PTSD and me.. old ghosts are revisiting.. - Heal My PTSD

Heal My PTSD

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PTSD and me.. old ghosts are revisiting..

I'm sure I've written that I'm working on my PTSD disability claim with the VA. After 50 years they've finally let me and other "Blue Water Navy" personnel file. In addition to having to revisit my several traumas, I find I feel I have to try and justify my late claim, and account how I have have been able to survive the past 50 yrs. and not be on Social Security disability.

The past fifty years have not always been easy. Life has been a pain in the butt. Marriages and job losses , loss of friend and sense of self etc.. Long story short. I'm lucky to have survived my life. Now to convince the VA that yes, I have PTSD and YES it's disabling.. I just simply am tried of the rigmarole the VA puts one thru. Isn't it enough I had to experience the trauma? It may sound crass, but I feel that Vets in the same postion (PTSD) have gone through enough hell in our lives. WHY do we have to convince people who don't have a clue that we aren't whole and that both clinical and financial support is DUE us. WHY should we have to fight for it (compensation) ..Fifty years is a long time to have survived the war... enough already!

15 Replies

It breaks my heart to hear of the struggle you're having to get the care you deserve. Thank you for your service. You deserve so much better. I wish there was a more public venue to let your voice be heard. That seems to me the only way the pencil pushers will be forced to do their jobs. Can you speak to someone in radio or television and ask if they are interested in a human interest story?

in reply to Nothing_but-pain

Thank you for your kind words. Im only one of thousands of Vets having to deal with the " system ". There are so many of us to deal with. The VA is a broken bureaucracy. It needs a top down over haul.

Nothing_but-pain profile image
Nothing_but-pain in reply to

I'm sorry.

in reply to Nothing_but-pain

Thanks. It's a complicated situation. PTSD is very misunderstood. It's not " visible " in most cases. The media has doe its best/ worst, portraying Vets with PTSD as crazed killers and or derelict street people with addictions. The government/VA doesn't want to admit to the existence of PTSD or the many other psychological and physical damage done to Vets. They don't want to take any type of responsibility for us.

We're tools to be used abused and discarded when we are no value anymore.

" Thank You For Your Service " has become a hollow meaningless token catch phrase in my view. Especially when it comes from the VA.

Maybe if Oprah or one of the many talk show influencer types took up the cause, things would improve.

But the general public is more interested in The Batchelor or what The Royal Family is up to....

Bitter, angry, resentful? ME?

YOU BET!

Nothing_but-pain profile image
Nothing_but-pain in reply to

You have reason to be all those things. I apologize for my words. Teach me. Is there a better way to express my appreciation without being ignorant?

in reply to Nothing_but-pain

Thanks. I didn't mean to come on so strong. As to how to extend appreciation. I'm not sure. I think it is just my reaction to the phrase. To me, it seems cliché. Similar to "Thoughts and prayers ".If so inclined, ask the Vet or other PTSD survivor if they want to share their their experience. Triggers and all.

Try to understand and simply listen. Root causes for PTSD are varied and all traumatic. Personally, I'd rather someone said something like " I'm sorry you had to experience what you went through. How can I help?"

We may not be able to answer that.

Again, PTSD isn't limited to service members. There's a broad spectrum of victims. How does some respond to an assault or rape survivor? Each of us has our own " demons" and we deal with them as best we can.. Empathy and understanding helps a great deal. Just listening.

The stigma attached to Vets with PTSD (IMO) needs to be done away with.

Thanks again for reaching out and for your willingness to be more informed and supportive.

Just means more than you can know. It's very much appreciated 🙏

Nothing_but-pain profile image
Nothing_but-pain in reply to

You're welcome. 🙏

PTSD is a tricky problem because the wounds are not visible. It is so sad that it takes so much convincing to prove that we have it. I wished their was a blood test.

I spent almost two years to just get a reasonable accommodation from my work. It is not the military, but I found that there are some people that are trying to use PTSD to get free help and just a way to work the system but it is almost impossible to cull out the fakers from the actual people who need the help. I suffer from PTSD and I can’t even see through a fakers smoke.

People who have not experienced the real pain of PTSD just don’t have a way to tell. It is so tricky. It is hard to keep pounding on something that I would rather not talk to someone else about. I would rather not have PTSD but it’s on me and no matter how much I wished it wasn’t, it still is there.

I feel for you. I’ve been through it. I hope you stick with it. I had to get with my doctors and even my Xwife, who hates me, sent in a letter so I could get some help.

