The Iraq War Ruined My Life.

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posted on May, 4 2012 @ 05:06 PM
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Now, I am not one who ussually opens up about personal things but things have been awful for me lately and I just need to get some stuff out. To let you know just how low it is. I am sitting here with a bottle of my favorite, 'Makers Mark' and I don't drink often at all.

First I need to give some background information. I am a Marine, no longer active but still a Marine. I had always wanted to be a Marine since I was a kid. I graduated high school in 2000 and wanted to spend a year learning my already in progress trade of carpentry before I left.(remember, no war then.) After that year,(now Spring 2001), I joined the delayed entry program with the intentions of leaving at the end of the summer. Just as the summer was ending I tore and strangulated a hernia and spent a few months layed up and was disqualified from the program temporarily. So to make a long story short, I retore the hernis once and never ended up leaving for basic training until October of 2002. Now I joined for my original want to be a Marine but by the time I actually got to Parris Island I too was filled with anger from 911 as I was duped like many others.

After boot camp I went to the School of Infantry(SOI). I graduated SOI the week the invasion in Iraq began. I went straight to my unit and spent the next two months sitting at the barracks with our gear packed ready to go at any moment. Well, that didn't happen. So, soon the battalion came back and we were formed in to our new companys. I went to Alpha Company.(My beloved home for the next few years.) Our company ended up getting slated for duty in OIF2-2 which took place from sept 2004 to april 2005. We spent the time until then becomeing a strong fighting unit and became very closely bonded. In mid 2004 while we were doing our training workup we got the word that we would be headed to Fallujah. As we all knew at the time Fallujah was the wild west. We had already lost four Marines from our sister company who were currently there at the time.

So, we show up and relieve our sister company in early september and get to work conducting combat operations. In the first month we had many Marines wounded from IED attacks but luckily nobody killed. Then we got word that a major operation would take place soon and us being a reconisance unit would be responsible for providing alot of intel that would determine the operation. Needless to say we had our work cut out for us as well as second recon battallion which also did alot of the recon for the later to be named event called Operation Phantom Fury. When the battle kicked off the regimental combat teams went in from the north and we continued to hold blocking positions on the south end of the city. We were under constant Mortar, RPG, Sniper, and Machine gun fire the whole time for the most part. After the battle I spent my remaining tie in country embeded with the newly formed Iraqi Army, training and advising them. It truly was quite an experience. And then just like it began we were on a plane and back to America again.

I came home and we began to train because we knew we were going again in six months or so. During this time I began to have problems with my Heart and my gastrointestinal tract. I ended up being transfered from my company and had to have many medical tests done. It turned out that something had happened to my heart and I had irreversable damage was done. That led to a medical evaluation board which forced me to extend my contract and be unacceptable for reeinlistment. I was found unfit for duty and discharged in 2007 and told to go to the VA for further care. I came home to no work as I live in Michigan and had yet to enroll in VA benifits. It took almost two years to attain my VA benifits so I struggled financially as there was not many jobs available at the time.

I also statred care at the VA for PTSD. The first and foremost thing they wanted to shove anti-depressants down my throat. I said ok and I tried them. Big mistake. No matter what they tried they either made me sick or suicidal. I then asked if I could just talk to someone once a week to try to work things out. They offered me an eight session group therapy which was mildly helpfull. After asking again to be able to talk one on one with someone I was told I would have to be on medication first. That is when I walked away from the VA mental health system.

I did try seeing a private phsycologist through my wifes health insurance but did not find that helpfull even after a long time of trying.

With my history of experiences in the war and my steady symptoms I also suffer from traumatic brain injury.(TBI) I saw someone at the VA about it when I was first evaluated and was quickley shoved out his door as he had no interest in helping me or anyone for that matter.

It is now 2012 and I have spent alot of time researching the effects of Depleted Uranium(DU), Toxic exposure, and PTSD. So I went back to the Va today, saw my primary care physician to discuss these mattes. I was refered to a social worker who asked me many questions. First she told me that my primary care doctor should have adressed the toxic exposure topic and set up tests for me. He didn't, Major Fail in my opinion. When I brought up DU she said "Well if you weren't in any buildings or anywhere it eas used you should be ok. HELLO I was in Fallujah, DUH. How many houses did we end up clearing that had been destroyed by DU tank shells? More than I can count. So basically I got knowehre with the VA again. And I am starting to volunteer there next week to help other vets because the VA does not seem to give two craps about us.

