few weeks ago. I felt so helpless I didn't know what to say or do but I held him when he cried and left him alone when he asked.

The next day when he had sobered up I asked him how he was feeling and if he wanted to talk about it but he said no and I didn't want to push him. And then a few days later he said that he was going to apply to go back to Afghanistan. I was speechless. He said life was much simpler there and of course I have no comprehension of how it is over there but I really wanted to say I didn't think it was a good idea. But didn't feel like I had any right to say anything so I have kept silent. A few days ago he told me he put his application in and I was so upset, is there anything I can say? I know he is suffering and now from reading your blog I have a small idea just how much, I don't want him to feel even worse.....
My response,
Amy, this is a tough situation. First of all you will probably not be able to talk him out of it. Second, unconditional love is just that we love them, but we cannot and do not try to control them. This will put them on the defense and no one wants a combat vet on the defense receiving mixed up signals.

He will keep opening up, it took me 19 years for me to finally open up and talk about my combat experience, many will never talk about it.

This may not make much sense to someone who has never experienced it, but he will feel worlds better back in the battle-zone. He knows the risks, dangers and never goes without backup. He does not have to look over his shoulder, because his squad mate has it covered. He is told when to eat, drink, shit and sleep. He knows what to expect everyday for the next 365 days and he will never feel alone there.

I still feel the powerful bond I forged with my battle buddies that I will never forget. I long for their company as much today as when I left the theater of war. If I could go to war today, I know that my PTSD symptoms would vanish, as your veterans will if he goes back. This is an issue worth studying and researching as this trend is spreading. Our soldiers are on average 4 and 5 tours of duty.

August 19, 2010

Friends, Deployment and Community

I never realized just how important it was to be a good friend until I almost lost mine. You see, "L" and I have been friends for over 20 years. We met in elementary school and lived one street over from each other growing up. In high school I was self absorbed and had no time for other people's problems. I was so concerned with being popular and fitting in, that it was easy for me miss how many people I hurt, including my dear friend "L". After school, somehow she still managed to be my friend and I still treated her carelessly.

It wasn't until after my 1st marriage failed and I was left a single mother with no one to depend on that I started to really see what a great friend she was. She helped me to sell my wedding rings so I could file for my divorce. Her Hubby even went with me to the courthouse the day my divorce was finalized. When my Hubby deployed, she researched and found me the cheapest highest quality tires when mine were no longer drivable. She drove me around her town to get the tires replaced and aligned. She had me spend weekends to make sure I got out of the house after I lost my job. She took my daughter for weekends so I could have time to myself. Whenever I have needed her, she has always been there. I can't tell you how thankful I am that she has stuck by me all these years and the invaluable lesson she taught to be a good friend.

In the last few years, I have been lucky enough to find 2 more amazing friends who have helped me through some of the hardest times in my life. "K" and I met when I was a clerk at a drugstore and she was my manager. That was almost 15 years ago. Our friendship has been seriously tested over the years. We have the same ex husband and lived together for 6 months and that almost ended our friendship for good. But, we were strong enough to get past it and we are closer than we have ever been. During my Husband's deployment, she helped shovel the driveway, clean my house, and fix me food when I couldn't get off the couch after falling down the stairs. Even when she was going through a grueling breakup she was still there. She is an angel.

Fight the Combat PTSD Monster

Drawing by Scott Lee 1991
Comment from a reader on July 21, 2010 from the article, hey hey you guessed it! Combat Veterans Bring the Monster of War Home: The Story of SGT Travis Triggs (not doing the link again...I know I could have done it by now...but...never mind.

Anonymous said...
I fight my monster every day....sometimes it gets the upper hand and I add to the problems I already have. I fight every day to keep sane, to be "normal", to keep my job and keep my family intact. I fought well in Iraq...and won. I am still fighting, but feel I am destined to loose this fight. God, how I want this monster to go away.
My Response,
Anony, Go the VA, yes they can suck big time sometimes. But, if you read in these sections under Resources for Soldiers, Veterans, Families and Loved Ones you will be able to get the hep you need:
You might be able to find some help along the way in reading here, if nothing else you will understand yourself better (Beware - Understanding why we do what we do will not change any of this...).

I have been where you can make it home if you keep working at coming home everyday. We say 'Welcome Home' to our brothers and sisters in arms because the battle never leaves us, as we return home from combat everyday of our lives.

Your monster is not just your is the monster of all Warriors, we should carry it together. You are not meant to carry this burden alone, come home to your brothers and sisters. Seek us out in your community, we are there waiting for you.

The guilt and shame we carry we can share in and begin to heal.

August 18, 2010

We Gave the You, Joe Public the Right to be Condescending and Judgmental

This comment came from a reader from the article Combat Veterans Bring the Monster of War Home: The Story of SGT Travis Triggs, I tear Anonymous a Kentucky Fried Ass Whooping!
One cannot take human life (murder/kill) and remain normal. It is impossible. Life is sacred and it is a gift given to us by God. No one has a right to kill another. That is why we have the commandment, "Thou shalt not kill" regardless of what governments, or individuals tell us.

We reap what we sow. It is painful indeed.
We reap what we sow?

sow - to scatter (seed) over the ground for growing. To spread (land, for example) with seed. To strew something around or over (an area); distribute something over. To propagate; disseminate: sow rumors. To scatter seed for growing.

sow (one's) oats/wild oats, to indulge in dissolute or licentious behavior, especially to be sexually promiscuous, when young.

Usually used of men (from

Now, to employ such a devious and licentious projection (psychological term...go look it up) onto Combat PTSD Veterans labeling them as deviant. Now, I must ask you this. Do you know the suffering of a Combat PTSD Veteran who by no action of their own, barring signing a piece of paper, who feel the burden of a nation on their shoulders and nowhere to go because the system is already overloaded with Combat Veterans. It has been estimated by the Federal Prison Bureau the 10% of the American jails and prisons house veterans. The last time the incarcerated veteran population was in double digits was 10 years after the Vietnam War. We are now in double digits and the war is not over!

