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So I went to my first group therapy session at the VA today.

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posted on Oct, 12 2012 @ 10:18 PM
Go Well, mefriend. Been there, done that, been to all sorts of meetings. The ones that served me best were AA because that's where I ended up. There is no set prescription for us. We, or more correctly, me, have to either get help quick or we need to find our own "bottom". Used to laugh at dumbasses we used to say couldn't find their ass with both hands and a guide dog. Then I became one of them, had no idea what my experience had done to me till 15 years later. Got the assistance, got the help. got right. GO NAVY!

posted on Oct, 13 2012 @ 12:41 AM
reply to post by SeenAlot

Did you say you tried to sit and talk with some vets at a bar and they weren't having it...

when we go out for a deink we are always open to talking to new people, as long as they don't act stupid and don't start asking us stupid questions, which is usually what happens so we kindly ask them to leave us alone.

We go to the bar to relax and to take our mind off the suck but every time someone talks with us without fail they. always start asking "how many people have you killed" even though we ingore the question and won't answer it still brings up memories that we try to forget...

our favorite type are the armchair warriors, they play Call Of Duty so they believe they are hardend soldiers that know everything about combat they feel its their duty to to teach us military tactics. ( im not even kidding ) So if they didn't want to chit chat with you it most likely was nothing about you.

posted on Oct, 13 2012 @ 09:07 AM
reply to post by ussoldier

I, under no circumstances, want to ask about your dead bodies (its not always who died) in a bar. I'm no wide eyed kid. I won't tell you about my dead. Please don't tell me about yours. Unless that is where the conversation leads. And I sure as h*ll won't be deliberate about.

I have attempted, however, joining group by going to the VA here in town. Social Worker did some research for EMT support, nice lady, but said that since I'm not a vet, she couldn't send me to places the vets meet. I've actually had great luck with the few vets I've tripped over and started "elevator chit-chat" with. Even they, tho, have yet to offer me a chair at group. Maybe I should be direct, and ask the next. I feel very isolated and left solo to work each bit out without someone to look me in the eye with real empathy.

But it's not like we walk around with a sign that says "I have PTSD and could kill you with a spoon". Do we? In fact, we have great hide in plain sight ability. we want to pretend we are just like everyone else. Some days, I stride purposefully into a place of business. As I get thru the door, there is the quick assessment of the room/building & exits, then conduct my business.

I understand why the SW didnt tell me where you are. I'd be a lurker, sitting out front with a sign "will cry for counseling". I'm sure that'll work.

posted on Oct, 13 2012 @ 11:30 AM
reply to post by usmc0311

I strongly relate with this:

status of our country and the needless wars are their biggest stressors

I think part (and I own that it may be a less significant part than I realize) of what aggravates PTSD is what I've come to think of as Joe/Jane's ethical crisis.

In relation to armed conflict I define the Joe/Jane ethical crisis as such: the expanse between what a person believes is ethical in relation to foreign policy far removed from that person's ethical beliefs.

I would not limit this definition to foreign policy only. Religious schisms may widen the expanse as well. For instance, in the case of Christianity there are Evangelicals who are not hesitant to call for bloodshed in the name of God. These folks comprise what I describe to be Torah Christians--Christians who think and/or act according to an Old Testament mindframe rather than Christians who embrace the Beatitudes of the one whom they call their savior, Christ. Moreover, Christian influences are strong in the United States. Because of these strong influences the Joe/Jane ethical crisis may be further expanded.

The expanse I refer to is a qualitative metaphor. The metaphor's chief purpose is to recognize that stress, depression, anxiety, insomnia, etc. may be related to a crisis of ethic(s) rather than brain chemistry. I don't discount that combat can be a traumatic experience, but subjectively so.

I will concede that "subjectively so" is not too different from describing the conceptual idea of my Joe/Jane ethical crisis. My point is that if someone believes that he or she is working against his or her ethical belief while in the performance and/or support of combat ops then there is a qualitative measure or standard from which to identify with others & possibly set matters right. The problem is that there seems to be no universal standard that establishes, once and for all, what is wrong and what is wrong. To (hopefully) make this point I submit that U.S. servicemembers are collectively guided by the Law of Land Warfare and their branch's values, but these guidelines are determined and/or interpreted according to political interests. Political interests are sold in such a way to have the appearance of aligning with commonly held ethics, and yet it is not always feasible or prudent to act according to a commonly held ethic during the course of a TIC (i.e. combat). To illustrate my perspective I believe it is ethically "okay" to defend against aggression. If I happen to be patrolling in, say, the Pech River Valley then I'm ethically "okay" with killing another person if he or she tries to kill me first. But I think violence is, for the most part, blind. By that I mean the intended target of my violence is probably never limited to the specific target I have in mind, but stretches out in ways I'm not even aware of. And then there is the quasi-first princple matter of why I'm even patrolling a stretch of valley that is largely independent of Kabul's government to begin with. Am I, strictly speaking, defending the people of the homeland? Are these folks in this valley responsible for the 11 Sep 01 attacks? Do I think these folks in this valley have the means & ability to stage future attacks against the homeland? Might these folks prefer that U.S. and/or Coalition forces just leave the area so they may live without threat of potential violence that our presence begets?

