PTSD
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22-10-2015, 10:37 AM
PTSD
I think a lot of you all know what this is and some of you might even know that it varies person to person. Within the Air Force it's a very new thing and a lot of times even the doctors don't know what to do. This is a letter that I'm reading to my chain of command tomorrow. I've already received punishment for failing a random drug test. It should also be noted that up until this paperwork I've had not even a blimish on my record and all of my yearly evaluation I received were the highest rating possible.



November of 2012 I received my notice for a deployment. At the time being a young A1C I jumped at the chance. This is what I joined for, the glory of serving just like my uncles and my grandfather. I had worked so hard to get the opportunity. New Year's Eve of 2013 I went home to see my parents. Due to the intense pre deployment schedule I had from February on until my deployment I figured this could be the last time. The last time I would see my mom's smile, heard my dad's laugh, or joked with my sister. I also knew it was a chance I could never get to see my sisters child, my first niece or nephew. My finally day there on my families land I sat in my deer stand for a good three hours looking out over it all. I had seen it so much I took it for granted the past 15 years there. I didn't want to leave. I almost couldn't. I finally did say my goodbyes. Hugging each of my family members one last time.

The next few months were so hectic and went so fast I had no time to think on this. I was too busy trying to be the airman I could be. That march I played a game of chicken due to my deployment getting pushed back 3 times. During this time me and my now wife got really close as well as my then supervisor Aaron Howard. I also had to say goodbye to them as well. No time for emotions of course I had to stay strong. Be a good airman.

March 30th 2013 I finally had got the nod which surged a ton of emotions but I had no time to even process them. I left from BWI around 2100 and arrived in Norfolk for the connecting flight the following morning at 0700. I remember the eerie quietness of the room when we started boarding. Everyone had this look. Like they knew this could be the last time on home soil. Like they were thinking of family members they probably just had a conversation with a day prior. Wondering if they'll ever get to see it in person again. I'll never forget that long walk to board that flight.

Once in Afghanistan everything moved so fast before I knew it a whole month had past before I stopped and looked around. I remember that day where it dawned on me that I was there. That morning as I was leaving my room I remembered seeing a rocket being launched by our forces fly over top of the base right into the side of a mountain. Once I got into my office I found out that it was actually targeted at some insurgents. All KIA. This is when it changed for me. I felt like I was going to puke. I can't explain why but it just set something off in me. Up until this point we only had miss hits with all of the incoming fire we received. That soon changed.

Fast forward to August 2013 we began to receive almost daily attacks mostly at night. I could feel the two or three mortar rounds hit individual. Each one getting closer than the last. After a while it wasn't fear that I was feeling it was anxiousness. You see when I said by to all of those people I loved back home I had learned to accept death in order to cope with all of this. When these attacks would happen,which was often, I found myself wish,hoping that one would finally end this pain. Lack of sleep and almost no appetite were really taking control. The constant brushes with death were killing me.

And then all of a sudden, I was going home which for me made no sense. Here I was ready to die and now I have to go home and be normal. I didn't know what to do and for months I was a zombie. My now wife and I had a split due to me not knowing what I even was. I had no emotions just a mask, the same mask you've probably seen me wear everyday. I had no idea how to deal with this and to be honest I still don't.

Every doctor I've seen every leader I've talked to has not really listen to me and to be honest it's not their fault. Up until last night I had no idea how to convey what I was feeling. I've gotten so good at not feeling it's almost foreign. This is why my therapy never helped. This is why drugs didn't help.

These last 2 years I've been in so much pain and I've teetered on life and death due to that feeling I felt for the entire final month of my deployment. You all have never heard me say this and up until last night no one has. I want that pain to stop and when I keep telling you all that I just want to be done this is what I mean....I can't be a part of something that causes pain. In myself or others. Everyday I put on this uniform I feel that same feeling of vomit that I felt that day in Afghanistan I can't do this anymore. This is not an excuse for my actions. I know what I've done and I accept my punishment. I am not a bad person. I'm just a an airman who forgot how to feel. It took me 2 years....2 fucking years to figure this out. I feel no honor in what I've been apart of. I just want my life back...and a chance to feel like a human being again.

As of late however I've felt more like a criminal. I've had whatever self respect I've had stripped. I've been in and out of the emergency room. My health is complete crap both mentally and physically. All I want is to be rid of this shame I feel.
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22-10-2015, 10:54 AM (This post was last modified: 22-10-2015 11:01 AM by Tomasia.)
RE: PTSD
(22-10-2015 10:37 AM)MrKrispy601 Wrote:  I think a lot of you all know what this is and some of you might even know that it varies person to person. Within the Air Force it's a very new thing and a lot of times even the doctors don't know what to do. This is a letter that I'm reading to my chain of command tomorrow. I've already received punishment for failing a random drug test. It should also be noted that up until this paperwork I've had not even a blimish on my record and all of my yearly evaluation I received were the highest rating possible.