We do no have enough resources to help our warriors come home safely...never mind who started what and your personal opinion of the war. These men and women are not some hard statistic for you to say "Damn shame, they got it coming though for what they did says so in the bible."

They gave you the freedom to be condescending and judgmental! Painful indeed? Seriously? Sounds like you have no idea what such pain feels like, talking about it in such a flippant and caviler way!

August 17, 2010

PTSD is a Demon: First It Invades the Veteran, then the Family

Reader's comment on August 1, 2010 from the article Combat Veterans Bring the Monster of War Home: The Story of SGT Travis Triggs
For the life of me I cannot figure out why our government and the general public is not willing to do more for our Veterans.

PTSD is a demon. One that not only invades the mind of the soldier, but the mind of every individual that loves the soldier. It eats at the heart of the wife who watches her husband pace the living room without any explanation for his restlessness. It eats at the innocent soul of the child that watches their hero throw a toy across the room that startled him with it's sound.
Being an Army wife was not easy when he was away. And now that he has been safe at home for 4 years, I find myself wondering if it would have been easier if he had not made it. I know this is awful to put in writing. I understand that every wife or husband that has lost their soldier would do anything to have them back in any shape or form. I only mean to reflect on my personal 4 year struggle to be the "perfect" wife to a struggling hero.

Life has become littered with invisible obstacles that never seem to get easier. I feel for every soldier, every wife and husband, every child, every parent, every friend of a soldier. I pray that one day everyone will be fighting for our soldiers the way they have fought for us.

Combat Vet Girlfriend Finds Hope and Support at PASP

Photo by Scott Lee
ACK Girl said...Another comment from More Stupid Crap to Say to a Combat Veteran from February 18, 2010 12:12 PM (24 comments and growing),
I have been dating a veteran of the Iraq war for approximately 6 months now and I see how his PTSD effects everything aspect of his life. He was very forthcoming with his struggle right from the start. I thought I had a reasonably decent grasp on what I was getting involved with because my father was a war veteran as well. I was used to not being able to make loud noises, walk up behind him without warning, ask questions about his experiences (my father taught me to listen to the information offered but to never ever ask questions of a veteran), etc.

My father was a loving man but not an emotionally expressive one until the tail end of his life. It took the passing of my mother for him to finally let down some of his guard and show some real emotion. It was in the 9 years between my mom and dad's passing that I finally got to know my father as the man he truely was. He was wounded still, decades after he served in WWII. He struggled with his own deamons and yet he was still infinitely proud to have served his country. To him, it was his greatest accomplishment.

When I met my boyfriend there was so much about him that reminded me of my dad. He had all of the qualities that I loved about my own father. He is proud yet humble. He is strong yet vulnerable (not that he wants to show that, but I have seen it). He is wounded yet he carries on. I admire him in ways he will never know....the same way I admired my dad. I see his struggle with his PTSD and I wish I could help somehow. All I can do is listen when he wants to talk and do my best to not do the things that I know will set him off (like walking up behind him unexpectedly, discussing politics, religion or the war (any of them, and things like that).

We have had a hard time with certain aspects of our relationship but I know in my heart that he is a good, honest and loving man. I also know that he is deeply, deeply wounded in ways that I could not begin to imagine. So I will patiently work through the bumps with him because I believe in him. I believe in all of our veterans and service memebers. I owe my life to them, I owe my freedom to them and I owe my undying support and gratitude to them. It was an honor to have been raised by the man I called daddy. It is an honor to share my life with than man I call "honey". It is an honor to be an american citizen and I am fully aware of the price that has been paid and will be paid by those who defend our freedom and liberties.

Thank you for this blog. It helps to read these posts to gain better insight into how to help and support the veteran that I love so dearly.

August 15, 2010

Symbols of War, Responsibility and Remembrance

Another comment by a reader that I find should be included in our main pages. This one is from More Stupid Crap to Say to a Combat Veteran, one of our readers favorite to comment on.
OEF Combat Vet Wife says,
I have read your blog and keep returning to it. You have an insight that helps me. My husband is and OEF vet with ptsd. He does not talk much and obviously I will never understand the experience he or any of you vets have gone through.This blog helps. However, this comment "We do not wear our military memorabilia because we want people to ask us about them, we wear them to remind us of shit we will never be able to forget. If you cannot understand that then you have no business asking us about anything." leaves me a bit uneasy (for lack of a better word).
Photo by Scott Lee
When ANYONE wears any kind of symbol, saying, whatever it invites people to read, to notice and sometimes to talk. I do get wearing something as a reminder (I wear specific jewelry to remind me of those who have passed). I get to see it everyday but no one is any smarter about it. I do hope you will consider my comment and not get as upset when someone recognizes something you have on. For the most part, they probably mean no harm.
Again thank you for writing this blog.
My response,

August 14, 2010

Combat Vet Seeks VA Inpatient PTSD Treatment Hospital 19 Years After Combat

I am on a waiting list to go into a Combat PTSD Inpatient Hospital, some of the numbers being thrown around are 30-90 day waiting period...Seriously? Really?

It should come to no surprise to me - well, until I have to go through the damn hoops with the VA, AGAIN! I will keep everyone posted - Talk about fucking barriers to care...fuck me.

Upon admittance I will not be writing at PASP for up to 3 months, my therapist thinks it is important that I focus on me.

The VA: Protect the Budget Policy Breeds Barriers to Care for Veterans

Photo by Scott Lee
On August 19, 2009 at 2:22 PM, I had a conversation with a Combat Veteran's Mother pleading for help with the criminal charges her Combat PTSD son received during a flashback. Incarcerated Combat Vet Mom makes a critical connection on why so many veterans are not receiving the care they scream out for in the night.

