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Thread: mTBI, PTSD and Stress (Catch All)

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    Default mTBI, PTSD and Stress (Catch All)

    Meanwhile....back home.
    Some who have served are back from Iraq, and feeling bitter

    Bad stuff happened in Iraq, stuff Adam Reuter doesn't want to talk about.

    His wife worries because he leaps out of bed at night.

    But when he does talk about the war, he goes right to how the insurgent crumpled after he pulled the trigger. How later, during the firefight, he ended up just a few feet from the corpse. Bullets buzzed by, and he was supposed to watch the alley, but he couldn't help but glance over.

    "He just lay there," Reuter said. His eyes and mouth open. His whiskers a few days old. The bullet had gone in his neck cleanly, just to the right of his Adam's apple, but had come out ugly from the back of his head. He was maybe 25, a little older than Reuter.

    How can you describe what that was like? Who would understand it?

    Nobody. So Reuter keeps his mouth shut. His Army uniform is packed in a box in the garage. He kisses his baby boy every night. He gets on with his life.

    At home in Newnan, Ga., there is no war. "It doesn't cross their minds. To them, everything is fine," Reuter said.

    After three years, there are at least 550,000 veterans of the Iraq war. The Washington Post interviewed several who were still in the service, and others who weren't — to hear what their war was like and how the transition home has been.

    A constant theme was that the public is largely unaffected by the war, and, despite media exposure, doesn't understand what it's like.

    The United States that Iraq veterans are returning to is indifferent, many said. One that, without fear of a draft, seems more interested in American Idol than the bombings in Baghdad. Sure, there are the homecoming parades and yellow-ribbon bumper stickers.

    But for many vets, those moments of gratitude were short-lived. Soon they were joined by bitter impressions of a society that seems to forget that it is living through the country's largest combat operation in more than 30 years.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GorTex6
    A constant theme was that the public is largely unaffected by the war, and, despite media exposure, doesn't understand what it's like.

    The United States that Iraq veterans are returning to is indifferent, many said. One that, without fear of a draft, seems more interested in American Idol than the bombings in Baghdad. Sure, there are the homecoming parades and yellow-ribbon bumper stickers.

    But for many vets, those moments of gratitude were short-lived. Soon they were joined by bitter impressions of a society that seems to forget that it is living through the country's largest combat operation in more than 30 years.
    Call me naive, but I thought our job was to keep the our civilian population from "knowing what it's like". But I also don't feel like they're "indifferent". Its not like the general civilian populace doesn't care - after more than 3 years in Iraq, there's still a very strong base of support that cares about the soldiers.

    Support for the war may be dropping, but it does not manifest itself in a concurrent drop in the regular drives for goods to send to soldiers, kids in schools writing "any soldier" letters, people looking for substantive ways to make the troops feel comfortable over there - and I still see military members from every branch of service get thanked for their service by people from almost every walk in life, from senior citizens to young'uns (even when I was still living in CA).

    That's good enough for me. I don't feel some sort of selfish urge for the US populace to suffer in some psychological or material way that would equate to anything that I went through on a combat tour. I don't want my family or anyone's family to sit around pondering the harsh reality of a brutal insurgency and worrying about the next bombing in Baghdad, let alone the slime that can be involved in tracking down and rolling up a terrorist cell.

    We - the military, law enforcement, and intelligence communities - do our job so that average Americans can hang out fat and happy, have lazy family picnics, watch American Idol or reruns of Seinfeld, and just enjoy their lives.

    Sure, as I've expressed on this forum before, I've retained some bitterness - but its over the decisions made by senior policy-makers - I don't blame those who I was supposed to be protecting from all this.

    Now, there are some serious PTSD issues that come up in that article - that is a different story entirely. I don't think the services are doing all they can to identify and deal with potentially serious problems in that arena. Read between the lines of the article and that is what disturbs me.

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    Default Natural

    Perhaps the bitterness against everyone back home is a result from feeling disconnected and isolated; a symptom of depression. I won't lie- I had it too. This is natural for any human being that is assimulating after war; if it lingers then you have a problem.
    Last edited by GorTex6; 05-18-2006 at 08:48 PM.