November of 2012 I received my notice for a deployment. At the time being a young A1C I jumped at the chance. This is what I joined for, the glory of serving just like my uncles and my grandfather. I had worked so hard to get the opportunity. New Year's Eve of 2013 I went home to see my parents. Due to the intense pre deployment schedule I had from February on until my deployment I figured this could be the last time. The last time I would see my mom's smile, heard my dad's laugh, or joked with my sister. I also knew it was a chance I could never get to see my sisters child, my first niece or nephew. My finally day there on my families land I sat in my deer stand for a good three hours looking out over it all. I had seen it so much I took it for granted the past 15 years there. I didn't want to leave. I almost couldn't. I finally did say my goodbyes. Hugging each of my family members one last time.

The next few months were so hectic and went so fast I had no time to think on this. I was too busy trying to be the airman I could be. That march I played a game of chicken due to my deployment getting pushed back 3 times. During this time me and my now wife got really close as well as my then supervisor Aaron Howard. I also had to say goodbye to them as well. No time for emotions of course I had to stay strong. Be a good airman.

March 30th 2013 I finally had got the nod which surged a ton of emotions but I had no time to even process them. I left from BWI around 2100 and arrived in Norfolk for the connecting flight the following morning at 0700. I remember the eerie quietness of the room when we started boarding. Everyone had this look. Like they knew this could be the last time on home soil. Like they were thinking of family members they probably just had a conversation with a day prior. Wondering if they'll ever get to see it in person again. I'll never forget that long walk to board that flight.

Once in Afghanistan everything moved so fast before I knew it a whole month had past before I stopped and looked around. I remember that day where it dawned on me that I was there. That morning as I was leaving my room I remembered seeing a rocket being launched by our forces fly over top of the base right into the side of a mountain. Once I got into my office I found out that it was actually targeted at some insurgents. All KIA. This is when it changed for me. I felt like I was going to puke. I can't explain why but it just set something off in me. Up until this point we only had miss hits with all of the incoming fire we received. That soon changed.

Fast forward to August 2013 we began to receive almost daily attacks mostly at night. I could feel the two or three mortar rounds hit individual. Each one getting closer than the last. After a while it wasn't fear that I was feeling it was anxiousness. You see when I said by to all of those people I loved back home I had learned to accept death in order to cope with all of this. When these attacks would happen,which was often, I found myself wish,hoping that one would finally end this pain. Lack of sleep and almost no appetite were really taking control. The constant brushes with death were killing me.

And then all of a sudden, I was going home which for me made no sense. Here I was ready to die and now I have to go home and be normal. I didn't know what to do and for months I was a zombie. My now wife and I had a split due to me not knowing what I even was. I had no emotions just a mask, the same mask you've probably seen me wear everyday. I had no idea how to deal with this and to be honest I still don't.

Every doctor I've seen every leader I've talked to has not really listen to me and to be honest it's not their fault. Up until last night I had no idea how to convey what I was feeling. I've gotten so good at not feeling it's almost foreign. This is why my therapy never helped. This is why drugs didn't help.

These last 2 years I've been in so much pain and I've teetered on life and death due to that feeling I felt for the entire final month of my deployment. You all have never heard me say this and up until last night no one has. I want that pain to stop and when I keep telling you all that I just want to be done this is what I mean....I can't be a part of something that causes pain. In myself or others. Everyday I put on this uniform I feel that same feeling of vomit that I felt that day in Afghanistan I can't do this anymore. This is not an excuse for my actions. I know what I've done and I accept my punishment. I am not a bad person. I'm just a an airman who forgot how to feel. It took me 2 years....2 fucking years to figure this out. I feel no honor in what I've been apart of. I just want my life back...and a chance to feel like a human being again.

As of late however I've felt more like a criminal. I've had whatever self respect I've had stripped. I've been in and out of the emergency room. My health is complete crap both mentally and physically. All I want is to be rid of this shame I feel.

How much longer do you have on your term? Isn't you enlistment ending soon? Do you want to be discharged to the point that you'd be willing to accept a bad conduct discharge?

I don't know much about PTSD, though I served as well, but do you think it's more of a really bad depression than PTSD that your suffering with? Is a good part of that depression that's wearing in to you, a product of your recent demotion?

