February 7, 2016

Veteran on the Edge

This post is inspired by reading Patience Mason's PTSD Blog about her new book idea. She asks, "Reality is that most people who come back from war, or survive another trauma, are not fine, so if that might fit you, here are some questions to think about: How or why might you be fucked up?"

Dear Joe Public,

I would doubt you were in the military or a veteran if you could not recite two or more times a curious and insensitive clod trampled through your trauma to relive his boyhood romanticized thriller of the military life.

For the insensitive thinking that leads a stranger to ask intimate questions, and then discount my story because it does not match the official narrative. Even though most know the television and government lies about everything.

I am not fine. Why the fuck would you expect me to be? Because my war was a little war and does not matter? I hear this all too often, recently and even from veterans.

I am angry and full of rage when not numb or heavily medicated. Hear my witness, in three days my brigade killed over 24,000 Iraqi soldiers under the Desert Storm.

When I got home the idiot box repeaters called me a liar further altering people's perceptions of me as unstable. Caregivers know the safest people in the world are standing next to veterans with PTSD.

When I got home it took filing seven times with the Veterans Administration to get a 0% service connected rating for hearing loss.

In 2005 unchecked PTSD led me to get stabbed in the face and precipitated a crisis. Hospitalized for two weeks in psychic ward and then transferred to a two-year intensive treatment center for veterans.

It took the ninth case, to get a 30% rating for PTSD. Without the support from the treatment center I would not be alive or have a stable life.

Fast forward past the bouts of homelessness, and over 12 hospitalizations for suicidal ideation, in 2007 and the eleventh case, I was finally awarded an 80% service connection for PTSD, hearing loss and tinnitus. Which seriously exacerbates PTSD and infuses the flashbacks and hallucinations with sound, when I am doing deaf.

Do not ever forget. I participated and witnessed in a massacre. For I cannot. My mother shared stories of our great-great grandmother walking the Trail of Tears as a child. I now know her level of sorrow, a lost Cherokee of an unknown clan, branded with genocide where the past meets the present.

Today, if I make perfect financial decisions every month I can barely get by. But, I am not only human and prone to the same mistakes and stresses everyone faces. That is a base for a veteran with combat PTSD, MST and TBI, welcome to our good day. Now heap on hyperstress and crippling anxiety that literally makes your skin crawl. Welcome to our good day. For a great day, heap on cannabis. I don't make enough money to have that the whole month though.

Why the fuck would I shoot bullet eyes when you ask, "Are you okay?" No, I am on the edge. Are you ready to listen?


  1. I entered the Army in 1978. My ETS date is 2 dec. 1984. Thats the day I died. I have 40 months in Combat, deploying all over the world. On one of these deployments I made friends and fought along side my buddy many times. I knew his 2 kids and his wife. He lost his life 20 feet on my right his head disappeared. I feel all this pain. Everyday of my life. When I came out I was totally crazy, took every drug known to man trying to erase those memories of war. I did crimes sold drugs just out of control and the reality is I just wanted to die. Prison next, it was in that time that my mind began to focus to some degree better than before no V.A. Today they have lost all my medical records from that period dont show all my discharges on my dd214 and have denied me well over 20 times now not even looking ever into my situation. The Way I see it, its us. We have to be the one's who talk and fight. All of us were once warriors. Lets be so still. We all took an oath to defend our contitution. Which means rights. It should not matter if your a vet from wwII vietnam peace time or the Irag war. We are all Combat Vets! We know what the stuff is. We have seen the worst and the best of our humanity. We should be doing everything in our power little or small to fight. We stood up and all of us should be treated with dignity and respect regardless of our current situation. Our Debt is paid, We paid our debt with our Body and Minds. We gave all we had for me at least to protect Your Mother Your Grandma Your Wife our Country. We learned how to survive on the Battlefield lets help each other in life. Don't ever forget, no man left behind. NONE. It is Dear Soldier your responsibility otherwise everything we went through is for nothing and I for one am proud to have stood with my brother knowing he had my back and he knew I had his. This is what will still work if only we will Continue on. Make contact with your brothers help everywhere you can stand up and get your brothers back again our strengh is there Our foundation is ourselves. Thank you for your Service and I mean it. Some ol' Sarg from long ago

    1. Old Sarge, welcome home brother. We come home from war everyday that's why we say welcome home instead of thank you for your service.

      There's a way to get your medical records or at least to get benefits if you want to that help I can coach you in that direction. I've done enough with mine to know a little bit about it. They didn't have records for my service connected disability is either. But after 15 years of fighting actually 23 I finally got 80% service connection for PTSD hearing loss and tinnitus.

      It is our foundation in my foundation has been crumbling for a little while. I'm getting ready to patch it up and build on it some more.

      Keep coming back brother.

  2. What do you think is the most helpful for PTSD in Veterans from your experience? I work in the behavioral health field and have seen a number of treatment modalities offered, but from a first hand perspective, I am curious what you think is truly most effective to allow someone to live as normal and happy as possible.

    1. The years of Cognitive Behavioral Therapy helped a lot. But, that didn't happen until I was passed on to the director of the hospital as a case. He was the first practitioner at the VA that built a rapport with me. That safe place to talk. I didn't know what that was at the time.

      I think that most veterans do not have a language to describe the inner experience, and that is also compounded by clinicians misunderstanding of the dissociative features of PTSD and how that affects our identity. Which in turn makes the dissociative features more prominent.

      It wasn't until I attended psychology classes in college before I had the words to describe how I felt during the dissociative fugues right after I came home. Along with giving the veteran an index of definitions, relaxation and stress reduction techniques, emotional intelligence classes should be on the treatment agenda. That would make it easier to discern delusional thinking, and to self sooth.

      If a veteran is looked at as treatment resistant. Then I would look into Moral Injury as a secondary diagnosis. Also, past trauma makes a huge difference in the veterans ability to receive the right diagnosis and treatment. I have not been diagnosed with Complex PTSD, but believe I have it.

      I have one alter that I know of. He is very mischievous and only comes out during times when I am having psychotic breaks. He is 5 years old. He is frozen in the time when I was raped. I put that together from talks with from friends, nightmares, feelings, flashbacks, dissociative fugues, and a host of other fragmented memories.


Please share your comments, stories and information. Thank you. ~ Scott Lee