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Tell me about PTSD

SCorversSCorvers Member Posts: 2,063 ✭✭✭✭✭
edited December 2009 in US Military Veteran Forum
What are the signs and symptoms?

Comments

  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    Signs a symptoms are too varied to start going into on a forum like this! Each person will manifest them in different ways.

    I will say that it is my belief that any and every combat vet has it to some degree! I personally do not believe any person can live through what is required of them in combat and not have lasting mental scars in some form or another! It is just that many can function without those scars makeing much difficulty in thier everyday lives, and others the scars become thier everyday lives!

    This fact hold true of not only combat veterans, but anyone who has lived through a very tramatic event!

    There are many good online resources in the study of PTSD if you take the time to look. I have read many of them myself.

    Here is one that I just happend to pull up real quick:
    http://www.ptsdmanual.com/

    The VA also has many good publications out if you are stricktly looking for Combat related PTSD.

    Good Luck!
  • Jake_S-83Jake_S-83 Member Posts: 2,333 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Common symptoms are reliving traumatic experiences (flashbacks), avoidance of situations or people, and nightmares. If anyone thinks they might be experiencing anything like it, TALK TO SOMEONE! go to the VA, talk to other vets, hell email me I'll give you my number.
  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Jake_S-83
    Common symptoms are reliving traumatic experiences (flashbacks), avoidance of situations or people, and nightmares. If anyone thinks they might be experiencing anything like it, TALK TO SOMEONE! go to the VA, talk to other vets, hell email me I'll give you my number.



    Unless you are having severe problems, I would strongly advise not talking to the VA or ANY psycologist about PTSD. If you value your Constitutional rights...the ones you fought for, stay away from the docs. They WILL take away your right to bear arms...they are already doing it.
  • mtlenwaymtlenway Member Posts: 106 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Hello and thanks for serving. I served in the Army for 14 years with combat tours in 90-91 in the Gulf as well as 89 in Panama. On February 27, 1991 I have the unfortunate luck of running across a cluster bomb buried under the sands. The bomblet exploded and myself and three other members of my squad took shrapnel. At the time this happen my unit was task to clear many of the bunkers and treanches the Iraq's had dug in along the nuetral zone. Eventually, I was release from active duty after 7 months of convolences leave and returned to my Reserve Unit. I had great deal of difficulties returning to my unit as I was filled with shame for the incident that result in the injury to three squad members under my charge as the Squad Leader. I stuck it out with the unit for another 3 years but called it quits after 14 years giving up any retirement I had hoped for. Even though no one in my unit said anything about the incident, I still felt as though I had done something wrong was concerned that my subordinate would never again respect me. This was in addition to the fact that as a direct result of my injuries (all the shrapnel I took was to my legs.) I could no longer run and meet the PT requirements of the Army. As such, I transferred into the IRR (Inactive Ready Reserves) in 1995.

    Following my discharge from active duty in 1991, In enrolled in law school throug the VA's voc rehab program and graduated in the Spring of 1995. During law school, without even realizing it, I partnered with study groups consisting of prior military. However, when looking back and based on my wife's observations, I had become very anti social and avoid nearly everyone including many of my family members and long time friends. Between 1996-1997 I began to experience a great deal of difficulty sleeping, would wake up covered with sweat and very aggitated, I started to have recurrent and constant headaches, depression, hyper vigilance, and often had recurring nightmares of scud attacks, the cluster bomb incident and of other events I was exposed to during the Gulf War.

    After having put up with me for months, my wife, concerned about our marriage, insisted that we seek marital counseling. During our counseling the pyschologist had us take the MMPI test. After going over the test results with us individually, he suggested that I may be suffering from PTSD and referred me to the VA for further evaluation and treatment. Incidentally, after coming out of law school I was in essence terminate from two different jobs, due to my inability to concentrate, be productive and serve our clients.

    At the time I was referred to the VA I had a disability rating of 50% for the injuries to my legs. The people who evaluated and treated me for my PTSD recommended I submit a claim for it, which I was very reluctant to due for concern that I would have some pyscho label put on my and lose any opportuntiy to secure a decent job. Nonetheless, my wife insisted that I make the claim as she felt that it was substantially impairing my ocupational abilities and cause us a great deal of loss of income. Hence, I filed a claim with the VA and was given a 50% PTSD rating which my therapist thought was low and felt I should appeal it. I never appealed it, as I do not want to live off of VA disability, but would much perfer to work and be a productive individual contributing to our society. In 2002, i convince my wife to move out of the City (Minneapolis/St. Paul Area) and move to a small rural community. I no longer take the medications as I did not care for how I felt when I was on them. The move out of the metro area, has helped, as I do not have to deal with the crowds and questions I often had to content with. I honestly, cant even tell you if things have improved or not.

    If you do infact has any of the symptom of PTSD or know someone who does, try to get the to meet with a professional as early as possible. The longer you go on with it without adequate treatment the worse it becomes and the more difficult it is to heal.

    I recently had a bowling buddy of mine just return from Iraq. I have always told him that if he is ever having any problems not to hestitate giving me a call. Many of his old friends and family members have already made statements to me that they think he has change a lot and often trying to avoid them. Vets need to talk to Vets who can understand what the experience was and talk things through. The general society has no clue to what it is like to be in a combat situation as the News Media always seems fail to report the news and focuses on the political aspects of every thing.
  • SCorversSCorvers Member Posts: 2,063 ✭✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Mtlenway, Thanks for sharing. Reading your post was almost like looking in the mirror.
    My story is that I was on the USS Iowa on April 19, 1989. We lost 47 of our shipmates that day, 17 out of my division alone. I pretty much suffered with "survivors guilt" for quite sometime. I've eventually gotten over that, but harbor some pretty bad feelings concerning my COC for the way we were treated after the incident.
    I've never really sought any counseling concerning the incident. My Mom did have me go back in 93 and file for disabilty or counseling, but I was denied and have never pursued it any further.
    Recent incidents have caused me to revaluate my position. My wife of 6 years has recommended that I do something. She has found a former military doc here in town that specializes in treating vets and I'm gonna call him in the morning and make an appointment.
    Thanks, Fellas for you support.
  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by ECC
    quote:Originally posted by Jake_S-83
    Common symptoms are reliving traumatic experiences (flashbacks), avoidance of situations or people, and nightmares. If anyone thinks they might be experiencing anything like it, TALK TO SOMEONE! go to the VA, talk to other vets, hell email me I'll give you my number.