Anonymous said,
My son is just begining to show signs of something after being placed in jail for domestic violence and robbery II. He's been in jail for over 4 months with a bail high as the sky and the VA Med Ctr not willing to accept him with a felony charge. My son, who was bail out 2 times in one week was place there for allegly attacking the victim again. My question is, he's wanting the bail lowered so we can get him out. Can I trust him?
Scott A. Lee said,
I would like to direct you to a woman who has been going through a similar situation. Her name is Sue, click here, her email is on her blogger profile.

I have been talking to her for about a year now and she has come a long way and making the best of her situation. She has become active in this area of concern and has gained some wisdom and insights that may help you.

August 12, 2010

Unknown Soldiers by Joe Garland, WWII Veteran

I recieved this comment on The Combat Veteran and Police Assisted Suicide on November 25, 2008,
Scott, sometimes it takes a long time to recognize that we have PTSD. My preface to my new book, Unknown Soldiers, (see below) is an account of my situation. I've finally written my place in history and that of my comrades from my point of view as a participant. My new book, "Unknown Soldiers," is a memoir of my days as a soldier serving in World War II in Europe.

Even as I, at eighty-five, close the book sixty-five years later, I confess in the recollection of it all to a tinge of what we now call post-traumatic stress disorder. No, none of us purposed our death when we purposed our services to President Roosevelt and to our country back in the 1940s.

This book was embarked upon in March 1943 in the form of a journal—a catch-as-catch-can record of whatever lay ahead of me, a bottom-of-the-pile volunteer in the United States Infantry when the USA was viewed as the last hope of a more or less civilized world grappling with the most evil force in the recorded history of mankind. Six months after I signed up for battle, not long after the Allied invasion of Italy, I landed in ravaged Naples with the first contingent of American casualty replacements in Europe and was assigned to the Intelligence and Reconnaissance Platoon of about thirty front-line scouts and observers in the 45th Infantry Division's 157th Regiment, already baptized in the battle to drive the Germans from Sicily after their expulsion from North Africa.

August 9, 2010

Marine Widow Lost Her Combat Veteran to Suicide: Icarus Syndrome

Photo by Scott Lee
I received this comment on January 26, 2009 at 10:41 AM on an article I wrote, We Cannot Make it Through the Confines of Our Minds Without the Help of Others, it went viral on January 23, 2009 the day I published it. Here is the comment,
After watching my father, a 16 yr. Army WWII veteran, my uncle, a WWI Navy veteran, my husband, Marine Corps '68 in country, cousins, brothers-in-law, and friends, then reading correspondence from my great-grandfather after the Civil War, I have been left with an understanding of that life-altering change that you speak of that leaves ordinary life and its mundane, trivial worries a shadowy caricature of what you feel life is supposed to be.

Perhaps it is a chemical alteration the body undergoes, the pharmaceutical companies will be happy to help, but perhaps it is a more profound change, spiritual if you will. If you can find a way to channel that omniscient feeling into making our society function optimally, there would be a chance for us.

August 1, 2010

PTSD and Incarcerated Veterans

Hello! My name is Jamie Keyes, and I am the mother of an Iraq war veteran who has PTSD and is also in prison due to a PTSD related incident. I really don't know exactly how to start this blog other than to say that my son's service in the military, PTSD and subsequent incarceration has really sent me on a long and painful journey, but given me a new mission in life. That mission being a part of educating our country of the plight of our returning veterans and soldiers, so that the appropriate changes can be made to better support them.

Because of my advocacy and experience with these issues, I have been given many opportunities to reach out to the families of veterans who have PTSD and unfortunately been arrested and thrown into prisons all over this country because of their service to this country. On any given week I receive calls from many desperate family members who's young veterans have come home suffering the unseen wounds of war, fallen through the cracks, and ended up in prison. I have heard all their stories, and despite the different circumstances surrounding the arrests of their loved ones, the stories are all the same. It begins with the soldier who is still in the military. Commanders and those who are supposed to be taking care of their soldiers are not paying attention to the signs of distress or responding appropriately.

There is no seamless transition from the military to the V.A. and many of them are sent out into the civilian world having to fend for themselves. If they do make it to the VA, they are not taken care of in a timely and appropriate manner, and many end up in prison or morgues all over this country. Currently there is no way of telling how many of our current conflict veterans are in jails and prisons all over this country because there are no studies on the numbers, or ways of keeping track of them. I will tell you this. It is at epidemic proportions and the citizens in this country would be shocked if they really knew how many of our young soldiers were incarcerated due to their PTSD.

July 31, 2010

Jesse Dayton: I'm Coming Home

I came across this video by one of the members on Facebook page, it really hits home the striking difference we tell others we are OK in the field right before battle. When in fact we are under the most duress we have ever faced, until we bring it home with us.

I remember a similar conversation with my wife, I told her I was OK and she would not hear from me for several weeks. To not be alarmed, I was OK. I told her she would receive a letter to open it and read it, I did not tell her this may be the last she would ever receive. We were instructed to do this, we knew this was our last good bye and it felt like it. The tension was in the air, she knew I was going into combat under the hail of gunfire, bombs and hellfire. I said good bye, she did not cry, yet I knew she would collapse after the phone line went dead...

Thank you Positive for being there for me, may God bless you,


July 22, 2010

My Story Will Shatter the Jarhead Myth of the 'Bloodless War' of Desert Storm

An A-10A Thunderbolt II aircraft flies over a ...
Image via Wikipedia
It has been almost 20 years and I have finally healed enough and wish to share my war experience. My story will shatter the Jarhead myth of the 'Bloodless War' of Desert Storm.

I am a Combat PTSD Veteran of the First Gulf War, I saw hectares of blood stained sands strung as the death clock clicked, chimed and claimed 45,000 lives. I lay witness, on point for the 3rd brigade of the 1stAD and beheld the 20,000 lives my unit snuffed in three bloody campaigns that lasted 100 hours. I drove for 172 hours straight without sleeping, yes that's 7 days, on drugs they force me to take.

