1.) i'm not anti-unit. i love my unit. well, mostly. i love the history, the decorum, and the attitude that goes with kicking ass and taking pride in our jobs....when there's a good reason to be prideful. 99 percent of the things we did in iraq last year were awesome. this unit is a fearsome fighting machine and it's amazing to watch it work, especially if you believe in what you're doing. unfortunately, there's some concerns that need to be addressed that never will be, and that's because of the political game that goes hand in hand with any military unit of action. i could never sit here and tell you that i believe in our mission in iraq at this point., though that doesn't mean that i didn't believe it at one point. i'm simply here to do a job and get out. i'm simply a cog in the machine, but i'm a cog with some very real concerns that need to be addressed before the next generation of soldiers suffers in the same way we do.
2.) that being said, i'm sick to fucking death of people telling me that i need to "man up" and "get back out there". ptsd is a sickness, not a weakness, and it's sad that most people in the military are too concerned with appearances to actually take a stand and do something about it. instead of medicating us (which they are altogether happy to do, and i'm almost-living proof of that), why not get to the root of the problem? yeah, i've been in counseling, but all the counseling sessions in the world of the army are simply dedicated to getting you back to work so you can be enslaved. yes, i take zoloft, ambien and minipres, and the only thing it's served to do is make me a zombie. yes, i work hard and i work long hours and i don't really complain, but that's not natural because i have a million complaints in me and none of them are being fixed, only coated with a nice layer of narcotics. at some point in the next month, i'm going to mental health and telling them to stick the medicine up their collective asses, because it's not helping me and i want my fucking soul back. and if they have a problem with that, if they'd rather just have a zombie working for them instead of someone who has valid complaints about the bullshit they pull, then they can kiss my ass, because i'm done being medicated.
3.) as far as this being a "scam," i would have to say that's extremely shortsighted. and also stupid. i've already said that npr is one of the few media outlets i'm going to utilize over the next year, and i'm being extremely picky about even that, as well. i have no desire for publicity, and even if this site were still being read by an audience of one, i wouldn't care, because i'm writing it for myself. the fact that my audience has just increased exponentially doesn't change anything, nor will it changed what i write about. this isn't a soapbox though it may seem that way (usually when i'm doped up on ambien), and i'm simply wanting to write what i feel so that i don't have to spend an entire day thinking about it anymore.
that being said, i do appreciate that all of you are sharing this with me and have been so supportive in sending emails today. i even had a gentleman ask where he could donate money for ptsd research, and while i can't help with that one, i'm guessing at least one of you readers probably can.
i'll check back in tomorrow with a regular post. things have been pretty low key the past few days, but that'll all change once our line troops come back from the field at the end of the week. thank christ for four-day government holidays, one of the few very real perks about working for the department of defense.
Thanks for your blog. I ran across it on a link from Buzzflash.com. My other half has been home for a year after a 15 month deployment to Balad and near Fallujah. We are dealing with the lack of services at the V.A., the over-medication, and the horrors of PTSD. My prayers go with you as you deploy again.
john mccarthy said...
I had many similar thoughts prior to my second tour in Vietnam.
I thought it was screwed up the first tour but had no idea how badly things had deteriated until returning for number two....unfortunatly on another volunteer tour.
Hang tough, it's just a roll of the dice. But I am not telling you anything you don't already know.
See site below.
Just a heads up on an alternative therapy for PTSD. I am a massage therapist and I want to work with veterans with PTSD. There are some amazing things massage can do. One of the types of massage called cranial sacral therapy had astounding results. They worked on 4 or 6 vets from Vietnam intensively for a week and reduces by 99% the nightmares and the other emotional problems that the vets were facing. Look it up dear one!!
When I get my license and my trainig in cranial sacral, perhaps we can meet and I can work on you....
With respect, Love and the understanding of a Marine wife...
As a former soldier, I'll read with interest. I just got out last May, and what I've read of your blog so far resonates in many ways. I ETS'd from Korea, and thus didn't go to Iraq, but your accounts of garrison life could be a reflection of some of the same conversations I had with myself every morning at 0530 when I was rolling in for the mandatory, pre-PT PSG meeting. I hated those.
Good luck with NTC and the rest of the train-up.
i also wanted to alert you to another form of treatment for PTSD which was very effective for me. it's called somatic experiencing and you can read about it on their website www.traumahealing.org.
my life was pretty wrecked from what i would consider a relatively mild case, (certainly the causes were less extreme than war) and i worry a lot about all the soldiers being affected by it. i am mystified by the lack of real treatment for it in the military, as it doesn't seem like talk therapy really works at all, and drugs only mask it. it's very sad and i hope you can get the help you need.