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    Council Member CPT Holzbach's Avatar
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    Yeah, I felt some of that bitterness myself. For me, it was more like disappointment though. Disappointment in some of our leaders, but also in how easily the American people allow themselves to be lead around by the nose by the MSM. A Marine once said about Iraq, "Every time you #### on the war, you #### on the guys fighting the war." Now I dont completely agree with that, but I think it has some validity. It just seems that Americans defeat themselves, and that's incredibly disappointing to people who fight the war. Like a boxer who's winning a rough match, only to have his coach throw in the towel because he's afraid the boxer will get hurt too much. Except the coach isnt even at the fight. He just occasionaly tunes in on TV.
    "The Infantry’s primary role is close combat, which may occur in any type of mission, in any theater, or environment. Characterized by extreme violence and physiological shock, close combat is callous and unforgiving. Its dimensions are measured in minutes and meters, and its consequences are final." - Paragraph 1-1, FM 3-21.8: Infantry Rifle PLT and SQD.

    - M.A. Holzbach

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    Default Virtual war helps US soldiers deal with trauma

    A "virtual Iraq" simulation that allows soldiers to re-live and confront psychological trauma has produced promising results for the initial handful of patients treated using the system.

    The trial of the software, which recreates the sights, smells, sounds and jolts of the battlefield, has now been extended to a few dozen US service personnel who have suffered post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) since returning from war in Iraq.
    http://technology.guardian.co.uk/new...016519,00.html

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    Default Study Ties Soldiers' Maladies to Stress

    This is out of my league to explain, but is the provocative nature of this study b/c soldier's don't want to admit that they can't handle the stress of combat...? Wondering what those who can comment would say?

    -- Traumatic brain injury, described as the signature wound of the Iraq war, may be less to blame for soldiers' symptoms than doctors once thought, contends a provocative military study that suggests post-traumatic stress and depression often play a role.

    By MARILYNN MARCHIONE
    The Associated Press
    Wednesday, January 30, 2008; 8:54 AM
    http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn...013001058.html

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    The study itself is available here, and worth looking at. I've just glanced through it, but my gut guess is that it relates more to an increase in the probability of neurological disruption leading to an increased probability of retaining the incident. Basically, it would magnify the effects in memory.
    Sic Bisquitus Disintegrat...
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    Default GEN Ham story on combat stress

    General's story puts focus on stress stemming from combat

    -Tom Vanden Brook, USA TODAY

    Gen. Carter Ham was among the best of the best — tough, smart and strong — an elite soldier in a battle-hardened Army. At the Pentagon, his star was rising.
    In Iraq, he was in command in the north during the early part of the war, when the insurgency became more aggressive. Shortly before he was to return home, on Dec. 21, 2004, a suicide bomber blew himself up in a mess hall at a U.S. military base near Mosul and killed 22 people, including 14 U.S. troops. Ham arrived at the scene 20 minutes later to find the devastation.

    When Ham returned from Mosul to Fort Lewis, Wash., in February 2005, something in the affable officer was missing. Loud noises startled him. Sleep didn't come easily.

    "When he came back, all of him didn't come back. … Pieces of him the way he used to be were perhaps left back there," says his wife, Christi. "I didn't get the whole guy I'd sent away."

    Today, Ham, 56, is one of only 12 four-star generals in the Army. He commands all U.S. soldiers in Europe. The stress of his combat service could have derailed his career, but Ham says he realized that he needed help transitioning from life on the battlefields of Iraq to the halls of power at the Pentagon. So he sought screening for post-traumatic stress and got counseling from a chaplain. That helped him "get realigned," he says.
    http://www.usatoday.com/news/militar...l_N.htm?csp=34
    Sir, what the hell are we doing?

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    One of the reasons this is interesting is the age of the General. We expect to see higher rates of PTSD in younger soldiers (under 25) because this is when the brain is still forming in many ways. What I was unable to determine from the article was the time frame of the adjustment. If it occured directly after the deployment and "healed" w/i 3 to 6 months (really up to a year IMNSHO) then what the Gen suffered was more likely to be posttraumatic stress readjustment, which is very normal, i.e. more of us get it then not.
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    Default GEN Ham

    Was a pretty good guy. I helped brief him several times in late 2004 and he always asked insightful questions etc. He had an aide that was a chem officer who had branch transfered to Infantry and he made sure that the guy spent the last couple months being an AS3 with my battalion so he could go to ICCC with some skills. The bombing in the Marez chowhall was horrific and would have been traumatic to anyone, despite of age or rank.

    When I got back back from my first trip in Oct 04 there was nothing PTSD or TBI wise. Yet after a violent fight my company was in, late Jan 07, we were able to get a team to talk to my Soldiers several hours after returning to the FOB. I've no doubt that 'service' helped the boys, especially some of the medics who were unable to save several children.