I wish to dispel the myth of my war and make a movie about it. It was the biggest over land tank battle in the history of war and our enemy had no chance of winning, yet they met our glare as our bullets and bombs fell their own. I took no pleasure in directing hellfire knowing full well people would die.

July 19, 2010

The Tradition of Military Tattoos

Tattoos are Incredibly Powerful Symbols

During my time spent working as a Corrections Officer I saw many inmates with homemade prison-style tattoos; human flesh used as prime real estate on which they eagerly advertise their affiliation with a gang, names of fallen friends, teardrops on the face, full sleeves, backs, chest and necks all adorned with crude bluish colored designs. On the right side of the law however, the decision to permanently mark ones body with ink is not carried out so lightly.

And then there are military tattoos; the Navy being the most synonymous with this age old tradition harking back to salty sea dogs emblazoned with Popeye style anchors on their forearms, or Hawaiian maidens manipulated by undulating abdominal muscles animating the Pacific Island beauty into a hula dance. But that was back in the day and tastes have become far more sophisticated since then.

In 2007, my husband began to bandy around the idea of getting another tattoo, one to memorialize his time in Iraq. The tattoo would pay tribute to the sacrifice made when he re-enlisted 10 years after leaving the Army National Guard volunteering to deploy down range with his Brigade Combat Team. He also wanted it to signify the pride he felt in having served, and despite wishing he wasn't injured if he had to do it all over again he would unwaveringly return to the Sand Box.

Being the artistic one in the family I felt in my own way I would also be honoring my husband by contributing to the tattoo's final design. I enjoyed sharing my draft concepts with him; like an excited teenager I would present one idea after the other... "What do you think of this one?" "Here's another variation on the same theme." And he would always give me constructive feedback on how it could be tweaked until finally he felt it captured all the important elements of his deployment; the 1st Cav patch that he wore on his right arm, the Stars and Stripes for the people he was serving, the dates of his deployment, and the M16 personalized with the same number on the stock and Aimpoint scope exactly replicating the rifle he carried in Iraq.

After weeks of back and forth, fine tuning every detail, in November 2007 (coincidentally the same month he received his Purple Heart three years earlier) he took the design to the tattoo artist here in our town who I'm sure you'll agree did a fine job replicating the final draft on my husbands upper right arm.

He now carries with him an eternal affiliation to his cause, his country, and a time in his life that permanently redefined who he is today.

July 14, 2010

A Soldier's Expectations of Coming Home: The Trap of Flawless Execution

M6 Linebacker along the highway near Balad, Ir...
Image via Wikipedia
Hell, I made it through combat, going home will be a cakewalk (most soldiers and families).
In combat we have this fantasy of coming home and how if we can just get home then everything will be perfect, beware of expectations in ourselves and others for they can become the trap of flawless execution (TFE). To get past this razor edged pattern of thinking we must recognize it for what it is; our warrior values and operating system require us to become convinced of our invincibility. In combat the TFE would kill most enemies, but when we fall into this pattern of thinking back home we become dysfunctional and disorganized both in spirit and mind. When we come home we must purge our souls of the terror and horror of war, and when we have not been educated in the process we can run the risk of hurting ourselves or others.

We become so fixated in expectations that they change our perception of one another; the expectations become the focus of interest instead of a holistic meeting of one another where we are. A wise woman from Fort Knox Kentucky just recently told me, "Communication and education are key." A little bit of my Kentucky wit,
We must enter a rigid state of mind to enter into bliss, but to remain so this too we must let go (Scott Lee).

July 12, 2010

Rules for Combat PTSD Change within the VA Today

Obama Chronicles writes,
In the weekly address, President Obama outlined how his administration is making it easier for veterans with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to receive the benefits they need. These new changes in the Department of Veterans Affairs take effect today.

We Combat PTSD Veterans, had to ‘prove’ we were in combat, even though I was awarded the Combat Infantry Badge (CIB). I applied 7 times over 15 years before I was diagnosed and starting receiving care and treatment.

July 9, 2010

Combat Veterans and Trigger Cues

Pairwise perpendicular angles 1
Image viaWikipedia
In a combat zone we look for regular angles in an irregular environment; the child holding a cell phone is, according to the law of probability, a death threat. At home these kind of distorted thinking patterns can become debilitating as everything has regular angles, therefore a 'threat or trigger cue' (TTC).

In a combat environment death and destruction rein supreme, where the laws of nature rage and rules, values an norms of the warrior prevail. In combat the leveled weapon in a haystack of chaos is registered and fired upon as one reaction; to do otherwise is to seek death.

The combat schemata (target=shoot) had registered a threat and acted upon it without hesitation saving the lives of her soldiers; but in doing so she has bound her life to those deaths. This highly imprinted schemata becomes entrenched and thus becomes our first line of defense for even vaguely perceived threats, the stuffing of society.

July 6, 2010

Scott Lee on America's Web Radio Tomorrow Morning with Michael Orban

Click the banner above to hear the interview!


Log on to listen live

Guest Gulf War Combat Veteran and Veterans Issues Examiner Scott Lee

Hosted by Army Combat Veteran Michael S. Orban
Wednesday June 30 at 11:00am eastern
Same day replay at 11:00pm eastern
(adjust for your time zone)

for more information see my website

July 5, 2010

Realities of Coming Home From Combat

This post is reproduced with my husband's permission from his blog One Veteran's Battle.

Every soldier whose been in combat cannot help but to be changed for life. It may be surprising to know, the veteran believes everything will be OK, that they will comforted if he can just get home. When they finally arrive, there's an element of euphoria, followed by disorientation. Veterans slip into what can only be described as an 'illusion of normalcy.' They pretend that nothing has changed.