    Unless you are having severe problems, I would strongly advise not talking to the VA or ANY psycologist about PTSD. If you value your Constitutional rights...the ones you fought for, stay away from the docs. They WILL take away your right to bear arms...they are already doing it.
    I agree with ECC in the fact that they are trying to do this!

    But as of yet they cannot take that right just for haveing a PTSD diagnosis!

    At this point and time you must be adjudicated mentally unfit to posses a firearm.

    adjudicate

    Pronunciation: (u-jOO'di-k?t"), [key]
    -v., -cated, -cating.

    -v.t.
    1. to pronounce or decree by judicial sentence.
    2. to settle or determine (an issue or dispute) judicially.

    Now I am not a lawyer, but here is how I see it!

    The long and short of it right now is that only a Judge can deem you as unfit by the advise of a doctor

    They are trying to change this due to the VT shootings as that person had been seen for mental health issues.

    I do not truely see there being that drastic of a change in the laws on this mainly because there are too many people who do seek mental health treatment for a very broad range of minor things.

    Not to say there will be no changes that squeek by! (which I am aposed too) But if the dems do succeed in the changes I believe they will only get the more servere cases to go through.

    Where/How I believe this will be defeated is by a patient doctor confedentiality(sp)! Laws in that department will have to be rewritten in order for the dems plan to work as right now it would take a warrent to release the mental health records for people, and a broad range warrent will not do the job on this! THey will have to name each person by name to get the records to make thier data base!
  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by *_r_done
    quote:Originally posted by ECC
    quote:Originally posted by Jake_S-83
    Common symptoms are reliving traumatic experiences (flashbacks), avoidance of situations or people, and nightmares. If anyone thinks they might be experiencing anything like it, TALK TO SOMEONE! go to the VA, talk to other vets, hell email me I'll give you my number.



    Unless you are having severe problems, I would strongly advise not talking to the VA or ANY psycologist about PTSD. If you value your Constitutional rights...the ones you fought for, stay away from the docs. They WILL take away your right to bear arms...they are already doing it.
    I agree with ECC in the fact that they are trying to do this!

    But as of yet they cannot take that right just for haveing a PTSD diagnosis!

    At this point and time you must be adjudicated mentally unfit to posses a firearm.

    adjudicate

    Pronunciation: (u-jOO'di-k?t"), [key]
    -v., -cated, -cating.

    -v.t.
    1. to pronounce or decree by judicial sentence.
    2. to settle or determine (an issue or dispute) judicially.

    Now I am not a lawyer, but here is how I see it!

    The long and short of it right now is that only a Judge can deem you as unfit by the advise of a doctor

    They are trying to change this due to the VT shootings as that person had been seen for mental health issues.

    I do not truely see there being that drastic of a change in the laws on this mainly because there are too many people who do seek mental health treatment for a very broad range of minor things.

    Not to say there will be no changes that squeek by! (which I am aposed too) But if the dems do succeed in the changes I believe they will only get the more servere cases to go through.

    Where/How I believe this will be defeated is by a patient doctor confedentiality(sp)! Laws in that department will have to be rewritten in order for the dems plan to work as right now it would take a warrent to release the mental health records for people, and a broad range warrent will not do the job on this! THey will have to name each person by name to get the records to make thier data base!



    Hey Kevin...tell that to the 80,000 plus soldiers who are already on the NICS list and cannot get their names removed. Clinton had them added during his presidency. Congress has legislation in the works, as we speak, to bar vets from owning firearms. Be very weary people!
  • Grunt2Grunt2 Member Posts: 2,528 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Sorry to disagree with ya ECC....But if there are 80,000 vets on the list...They didn't get there by virtue of their disability rating from the VA..! That was an old proposal that was never passed..(acted on)...
    Retired LEO
    Combat Vet VN
    D.A.V Life Member
  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Grunt2
    Sorry to disagree with ya ECC....But if there are 80,000 vets on the list...They didn't get there by virtue of their disability rating from the VA..! That was an old proposal that was never passed..(acted on)...



    Oh yes it was passed. You are misinformed. There is legislation pending to expand this type of prohibition too.
  • Grunt2Grunt2 Member Posts: 2,528 ✭✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    On June 13, the U.S. House of Representatives passed a bill to improve the National Instant Criminal Background Check System (NICS). The bill (H.R. 2640, the "NICS Improvement Amendments Act") would create incentives for states to upgrade their records on criminals and others currently prohibited from buying guns.

    While gun owners are often rightly skeptical about what they read in the press, far too many have fallen for the media line that this is a "gun control" bill that came about as a result of the horrific murders at Virginia Tech. From NRA's perspective, the history of the bill goes back farther--to the earliest days of the instant check system, after it replaced the five-day waiting period created by the original Brady Act. (NRA, of course, opposed the original Brady Bill and its waiting period, supported amendments to force a transition to the instant check system and opposed later bills to make the waiting period permanent.)

    In the late 1990s, gun buyers often experienced ridiculous delays while NICS sorted through cases of mistaken identity or incomplete police records. Many purchasers were wrongly denied and forced to go through a cumbersome appeals process. At the same time, state officials testified before Congress about woefully incomplete records they provide to NICS--a problem confirmed in recent reports by the U.S. Department of Justice.

    H.R. 2640, like similar bills introduced since 2002, was meant to address those problems. State and federal agencies would supply updated records and would also have to remove incorrect records or records that no longer apply--for instance, when a person has an old criminal conviction expunged by a state judge.