When I was in military, we were stuck in a shitty and depressing duty station, nearly all of us fantasied about getting out. One my friends went AWOL, another one went AWOL and returned and got demoted. There was also a few of the guys that got demoted for drug related issues. I can't say their terms were great, but when they got out after the termination dates, life went on. Nearly all of them say they were proud to serve, and even though their time might not have been the greatest, they still appreciated it.

Life can get hard, there is always gonna be those terrible periods in your life, but it goes on.

"Tell me, muse, of the storyteller who has been thrust to the edge of the world, both an infant and an ancient, and through him reveal everyman." ---Homer the aged poet.

"In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it."
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22-10-2015, 11:14 AM (This post was last modified: 22-10-2015 01:02 PM by yakherder.)
RE: PTSD
Where does one differentiate between PTSD and simple environmental adaptation? Adopting a culture that takes into consideration the inevitability of violent death is a necessary part of being a war fighter. That culture is incompatible with the frame of mind necessary to perceive the rest of society's bullshit problems as real problems. I've accepted that within the prison of society, I'll be putting on a mask for the rest of my life, and it was made easier by the fact that, at least in my case, I was wearing one long before the military got to me. I wish I could say there's a way to return but, in the words of Morpheus, "There is no turning back" once you take the red pill. Society is fake, and because you're aware of it you'll never truly fit in again. The most I can say is I understand.

I talked briefly to a psychologist, primarily at the request of my girlfriend. He said I've adapted and definitely have some nasty memories to deal with, but don't show symptoms of what they'd medically define as PTSD. I'm okay with the lack of any diagnosis, because it might disqualify me from service, and for the time being I still cling to the hope that we'll get more involved with ISIS, go to war with Russia, or pick a fight with some other prospective adversary in the not so distant future so I can once again have a chance to experience the real world and the emotions associated with it. Because in this world, I'm restless as fuck.

'Murican Canadian
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22-10-2015, 11:36 AM
RE: PTSD
(22-10-2015 11:14 AM)yakherder Wrote:  so I can once again have a chance to experience the real world and the emotions associated with it. Because in this world, I'm restless as fuck.

Reality is relative. It differs from person to person and from second to second.

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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22-10-2015, 12:01 PM
RE: PTSD
Regardless of whether you are diagnosed with PTSD, depression or some other mental illness, it's important to get professional help.

If you don't get it through the military, seek help from a professional organization. Seek a referral from a primary physician. I know the military tends to frown on asking for help but screw them: if you'd broken your leg, they'd do their damnest to get you better, so how is this pain and suffering any different??

Sure, you could deal with this on your own: that would be the equivalent of setting your own broken leg and hobbling about in pain for the rest of your life. However, wouldn't it be prudent to get an x-ray, and have a physician set your leg in a cast, and maybe see an orthopedic surgeon or physiotherapist if necessary?

Mental illnesses and injuries are the same as physical injuries, but because we can't see them, we tend to dismiss them as unimportant. That doesn't mean they aren't as serious as physical illnesses though! There's no valid reason for you to try to deal with this on your own when there are specialists who are trained to help you. You CAN get better, maybe not exactly back to how things were, but BETTER THAN NOW, if you seek help.

A professional will help you understand the problem and provide you with a treatment plan and strategies that will help you cope with these feelings on a day-to-day basis. Once you've done that, you may eventually be able to learn how to channel these feelings into something emotionally neutral, and maybe even positive. But you're not at that point yet: baby steps, and the first step is the hardest=get help.

Remember, we are always here if you need to vent, and we are all pulling for you, but a professional will help you better than we can. So just make the call and go get help!!
Best wishes

Your faith is not evidence, your opinion is not fact, and your bias is not wisdom
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22-10-2015, 12:54 PM
RE: PTSD
I can't even begin to imagine what it is like to go to war, with the possibility of not being able to see your family and friends again weighing in the back of your mind. I am sure there are unimaginable horrors that someone living a normal, every day life in the U.S. takes for granted and has no clue of. I also can't even begin to imagine how difficult it would be to go through all of that and then come back into society and have everyone expect you to act like a normal, everyday person.

I always want to give you a big hug every time I read your posts. I hope you are able to find the help that you need to find peace with all of this. Hug
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22-10-2015, 01:50 PM
RE: PTSD
Hey everyone thanks for the feedback it's greatly appreciated. As of today everything is fine has a session with the on call psychologist due to my doctor not being available. We talked about things in this letter and she very well understood my frustration. The best part is...she just listened and didn't dismiss what I was saying by trying to prescribe me some medicine or give me homework. For me that's what works, just talking about things. I personally don't like the meds mainly because I haven't found one without a side effect. To me this just creates more problems.