So to make things worse, I go to pick my daughter up from my parents house afterwards and express my discontent for what happened. My father had the audacity to tell me I am crazy and I don't know what's going on with the VA and the wars and our current system. He told me he knows the system better than me although he is not a veteran and has never had to deal with this. The rest of My family treats me like I'm just some crazy war vet even though I don't say much or act bad when I am around. Is it the mainstream view that is causing this? I just realised that I must cut all ties with them until I can get myself taken care of. Things just get worse for me and not having family support just sucks bad. My wife is not a very supportive person either. I am truly hurt by the things that have happend and am very upset. Please don't worry as suicide is not in my future. I have the most wonderfull little two year old girl to raise. I am applying for a service dog as I used to train them and am just looking for change.

Are there any other veterans on here who have had simaler problems?

I know some will attack this post and that's fine. It won't be anything I have not heard before and you are welcome to do so. It will only echo the way us veterans are being treated openly in public by many now. Not a day goes by that someone does'nt look down on me or berate me for my service. All I want to know is why when we give so much, do we recieve so little in return? I'm sorry for giving a sob story I just feel weak and battered down right now. I just wish things could get better for one instead of continually getting worse.




posted on May, 4 2012 @ 05:14 PM
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I hope in your future your problems get sorted out and you find someone to treat you LIKE A MAN as you deserve to be treated.

Your family blows for not supporting you in your quest to get help. I hope they will see the light and change their ways.



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 05:21 PM
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reply to post by usmc0311
 

Sorry to hear of your woes usmc0311, and your story is one that only seems insulted by the lack of treatment from the VA. What have others in your situation done? The DU issue is one the officials are trying to stay away from I imagine, because acknowledging it and offering treatment would be an admission of putting soldiers in harms way, and I don't mean the enemy's. I would inquire to the lady about what her details are in determining a DU case. Is she using a standard of some sorts, or just generalizing?

I did not serve, but as an observer over the years I have seen programs where troubled vets got involved or started groups to support other vets. Maybe this kind of work could not only help yourself and others, but it could be an exercise in dealing with the situation(s).

It is too bad that your family does not understand or know how to help. I don't know about ignoring them, but maybe avoiding certain subjects could help. Not that that is right, but I hate to see a family divided, especially by such circumstances. Have you ever considered a group/family therapy meeting? Maybe that could bring awareness to the table and get everyone on the same page, to some degree.

Hey man, a dog sounds like a great idea and your little girl will continue to bring blessings. So keep your head up , and know that you have family-ish friends here to give a listen. I hope some of our vet members can help too.
If ya need an ear sometime, shoot me a U2.

Peace,
spec

ETA: I was trying to think of something to momentarily cheer ya up and while it may be superficial, I find that connecting with nature sometimes offers relief. For you..
edit on 4-5-2012 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 05:28 PM
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Just read your post.
I feel for you my friend
I admire you honest openness
I am no soldier so what I have to say can only be as an outsider who has never had to face the things - the traumas you have.
Man I keep thinking of the word Pawn as in Pawn in their game.
I have read about DU being used and it disgusts me that your government would have so little regard of you.
And yes the public is brainwashed with propaganda and labels soldiers are crazy who have the courage to tell it like it is
I hope things do get better for you - I really do



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 05:28 PM
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Thankyou for your service to your country and supporting the citizens, even if we have a tryanical government.

I'm a vet as well however never had to deal with what you did... Navy.

I do however have my views on the wars and the world and none of my family will even listen to me, most would just rather ignore the whole thing because it "depresses" them... which makes me mad as hell.

I have personal marine and army friends I've met and kept since coming home who are in the frame of mind as me as well.. we don't understand why people just don't care about what is really is going on. The PTSD is a very real and serious thing but alot of that comes from the fact that we are fighting an honorless war. A few years ago I almost witnessed my army friend blow his brains out... after I watched him break down and cry, he told me of some of the things that he had done. Which I have no doubt truely happend yet it completely sickens me.

I believe you need to refocus on your goals, no matter what they be. Most vets I know are becoming very political because thats where the problems lie.