    More accurate records would mean fewer wrongful delays and denials. More honest citizens would be able to exercise their right to arms, while potentially dangerous people could be screened out more effectively. There's just no sound reason to let the system be as incomplete as it's been for the past nine years.

    At press time, this bill is scheduled for debate in the Senate Judiciary Committee. We don't know how that will turn out, but rest assured that as the bill moves through the legislative process, NRA will be on the lookout for any attempt to amend it into a gun control "wish list." If that happens, we will withdraw our support and actively oppose its passage. In the meantime, unfortunately, a lot of misinformation about H.R. 2640 has circulated, especially in the clogged lanes of the Internet's "information super highway." The rest of this article will answer some of the questions NRA members have asked about this bill.

    Does H.R. 2640 ban guns for anyone who's ever seen a psychiatrist or received any other mental health treatment?

    Absolutely not. H.R. 2640 doesn't ban anyone from owning guns--it only makes records available on those who are already "prohibited persons."

    When it comes to mental health conditions, the only people who can't own a gun under federal law are those who have "been adjudicated as a mental defective or . . . been committed to any mental institution." Regulations from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATFE) define those terms too broadly in some ways, but narrowly in others. H.R. 2640 refers to those definitions, but only to help agencies figure out what records to provide to NICS; it doesn't ban anyone new from buying or owning a gun.

    Some critics of H.R. 2640 claim that BATFE's regulation would impose a gun ban based on any psychiatrist's diagnosis that a person "s a danger to himself or to others . . . or . . . [l]acks the mental capacity to contract or manage his own affairs." But that's not true, because basic legal definitions mean that an "adjudication" can only come from a court or similar body. As cosponsor Rep. John Dingell (D-Mich.) said in the Congressional Record, adjudication is a formal process, "not just a doctor's notes on a patient's charts."

    Finally, of course, ordinary doctors' records--whether on mental health or anything else--are private under federal and state laws, as well as longstanding legal and medical tradition.

    "The confidentiality between a doctor and patient is sacred, and we do not intend to breach it, " said Rep. Dingell.
    How does the bill affect veterans?

    Some have asked if H.R. 2640 would prohibit gun ownership by veterans--for instance, those who return from war with conditions such as post-traumatic stress disorder.

    The answer, fortunately, is "No." For all the same reasons a psychiatrist's diagnosis can't ban gun ownership, an evaluation by Veterans' Administration (VA) or other doctors isn't an "adjudication" or "commitment" under federal law.

    In fact, H.R. 2640 aims to fix problems for veterans and their families. During the Clinton administration, the VA started sending information to NICS on veterans (and veterans' family members) who had representatives appointed to handle their benefit checks.

    The VA treated these records as "adjudications," but supporters of H.R. 2640 disagree. Rep. Daniel Lungren (R-Calif.) denounced the VA's "overreach" and pointed out that H.R. 2640 would allow wrongly listed veterans to seek restoration of their rights. [Note: If you are a veteran and have been denied a gun purchase due to the VA's actions, please call NRA-ILA's Legislative Counsel at (703) 267-1160.]

    What records would NICS get from the Department of Homeland Security?

    The bill requires federal agencies to provide records on people prohibited from possessing firearms. Homeland Security includes all the agencies (such as Immigration and Customs Enforcement, and the Border Patrol) that have records on known illegal aliens. Illegal aliens, of course, have been prohibited from possessing firearms in the U.S. since 1968.

    Why did NRA support a bill sponsored by anti-gun Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (D-N.Y.)?

    NRA-ILA looks at every bill on its own merits, asking one basic question: Will this bill be an improvement for gun owners and all Americans, compared to current law? For example, NRA supported arming airline pilots for defense against terrorists, even though anti-gun Senator Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.) joined pro-gun Senator Bob Smith (R-N.H.) in leading that fight.

    Sponsors of the NICS improvement bill include Reps. John Dingell (the only current House member who voted against the Gun Control Act of 1968), Lamar Smith (R-Texas) and Rick Boucher (D-Va.)--all of whom are longtime supporters of gun owners' rights and sponsors of many pro-Second Amendment bills.

    Why didn't the Congress have a roll call vote on this bill?

    Voice votes are standard procedure in the U.S. House; every bill first gets a voice vote, followed by a recorded vote only if a House member asks for it and 20 percent of the House agrees. No one even asked for a recorded vote on H.R. 2640--which is not at all unusual for a bill with such broad support in both political parties.
    Retired LEO
    Combat Vet VN
    D.A.V Life Member
  • kumatekumate Member Posts: 2,311 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    Go to a nonmilitary therapist for a diagnosis and if he agrees you suffer from PTSD he/she will prescibe meds or therapy,the meds will be administered by a M.D. This worked for me and treatment was relativly short term[2yrs].As of present I still buy and sell guns on public auctions
  • RonboRonbo Member Posts: 39 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    [url][/url]www.vva.org

    A very useful website that has helped me. It has the DSM (psychologist bible), and the criteria for PTSD that the VA requires.
    If you have any further questions, shoot them to me and we will get them answered for ya. [;)]

    I do not work for the VA, but my wife is a Veteran's Service Officer for VVA.

    And as I stated in another post, she does not make a penny from any veteran that she helps. So I am not posting this to try and get her a bigger case load, just want ya'll to be able to find the help you are looking for. [:)]
  • RonboRonbo Member Posts: 39 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Also, in reference to the part above about robbing you of your 2nd amendment right, all it takes is for a VA shrink to declare you incompetent. If that happens, your name is automatically added to the list of folks that are not allowed to buy or own any type of firearm.[:(!]
  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Ronbo
    Also, in reference to the part above about robbing you of your 2nd amendment right, all it takes is for a VA shrink to declare you incompetent. If that happens, your name is automatically added to the list of folks that are not allowed to buy or own any type of firearm.[:(!]
    I have talked to people at the VA about this as it directly effects me because I have a rateing for PTSD.

