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COME ON, SOLDIER, PROVE YOU HAVE PTSD!
SO HOW DID YOU GET PTSD, SOLDIER?
You know when you receive a flyer in the mail that your friendly neighborhood bank wants to help you or that the local branch of a megabank has a deal for you, you don’t, for a second, really believe that, do you? Whatever the deal is, it’s going to be a better deal for the bank, right? And that’s okay, Because that’s business.
But healing our Veterans is not a business or at least it is not a business we are going to make money off of. And when the Veteran’s Administration tells you, as a Veteran, that they are there to help you, you want to believe them, hook, line, and sinker. Right? Why wouldn’t they be there to help you? That is their sole mandate and purpose for existence.
So it has been quite disillusioning, even to myself (not a Veteran), that over the years the VA has made it difficult or impossible for combat veterans to receive eligible treatment and benefits for post traumatic stress. So this week’s news that the Veterans Administration has made it less complicated and less stressful for Veterans is an Hallelujah!http://www.cnn.com/2010/POLITICS/07/12/veterans.ptsd/index.html
Can you believe this? Prior to this week, it wasn’t good enough that your doctor diagnosed you with PTSD. You had to pinpoint and document the exact incident of your war experience that precipitated the PTSD. What kind of people would make such a stipulation? What might be there agenda?
"Let’s see, I think it was on the seventh day of body bag duty....No, I think it was the day I put my best friend in a body bag....No, I think it was the first time I pulled the trigger....No, I think it was the day I was on patrol and that bus, about a block away from where I was standing, was blown up by a suicide bomber....No, I think it was the day my buddy’s head landed in my lap....No, I think it was the day I almost lost my leg....No, I think it was the day I did lose my leg....No, I think it was the day I chased a sniper into a house and I ended up killing the women and children inside. Never did find the #$%&& sniper. Ooops, wasn’t supposed to talk about that...No, I think it was the day I lost my dick in an explosion. No big deal. Maybe someone can make me a new one, but I don’t know if I will ever get back my soul or my humanity. I don’t know if I can ever make love again with or without my penis. I don’t know if I believe in love anymore."
Check out for yourself the criteria for diagnosing Post Traumatic Stress. http://www.mental-health-today.com/ptsd/dsm.htm
The bottom line is Post Traumatic Stress is the result of exposure to an extreme event that threatens your life. TRAUMA for short.
War and even training for war IS trauma. There are no singular events in training for war or war itself that are traumatic. It’s the totality of the experience of your life and your buddies’ lives being on the line. You are always looking life and death in the face. That reality is drilled into your head and soul day and night from the moment you enter boot camp.
Think about it! Come on, use your common sense! War is not politics. It’s not hosting a radio show while you smoke a fat cigar or winning an election or deeming yourself the one who gets to decide who the good guys and bad guys are. Training for war and war itself is KILLING people and trying not to get killed yourself.
Does anyone get that? It’s not learning how to aim a rocket or pushing buttons miles away from the combat site, it’s not about firing rockets into the target zone, it’s not about sitting behind a video game consul and flying a drone, it’s not about making a sweep to root out evil. It is about KILLING people.
Now how many of you reading this have killed someone? And if you haven’t, what would it take for you to kill someone? Yes, it requires crossing a line. Even when it comes to "simple uncomplicated" self defense, no matter how well-trained you are in the martial arts or self defense techniques and maneuvers, if you do not go inside and cross that line, the line that separates those who consciously choose to kill from those who won’t, all the self defense training in the world will leave you DEAD and your attacker running down the street with your wallet or your purse. Well, actually, with your LIFE.
What were our leaders thinking when they came up with the stipulation that a soldier had to document the "cause" of his PTSD. Unfortunately, they were thinking the same thing they were thinking, when after removing the stipulation, they had to, they just had to, make the statement that the door is now open for fraud. Soldiers will begin to fake PTSD to get benefits. SHAME ON THE PEOPLE WHO MADE THAT STATEMENT! SHAME ON THEM! There is no faking this condition. It is part and parcel of war. Healing PTSD is the price of war, and if we are not willing to pay that price, then we need to think twice about going to war.
It costs us "only" a million dollars to have an infantry person on the ground in Iraq or Afghanistan for a year. We are willing to pay a million dollars, but that’s it. We will pay for you to be on the ground, but we’re not willing to pay for the consequences of having you on the ground. What is that? That kind of thinking or not thinking? What is it telling us about those who lead us into war? What are their interests? It certainly cannot be freedom, because a soldier loses his freedom. For the rest of his life, he is captive to his desire to kill and to the haunting memories of all the people he has killed. He is captive to a haunting guilt for still being alive while so many around him went down, and he may be captive to physical injuries that keep him imprisoned in a wheelchair or hospital bed, or if he is "lucky," chained only to an artificial limb.
If our President and Congress deem it necessary to go to war, then we need to be the big boys and girls we claim to be and take responsibility for the consequences of war.
One consequence will never go away. Soldier will come back CHANGED people and will remain changed and stuck in the terrors of war, if we do not step up to the plate and insure each and every soldier’s healing. There are no stipulations or conditions here. Its not that we heal only those who are extra broken or those who we judge have a weak constitution. We do not go out of our way NOT to heal anyone who might be faking, as if there is something to fake. THE FAKE CARD IS ONLY IN THE DECKS OF THOSE LEADERS AND SPOKESPERSONS WHO PRETEND THAT WAR IS SOMETHING OTHER THAN WHAT IT IS.
There is nothing good about war. There is nothing sanitary about war, and there is no way to make war less traumatizing no matter how technologically advanced we become. War is ugly. War smells. It smells of blood, burnt flesh, dead bodies, magots. The sounds are deafening. The screams of incoming artillery or of wounded people rubs one’s nerves right to the bone. The experience is RAW. The experience is the stuff of nightmares. It leaves people faithless, hopeless, paranoid, scared, torn-apart physically, emotionally, and mentally. War is an experience that literally BLOWS UP everything you ever believed about life, about people, about love, about your self. SHAME ON YOU who worry that someone is going to cost us extra money by faking the consequences of war. You don’t give a rat’s ass about how much Haliburton over charges their contracts, how much money has to be paid out to keep the natives on our side. Those of you who are so concerned about someone faking PTSD, please, put on your combat fatigues, and get out there, get right into it, into the war, and then tell me if you’re still concerned.
Everyone of our children whom we sacrifice to the gods of war DESERVES treatment and benefits. More importantly, they deserve us to be at their side and on their side especially when they come home. They already fought for their lives with the so-called enemy and miraculously survived. Up until this week, the VA has required them to come home and fight yet another war. Talk about going out of our way to underscore that EVERYONE, even the folks mandated to care for you, is the enemy.
Yes, we made the changes. But SHAME ON US for ever making these cost saving stipulations in the first place. And shame on those who continue to worry about the cost of taking care of our soldiers. Congress estimated the cost with these new changes to be about five billion dollars. Not a lot of money when you think of what we, as a country, spend on, for example, bailing out the banks!
CHECK OUT THESE FIVE BLOGS ON POST TRAUMATIC STRESS
- HANGING WITH THE NEWZ
This is a blogsite by Vernon Bradley addressing current news but also with five easy to read and understand blogs containing accurate information regarding the neurological processes involved in Post Traumatic Stress.