Don't stress to bad about your family, most americans are sheep and are terrified of everything. Most would rather die in old age in a diaper alone then die now for something noble.

We can be friends.



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 05:44 PM
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reply to post by usmc0311
 


I am so sorry you are dealing with this. It is absolutely a big fail on our fed gov that they treat so many in this manner. DU is some nasty stuff. You need someone to talk to, that is supportive, you can pm me anytime. Or message. This is just one of the oh so many fails that are happening right now.



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 05:45 PM
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My friend Jeff, from Maine, was on his 4th tour and day 1 he got shot in the side of his neck....
Ruined for life.

4 GODD*MN TOURS!!!!!!




posted on May, 4 2012 @ 05:50 PM
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reply to post by usmc0311
 


I admire your courage, as I honestly have not been able to unlock that vault in my head that I put all my problems into. I served in the Canadian Forces for 4 years and experienced many of the things that you detailed here and more that I just can't seem to bring myself to talk about because every time I do, I slump into a depressive state for weeks on end, not being able to think about anything else, or even see the silver lining. The fact remains, though, that we enlisted. We signed our butts away, believing that what we were doing was good for our countrymen, and I'm sure you have realized, just as I did, that war is all about money. Pure and simple. I honestly think that if more of us on either side of the border came out and exposed war for what it really is, I think that maybe we could put a dent in their recruiting quotas and maybe some kid that wants to enlist for the wrong reasons will be given the info he/she needs to conclude that it is not even close to the right thing to do. See, the thing that really ticks me off is whenever I meet some punk who wants to enlist and try to educate them about military life, with their reaction being either a glazed-over stare or sheer incredulity (the typical "You don't know what you're talking about." response). Meh, if you think it's bad in the 'States, here's some food for thought. I attend Royal Canadian Legion get-togethers regularily and have not yet met even one fellow vet that will admit how messed up things are. I suppose they are afraid of the NDAs that we have to sign on enlistment, or maybe they are just so into the whole "Fight fear. Fight Chaos" propaganda schtick. I often wonder what it would take for them to step up and shed some light on a very dark area that many Canadians know nothing about. I only know that just me or you talking about it is not nearly enough. We need more credible voices for any impact to be felt. Meh. Stay frosty.



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 06:05 PM
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I've always heard horror stories about the VA. Truly a shame seeing as how a pat on the back doesn't do too much for toxic exposure.

Anyway, my prayers for you and yours. I'm glad to hear your daughter makes life worth living. Hold on to that



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 06:14 PM
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Hey man. I am on my phone so I cant say everything i want to but the main thing I would like to tell you is thank you. Thank you for serving our country and for all you have sacrificed. I cant believe you are being disrespected sobmuch as a veteran by those around you. Well I can believe the VA is screwing you but the fact that your family as well as the public looks down on you, well that makes my blood boil. I live in the hippy capital of the world and everywhere I go Iraq and Afghan vets are treated like heros. I dont understand why your being treated that way man.

My girlffriend is an OIF vet as well. She joined right before 911 not knowing what was about to happen and her job was driving trucks as supply. Driving IED magnets all day every day. Needless ti say some very bad things happened and she has major PTSD. Driving anywhere for her now is very very hard, and thats putting it mildly. If you startle her even a little she damn near feints and instantly goes into a massive panic attack. Its like watching someones last moments when they know they are about to die. Its horrible. Her experience with the VA has also been a joke. She had to write down in grpahic detail about every experience she had that she thinks has caused her problems. She cried the whole time she was filling it out and was mentally not right for almost 2 weeks...and then the VA LOST IT and made her do it again. And thats just one of my complaints with them...i hqve many many more.

My stepdad is a gulfwar vet and has the infamous gulf war syndrome which may have been caused by DU or maybe the vacinations. It took him YEARS of fighting to finally be adknowledged and treated. Now he gets monthly payments and is taken pretty decent care of. My mom is also a disabled vet and it took her YEARS to finally get treated. She also gets a montly check. They are boyh pretty much VA experts now and have been helping my gf work her way through the system. I just wanted to tell you what they tell her. The VA will jerk you around forever and play paper work games as long as they can. You must keep playing their game ajd just keep at it. It will take a very long time but eventually they will adknowledge your problems and begin to give you decejt treatment. Dont stop man just keep trying. It is REDICULOUS that they do this to WAR vets.