    Sometimes the pendulum swings too far and we ought to watch out for that, but good for Ham for saying he had a problem, sought help, and successfully worked through it.

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    Hopefully the story of his struggles with erase the perceived stigma normally associated with asking for help for mental health issues.

    I'm glad GEN Ham is speaking out on this. It's an important lesson to show Soldiers that no one is immune and asking for help is OK. Obviously it hasn't been the career killer for GEN Ham that many mis-believe it to be.
    Example is better than precept.

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    Quote Originally Posted by RTK View Post
    Hopefully the story of his struggles with erase the perceived stigma normally associated with asking for help for mental health issues.

    I'm glad GEN Ham is speaking out on this. It's an important lesson to show Soldiers that no one is immune and asking for help is OK. Obviously it hasn't been the career killer for GEN Ham that many mis-believe it to be.
    Agreed, friend. Perhaps, as I have asserted through several wars now, there is no stigma in the military on friction, shell shock & battle stress; simply an extension of the natural human characteistic of focusing on the positive to the exclsion of the negative. Many maleffects are simply contextual disgreements on the fundamental nature of human conflict, war & statecraft.

    In any event I personally take the General's actions as inspiration to be a better leader on the issue of health & feel a deeper commitment to the whole Trooper's whole lifetime, not simply the service he may render us on one battlefield.

    We have sometimes unfortunately neglected second & third order effects of our actions. Circumspect leadership requires analysis of all potential consequences of our decisions & mitigations.

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    Default Brave Men

    Another General has stepped forward. General Blackledge is a two tour GWOT vet. Here is an article on him LINK... and GB Trudeau has recognized him as well. Doonesbury
    Reed
    Quote Originally Posted by sapperfitz82 View Post
    This truly is the bike helmet generation.

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    Quote Originally Posted by reed11b View Post
    Another General has stepped forward. General Blackledge is a two tour GWOT vet. Here is an article on him LINK... and GB Trudeau has recognized him as well. Doonesbury
    Reed
    The following quote is a mis-characterization:

    In the past, those who spoke up about problems they were having were told to “Suck it up and Soldier on.”
    The problem isn't really ostracization, imo. At least not by other vets, or members of the unit. The problem, as I see it, is the bureaucratized responses by the DoD and VA when they react to criticism that they aren't doing enough for the vets. And the criticism springs forth from media that is driven by "flavor of the week" reporting and the "All Vets are mental time-bombs just waiting to go off" meme that resonates among those who are ignorant of things military.

    So, while the intent is to "help" the veteran, making PTSD-reporting mandatory, and subject to UCMJ action should you fail to report it is not the freaking answer... (I'm looking at a sheet of paper right now for my PHA which asserts that very thing) And the PTSD counselling groups being conducted, where PVT Schmuckatelli gets to hear LTC Jackov's personal laundry aired are just stupid. and contrary to good order and discipline.

    In other words, while there IS a need for tools to be available to the veteran, voluntarily and without recourse, I doubt that either the VA or any other bureaucratic response will be useful or appropriate.

    BTW, forgive me if I don't appreciate doonesbury exploiting combat vets as a tool to beat his agit-prop drum. The only reason he gives a crap, imo, is to to advance his career and push his blatant and rabid anti-war/anti-military beliefs. So I question the motives of any of Doonesbury's cartoons.

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    Default GEN Ham story on combat stress

    PTSD is almost forced on all the personnel coming back from the box. Questions like, "DId you shoot your weapon?" or, "Did you encounter sand?" were viable criterium for a full PTSD check. I am not of the opinion that PTSD is a fallacy, rather I believe the military IS doing what it can to treat this on a grand scheme. The TROOPS generally have a stigma attached to this. It was taught in basic that "profile rangers" were lacking METL to complete their tasks. We all know the why's of this (to keep trainees in training) but the result is the lack of admittance when something is wrong for fear of reprocussions. The VA does have problems to work out (as with any government agency because of the sheer size and required red tape) but it assists MANY troops. The AD military agencies tasked with the assistance and aid of AD troops can only help, if the troop asks.

    What can be done about this?

    GEN Ham has made the first (large) step. He has shed some light on the issue. If a GENERAL can get promoted and prosper after having been through this, then it is viable that ANY troop, enlisted or officer can be helped. Good show, GEN Ham.

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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Of course, these Generals "coming out" are akin to Marie Antoinette's "Let them eat cake". Of COURSE there's no stigma; these guys are freaking Generals and can pretty much do what they want. The one thing I've learned since 2001 is that you can get away with anything you want in todays army, as long as you're an O-6 and above, and you aren't the "designated fall guy".