Although I think of suicide often I do NOT want to do it. Not because I find meaning or purpose in life it's quite the opposite. With that being said I don't actively look for death but accept it. I've had a very nihilistic approach to life ever since late 2013 and it fits so well. I don't get sad at deaths I'm just unaffected. For a while this drove me nuts thinking something was wrong with me. Why else would the death of my great grandmother and grandmother as well as a friend committing suicide not make me react in any way? I don't mean that I bottled it up I just knew that it was necessary.

Anyway I've come to terms in the last few months that none of this matters. Fighting for a cause, thinking you are "right", he'll even atheism. I see it all as making noise when in a few hundred years none of it will be prevalent. We'll move on to the next ism that comes along.
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22-10-2015, 04:32 PM
RE: PTSD
(22-10-2015 01:50 PM)MrKrispy601 Wrote:  . I don't get sad at deaths I'm just unaffected. For a while this drove me nuts thinking something was wrong with me. Why else would the death of my great grandmother and grandmother as well as a friend committing suicide not make me react in any way? I don't mean that I bottled it up I just knew that it was necessary.

Your reaction to their deaths is quite normal. Grief is not a mental thing, it is physical. The appearance and intensity of grief depends on what part the deceased played in your daily life. Grief will be triggered every time you perform an action or experience something that would normally be shared with the dead person. When you cry, chemicals are released into your system that have a calming influence. In effect, your body is self medicating.

If the departed had no daily spot in your life, chances are there will be no grief. Grief has little to do with how much you loved a person, it has everything to do with how prominent a role this person played in your daily life.

So, don't ever beat yourself up over lack of grief. The reason most people cry at funerals is because it is contagious, and it ultimately has a calming effect on them.

I am glad you found someone to talk to. That is so important.

It looks to me like you have one foot in the reality that caused you to grieve your immediate family before any of them died - when you went to war. And you just can't quite get a foot hold in the current reality. I am hoping that you'll be able to stick the rest of your time out now that you have someone to talk to, and that you will build yourself a place in a completely new reality once you get out.

Hang in there!

[Image: dobie.png]Science is the process we've designed to be responsible for generating our best guess as to what the fuck is going on. Girly Man
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22-10-2015, 04:45 PM
RE: PTSD
(22-10-2015 10:37 AM)MrKrispy601 Wrote:  As of late however I've felt more like a criminal. I've had whatever self respect I've had stripped. I've been in and out of the emergency room. My health is complete crap both mentally and physically. All I want is to be rid of this shame I feel.

Stop that. There is no more shame to having an imbalance in my neurotransmitters than there is having an imbalance in my insulin/glucose. I don't accept the shame and I share it with whomever is interested. This dude who jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge story is inspirational to me. He still has all the symptoms of his neurotransmitter imbalance but he don't give a fuck. "I jumped off the Golden Gate Bridge and survived motherfuckers. Manic depression ain't got no game with me."





Princess Leai is also a fellow sufferer and advocate.

#sigh
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23-10-2015, 02:16 AM
RE: PTSD
I think the only shame involved in any of this is the way our society has not yet gotten the message out there that there's no difference between a neurotransmitter imbalance and any other malfunction of the body. The fact that our brains are complex and that such imbalances can be made worse by traumatic experiences (which cause our brains to change the hormone environment so severely that it "breaks" from a "normal" regulatory level) does not make it the fault of the person, yet too often we treat it that way... it is made worse by the tendency of the imbalances in the emotional regulators to prevent us from "checking" whether the feedback our brains are giving us on our feelings are reasonable, or the result of a "feedback loop".

It's 3:15 AM, and I woke up 40 minutes ago because I was seeing visions of a man who was stabbed nearly to death on my dinner tray in the chowhall, right in front of me. I still feel the blood spray hitting me. I still have times when I wake up and for just a second I'm in the isolation cells where I nearly lost touch with reality, again. I saw a thousand things I don't think I will ever be able to not see, when I try to find my lost calm. When I was released following my exoneration six months and two days ago, I hoped it was over... and yet I still cannot sleep like a normal human being, generally avoid social interaction, and live in pretty much permanent fear of all authorities. I just saw the doctor on Wednesday, hoping to try some new chemicals to help my brain establish a sleep and emotional-cycle pattern that isn't so wild.

I shudder to read what you wrote, because I've been living with the hope that it will get better...

All I can say is you have my sympathies... and thank you for what you sacrificed on my behalf. Thank you for your service.

"Theology made no provision for evolution. The biblical authors had missed the most important revelation of all! Could it be that they were not really privy to the thoughts of God?" - E. O. Wilson
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