Man, the xwife was a hard pill to swallow. We have kids together so she helped because of them and not for me. After two years, I got some partial help. It would take another few years to get full disability but I can’t get myself to go through it all again.

Maybe it will work for you.

in reply to Shy_Guy

Thanks for your understanding and support 🙏

Nathalie99 profile image
Nathalie99Partner

I agree with what you shared, Lazaruslong.

It is enough already that you survived hell and tried to live best possible way with PTSD. It feels terrible having to justify. It is very triggering and utterly unfair.

It is hard enough that you had to re-tell your story. I don't think that people who have not experienced trauma would understand. To them it is just a job. It is completely different when it is about your life and someone else has to decide.

I think there is not enough information, education and understanding about PTSD. There are many stories shared but I found there is still stigma attached to it and many people don't share they have PTSD out of fear of being discriminated and rejected.

I am sorry that you have to continue fighting. This is the issue. In order to find some degree of healing, one needs to be in a safe place. It is very hard to find that safety when constantly asked to justify our existence.

Is there a possibility to write a feedback to the manager at VA to share how this process is impacting you?

in reply to Nathalie99

They don't have a good perspective. Basically they don't care. I'm not the only one fighting that system.

in reply to Nathalie99

Thanks. PTSD isn't limited to Veterans. There are assault or rape victims. natural disaster survivors, First Responders, medical staff...etc etc.. Yes, it's a poorly understood syndrome. Most mental health issues are. Primarily because they aren't visible, unless someone runs afoul of the law.

Thanks for your reply and understanding 🙏

Nathalie99 profile image
Nathalie99Partner in reply to

I agree with your perspective, Lazaruslong.

From what I've read, PTSD is a reaction of a healthy brain to a horrible situation. Anyone can be affected suddenly and even the strongest are not immune to it.

I remember hearing from a family member that I was weaker than others because I got it but the truth is that others have had a sheltered life in my family. They have had coping strategies that were not available to me.

That family member has suffered trauma in recent years and has since changed her view somewhat.

The stigma is just horrible. That's why I usually don't tell anymore.

I tried to talk to friends during some of the most difficult times but most people are not equipped to hear about traumatic things. It's not present in their world.

Thank you for your perspective and insight. It is very valuable...

in reply to Nathalie99

Thank you 😊

Lazaruslong, I can understand your situation and your feelings related to your circumstances. I'm a 72 year-old Vet who was initially medically discharged in 1968 at a disability rating of 60%. None of which was for PTSD because I didn't want to talk about it. My physical wounds could be treated with operations, medications and physical therapy. But there was no remedy for the trauma done to my mind by the war. That was something that I would deal with on my own. I never told the doctors how I felt. I didn't want to involve anyone else because I didn't think anyone could understand my situation. The most severe aspects of my PTSD were not from the war and combat I experienced but from the betrayal that I felt from my government and society. I could cope with the flashbacks and nightmares (although not very well) but what really triggered me was the apathy I saw in the vast majority of people in America. I felt I was used by my country for something unnecessary and maybe illegal. I felt alone and so I just kept it all to myself. In reality I didn't want to fit in because fitting in required that I behave as if the war was honorable and just. People wanted the vet to be proud for something that most Americans didn't even know what was really going on. Our country saw the war on TV and it was quite different than the war on the ground. So they cheered and thanked the vets for something they thought we were doing there which was helping the Vietnamese to stop Communism. They didn't see the killing of innocent children and women. The burning of entire villages. The toxic chemicals spread across the country. The bombing of hospitals and schools. I couldn't be proud of these things. So I kept being a vet as secret as I could. My family knew but co-workers and neighbors never knew I was a vet. I was afraid to stand up and say what I felt and thought, but I knew that I wouldn't. be accepted so I just kept quiet. It was probably the worst thing I had ever doneIn 1988 that all changed. I made a return trip to Vietnam with a group of vets from VVA Chapter 34b in Ohio. There were about a dozen of us and a couple of news crews from corporate media. When I saw the program they produced on the trip I could see that the media still wasn't telling the truth about the war and the vets.

To make a long story short I moved to Vietnam in 1991 and started teaching English at government schools and private language centers. In 2004 I was part of a group that opened a private language center called Englishville. I retired from teaching in 2020 and now just do a few classes in my living room.

I don't know if any of this helps you. It's just my story and how I tried to cope with PTSD. I finally realized that I didn't have to fit in American society. I could live my life in my own way and didn't care what others thought anymore.

Good luck to you.

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