I want YOU to care about PTSD * Help Heal the Wounds of War

This is how it happens:

A loud or unexpected noise,

yelling,

the sight of blood,

a lock down at your child’s school…

these things

Throw me into a panic. My heart begins to race,

I can not think clearly,

I fear closing my eyes because the memory will appear:

 my father’s blood on asphalt,

So much blood;

a tire iron nearby covered in blood,

police lights bouncing off the

gas station windows in the dark of night.

I have PTSD.

I have PTSD for a whole host of reasons and the triggers are many.

When you live with PTSD you live with fear and uncertainty.

There are treatments that help;

some medications help take the edge off.

EMDR and Brain Spotting have been miraculous for me.

Our troops are coming back with PTSD.

They are returning to families broken, joblessness

and may also be struggling with Traumatic Brain Injuries

and addictions picked up to cope with the horrors of war.

This is how it happens:

a sudden noise, yelling, blood, uncertain news;  triggers

Fear.

Rage.

Otherness.

Alone.

I have had over 20 years of  therapy with a therapist trained to deal with PTSD.

I have had support in that time to come to terms with my addictions.

I have help.

I have learned to

STOP

and walk my way out-of-the-way of my PTSD.

Our soldiers deserve this and far more from this country.

PTSD can ruin lives.

PTSD can not be ignored.

Please read this article.

What can WE do?

******

Peace;

I pray for Peace,

Jen

**********************************

*** Many of us who are adult children of alcoholics live with PTSD***

EMDR and Brain Spotting work when working with a good therapist.

It is time-consuming and expensive.

Our troops deserve this.

I will post more on both therapies in time.

For now please visit

Kissing the Cockroach

for a detailed and personal exploration of trauma and EMDR

***************************

Army PTSD Diagnoses May Have Been Overturned To Save Money

By DONNA CASSATA 03/21/12 09:40 PM ET

WASHINGTON — The Army inspector general is conducting a system-wide review of mental health facilities to determine whether psychiatrists overturned diagnoses of post-traumatic stress disorder to save money, a move that comes as the case of a U.S. soldier suspected of killing 16 Afghan civilians has brought fresh attention to the strains of war.

Army Secretary John McHugh told Congress on Wednesday that the service is trying to determine whether the change in diagnosis was isolated or a common practice. Sen. Patty Murray, D-Wash., who pressed McHugh at a committee hearing, said the forensic psychiatry unit at Madigan Army Medical Center on Joint Base Lewis-McChord is being investigated for reversing diagnoses based on the expense of providing care and benefits to members of the military.

“Not only is it damaging for our soldiers, but it also really furthers the stigma for others that are – whether they’re deciding to seek help or not today,” Murray said.

Since 2007, more than 40 percent of the cases involving candidates for retirement had been overturned, according to statistics cited by Murray. Of the 1,680 patients screened at Madigan, more than 690 had been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder. The psychiatric team reversed more than 290 of those diagnoses.

“The surgeon general (Lt. Gen. Patricia Horoho) has asked the inspector general of the Army to go and examine all of the similar facilities and locations,” McHugh told Murray and members of the Senate Appropriations defense subcommittee. “To this point, we don’t see any evidence of this being systemic. But as you and I have discussed, we want to make sure that where this was inappropriate, it was an isolated case, and if it were not, to make sure we address it as holistically as we’re trying to address it at Madigan.”

What Murray referred to as the “invisible wounds of war” have moved to the forefront of the national debate after a shooting spree earlier this month in two Afghan villages that left women and children dead. A suspect in the case, Staff Sgt. Robert Bales, 38, is being held in Fort Leavenworth, Kan., while a military investigation continues. Bales, who enlisted in the military after the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks, did four tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, according to court records and interviews.

“We have in the military writ large over 50,000 folks in uniform who have had at least four deployments,” McHugh said.

Bales was assigned to the 2nd Battalion, 3rd Infantry Regiment of the 3rd Stryker Brigade Combat Team, of the 2nd Infantry Division, which is based at Lewis-McChord. Whether Bales sought treatment at Madigan is unknown.

Army officials said they are committed to strengthening the psychological resilience of its troops and leadership is taking deliberate steps to ensure help is available to soldiers and families dealing with PTSD and other psychological effects of war.
Army officials say soldiers sent to war may be checked up to five times, including before being deployed, during combat, once they return home and six months and a year later. Every soldier returning from deployment completes what the Army calls a Post Deployment Health Assessment and a face-to-face interview with a mental health professional. The Army screens soldiers for depression and PTSD, asking questions to find out about any social stressors, sleep disruption and other problems. Those who are detected as having problems go on to a second phase of screening.

Officials say, however, that no test is considered diagnostically definitive for mental illness in general or PTSD in particular.