    First they must procieve you as being a threat to someone (yourself or others).

    Then they have channels that must be followed in order to have any gun rights pulled from you.

    Now they would never really go into what those channels were with me even though I was trying to pry and get the info from them!

    I do know that the doctors that I have delt with over the years for my PTSD all know about my gun hobby and they also know that I am a CWP holder. They like the fact that I can take this hobby and make it a very positive thing in my life in the fact that it actually takes my mind off of things that may be bothering me.

    For myself if I am haveing difficulties with things related to my PTSD I can really relax myself by going out to the range and pokeing holes in some paper. I in no way think about my past experiences while I am at the range shooting, I am only thinking about pokeing a hole dead center in the target (which I'll admit I am not all that good at) much in the same way a pithcer might concentrat on hitting the catchers glove dead center. Also hunting is very theraputic to me as I am the most relaxed I can be by being out in the woods and being observant of my suroundings and such. The sights, sounds, and smells out there seem to put me in a totally relaxed state to where nothing would ever bother me.

    My PTSD has never manifested as violence other than yelling when I have gotten ticked off. Mine mostly causes sever sleeping problems and such which has caused problems with me in holding a job and in relationships with others. I do take some meds for it and I do attend counceling pretty often. But in all I have found that I am my own best theropist! I can recognize when things are creeping up on me within my head and I can get myself into my hobbies and relax myself.

    I also have noticed that I have more problems with PTSD related stuff in periods when I am hurting the most serverly from the Gulf War Illness stuff. I don't know if there is really a direct relation between the 2 or if there is something being triggered by the extra pain medication I start takeing durring these periods or what, I only know I have made a dirrect conection between the 2.

    I do know I wish they would come up with something better for the Gulf War Illness than they have! I am currently takeing 27 different medications on a daily basis and when things get more severe it goes up to about 35 different meds. I am flat out sick of takeing pills on a daily basis that are really only masking the symptoms rather than actually doing anything about them!
  • RonboRonbo Member Posts: 39 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by *_r_done
    Ori

    I have talked to people at the VA about this as it directly effects me because I have a rateing for PTSD.

    First they must procieve you as being a threat to someone (yourself or others).

    Then they have channels that must be followed in order to have any gun rights pulled from you.

    Now they would never really go into what those channels were with me even though I was trying to pry and get the info from them!

    I do know that the doctors that I have delt with over the years for my PTSD all know about my gun hobby and they also know that I am a CWP holder. They like the fact that I can take this hobby and make it a very positive thing in my life in the fact that it actually takes my mind off of things that may be bothering me.

    For myself if I am haveing difficulties with things related to my PTSD I can really relax myself by going out to the range and pokeing holes in some paper. I in no way think about my past experiences while I am at the range shooting, I am only thinking about pokeing a hole dead center in the target (which I'll admit I am not all that good at) much in the same way a pithcer might concentrat on hitting the catchers glove dead center. Also hunting is very theraputic to me as I am the most relaxed I can be by being out in the woods and being observant of my suroundings and such. The sights, sounds, and smells out there seem to put me in a totally relaxed state to where nothing would ever bother me.

    My PTSD has never manifested as violence other than yelling when I have gotten ticked off. Mine mostly causes sever sleeping problems and such which has caused problems with me in holding a job and in relationships with others. I do take some meds for it and I do attend counceling pretty often. But in all I have found that I am my own best theropist! I can recognize when things are creeping up on me within my head and I can get myself into my hobbies and relax myself.

    I also have noticed that I have more problems with PTSD related stuff in periods when I am hurting the most serverly from the Gulf War Illness stuff. I don't know if there is really a direct relation between the 2 or if there is something being triggered by the extra pain medication I start takeing durring these periods or what, I only know I have made a dirrect conection between the 2.

    I do know I wish they would come up with something better for the Gulf War Illness than they have! I am currently takeing 27 different medications on a daily basis and when things get more severe it goes up to about 35 different meds. I am flat out sick of takeing pills on a daily basis that are really only masking the symptoms rather than actually doing anything about them!


    Morning, I know what you mean, I am 100 % t&p for PTSD, took me six years of fighting the Va to get it. And you are right, the pain from the GWS and the ptsd feed off of each other. I have tryed sooooo many drugs and the only one that has worked for me is Klonazapam, (Clonipin)sp? They treat us as gunea pigs again for every new drug that comes out to see if it will work. I was actually on 4 prozac a day for quite awhile,then I quit taking them because they were not working. I actually read an article once that said they give us drugs that actually keep our problems in place, so as to keep having a way to get more drugs out, (Money making scheme?) What I found that worked the best for me was to learn as much about ptsd as I could, then study myself and find out what my triggers are and try to avoid them them as much as possible. Bad part is, it don't always work. Have you looked into the Biochoice Immune26? It will cost you about $40 a month, but it might alow you to get rid of some of the meds you are on. I had a heart attack when I was 37. I had to take 2 time release nitro pills a day and carry the nitro stat with me, not to mention the aspirin a day. After using the biochoice for about 3 weeks, I was able to quit taking the nitro and haven't taken it for the last 5-6 years. I still have the anxiety attacks and sleepless night, but the synptoms from GWI are pretty much all gone and I feel a lot better physically. As far as them perceiving you as a threat, that is just part of the GAF scale they must rate you on when doing a C&P for PTSD.
  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    Thanks for the continued info Ronbo...The Clonazepam seems to help me with these spells I get...they call it anxiety, but I don't hardly believe that is what it is. I am going to get some of that Biochoice stuff...I have heart problems now...hopefully it will help me avoid a heart attack.