As time passes, it could be 1 month, or 2 years, but most commonly it's approximately 3 to 6 months, the veteran can no longer suppress what he's become as a result of combat. His true self begins to emerge. This can be expressed in many forms, anger, depression, isolationism, even suicide. The veteran will become sensitive to being around others and startle easily, and may show little interest in doing the things he once enjoyed. His interests may be alcohol, drugs, porn, or absolutely nothing at all. But these things are not really the man. They are expressions of pain seeking an outlet. It wasn't long ago he was in combat in a shit hole world. Everything you can think of was discarded onto the streets, waste paper, plastic bottles, rubble, feces, urine, and even decomposing animals (both domesticated dogs, etc. and human) now he's in a 'civilized' world with no way to express himself in a normal, culturally accepted way. Therefore, veterans turn to violence, isolate themselves, or commit suicide. How can anyone that hasn't been 'In the shit' possibly know what fucked up shit veterans have dealt with? Pisses me off when I hear anyone call a veteran a freeloader. They have god damn clue what their talking about. I wish they were walking the streets of Baghdad in 2004. If they were to survive they'd shut the fuck-up.

Once the veteran crosses that boundary to the new 'true self,' both the veteran and his spouse must come to terms with the changes in their relationship together or it's doomed to fail. I represent a failed attempt to make the adjustment. I failed, or she refused to accept the changes in me, we ended up in divorce. I had no intention on giving up on the relationship; it was my intention to try and work it out. It was her decision to abandon our relationship. But I realize now, it was the best result possible. I'm just sorry she did it in such a mean spirited way (another post).

I'm a bad example because my marriage was in trouble when I left for Iraq, nonetheless, I think I observations of value. The bottom line is, if you had a good relationship prior to deployment, despite the seemingly insurmountable difficulties resulting from combat experience, much can be overcome with love. I'm not saying it's easy, because it's not. It's hard for the veteran because he's confused, most likely working out prescriptions through VA, suicidal at times, depressed, and anxious. He feels these things within the context of his love for you, his spouse. His spouse sees a changed man, someone she didn't marry. Some women understand the reason, others don't. The ones that do understand and stand with their man, that's true love and compassion. They will work it out in the end. Those relationships troubled before Iraq, as mine was, or those that cannot find common ground and understanding, will likely fail.

Saving a relationship after being separated by something so insidious as combat would be hard on any family. Coming home can provide initial relief from the realities of war, but soon the nightmares return, and we act out, unsure what to do with these emotions forged in war and expect them to fit-into a world that has no understanding of what they've become.

MSN's Health and Fitness: Pot Might Ease PTSD

Synthetic marijuana reduced post-traumatic stress disorder in rats
-- Robert Preidt

Synthetic marijuana reduced post-traumatic stress disorder in rats.FRIDAY, Nov. 13 (HealthDay News) -- Marijuana may help people with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), according to a new study.PTSD affects 10 to 30 percent of people who experience a traumatic event, such as a car accident or terror attack.

These people continue to suffer stress symptoms for months and even years after the incident.Israeli researchers conducted a series of experiments in which rats were subjected to stressful experiences, such as receiving electric shocks.

The study found that the rats' stress levels could be reduced by giving them a synthetic form of marijuana that has properties similar to that of the natural plant.Further investigation revealed that the synthetic marijuana prevents increased release of a stress hormone the body releases in response to traumatic situations.

"The results of our research should encourage psychiatric investigation into the use of cannabinoids in post-traumatic stress patients," wrote study author Dr. Irit Akirav of the department of psychology at the University of Haifa.

The study was published in a recent issue of the Journal of Neuroscience.

More information:

The U.S. National Institute of Mental Health has more about

SOURCE: University of Haifa, news release, Nov. 4, 2009
@2010 HealthDay. All Rights Reserved.

July 3, 2010

My Childhood Made Me a Thug, War Made Me a Monster

While I am not going to revert to all of my old ways, I am in a great amount of pain from the fallout of recent events. Really, it is probably more due to my guilt that I have been burying for 20 years. I talk about my childhood as being the worst. What I was trying to do was deflect and embellish so that I could say, "Hey my childhood was worse than war." Well I'm here to tell the world that NO, war is worse than any childhood.

A bad childhood can only help one become a better killer in combat, but it was combat that made me dangerous to my loved ones, not my childhood. My childhood made me a thug, war made me a monster.

Today I am not that monster, I am more the me you knew before war than I have ever been in my life. The reason I say we come home everyday from battle; the me before war, every once in a while will wake it was 20 years ago, and ask myself is it over yet? I swear to God it is like I woke up from a coma and the year is still 1989 and time has stood still. It is so scary...I'm fucking balling again.

Those moments used to turn into all out war for the monster, but today I know the fog of war will pass as I wait patiently for it to vaporize.

July 2, 2010

Combat Veteran's Stuttering Returns Post Iraq

My husband has a pronounced stutter (a previously conquered childhood hardship) which returned with a vengeance post Iraq, but over the last few months I've noticed it getting worse. He sometimes has difficulty pronouncing certain words; for example yesterday it was the word "successful", which he finally resorted to breaking into three syllables in order to get it out. It's moments like that I seriously have to battle the urge to finish sentences for him, but he needs to be able to communicate without me jumping in every five minutes to "help" him convey his point of view. And honestly, I don't want to give him any more of a complex than he already has.

I know he's aware of the worsening affliction, his body language and broken eye contact highlights the insecurity which accompanies his frustration.

I wanted him to hear for himself how prevalent it's becoming, and although he brought it to my attention by telling me he was going to blog about it, I'm not sure he realizes the true extent. So I secretly recorded him (sorry to be so sneaky my love) as he read to me from his post PTSD Defines Me in which he addresses the issue.

I've edited the audio for length and added some video footage to give you something to look at while you're listening. It starts out with him saying "um" several times which is usually the way he gets going when he's about to speak.