Good luck man, and thanks again. You deserve the highest of respect I hope one day you find it



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 06:23 PM
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An alarming quote from a major key figure on this planet. A 'mover and shaker' behind the scenes for a LONG time now:

[color=limegreen]"Military men are dumb, stupid animals to be used as pawns for foreign policy." Henry Kissinger

This is how our military folks are truly viewed. Enough said...
edit on 4-5-2012 by HangTheTraitors because: (no reason given)



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 06:35 PM
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This sadly doesn't surprise me. I have heard similar stories from various friends over the years. I have one friend, a father of 4 who has done 5 tours and has high functioning PTSD, meaning when he is at work he is super soldier, when he comes home at night he locks himself in his bedroom and drinks himself into oblivion.

The VA is soooo big on the damn meds and it drives me crazy.....even us spouses get shoved that crap. I went to a routine appt while my husband was down range and they asked me all the standard questions, but the last one was "is your sponsor currently deployed" and when I said "yes" they asked if I suffered from depression......automatic, like clock work. Yes, it is true many spouses get depressed while the service members are gone, but Xanax and Paxil are not the end all solution!

What people really need are people who really care. People they can talk to, people who won't judge them or create more anxiety in their heads. People who are compassionate and above all patient. Veterans have wounds that take time to heal.....there is no "quick fix" for emotional, mental and physical trauma.....the intensity of your life threatening experiences is not gonna be erased so quickly, but with support of those that care and stand behind you, your chances get a lot better.

I don't know if you have looked into IAVA or if you are eligible for the military life consultants, but that might be a place to start. my husband has volunteered with the IAVA guys, and he had nothing but good stuff to say about the group he worked with. He has since given several speeches advocating for those guys, if you want more info about it, PM me and I'll get you whatever info you need.

You need your family now more than ever and they need to understand even if you can't reach out to them, they should not stop reaching out to you, often service members put up walls, cause walls keep them safe down range but those walls can be hard to tear down when you get back home.....the instincts and mind sets that kept you alive are not necessarily the ones that allow you to reintegrate when you get back. And don't even get me started on the military's reintegration policies and programs......they scratch the surface at best IMO.

I volunteer at the ACS on my post, and I know they offer things to the active duty people, but it seems the vets get shuffled off to VA and that is the end of the story. It kills me to hear of another person who has to struggle this way.
And FYI markers mark is the drink of choice it seems cause my dad swigs that stuff like its Evian, and he has definetly had one too many deployments downrange. Guys actually carry flasks and bust them out at barbeques and have their unit emblems engraved on them......it sounds cool, until you realize just how much they are drinking the stuff. I know why they drink, but the drinking is just a way to cope when really you need someone to show you better coping skills.....this is what a good therapist is for.

Do not give up looking for someone who can help you, if you are at the point where you are able to talk to a therapist, then you are one step ahead of a lot of guys. Keeping reaching out, even if it has to be here on ATS, as you can see by the responses to your post, there are people who care.



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 07:12 PM
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reply to post by usmc0311
 


Cumulatively, I've approximately 3.5 years between Iraq & Afghanistan. In all that time I could never discern the national security value of spurting blood, burnt human flesh, screaming women, kids running out of nowhere thru someone's line of fire, et cetera, et cetera, et cetera with my belief in duty & value as a human being. I mean you've got to be a hard SOB in a hostile fire zone, especialy if you're leading. Doesn't mean you're a tyrant or lack a sense of humor & compassion, but we shut off so many things "out there" & probably spend the rest of our lives recycling it when we're not there. After a while a dude may get to the point where he doesn't feel right again until he's "out there" again, until at some point he verges on becoming the menace for which he was sent to overcome.

Anyway, I have no answers & avoid the VA. What gets me by is solitude, my current academic studies, and an occasional date to work out the kinks. Beyond that I'd like to climb to the summit of K2, step foot on Antarctica, and participate in an Eco Challenge (not sure if Eco Challenge still occurs, however). Simple and not-so-simple stuff, but I find that it keeps me focused & content.

Take care, man. Really mean that, too.



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 07:32 PM
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reply to post by usmc0311
 


Please check this out, maybe they can help: www.gulfwarvets.com...

And thank you for your service. I'm so sorry for all you've had to endure.