    From reading about the symptoms of PTSD, I almost certainly have it too...but I do my best to stay away from the shrinks.
  • crash2usafcrash2usaf Member Posts: 4,094
    edited November -1
    I had one hell of a time when I got out, after looking around at "my generation" and civilians in general I hard time trying to figure out what I was, because I wasn't one of them, and I wasn't in the military. It felt like damn purgatory... Found myself bailing out of bed once looking for a gun,because a woodpecker found my steel chimney. decided to talk to a friend.... He told me I wasn't in purgatory, nor was I a civilian, he said I was a Vet, and all of a sudden the world came into focus a little bit.

    Anyways I managed to find a few other vets and talking to them really seemed to help. I don't have nearly the anxiety that I once did, and the nightmares aren't as bad..
  • scootnshootscootnshoot Member Posts: 5 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    I was reading these posts and thought I'd throw my 2 cents in. I have PTSD, (FINALLY) diagnosed almost 5 years ago. For so long, I didn't know what I had, I really didn't believe anything was wrong with me. My life had become, what I considered, NORMAL. It took a divorce, several 'run-ins' with the law (nothing serious, mostly stuff involved with my drinking) -- AND the drinking (I promise, it only makes things worse). I never knew how badly the war in '90-'91 affected me. To this day, even with treatment and some meds, I re-live parts of it in my dreams and waking life just like it was happening now. I still have trouble with social situations, and I can get mad-as-hell in 2 seconds over some stupid crap. I don't sleep without a pill, and the nightmares are frequent. I live now, for my beautiful wife and 2 boys. That's where I focus my energy. I reckon I'll be 80 years old and still 'frosty', but I'll be alive. If anybody ever needs to talk, just holler'--I've been there, done it and got the T-shirt just like many of you all--- Everybody needs a buddy to rely on.
  • Henry0ReillyHenry0Reilly Member Posts: 10,819 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    There is a self-help program called Vet-to-Vet which is open to any veteran but primarily focuses on PTSD.
    I used to recruit for the NRA until they sold us down the river (again!) in Heller v. DC. See my auctions (if any) under username henryreilly
  • jsuggsjsuggs Member Posts: 110 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    I was in Iraq for a year, the original OIF. When the rules of engagement were if a local national has a gun outside there home, shoot to kill. No reasonable threat was needed. Iraq was not my first time on the field of battle, nor my first time to hear shots fired in anger. I often think about those first months in Iraq when i saw a farmer with a bolt action rifle shot by a member of my platoon. The farmer was slaughtering a goat for his family to have food. While i feel a natural level of remorse for other actions such as IED, rocket, and mortor attacks, force on force combat, and counter IED ambushes from the same year. I often found myself drinking to forget that one moment of my life. It affected me enough that it was one of the main facters in deciding to leave the Army after 10 years. Then for about 2 years I just kind of drifted from job to job. I developed almost a hate of civilians for there lack of loyalty and disipline. Then one day my grandfather, who is a vet from WWII and Korea, sat me down and told me of his strugle to find himself years after his combat at the rapido river in Italy during WWII. I found comfort and understanding in knowing that someone who I thought would never show weakness had gone threw the same thing I was going threw. More importantly I learned that after you admit your problem and hit bottom than as you rise back up your compassion to others is grately increased. While I accept that I will have bad dreams for along time to come, I know that I am not the only one going threw a personal internal war. This knowledge gives me great comfort when I feel weak. I belive that true comfort from war can only be provided by another veteran from a previous war because as a young soldier you are taught there acomplishments and develop a deep respect for there history. I actually find it odd that the men that created the history that give you the courage to willingly step on to the field of battle, can very easaly be the men that can help you recover from battle the fastest.

    I personally would never try to convince someone that the VA is the place to go for PTSD. I have found that often the best counceling is free and as close as the nearest VFW. But dont just take someone there, contact the chapter president and tell them your situation and ask if they know of one of the old vets that would be willing to sit down and talk with your friend over a drink, so they will relax. If they talk to a vet that never beat ther own battle it can actually have a negative affect.

    As far as gun control goes for this subject, veteran suacide rates are way up. When it comes to it I dont care of the laws or politics for this subject. If you think someone has severe PTSD you would not be a good friend if you let them keep a firearm. Every veteran knows that the most efficent way to end life is at the buisness end of a gun. Ask yourself this: Do we need an more casualties from the war? Would I feel responsable for not taking there weapons away if they do kill therself? If they want to shoot take them to shoot but dont let them use it as a excuse to keep there guns.

    I decided to share my story here with all of you not only to hopefully help another veteran, but also to help myself by letting my memories out to other veterns.

    Thanks for your time and understanding in reading this,
    Jeremy
  • cahascahas Member Posts: 4,064
    edited November -1
    Here is my honest answer- For many years I was depressed, my lack of concentration was severe, very irritable, nervous, hyper alert(there was no relaxation time because I simply could not).
    My marriage was in shambles, life was very painful to live, no joy.
    I had to do something my mind was causing my body severe stress. I simply could not live out my life this way, so I did the paper work and made an appointment with mental hygiene they call it.
    Counseling, expressing my anxiety to someone in a neutral setting and them explaining to me, why I felt so terrible was the starting point.
    At the time I was put on an anti-depressant, be careful here, the VA I go to prescribes the lowest possible dose , if you get a hint that they are a pill pusher, then I greatly advise you ask for a different Doctor and talk with them about your medication fears.
    Slowly I started to get better, now 12 years later, I cant believe how good my life is, a total turn around, sometimes I still have my moments, but they are few and far in between and not as severe.
    I still have my gun priveledge's, no problem there, but I will tell you that in the shape that I once was, it scares me a little bit that I did have guns in the house, something to think about, read my first paragraph again and judge for yourself.
  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by jsuggs
    I was in Iraq for a year, the original OIF. When the rules of engagement were if a local national has a gun outside there home, shoot to kill. No reasonable threat was needed. Iraq was not my first time on the field of battle, nor my first time to hear shots fired in anger. I often think about those first months in Iraq when i saw a farmer with a bolt action rifle shot by a member of my platoon. The farmer was slaughtering a goat for his family to have food. While i feel a natural level of remorse for other actions such as IED, rocket, and mortor attacks, force on force combat, and counter IED ambushes from the same year. I often found myself drinking to forget that one moment of my life. It affected me enough that it was one of the main facters in deciding to leave the Army after 10 years. Then for about 2 years I just kind of drifted from job to job. I developed almost a hate of civilians for there lack of loyalty and disipline. Then one day my grandfather, who is a vet from WWII and Korea, sat me down and told me of his strugle to find himself years after his combat at the rapido river in Italy during WWII. I found comfort and understanding in knowing that someone who I thought would never show weakness had gone threw the same thing I was going threw. More importantly I learned that after you admit your problem and hit bottom than as you rise back up your compassion to others is grately increased. While I accept that I will have bad dreams for along time to come, I know that I am not the only one going threw a personal internal war. This knowledge gives me great comfort when I feel weak. I belive that true comfort from war can only be provided by another veteran from a previous war because as a young soldier you are taught there acomplishments and develop a deep respect for there history. I actually find it odd that the men that created the history that give you the courage to willingly step on to the field of battle, can very easaly be the men that can help you recover from battle the fastest.