I used this with his permission after fessing up to my FBI style wire tapping!

June 29, 2010

William Henley: INVICTUS

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever Gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of Circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of Chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find me, unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul.

William Henley 1875

June 27, 2010

Casualties from the Battle of Wanat

By Richard Engel, Chief foreign correspondent, NBC News. This report airs Dateline NBC Sunday, June 27, 7 p.m./6 C,
DAVE BROSTROM: When you send your son off to war, you expect that they will get everything that this great country can provide to protect them.

CARLENE CROSS: This situation was pure recklessness. You just have to say, "This is wrong.”

KURT ZWILLING: Bad things happen in war. But our boys are not cannon fodder. The United States has to protect these men. And, in this case, it was not done.

Every parent who sends a son or daughter to war knows the worst can happen. But that deep, often unspoken fear is tempered by a faith that the military won't needlessly risk the lives of their loved ones.

MARY JO BROSTROM: Your son takes off. But, he's coming home. I never imagined that he wouldn't. I always thought that Jonathan would always be coming home. He was Jonathan.

Jonathan — Jonathan P. Brostrom, a 24-year-old Army second lieutenant from Honolulu, Hawaii.

DAVE BROSTROM: He was your typical American boy. Very athletic. Had lots of friends.

You might say the Army was in Jon Brostrom's DNA. His father, Dave, was “Army strong” long before the ad campaign.

Quote Me

We are all conquered men in the eyes of God~~Scott A. Lee

Cynosure the Gift of Faith

Photo by Scott Lee
I was so overwhelmed by the time the WWII veterans arrived I could no longer concentrate on the camera settings or my job there. So I tried to take pictures but most did not take of their return, but should that be that may. I got many contacts and wonderful photos, met some incredible people and have interviews in waiting. So many veterans want to share their stories, I am so blessed to have the gift of cynosure (please read the whole definition, I'm not as narcissistic as the first few lines might

Every time I listen to that inner voice that says, "I must for I act." Today that means the mobilization of our communities to help our returning veterans come home safely. They need not end up homeless, incarcerated, suicidal or homicidal and thrown away in the increasing numbers we see today. We must as communities organize ourselves, we cannot afford to wait. The time has come to mobilize the most massive civilian relief effort within our homeland since we first asked our American Natives for help.

Today I carry that warrior spirit with me, my grandmother was Cherokee here in Kentucky. She was a child on the trail of tears, when my mother (I just worked through an issue with my mom, thank you God) would tell that story she could not help but weep as I do today. I have not confirmed, but my father told me that we were related to the local legend Robert E. Lee and have been impacted in from this side of the family. A local 'Hatfield and McCoy' merger, lol, man I'm a true Kentucky Colonel.

June 25, 2010

Daddy Has PTSD

How do I explain PTSD to an elementary school age kid who is clearly frustrated by the dramatic change of pace from his home life to that of weekends with his father?

Dear Stepson,

You were too young to remember when your dad went to Iraq to fight in the war. While he was overseas he saw many bad things and needed to protect himself and others from danger. He couldn't just run away and hide, he had to be very brave and not show any sign of fear even if at times he was scared inside. Now he is back home, having to cope with danger all the time has made him quiet and not very playful, but he had to learn to be strong and silent. He's like that all the time not just when you're around so don't think it's your fault.

You know how your dad "jumps" when you drop a toy on the floor or fire your cap gun? That's because there were many explosions and gun shots in Iraq which made deafening noises and meant he could be seriously hurt or even killed. When your dad hears loud noises now it still makes him jump because he is reminded how deadly bombs and bullets are. Just for a second it makes him think he is back in Iraq until he remembers he is home with us.

When he was on duty he sometimes had to patrol in a vehicle or on foot and when there were lots of people around it threatened his safety, that is why he does not like to be around crowds. He still thinks he has to watch all the faces and their movements in case they are getting ready to hurt him. Pax helps your dad feel safe when he goes out in public, he can help him watch all the people when there are too many for your dad to keep track of.

Sometimes when you ask your dad a question and he tells you he has to think about it, it's because his head was injured by bomb blasts. You know when you watch a movie and there is an explosion and people are thrown through the air? That's what happened to your dad and now he sometimes has trouble remembering things or answering your questions right away. That is called TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury), his brain was injured when it got banged around inside his head.

Do you remember the other day when you asked your dad if he would play hockey and he said "we'll see, maybe later"? Remember how I made him go outside and play with you? Your dad did not like playing out in the driveway because cars drive past the house. During the war he had to stop cars at roadside checkpoints and search them for bombs and guns so he and his fellow soldiers would be safe and come home to their family. He also had to concentrate and watch traffic very carefully from high up in a tower, so he doesn't like being distracted when there are cars around, even if it is to play a game.

Sometimes people can be hurt deep down on the inside where you can't see it but it is there. Your dad has PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder). Post means after the war, Traumatic means bad things happened during the war and his life was in danger, Stress means his body is reacting to the bad things... kinda like how you get hives, and Disorder means he will never be the same man he was before he went into combat.

Your Stepmother.

Anyone else had to try and explain PTSD and/or TBI to their kids?

June 24, 2010

Local Veterans Resource in Louisville KY: Interlink Counseling Services Inc

Photo by Scott Lee
Interlink Counseling Services at 8311 Preston Highway, Louisville, Kentucky 40219, phone 502-964-7147, E-mail Interlink is a long-term residential treatment center for homeless veterans to meet their needs in achieving and maintaining a productive and meaningful life beyond substance abuse and homelessness. Issues such as chemical dependency, mental health problems, housing needs, and job placement, as needed can be addressed through a case manager in addition to assistance with filing for disability benefits through Social Security and the Veterans Administration.

Medications for a Combat Veterans Treatment of PTSD

One pill makes you larger

And one pill makes you small,

And the ones that mother gives you

Don't do anything at all.