    Look at this picture of GEN Casey.



    How many privates do you know that can wear their hair that long? And that's the shortest I've EVER seen this rag-bag's hair in a picture. There is definitely a double standard in effect, here, and I don't think the "good" done by the current PTSD hysteria comes anywhere near balancing out the harm and harassment it has caused. But, frankly, I don't think the folks pushing PTSD like drugs on a playground give a crap what harm they cause. They get money, and jobs, and control freak issues out of it.

    Actually, the correct question might be, what SHOULD we be doing about this. And treatment professionals need to think about some of the downstream effects of their treatment efforts.
    Last edited by 120mm; 12-23-2008 at 06:54 PM.

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    120mm,

    I think you're overly harsh here. The Army is sincerely working on ensuring that individuals seeking counseling aren't stigmatized. In my opinion, it's also working. These generals are trying to further that. I don't see a need to cast aspersions on them.

    There are lots of people who can and do seek assistance, if only to "talk out" some of their issues. I know it was the case with me - part of that was even published. Not all 'help' has to be a hardcore PTSD case, getting people to deal with things that trouble them helps down the line. Real people make hard decisions and sometimes just need some help dealing with them.

    I think I understand your intent , but I think you're creating straw men here.
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    Council Member 120mm's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Cavguy View Post
    120mm,

    I think you're overly harsh here.
    You are correct, of course. I'll dial it down a bit.

    The Army is sincerely working on ensuring that individuals seeking counseling aren't stigmatized. In my opinion, it's also working. These generals are trying to further that. I don't see a need to cast aspersions on them.
    Perhaps your experience with Generals has been different from mine. With few exceptions, I've found them to be shallow me-firsters who are most concerned with CYA. But then I've been stuck on a series of bad Generals' staffs too long.

    There are lots of people who can and do seek assistance, if only to "talk out" some of their issues. I know it was the case with me - part of that was even published. Not all 'help' has to be a hardcore PTSD case, getting people to deal with things that trouble them helps down the line. Real people make hard decisions and sometimes just need some help dealing with them.
    I'm all about the informal ways to deal with PTSD. What I object to is the reactionary, CYA, overbearing, mandatory "one sized fits all" solution that the Army appears to be pushing. (At least to these eyes)

    I think I understand your intent , but I think you're creating straw men here.
    Now, are you talking about the "Generals get PTSD too" I/O campaign, or the fact that GEN Casey needs a frickin' hair cut?

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    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default White Paper: PTSD and mTBI

    UNDERSTANDING PTSD AND MTBI: INITIAL OBSERVATIONS


    MICHAEL FEW


    Currently, the combined frequency, intensity and duration of multiple combat deployments on a small volunteer force are showing some disturbing trends that befuddle commanders and mental experts. They include: 1. Suicide, 2. Divorce, 3 Substance Abuse, 4. Retention. Personally, I believe these are symptoms of a greater problem. Call it PTSD, mTBI, or whatever term best suits, it is simply a horrid combination of stress and anger. Life is hard; life is not fair, but there is endurance, acceptance, and perseverance within faith, hope and love.

    After a traumatic event, whether it be a buddy dying, a rape, or a genocide, people react under different ways pursuant to one’s individual formula of life lessons, coping skills, community support, and environment. Two extremes of coping include the reaction of the citizens of Oklahoma City to the terrorist bombing versus the citizens of New Orleans to Katrina. Dr. Jon labels these as victim versus strivers. I fall into the third category: survivor. Everything is attitude as it relates to how one chooses to manage life’s events.

    Understanding and accepting what one cannot control.

    For the past two months, I prayed, fasted, and sought wisdom on how to share where I have been and what I have seen to possibly help everyone else. I thought to myself, “Self, how do you explain the unexplainable?” The answer was so apparent- honest, brutal conversation. It is so humorous how you can have a private conversation with someone and generate truth, yet, we refuse to express the same truth in public in fear of how it will be perceived. So, I spent a week sending you the thoughts in my head as they raced out.

    I took action. I let go of control to regain control. I did it my way conquering every fear with blunt trauma and mindless repetition.

    As a survivor, I have a tendency to try to right every wrong, seeking justice for every transgression. In moderation, my voice can be brilliant. Unregulated, it is the definition of insanity. Think about it. If one tries to take on the role of stopping every stupid driver on the road, one will just die from anger. Stupid drivers exist because there are cars. It just is. We are all interconnected and intertwined. That is why Antartica bleeds right now in hurt of our own anger. You call it global warming just as you don’t understand why non-religious women martyr themselves in despair in Zaganiyah.