    I personally would never try to convince someone that the VA is the place to go for PTSD. I have found that often the best counceling is free and as close as the nearest VFW. But dont just take someone there, contact the chapter president and tell them your situation and ask if they know of one of the old vets that would be willing to sit down and talk with your friend over a drink, so they will relax. If they talk to a vet that never beat ther own battle it can actually have a negative affect.

    As far as gun control goes for this subject, veteran suacide rates are way up. When it comes to it I dont care of the laws or politics for this subject. If you think someone has severe PTSD you would not be a good friend if you let them keep a firearm. Every veteran knows that the most efficent way to end life is at the buisness end of a gun. Ask yourself this: Do we need an more casualties from the war? Would I feel responsable for not taking there weapons away if they do kill therself? If they want to shoot take them to shoot but dont let them use it as a excuse to keep there guns.

    I decided to share my story here with all of you not only to hopefully help another veteran, but also to help myself by letting my memories out to other veterns.

    Thanks for your time and understanding in reading this,
    Jeremy



    I can understand where you are coming from....but it does not sound to me as if you understand the Constitution you were defending. Freedom is not free...and I will not stand for someone to trample my God given rights, acknowledged by the US Constitution.

    Wasn't it Ben Franklin that said "Those who would sacrifice freeedom for security, deserve neither freedom nor security."
  • CaptainM63CaptainM63 Member Posts: 2 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by mtlenway
    Hello and thanks for serving. I served in the Army for 14 years with combat tours in 90-91 in the Gulf as well as 89 in Panama. On February 27, 1991 I have the unfortunate luck of running across a cluster bomb buried under the sands. The bomblet exploded and myself and three other members of my squad took shrapnel. At the time this happen my unit was task to clear many of the bunkers and treanches the Iraq's had dug in along the nuetral zone. Eventually, I was release from active duty after 7 months of convolences leave and returned to my Reserve Unit. I had great deal of difficulties returning to my unit as I was filled with shame for the incident that result in the injury to three squad members under my charge as the Squad Leader. I stuck it out with the unit for another 3 years but called it quits after 14 years giving up any retirement I had hoped for. Even though no one in my unit said anything about the incident, I still felt as though I had done something wrong was concerned that my subordinate would never again respect me. This was in addition to the fact that as a direct result of my injuries (all the shrapnel I took was to my legs.) I could no longer run and meet the PT requirements of the Army. As such, I transferred into the IRR (Inactive Ready Reserves) in 1995.

    Following my discharge from active duty in 1991, In enrolled in law school throug the VA's voc rehab program and graduated in the Spring of 1995. During law school, without even realizing it, I partnered with study groups consisting of prior military. However, when looking back and based on my wife's observations, I had become very anti social and avoid nearly everyone including many of my family members and long time friends. Between 1996-1997 I began to experience a great deal of difficulty sleeping, would wake up covered with sweat and very aggitated, I started to have recurrent and constant headaches, depression, hyper vigilance, and often had recurring nightmares of scud attacks, the cluster bomb incident and of other events I was exposed to during the Gulf War.

    After having put up with me for months, my wife, concerned about our marriage, insisted that we seek marital counseling. During our counseling the pyschologist had us take the MMPI test. After going over the test results with us individually, he suggested that I may be suffering from PTSD and referred me to the VA for further evaluation and treatment. Incidentally, after coming out of law school I was in essence terminate from two different jobs, due to my inability to concentrate, be productive and serve our clients.

    At the time I was referred to the VA I had a disability rating of 50% for the injuries to my legs. The people who evaluated and treated me for my PTSD recommended I submit a claim for it, which I was very reluctant to due for concern that I would have some pyscho label put on my and lose any opportuntiy to secure a decent job. Nonetheless, my wife insisted that I make the claim as she felt that it was substantially impairing my ocupational abilities and cause us a great deal of loss of income. Hence, I filed a claim with the VA and was given a 50% PTSD rating which my therapist thought was low and felt I should appeal it. I never appealed it, as I do not want to live off of VA disability, but would much perfer to work and be a productive individual contributing to our society. In 2002, i convince my wife to move out of the City (Minneapolis/St. Paul Area) and move to a small rural community. I no longer take the medications as I did not care for how I felt when I was on them. The move out of the metro area, has helped, as I do not have to deal with the crowds and questions I often had to content with. I honestly, cant even tell you if things have improved or not.

    If you do infact has any of the symptom of PTSD or know someone who does, try to get the to meet with a professional as early as possible. The longer you go on with it without adequate treatment the worse it becomes and the more difficult it is to heal.

    I recently had a bowling buddy of mine just return from Iraq. I have always told him that if he is ever having any problems not to hestitate giving me a call. Many of his old friends and family members have already made statements to me that they think he has change a lot and often trying to avoid them. Vets need to talk to Vets who can understand what the experience was and talk things through. The general society has no clue to what it is like to be in a combat situation as the News Media always seems fail to report the news and focuses on the political aspects of every thing.