-White Rabbit, Jefferson Airplane 1967

I awoke this morning with a list of items I needed to tackle today. The real trick for me is trying to balance all my work around my family and husband. Today's list consists of running to the post office to mail off many candles, make some phone calls for FRG and our upcoming Family Day, write an article for our unit newsletter, and get my husband's medications in order. So armed with my extra large cup of coffee and my Vietnam Era music playing in the background, I hit the ground running. I had to buy my husband one of those seven day a week pill reminder boxes, or as we lovingly refer to it as, the Old Man Pill Box. Once a week I must refill it for twice to three times a day, and then double check myself as I can be forgetful sometimes. Once completed, I must then go through and double check all the original bottles they came in just to make sure he has plenty in supply or begin the refill process. I wondered how many others are on the same meds and what do all these do for my husband? Thought the White Rabbit song reference really played well with my blog this morning!

June 18, 2010

Ex-wife and Combat Vet Talk 20 Years Later

Lotus flower and om symbolImage via Wikipedia
Positive said,
Scott, please don't misunderstand that I only fear that you may regress. I'm very concerned that when you get angry you may regress into what you were. I'm sorry if I offended you in any way. It wasn't meant to. I'm just concerned. When you get angry, you tend to spiral in a downhill motion that lasts days, weeks, or sometimes months and years. I just don't want to see that again. Being aware of some of the things you have done when you're in that state of mind, I truly don't think I can be at fault for being concerned about your frame of mind when your that angry. You were angry-and told me you were very pissed, I told you to get on your blog and let it out-that's why I was so concerned. I just don't want all of us to have a remake of what once was.

When you and [Our son] had the argument, it hurt me. I knew it was bound to happen. [Our son] has had so many emotions built up inside him for so long, it was inevitable he was going to explode one day. In time he will come around. Until he does, let's just try to continue what we're trying to do. I'm trying to help him threw this to the best of my ability. Its not easy but, it is things he needs to hear. He has to deal with it in his own way. We are all different and, all of us handle situations differently. Yes, he is back with his girlfriend now. I'm happy about that. If the blow-up hadn't happened he may not have been. In saying that maybe it needed to happen. At some point, however; it was destined to happen anyway.

I sincerely hope that you never let yourself regress as far as you did in the past. Its my fear that one day you will. I hope it never happens, not ever.

The boys and you have finally been talking for about 3 straight years. I'm happy about that. They always needed you-even if they didn't know it. This is just something that had to happen between you and [Our son]. I'm deeply sorry it happened the way it did.
My response,

Combat Vet Guided by Rights, Responsibilities and Principles

Almost every bay of the communication sap from...
Image by National Media Museum via Flickr
Wow, the fallout from war is staggering, 15 years after the first Gulf War ended I begin the healing process and people I thought were friends attack me almost 20 years later? Really? Yes I did horrible things when I got home to my family, I did hurt the people around me. Can you live with the vision of 20,000 mangled enemy bodes and not have some fallout? Count yourself blessed if you do. After driving for 172 hours or 7 days?

I will engage anyone who wants to have a real conversation about my life and share in a mutual discussion. I challenge people to do the same, your right I do not have to like what others say. But, should you behave in an aggressive manor and force me to act because you do not like what I have to say then I will end the engagement with the objective of keeping my character in tact.

First you must check yourself, I cannot and will not do it for you. I can chose to end a conversation if I so choose. My rights, responsibilities and principles will guard my actions, words and deeds as they have for the last five years. I am not who I used to be and I will never apologize for who I used to be again, I've said that enough.

Can you say the same?

June 17, 2010


Belisaire demandant l'aumone Jacques-Louis de ...
Image via Wikipedia
Altruism is the race to balance between our passions and purpose to effect social change, against one's own self-interest. A calling that was not of our choosing, but a gift from God to do his bidding. When we hear it and obey, then we find that life begins to unfold as never before.

No, altruism is not a word nor deed or the sum thereof. It is the efficient use of generosity, community and organization with holistic implications and impacts on lives for the better.

Altruism, is the thread that holds the weave of everything.

June 16, 2010

Media Release: Combat Relief Helps Returning Combat Troops Reconnect With Society


Combat Relief Helps Returning Combat Troops Reconnect With Society

The Grant Humanitarian Foundation announces new programs to care for America’s military men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan

San Francisco, California, June 15, 2010. The cost of war to American men, women, and children is hard to measure. Troops not only put their own lives at risk, but face further challenges after long military deployments that can tear apart the fabric of their families. After coming home from Iraq and Afghanistan, unemployment, homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder, drug and alcohol addiction are issues that too many of our troops face. Returning troops, including the broader communities they inhabit, all suffer the effects of war-related stress, which requires support to assist returning veterans in readjusting to civilian life.

Elena Grant, President of the Grant Humanitarian Foundation, states that America doesn’t have sufficient resources to help troops reintegrate into society and recover from their psychological wounds, especially those experiencing stress disorders. "American troops in Afghanistan and Iraq have made a immeasurable contribution, and undergone a tremendous sacrifice, on behalf of our country,” says Ms. Grant. “I’m honored to have the opportunity to help these brave men and women.”

The Grant Humanitarian Foundation offers several Combat Relief programs that support America’s military men and women returning from Iraq and Afghanistan.

June 15, 2010

Time Running Out for PTSD Sufferers to Claim Benefits

Markham Evans with Virginia News Channel 8,
WASHINGTON - The U.S. military has agreed to pay millions of dollars to veterans who were discharged from the service for post-traumatic stress disorder with lower disability ratings than they are entitled to. But time is running out for those who are eligible.

The law says that veterans whose PTSD was serious enough to result in discharge from the military are entitled to 50-percent disability, which would give them and their families lifetime medical care, and, if the PTSD is combat-related, tax-free retirement payments, as well. But for some reason, Iraq (web | news) war veteran Ryan Peck and more than 4,000 others did not receive the 50-percent rating.