    Emerson spoke of this as self-reliance. It is life. Darwin, Jesus, Kant, Mohammed, Hobbes, Keynes, Locke, and Smith explained it in their own ways trying to apply life to business, religion, and politics. Warren Buffet capitalized on his acceptance and understanding of the applications of fear and greed. My heart bleeds in deep introspection as we skew truth in generalization and specialization. I only understood this by reading their words on my own not to be lost in someone else’s misinterpretation. Easterners simply call it Tao and spitituality.

    It is time for me to take some rest and heal. You can call it a sabbatical, medical retirement, or whatever works for you. I don’t particularly care for labels anymore as words are important yet we constantly mislabel. I’m simply going to pursue the difference of carrot pancakes and purple ice-cream from a young girl that I love more than jellybeans. I finally looked in the mirror and understood my truth.


    My only recommendation for you is to visit Topeka Kansas VA and let the staff share their understanding.

    So what is PTSD? Maybe it is best understood with how I shared it with Taylor- there is something powerful in the innocence of a four year old. It works with me. Now, you can find your own truth.

    “Daddy, are you mad at me?”


    “No dear. When Daddy was in Iraq, Daddy bumped his head. I tried to use a band-aid, but it did not work. I even tried to use a Sponge Bob band-aid. My head still hurt so I had to go to the hospital and see the doctor.”

    “I love you Daddy.”

    “I love you too.”

    “Daddy, I love you three.”

    “I love you more than jellybeans.”

    Words mean things. Knowledge is power. Ultimately, it is the only form of treatment.

    Happy Easter.
    Last edited by MikeF; 04-11-2009 at 05:14 PM.

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    Council Member MikeF's Avatar
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    Default The Cost of Freedom

    Christina,

    By law, I must include representatives from the military to ensure that I walk the line. I erased the line a long time ago. For those that are wondering why, this is how we turned iraq around- my classmates and I sent out a bunch of emails when we took action, but that is a story for another day. It is neither right nor wrong, good nor bad. It just is searching for truth in a mindless world of Orwellian drama and metrics. Now there is another fight to fight, and I'll take the same action regardless of what you think. Some would call it courage, I was taught simple duty because i am the man in the arena. I will no longer walk away from whom I am. I finally looked in the mirror.


    I know not why my purpose. I send these emails out of love. Paul was very specific to the Corinthians. I simply don't see why we can't see. Anger consumes, Fear bleeds, greed controls. The only thing we have to turn to is the gifts of the creator- Faith, Hope, and Love. Once we let go of control, we are free to live.


    Here's the next portion. A continual conversation I suppose until complete. I'm glad you embrace your gift of editing- most people do not accept their gifts. Good for you.


    I'm speaking for many others that can either not nor choose to. If we decide to publish this thing, I simply want it done right even though sometimes I no longer understand what right is.


    Mike,
    Good action man, you're writing is engaging, although the poetry is deeper than my simple mind lets me go. I'm impressed with what you're doin, that's all I'm sayin. Keep at it, let me know if you need anything. You're a doing better than other guys, believe me. keep at it boss.

    Izzo

    Your turn, make this right whatever that may be. Turn my verse into something people can comprehend.

    v/r

    Mike

    The Cost of Freedom


    When I was a young man playing football and rugby, my coach would always ask the same question to any player who had suffered an injury: "Are you hurt or are you injured?" If one was hurt, then one could still play; they would simply fight through the pain. If one was injured, then they could not continue to play because it may cause permanent damage. Assessments were made based off the intensity and duration of the injury and the discretion and discernment of both the coach, medical team, and the player. The answer was never black and white, but a decision had to be made in regard to what was in the best interest for the team and the player's future. For me, the biggest fear was being perceived as a fake by my teammates if I told the coach that I was injured but my teammates and coaching staff felt I was only hurt.



    Similar reasoning holds true for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) and Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). In football and rugby, everyone gets hurt, but not everyone gets injured. In combat, every one deals with combat stress, but not everyone deals with PTSD. The diagnosis is a judgment call based on the collective assessment of the chain-of-command, the mental health team, and the soldier. Similarly, TBI is a clinical diagnosis of multiple concussions. Technically, both injuries involve brain damage. The injuries are treatable, but they require continued lifelong rehabilitation.