I just ran across a link to your blog on Information Clearing House - interesting place for a collection of news that gets burried waaaay back in the newspaper, if it's published at all.
Anyways, just wanted to say good luck. I went through all of your posts - wow. I just had a really really good friend come back from Iraq and just got out - seems to be dealing with some of the same stuff that you are, though obviously everyone's different.
But take care.
And meds suck - had a bunch of friends and co-workers on and off the ones that you mention in here. My heart goes out to you - my friend has a poem with a line that talks about people shoving pills in one way, and Freud in the other.
One World said...
Jack Dalton said...
First of all, I want to apologize to you, and everyone else serving in Iraq, for not being able to stop the thing that has caused you to have to be there. A lot of us that have seen war up-close and way to personal did everything we knew how to try and prevent this thing from happening so that people like you would not have to see the things that my generation had to see; and participate in.
That said, there are thousands of us that know and understand exactly what you are saying and talking about, especially in terms of PTSD—a cost of war that way to few are willing to look at let alone discuss rationally. Every Vietnam and Gulf War l vet I know, including myself, has been trying to cope with those “demons” for decades with little to no help from the V.A.
We knew PTSD would become a very big issue if an invasion of Iraq was launched—it was launched and PTSD is once again becoming a plague for young people such as you.
Regardless of what anyone says or thinks; right, left and everyone in-between, do what you must in order to stay alive and come “home.” Do what you are able to keep those around you alive so they also may come “home” alive. But, in the process do not give up your humanity. Listen to your “head” but do not ignore what your “heart” tells you.
Being in a shoot’um-up bang-bang as you are in I know and understand how easy it is to become so situationally reactive that not a lot of thought goes into what we are doing past staying alive. Try your best not to succumb to that. I, like a lot of my fellow Vietnam vets as well as combat vets from other U.S. wars, know how easy that is as a lot of us did just that…lost sight of our common humanity; and we have been paying a high cost ever since.
While you and all the others that have been sent to Iraq are struggling thru this BushCo created mess, me and many, many, many others, a lot of us combat veterans like you, will be doing everything within our power and abilities to end this madness and get you all home—in one piece, mentally and physically.
My blog: http://jack-dalton.blogspot.com
Bio & POAC column: http://www.oldamericancentury.org/daltonbio.htm
Don't take any pills, most massacres were done by people on anti-depressants, go natural instead. Why fight a war for OIL, check www.rense.com and learn. Thou shalt not kill, obey God not man. If you want peace, where is peace? Jesus: My peace I give you.
I pray that God will give you the courage to say NO.
There's a new treatment for PTSD that uses a drug that beforehand had been used to treat tuberculosis. Here's a link: http://www.healthyplace.com/Communities/Anxiety/news_2005/cycloserine.asp
Also you can search google with the kewyowrds PTSD tuberculosis drug and get more links. It works by getting to memory and increasing your ability to cut off responses based on old memory in favor of new experience memories. I'm no doctor, so read up if your interested.
I came across your blog from buzzflash.com.. I saw that you asked for suggestions other than pharmaceuticals to deal with PSTD.
I am an acupuncturist and treat anxiety disorders and many kinds of acute and chronic physical conditions that western medical doctors say either they can't find anything wrong with you or that you'll have to learn to live with "it."
Perhaps you and your fellow soldiers might consider trying acupuncture, which is over 3,500 years old and you know, nothing sticks around that long unless it works. I have included some links below to some articles on acupuncture and PTSD.
I thank you for your service and courage. Wishing you and your unit safe passage and return.
A mom and acupuncturist in CT.
PS I also found a website where the VA in Los Angeles is using "EFT." I actually am not familiar with it, but it seems to be a therapeutic technique, loosely related to acupuncture, here is the link:
john mccarthy said...
For processing further information on the decision only you can make re redeployment see the Feres Doctrine info on Google.
Senate Judiciary Committee is currently stone walling documentation to Abolish Feres.
Bottom line on Feres, no member of the Armed Forces may take civil action, as guaranteed by the First Amendment, against ANY government official for ANY crime, period.
Ergo, those of us who signed the dotted line since 1950 forfeited our Right to seek redress for grievances while swearing to protect and defend the Constitution of this country from all enemies both foreign and domenstic. Unfortunately, no one told us this became effective immediately upon taking the oath of enlistment.
So, thats how your and my service began and we have no recourse. Sort of a bad picture, eh? Sort of puts things in a differnt perspective, once you know. You may wish to pass this on to interested parties.