    This was like reading what happened to me as well. I was in Iraq from 03 to 05. Have had some trouble as well; went to a civilian counselor that diagnosed ptsd. Couldn't get to counseling due to return and heavy travel with my civilian job. Had trouble with the people that took over our company in my absence and eventually lost my job this year. It has been tough.
  • chaneydchaneyd Member Posts: 56 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Very interesting comments on this forum.

    I am a 100% disabled Vietnam vet, with 70% from PTSD and the rest from Agent Orange. When I came back in '67 there was no such thing as PTSD. They referred to it as 'shellshock' and to 'just get over it'. Prescribed valium (lot's of it) to deal with the vet just to shut him up as they didn't have a clue how to treat us.

    I go to the Battle Creek Michigan VA where I eventually got help (5years ago) and finally found out what my problem was and given the name 'PTSD'.

    I was properly diagnosed and given a 70% rating for it. I attend bi-monthly meetings with other Vietnam vets and participated in an in-house 30day stay with intense counseling. That along with my meetings and meds, I deal with it now much better. One thing they taught us here at the VA is that your old life is dead and gone. Your new life starts over when you get back. You no longer have anything in common with your friends, etc. You guys know what I'm talking about.

    I've talked with the Iraqi vets here and we are not different at all. We relate to the same thing. combat is combat. Mine in a jungle, yours in a different jungle.

    I still have my guns and no one has tried to take them away from me or put me on a list. I have a concealed weapons permit as well. Our issues aren't with guns but with our experiences and the ghosts that may follow us.

    I believe that only happens if you have been institutionalized for mental disorders. PTSD in itself is not a mental disorder but a trauma caused by bad experiences. You don't have to be a vet to have PTSD. Rape victims, muggings, etc. experience PTSD.

    Hope this may have helped someone that has not yet reached out for it.
  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by chaneyd
    Very interesting comments on this forum.

    I am a 100% disabled Vietnam vet, with 70% from PTSD and the rest from Agent Orange. When I came back in '67 there was no such thing as PTSD. They referred to it as 'shellshock' and to 'just get over it'. Prescribed valium (lot's of it) to deal with the vet just to shut him up as they didn't have a clue how to treat us.

    I go to the Battle Creek Michigan VA where I eventually got help (5years ago) and finally found out what my problem was and given the name 'PTSD'.

    I was properly diagnosed and given a 70% rating for it. I attend bi-monthly meetings with other Vietnam vets and participated in an in-house 30day stay with intense counseling. That along with my meetings and meds, I deal with it now much better. One thing they taught us here at the VA is that your old life is dead and gone. Your new life starts over when you get back. You no longer have anything in common with your friends, etc. You guys know what I'm talking about.

    I've talked with the Iraqi vets here and we are not different at all. We relate to the same thing. combat is combat. Mine in a jungle, yours in a different jungle.

    I still have my guns and no one has tried to take them away from me or put me on a list. I have a concealed weapons permit as well. Our issues aren't with guns but with our experiences and the ghosts that may follow us.

    I believe that only happens if you have been institutionalized for mental disorders. PTSD in itself is not a mental disorder but a trauma caused by bad experiences. You don't have to be a vet to have PTSD. Rape victims, muggings, etc. experience PTSD.

    Hope this may have helped someone that has not yet reached out for it.



    They are still using the Valium...I take it every day.
  • wittynbearwittynbear Member Posts: 4,518
    edited November -1
    If you are worried about the doctors at the VA go to the Vet Center. Everyone goes by first name and you don't have to give your last name, any records, or identifying info, except your first name, you can make that up too if you want no one will know. And its free.

    By all means if you think you have PTSD get some help. I've had a friend commit suicide because of PTSD. It never occurred to me that my friend was in danger, I thought he come back and got lazy, no big deal, he'll snap out of it. Turns out he had PTSD bad and didn't want to do anything didn't want to go anywhere. We couldn't see anything visibly wrong with him so we just let him be, we figured he was the same person he was before we deployed. We didn't know about PTSD, I thought it was something from Vietnam due to drugs and agent orange. Turns out it was a problem.

    I had another friend who was the same as he was before we deployed except he drank a lot more. We joked with him that being deployed put some hair on his chest and he learned to drink, all of us drank a lot. He was driving his motorcycle drunk and had an accident at 80-90 MPH he survived going through hell to die on the side of the road.

    Thats why I volunteer down at the Vet Center, its a ways away so I don't get there as much as I would like, but I do whatever I can. If you even think you have PTSD go to a Vet Center, they are staffed by volunteers, most are vets, and they have Psycologists who specialize in PTSD come in. Everything is voluntary, they won't just tell you that your nuts and lock you in a padded cell. They won't try to take your gun rights, as I sad before they require no identifying info.

    If you even think you have PTSD get help somewhere, if you are worried about the VA go to the Vet Center. But get help.
  • CaptainM63CaptainM63 Member Posts: 2 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by wittynbear
    If you are worried about the doctors at the VA go to the Vet Center. Everyone goes by first name and you don't have to give your last name, any records, or identifying info, except your first name, you can make that up too if you want no one will know. And its free.

    By all means if you think you have PTSD get some help. I've had a friend commit suicide because of PTSD. It never occurred to me that my friend was in danger, I thought he come back and got lazy, no big deal, he'll snap out of it. Turns out he had PTSD bad and didn't want to do anything didn't want to go anywhere. We couldn't see anything visibly wrong with him so we just let him be, we figured he was the same person he was before we deployed. We didn't know about PTSD, I thought it was something from Vietnam due to drugs and agent orange. Turns out it was a problem.

    I had another friend who was the same as he was before we deployed except he drank a lot more. We joked with him that being deployed put some hair on his chest and he learned to drink, all of us drank a lot. He was driving his motorcycle drunk and had an accident at 80-90 MPH he survived going through hell to die on the side of the road.