    The study of mind and heart, emotions and thought, is as new as it is old. No one knows what comes first or last derived in burdening questions. We simply see symptoms of broken hearts and suicide prevention. Some things best left to the Creator I suppose as fascinating and maddening the subject. Life brings tragedy; life is not fair. Choices to be made- victim, survivor, or striver. We all have choice- walk away, conform, or voice truth to power. I choice voice. The audacity of hope must transcend in the same manner I once pursued al Qaeda.



    PTSD is a clinical disorder, but it is not a pre-existing condition. I am neither a fraud, fake nor one lacking inner strength. I am a decorated combat veteran that requires help. In 2003, during the Thunder Runs, I led an 400 man battalion from Kuwait to Baghdad. Now, I get disoriented walking short distances. In 2005, as Iraq descended into chaos, I served on a Special Forces staff analyzing sensitive data. Now, I struggle to compute simple algebra formulas without the help of Microsoft Excel. In 2006-2007, during the Surge, I commanded 300 Iraqi and American paratroopers clearing al Qaeda held areas and training camps. Now, I struggle to remember to pay my bills on time. When the nation called, I was there. But I cannot win this war on my own. For many years, I tried, and it broke me.



    You never really know what is going through another man's mind or the path that he walks. For veterans, the path is more obscure. He could be your grandfather, uncle, brother, or husband. He could be the homeless guy on the street. He may be the smartly dressed businessman in your office or the art collector downtown. On the surface, he tries to act like you wearing a mask to hide the horror and rage deep within his soul. He strives to be normal in American society, but his heart is numb. Normal is juxtaposed with the pain and suffering he has lived. He does not want his family to know what he has done. He suffers in silence.

    I never thought I could heal. After all the killing and violence, I felt that I had a penance to serve. I felt condemned to a life with hope forlorn, faith no more; a life without purpose and without love. I was a shell of my former self drowning in an alcoholic sorrow along the river of the Sierra Nevada Pale ale. Sometimes, I wished that I had died in Iraq. At least then I would have had a hero's burial.



    After four combat deployments and six years of perpetual war, I hit my breaking point, and I was forced to admit to myself that I was injured, not simply hurt. I have PTSD and TBI, but I am not a victim. I am a survivor maybe one day striver. The difference is attitude. For years, I kept sucking it up fighting through the pain-the best deceptions lying to myself daily although I swore never lie to others. Hell, I could redeploy right now and show you that I am tough enough to still fight, but there is neither rhyme nor reason in martyrdom-always fighting, struggling this man in the arena. For years, I fought through the blurred vision, tired eyes, seeing stars, broken, racing, brilliant thoughts while cognitive skills diminish no longer to pretend persistent headaches, and lethargy. I can now remember at least six concussions. My stubbornness to admit the extent of my injuries cost me my family, my health, and nearly cost me my life as thoughts and feelings bled. I thought that I could no longer feel. In truth, I was consumed with anger. Mostly, I was angry at myself for being weak because I was unable to control my war. Internally, I was trapped as a prisoner of my own mind. I was still in Iraq.



    Now, I know only to think verse searching for confluence no longer prose. One plus one equals three, and it can be overwhelming. Everything paradox.



    With all injuries, the final decision is made by the patient. One must accept the injury for what it is, not what one wishes it to be. Once I accepted my injury, I was ready for treatment. I spent six weeks in the Topeka Kansas Veterans Administration hospital learning how to heal. My treatment was the toughest obstacle that I have ever faced facing every fear fully: tougher than West Point, Scuba school, Airborne School, rugby, or war. Most importantly, I finally understood what was wrong with me.



    In the end, and somewhere in between, I began to heal as thoughts persist never to diminish but loss of control regulates remission onward bound towards congruence. My condition will require a lifelong rehabilitation, but is that not the crux of the human condition? My condition is unique, but is it not the same as every man faces? Our founding fathers dubbed it the pursuit of happiness; others call it ashura, the active absence of sorrow. Regardless, it is my journey, but it was never simply about me.



    PTSD treatment does not require hospitalization in a psychological ward, but it does require inpatient treatment in a safe, controlled environment. Those that suffer from PTSD are wounded heroes, but their wounds are often invisible.



    Yesterday, you helped me. Today, I help you. So many others are hurting from Korea, Vietnam, Iraq, and Afghanistan. I only write my thoughts in hope to share my voice as it may help us all irrationally as it may be. Walk with me. I know naught for not truths I search; I simply verse in hopes of continual conversation and dance.



    The invitation is open.

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