More than 134,900 Army personnel were diagnosed with traumatic brain injuries between 2000 and 2011. Of those, 75 percent or more than 100,000 were diagnosed as having a mild or regular concussion. Army policy calls for every service member involved in a blast, vehicle crash or a blow to the head to be medically evaluated.

Asked specifically about the Bales’ case, McHugh said he was confident in the military justice system.

___

Associated Press writer Julie Watson in San Diego contributed to this report.

~ by Step On a Crack on March 22, 2012.

30 Responses to “I want YOU to care about PTSD * Help Heal the Wounds of War”

  1. PTSD should always be treated for VETERANS. Mental health always gets put aside. There is never enough funding (so they say). Within 1 month of my injury, Depression & PTSD was excluded immediately…I’m sure relating to funding and not wanting to pay out. Interesting that it’s okay to treat the heart or any other body part, but when it comes to treating the mind…it’s taboo as though these problems either don’t or shouldn’t exist. Maybe we should stop treating cardiac patients?…than that would create a War wouldn’t it?

    Like

    • YES! Before we EVER send troops into harms way we must make sure there is funding to help them upon their return. Period.
      What is happening in these wars is horrific: soldiers with brain injuries which might be mild are sent back into combat. You and I both know how difficult it is to really gauge the damage of any brain injury. The PTSD of battle or even living in such a high stress environment will live with soldiers for years. If you happen to have both a TBI and PTSD (I do…) your road to healing is even rockier.

      I love this “Maybe we should stop treating cardiac patients?” right! We would never get away with leaving a broken limb broken.

      THANK YOU so much for being here and adding so much to the conversation!

      Peace, Jen

      Like

  2. It is amazing to me that PTSD is not an assumed diagnosis for returning veterans. amazing that we would expect them to fight for our freedom then deny them the treatment they need to function.

    and yes, violence survivors of all kinds usually have PTSD.

    great post, as usual.

    Like

    • Louise,

      Thank you for your comment. That is what I was thinking; just living in the environment our soldiers are in can leave them with PTSD. They are expected to return to life here stateside as if nothing ever happened. Makes me so angry!

      Like

  3. I agree with Louise, and assumed that it is one of the first things that soldiers would be screened for and that most would be suffering from it. So sad.

    I appreciate your sensitivity to yet another difficult and emotionally charged issue. You bring such clarity and sureness to the table with your experiences. This is good. Thank you, yet again. I continue to learn.

    Like

    • Hello There Heidi!

      I have a relative who is a psychiatrist at the VA and there are other issues at play: many soldiers think it is weak to seek help and MANY lost friends in battle and feel survivors guilt which makes it that much harder for them to feel the need to get help. All that being said, we need to have a very thorough screening process in place for returning vets; one that extends into their first year home. Period.

      Thank you for your very kind words my Friend. I live with PTSD and a TBI. I have a very personal view of what some soldiers are dealing with. I also am a patriot and feel deeply that we owe our vets for what they have lost in service to our country.

      XO Jen

      Like

  4. Jen you’ve always been part of the solution, even through all your pain. Where’d you get so cool? xo mel

    Like

  5. Mel’s right, Jen, I applaud you for opening our eyes AND always being a part of the solution.
    My heart aches for you and for your sweet son.
    My heart aches for the Veterans we disrespect by failing to address, as Louise and Heidi said, what one would think would be a condition of the majority.
    Thank you for this insightful post – and love to you as you continue to heal and bring that healing into the lives of others,
    Debbie

    Like

    • Dear Debbie,

      Thank you very much for your kindness!
      I get my undies ALL in a bunch when we disrespect our vets. I see so many on the soup kitchen line from Vietnam who are left with deep soul wounds. I can not figure out how we can leave them out in the cold after putting them through the horrors of war. We are doing it again and it is a weird thing: as medical advances are discovered, more soldiers survive. They come home seemingly whole but are actually chock full of Holes instead. PTSD is a beast. War was enough of a beast.

      Makes me crazy!

      Thank you for being here and HERE!

      Love, Jen

      Like

  6. Who knew Uncle Same was such a liberal? I’m still hiding my wallet 😉

    Like

  7. Uncle SAM, … sssssheeeeesh

    Like

  8. checking in on u to see how u have been? hope all is well

    Like

    • Hello there my Friend!

      I am in one of those weird bad brain spaces lately. Not enough sleep, too much stress, too much multi-tasking blah blah blah.

      I find your journey so incredibly inspiring when THIS happens and my brain revolts. I am reminded that this is and always will be my journey. Thank you for everything you have done to support all of us who live with a TBI.