    Thats why I volunteer down at the Vet Center, its a ways away so I don't get there as much as I would like, but I do whatever I can. If you even think you have PTSD go to a Vet Center, they are staffed by volunteers, most are vets, and they have Psycologists who specialize in PTSD come in. Everything is voluntary, they won't just tell you that your nuts and lock you in a padded cell. They won't try to take your gun rights, as I sad before they require no identifying info.

    If you even think you have PTSD get help somewhere, if you are worried about the VA go to the Vet Center. But get help.


    I didn't know about the vet center, and you are right, I was worried about letting the military know. I had a hell of a time trying to adjust when I got back, and to make it worse, the civilian company that I came back to had fired all of the people that I knew and respected still. I was almost like I never got to come home since the things you are looking to be familiar around you aren't there. Thank God I found a lot of them on the internet. Like one of the other posters said, it is hard to explain this stuff to others that haven't been there; especially civilians. I was wounded right before I got back, and I think coming back too soon to the regular job was a big mistake there. Getting fired in May of this year by this company I think made a lot of my problems worse, and in a way made it like I just got back. In some ways, I wish I was back. Sorry if this seems like whining guys. It does feel good to tell somebody about this *&^%! I think only you guys could understand it. Where can I find these vet centers? Do you mean like American Legion, or Military Order of the Purple Heart, VFW, etc??

    Thanks
  • chaneydchaneyd Member Posts: 56 ✭✭
    edited November -1
    Unfortunately, most companies don't know how to deal with returning veterans.

    They either 1, don't care. 2, have the means to deal with them. 3, can recognize a veterans issues. Afterall, they're running a business, not a nursery.

    This greatly affects a returning veteran who doesn't seem to fit in anymore. Afterall, a lot has changed this person from what he/she once was. Outlooks, temperment, anger, withdrawing. As with myself, I no longer could identify with my civilian counterparts. We no longer had anything in common and you definitely couldn't confide in them. They don't understand the physical and emotional traumas that we have experienced. So the end result can be that you're alone.

    I cherish my PTSD meeting I have twice a month at the VA. Once I walk into that room and see the other guys, I'm totally at ease because we see ourselves in one another. We speak the same language and understand the same things.
  • n/an/a Member Posts: 168,427
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by CaptainM63
    quote:Originally posted by wittynbear
    If you are worried about the doctors at the VA go to the Vet Center. Everyone goes by first name and you don't have to give your last name, any records, or identifying info, except your first name, you can make that up too if you want no one will know. And its free.

    By all means if you think you have PTSD get some help. I've had a friend commit suicide because of PTSD. It never occurred to me that my friend was in danger, I thought he come back and got lazy, no big deal, he'll snap out of it. Turns out he had PTSD bad and didn't want to do anything didn't want to go anywhere. We couldn't see anything visibly wrong with him so we just let him be, we figured he was the same person he was before we deployed. We didn't know about PTSD, I thought it was something from Vietnam due to drugs and agent orange. Turns out it was a problem.

    I had another friend who was the same as he was before we deployed except he drank a lot more. We joked with him that being deployed put some hair on his chest and he learned to drink, all of us drank a lot. He was driving his motorcycle drunk and had an accident at 80-90 MPH he survived going through hell to die on the side of the road.

    Thats why I volunteer down at the Vet Center, its a ways away so I don't get there as much as I would like, but I do whatever I can. If you even think you have PTSD go to a Vet Center, they are staffed by volunteers, most are vets, and they have Psycologists who specialize in PTSD come in. Everything is voluntary, they won't just tell you that your nuts and lock you in a padded cell. They won't try to take your gun rights, as I sad before they require no identifying info.

    If you even think you have PTSD get help somewhere, if you are worried about the VA go to the Vet Center. But get help.


    I didn't know about the vet center, and you are right, I was worried about letting the military know. I had a hell of a time trying to adjust when I got back, and to make it worse, the civilian company that I came back to had fired all of the people that I knew and respected still. I was almost like I never got to come home since the things you are looking to be familiar around you aren't there. Thank God I found a lot of them on the internet. Like one of the other posters said, it is hard to explain this stuff to others that haven't been there; especially civilians. I was wounded right before I got back, and I think coming back too soon to the regular job was a big mistake there. Getting fired in May of this year by this company I think made a lot of my problems worse, and in a way made it like I just got back. In some ways, I wish I was back. Sorry if this seems like whining guys. It does feel good to tell somebody about this *&^%! I think only you guys could understand it. Where can I find these vet centers? Do you mean like American Legion, or Military Order of the Purple Heart, VFW, etc??

    Thanks



    Good question.
  • wittynbearwittynbear Member Posts: 4,518
    edited November -1
    Here is a link to find your nearest vet center, Sorry I should have included it.

    http://www2.va.gov/directory/guide/vetCenter_flsh.asp
  • woodguruwoodguru Member Posts: 2,850
    edited November -1
    quote:Originally posted by Grunt2
    Sorry to disagree with ya ECC....But if there are 80,000 vets on the list...They didn't get there by virtue of their disability rating from the VA..! That was an old proposal that was never passed..(acted on)...


    Thanks for the reality check, it's too easy for ignorant people to read seemingly well based info and buy it hook line and sinker and repeat it to many other ignorant fools. Attempted legislation doesn't constitute real legislation.
  • jasonc14jasonc14 Member Posts: 383 ✭✭✭
    edited November -1
    i guess ill add my 2 cents


    while driving to work coming in the 172 gate they fired some arty and i jumped forward to look in my rear view expecting the white chevy truck behind me to be destroyed and in a cloud of moondust.


    after i figured out what had happened i was pretty embarrassed. our convoys took 40some IEDs and who knows how many times we took IDF but somehow we all made it home. some lost some fingers one left a chunk of his leg in nowzad but we all made it back.

    im sure it wont be the last time i flinch when something goes boom but in time i think ill be fine.
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