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 08:21 PM
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Originally posted by Ameilia
I hope in your future your problems get sorted out and you find someone to treat you LIKE A MAN as you deserve to be treated.

Your family blows for not supporting you in your quest to get help. I hope they will see the light and change their ways.


Thank you for your kind words. Much appreciated tonight.



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 08:31 PM
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Originally posted by speculativeoptimist
reply to post by usmc0311
 

Sorry to hear of your woes usmc0311, and your story is one that only seems insulted by the lack of treatment from the VA. What have others in your situation done? The DU issue is one the officials are trying to stay away from I imagine, because acknowledging it and offering treatment would be an admission of putting soldiers in harms way, and I don't mean the enemy's. I would inquire to the lady about what her details are in determining a DU case. Is she using a standard of some sorts, or just generalizing?

I did not serve, but as an observer over the years I have seen programs where troubled vets got involved or started groups to support other vets. Maybe this kind of work could not only help yourself and others, but it could be an exercise in dealing with the situation(s).

It is too bad that your family does not understand or know how to help. I don't know about ignoring them, but maybe avoiding certain subjects could help. Not that that is right, but I hate to see a family divided, especially by such circumstances. Have you ever considered a group/family therapy meeting? Maybe that could bring awareness to the table and get everyone on the same page, to some degree.

Hey man, a dog sounds like a great idea and your little girl will continue to bring blessings. So keep your head up , and know that you have family-ish friends here to give a listen. I hope some of our vet members can help too.
If ya need an ear sometime, shoot me a U2.

Peace,
spec

ETA: I was trying to think of something to momentarily cheer ya up and while it may be superficial, I find that connecting with nature sometimes offers relief. For you..
edit on 4-5-2012 by speculativeoptimist because: (no reason given)


Thank you so much for that and your kind words. The beauty of this world always brings joy to my heart.



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 08:32 PM
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Originally posted by artistpoet
Just read your post.
I feel for you my friend
I admire you honest openness
I am no soldier so what I have to say can only be as an outsider who has never had to face the things - the traumas you have.
Man I keep thinking of the word Pawn as in Pawn in their game.
I have read about DU being used and it disgusts me that your government would have so little regard of you.
And yes the public is brainwashed with propaganda and labels soldiers are crazy who have the courage to tell it like it is
I hope things do get better for you - I really do



Thank you for your kind words. Things have just been horse puckey lately.



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 08:35 PM
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Originally posted by Doalrite
Thankyou for your service to your country and supporting the citizens, even if we have a tryanical government.

I'm a vet as well however never had to deal with what you did... Navy.

I do however have my views on the wars and the world and none of my family will even listen to me, most would just rather ignore the whole thing because it "depresses" them... which makes me mad as hell.

I have personal marine and army friends I've met and kept since coming home who are in the frame of mind as me as well.. we don't understand why people just don't care about what is really is going on. The PTSD is a very real and serious thing but alot of that comes from the fact that we are fighting an honorless war. A few years ago I almost witnessed my army friend blow his brains out... after I watched him break down and cry, he told me of some of the things that he had done. Which I have no doubt truely happend yet it completely sickens me.

I believe you need to refocus on your goals, no matter what they be. Most vets I know are becoming very political because thats where the problems lie.

Don't stress to bad about your family, most americans are sheep and are terrified of everything. Most would rather die in old age in a diaper alone then die now for something noble.

We can be friends.


Thank you so much. I am going to put alot of effort into helping other vets. I think together us vets can make a difference,



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 08:37 PM
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Originally posted by AlomaRa
reply to post by usmc0311
 


I am so sorry you are dealing with this. It is absolutely a big fail on our fed gov that they treat so many in this manner. DU is some nasty stuff. You need someone to talk to, that is supportive, you can pm me anytime. Or message. This is just one of the oh so many fails that are happening right now.


Thank you I will keep that it mind. Just one tough day after another it seems.



posted on May, 4 2012 @ 08:39 PM
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Originally posted by CALGARIAN
My friend Jeff, from Maine, was on his 4th tour and day 1 he got shot in the side of his neck....
Ruined for life.

4 GODD*MN TOURS!!!!!!



Sorry to hear about that. War is just inhuane, no other way to put it. And I'm what they would call a hard charger but still war is not ok.





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