      It is SO frustrating. I am in the ‘getting lost in my neighborhood’ place.
      yuck
      and it is what it is…

      I hope you are doing well…
      Thank you very much for being here.
      Peace, Jen

      Like

  9. You have been nominated for another Versatile Blogger Award.

    You can accept your award at http://living4bliss.wordpress.com/2012/03/24/versatile-and-inspiring-more-awards/

    Like

  10. Hi

    Sorry I haven’t been around a while – I got involved in a happy project on my blog and I have made a lot of changes – it’s back to being a gardening blog now.

    But, I wanted you to know – that I created a special and exclusive club – and you have to be named Jenny to be in it

    nina is not a member – but the club links are on my blog.

    so. from me to you:

    You really helped me and some of the good that I do for the rest of my life – is on your karmic balance sheet.

    I feel better than just good, I actually am feeling hopeful.

    and that is the best feeling of all.

    as long as there is life, there are always do-overs!

    Good Karma on you, you helped to save my life and improve the quality both at the same time.

    love
    nina

    Like

    • Dear Nina!

      Wow! I don’t know what to say… You sound happy and sure and on your way!
      That makes me so darn Happy!
      What happened?
      You are so right: there are ALWAYS do-overs. I LOVE that about life.

      I am inspired that you are Here and doing so well. Tell me more my Friend….

      Do tell….

      Love, Jen

      Like

  11. Jen, thank you for this! PTSD is a real hot button for me–it is unconscionable that we do not honor returning veterans with the best, the BEST of physical and mental health care. It makes me crazy, no pun intended. And for other sufferers–due to abuse (myself included), some increased compassion would be greatly appreciated. (I guess I’m not completely healed, if it still makes me angry…) Thanks again–God bless you, Jen

    Somewhat unrelated: glad you liked the “Limo” (out the window) story. Being a drama queen for the purpose of entertaining, evoking others’ laughter, is definitely one of my mental health tools–

    Like

    • Caddo, I don’t know if anyone ever gets 100% healed of PTSD. Do you? I think it is a matter of eliminating triggers and working through HOW to react. I have had luck with the EMDR stuff but it doesn’t end it.

      Can you imagine? Being in war being a family person, just a regular person taught to kill and you live with that and everything you see? My God Daughters brother is about to deploy. We are worried and we are faithful.

      I LOVED the limo story! You ooze mental health in that one. What a tool box you have!

      Like

      • Jen, I will keep your God-daughter’s brother in special prayer as he deploys for service. I so understand your statement: “we are worried and we are faithful.” Having faith doesn’t not mean we won’t have worry and fear–I kind of jest that I do “spiritual multi-tasking” in that I “fret and pray”. It’s totally unscriptural (Bible) to do that–but God is so compassionate. He only asks that we keep casting our cares on Him, every time they resurface–so that’s what I do. Another thing I do that I’m sure I’d be criticized for is–I often tell folks they can “borrow some of my faith” when they’re running low/short. May not be scriptural, but I’ve seen it encourage folks! So–maybe I should add that to my blog too–a note about “borrowing faith”… My, I’m chatty tonight.

        Do I think PTSD can be 100% healed? Sure–I believe God CAN heal anything, 100%. But it doesn’t always happen that way–and it’s not because someone’s undeserving, nor does it have to do with one’s level of faith. Certainly He will give us tools to lessen the intensity, if complete healing is not to be.

        Well, now I’ve done exactly what I spoke about in a recent post–written a long comment, as though I’ve misplaced my own blog!! Holding you close in my heart, Jen–night-y-night!

        Like

      • Dear Sweet Caddo!

        Thank you! Prayer is the most potent tool we have, yes? I do not understand why it is unscriptural to ‘fret and pray’. I can imagine Mary was doing both about now 2000 some years ago this week. What mother would not have been? I know she had God with her; I also know she was about to lose her son. Moms. We Fret and Pray. I am certain She did too.

        I would LOVE to Borrow Some of Your Faith! You are built of Faith it seems to me and I admire that deeply. I love the WWJD idea. I think, based on my reading of the New Testament, that Jesus would encourage you to share your faith and spread it all over the land!

        PTSD and Prayer and Faith and God. RIGHT! I was in my head and not my heart. Miracles abound….

        “borrowing prayer” Perfect post topic! Can you explain to me why that is not scriptural??

        Sleep Tight my Friend!