June 14, 2010

When a Combat Vet Asks For Help: To the Struggling Combat PTSD Vet

I Want YOU to Care About PTSD
Ilona Meagher via Flickr
When a Combat Vet asks for help, what does he receive?

Our loved ones do not understand us, we were trained to filter out many things that would not get us killed. Today we filter out speech, actions, intentions, expectations and the subtly of it begins to enchain the Combat Vets mind. The Combat Values structure tells him to question, to suspect, and to interrogate and that they hold a license to do what needs to be done. We become that which brought us home, the one thing she feared the most.

They call this being a good soldier in combat, but at home they call it Combat PTSD.
I am here, I have been where you are. You can find help from the many resources we have listed in the right column (Scott A. Lee).
From another conversation I had tonight where I was just refereed to as a professional blogger!!

My answer,
Shesh, don't give me to much credit, lol. I stumble along because I feel compelled to help others through what I have been through just as you. I may know how to stumble better, but stumble none the less I
Follow the conversation as the Mistress gives a SGT in the military some sound advice and her opinion on searching for help when a Combat Vet asks for help.

June 12, 2010

Resource Seal of Approval: Family of a Vet

From the desk of Combat PTSDnews...

I am happy to announce that I will be updating our Resource Seal of Approval to include Family of a Vet to recognize the hard work they do and would like to extend an offer to join the Coalition of Combat PTSD Bloggers.

Over the years I have sent many women to Family of a Vet to seek out the knowledge to help shape the safe return of our modern warriors. Help in their latest project Congressional Survey to share your Combat PTSD story.

Family of a Vet welcomes those who seek real help in dealing with Combat PTSD,
Welcome, dear friends! Thanks for visiting Family Of a Vet (FOV). This site is dedicated to you... whether you're a Veteran or someone who loves a Veteran.

It was created trying to figure out how to handle the "after shocks" of combat including PTSD (Posttraumatic Stress Disorder) and TBI (Traumatic Brain Injury). We're here to help you find your way, find the information you need, and find a way not only to cope with life after combat... but to survive and thrive!

Our most important current project is our Congressional Survey. If you're visiting this site, please, please, please take time to fill it out. It's one way we're trying our best to get all Veterans and their families the help and support the need and deserve. It will only work, though, if we have LOTS of responses!!!!

Communicating with Deployed Combat PTSD Soldier

Panic Attack or Anxiety PTSD
Image viaWikipedia
I received this email just about 30 minutes ago from a woman whose fiancée is deployed in a war zone with PTSD that he has had since 2005!

Diagnosed with PTSD and still in combat? Really? To some of the general public this will be a surprise, but to those of us who live it. It has always been a reality. Hello world, wake up and smell the gunpowder in the air. I want to encourage our readers to research this site and copy and paste those links here and I will add them in a new resources button 'Communicating with Deployed Soldier.' Here is her email as it came to me,
I came across your blog while researching out PTSD. My fiancé is actively deployed and been dealing with this condition since 2005. I found your blog to have a wealth of information especially the posts relating to communicating with a loved one with PTSD. I searched through your blog for information on understanding and communicating with a spouse or partner who is deployed but was not successful. Any insight you may have or resources you know of that you could give me would be greatly appreciated. My fiancé is really having a hard time and I am at a loss on what to say to comfort him since I am doing this from a distance and I am really wanting to understand PTSD and the effect it has on a person.

Thank you for your time
My response,
Right below the Dr. Jay's ad you will find a box that says 'Resources and My Favorites.' You will find several articles that I wrote along with others whom I thought were relevant to the conversation of . The rest of the information you need to better communicate with him comes from your soon to be education on Combat PTSD, thats where the rest of the website comes in. Two of my writers are Combat veteran wives who can give you a wealth of knowledge in understanding their Combat Vet, which may have some insight for you and your situation.

The writing at my websites comes from a clinical perspective with a 'been there, done that' kind of attitude. Sound familiar? Well, now we are connecting. I can help you understand how he thinks, the other writers can help you with getting through it how they got through it.

Hope this helps and I will be posting this response at my website. Can I have your permission to use your email? I will change the names and will post soon

June 11, 2010

New Look at Combat PTSD News Headquarters

Photo by Scott Lee
Hello Everyone!

Sitting here and want to dedicate this new look here at PASP, a redesigned mission required a redesigned website. We are gathering more forces and resources here at PASP I was getting overwhelmed with trying to keep track of it. Now, it is mostly finished. Polished enough to say WELCOME to PASP(1)'s new and redesigned look.

Its all about building on teamwork, information gathering, networking and pooling resources to institute a lasting foundation to help our loved ones who have returned in body return in spirit.

Don't panic! All the resources that I had plastered everywhere are still here. I moved them in the top right column under Resources and My Favorites. The PASP Resource Seal of Approval list the resources that I list as having effecting change on a social scale for veterans in their communities.
I love photography, so I am going to embark further upon my journalistic journey and will posting more of my photos. Interestingly enough, if you can believe it. I took this picture of the hand-seemed tin roof I put on this building 15 years ago, me and another guy over the summer. It will last 100 years.~~Scott
To those of you readers get this information from a feed, please if you find the information stimulating. Please, come to the site, its all new and join the conversation. We need your input to amass enough experience to help our returning veterans.

Photo by Scott A. Lee

June 9, 2010

Resource Seal of Approval: The A to Z Guide to VA Disability Benefits

The A to Z Guide to VA Disability Benefits

How My Internet Collection Works Best For You: My only goal is to ensure you have the knowledge available to make the most of the benefits you've earned with your honorable military service. There are a series of sites that work together to keep you informed.
This site, The A to Z Guide to VA Benefits is a benefits data clearinghouse and is arranged so that you may find the benefits facts you need quickly and easily.