        Jen

        Like

  12. Hi Jen–First, I don’t pretend to be anything close to a theologian, okay? And, frankly, I agree 100% with what you said about dear Mary–that she absolutely had God, but she was also a very human mom facing the loss of her son. There are Christians who subscribe to a rather “legalistic” faith–which suggests that if our faith is “solid”, we would not “fret”–and I hate to say it, but I’ve heard preachers say that “worry/fretting” is sin. I find that to be an abominable teaching which so discounts our humanity. If God had wanted religious robots, He’d have created them–hello?? So when I speak of spiritual multi-tasking–as in fretting and praying–it’s truly what I mean, yet I have to couch it as “tongue in cheek”, in hopes of not offending the more “strict” brethren. But you seem to get what I’m saying, so we don’t have a problem. I suspect the fact that I’m real and genuine, insures that my faith communicates equally genuine. I’m not perfect, and my faith isn’t perfect–but the God I love, and Who loves me–HE’S Perfect for every situation I find myself in, everyday, all the time, Forever. I have no doubt about that. Nor do I doubt He makes Himself available in that same way to Everyone. I’m no more special than anyone else–but I have grabbed hold of Him and the Truth He’s showed me, and I’m never letting go.

    Sending you a good-night hug–God bless you, Jen

    Like

    • Dear Caddo,

      You are the BEST kind of theologian: a faithful and funny one and Genuine one!
      Theologians: I like to read them and there babble AND I often, almost always, think they are missing the most important thing; experience of God moving in their lives. YOU obviously have that. I love CS Lewis for this reason (not strictly a theologian but you get my drift…) I appreciate your Faith and your humor and your honesty. I also appreciate your knowledge. Thank you!

      I fell sad that Strict Brethren exist and are holding themselves in small boxes. Obviously God has everyone where they need to be. (Who am I to judge? Without sin? not this chick!)

      Growing up Catholic we did not read the bible. We focused on the mystical presence of God. Sure, we had to memorize a bazillion prayers but they were part and parcel of the ritual that was at its core mystical. With the exception of a few priests (my mother always chose very liberal priests and so do I) I have not heard much judgement coming off the pulpit. NOW all that being said, the Church clearly has its judgements: no women, no gays, no this no that. I think I have just been fortunate to have had good experiences. We also grew up in parishes where good works were the order of the day. That whole WWJD thing was how I was brought up. NOW that was mostly due to the make up of my parents and NOT an easy task to find the right parish. Growing up poor helped: everyone needed help.

      I agree with you. God is perfect in every situation for every person. I think God Capital G God is VERY LARGE and is the GOD of all religions. My son has a friend who is being brought up an atheist. He went to Rome with us and I gave him strict instructions to be respectful in the cathedrals. I lit candles and he wanted to know what the heck I was doing. I explained and he very quietly said, ” may I light one too for my Grandmother? She was Catholic and she might like that.” I will NEVER forget watching him light that candle and stand in silence. Outside the cathedral he said to me, “I think I am actually agnostic. Please don’t tell my parents.” God was at work that day and is at work every moment in each of us.

      God. God is Big. Amen!

      Caddo, thank you for you being you!

      Peace to you on this Glorious day!

      Jen

      Like

  13. […] I Want You To Care About PTSD * Help Heal the Hidden Wounds of War Share this:EmailDigg Pin ItMorePrintShare on TumblrLike this:LikeBe the first to like this post. […]

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  14. i too live with PTSD and work with a therapist who uses somatic experiencing. it has been life changing for me…i hear that is one of the types of therapies they use with soldiers as well.

    I think anyone who fights for their country and gives up so much to do so should have free therapy for life if that’s what they need.

    My heart breaks for the Soldiers and their families.

    Like

  15. When I initially left a comment I seem to have clicked the -Notify me when new comments
    are added- checkbox and from now on whenever a comment is added I recieve four emails with the same comment.
    Is there an easy method you can remove me from that service?
    Many thanks!

    Like

  16. My partner is a retired vet from nam; he is 69. He was diagnosed with PTSD in the1980’s, and had treatment. Then in 2000 or so motorcycle accident, life threatening event, caused resurrection of PTSD. He received treatment and obtained claim compensation (he also has diabitis, hearing loss/hearing aids). We are in California, and tried application for the HUD/VASH program [housing subsidy program by Obamah) and admission director, not licensed as PHd/MD or even LCSW, unlicensed, told him PTSD was not a mental illness (have to have mental illness, recovery program addition or total disability for admission to the housing program) We are about to get all his past medical records (he also did brain scan study with VA during his PTSD treatments). Now with June the PTSD awareness month, and this unlicensed VASH admission dude, who claimed PTSD is not mental illness; my blood boiled. I have collected lists of non profits for Vets, up to date studies on PTSD, (he had also filed for increase in his compensation in 2009 and still not decided upon) .. I am beside myself. I have a degree in applied psychology and JD. Is it correct to assume that VA nationally “reversed” my partners’ PTSD determination or is it now VA policy to claim PTSD is not a medical condition? I need to get straight on where the political BS is flying from since we are in Sacramento… any comments? Please advise at kmfletch2@gmail.com

    Like

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