In private circles during private conversations it is okay to ask these questions. Out in the open, among party-line adherents (the folks who pull strings so to speak), it is about as near as you can get to religious blasphemy to ask these questions. But I am convinced that we can expect zero resolution about matters of PTSD until those folks who pull strings start evaluating outcomes according to some of these quasi-first princple questions that I've mentioned. The going trend that I most often see is that the branches seek to provide assistance by mitgating internal conflicts within parameters that do not venture toward these quasi-first principle ideas. It has become--it chiefly is a matter of coping rather than correcting.

I'll close about by saying that I think one of the most dangerous groups in the world is that part of the U.S. electorate which beligerently presses for armed conflict. They are really pressing for nothing more than semi random, indiscriminate executions. So yeah, the status of our country and needless wars are my top stressors as well.

posted on Oct, 13 2012 @ 12:25 PM
reply to post by Kovenov

I agree with most of what you are saying.

I, however, believe if you donned a US military uniform and defended your country you have MORE right to voice your opinion than those of us who didn't.

Say what you think. You are totally in charge of your ethical behaviors.

***one PTSD question

Wouldn't it be smarter to hire us out as disposable assassins?

SeenAlot over & out***

posted on Oct, 13 2012 @ 02:11 PM

Originally posted by FissionSurplus

Be aware, however, the government knows it too.

This advise is worthy of serious consideration. Yeah open up, build trust, let it out ! BS
I attended a VA self help PTSD Group. After being reassured at every meeting, what is said here, stays here. Much to my surprise, the next appointment with the Psychiatrist addressed a few of the issues I discussed at the PTSD group. Her first question was how many guns do I own and are they stored safely. This piqued my interest. I asked why she would ask me a question of this nature. Her explanation was pathetic and seemed very suspect. When I confronted her she said not to worry EVERYTHING she puts in my file on the ( Governments ) computer is private. LOL Right ! Another question, Do you have any thoughts of homicide or doing yourself harm ? In group I mentioned how I wouldn't mind doing a few of my alleged representatives. If I was inclined to do so I certainly would not discuss it with strangers. Keep in mind that I'd been seeing her for over two years. These were not areas of interest prior to group. The VA IS the government ! I told her I no longer felt comfortable & would only meet to renew my meds. If you've been in combat and require help, get a private shrink. RP had a great idea let disabled vets get a personal physician and the gov will pick up the tab. But, for whatever it's worth, I wish you well with the group thing. Just my experience, yours may differ.

posted on Oct, 14 2012 @ 04:23 AM
I often wonder how soldiers from other countries deal with war.
Especially those on the receiving end. Where does an Iraqi vet go, for example?
How must it feel to lose your country?

posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 01:07 AM
Ive always felt alienated at the va especially after all their screening questions that was more like suicide interrogations I'm glad you found use there to me I tend to avoid the VA I hate being asked if I feel angry sometimes and i say yes and they say how angry about what all to get my teeth cleaned I have since got a private dentist I have never felt comfortable there but I suppose if there is one that is good to go then good to go comrade

posted on Oct, 15 2012 @ 10:13 PM
I haven't been to war nor have I been in the Army (well not in this life) but I have suffered PTSD. I had a traumatic labor with my first baby 18 yrs ago. A few days I then 'relived' it all. Completely surprised me. I didn't tell anyone but for my husband. I did see a psychiatrist who's answer was take the Vallium. I tore up the prescription.
I didn't tell him about the PTSD as I didn't know what it was then.
The second labor was fantastic. I had no pain.

I too have had sucidal thoughts since then. I even wrote my family letters.
I currently have no friends as I am too tired from stress induced illness. I have ended up in hospital twice.
I do not trust anyone and I mean anyone.
I have had thoughts of putting money away for a quick getaway.
I have a mind that I have trouble quieting and my bedtime is getting later and later, currently I am at 4am.
I am going through a tough time at the moment as my dreams are becoming more vivid and realistic. So I dread sleeping. I am remembering stuff from years ago.

I have no idea what to do about it and I don't know if there is anyone I could trust to give me help anyway.
I do not self harm. But my relationship with my husband is not good. We are more like brother and sister.

Due to loud noise from one of our neighbours I nearly put a hammer in her head, after she wreaked our front porch. I kept the door shut and the door got it instead and the wall; the holes in the plaster are still there. I had to call the police to see the mess she had done.
I think I am the type of person who self destructs before I could harm someone else though.

I wish I could get some help but I don't know what to do. I am only just holding on because I was born with a strong will. But I am getting weaker.

Thanks for listening I haven't told anyone that. Isn't the first thing an alcoholic has to do at AA is admit there is a problem. Well I think I've realised I have a problem.

posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 07:58 AM
reply to post by AriesJedi

That's the thing about PTSD, many get it during war, but many get it from other traumas suffered, and what constitutes "trauma" to one person is not the same as "trauma" to another person. I think it has to do with a multitude of factors causing it, cheif among them being a indivduals own level of sensitivity to situations. but the effects are just as crippling no matter what the cause.

It ticks me off when people hear about a persons "traumas" and they say "get over it" and act like it is no big deal. If it is causing you suffering, it IS a big deal! And no one with half a heart should belittle your feelings and thoughts.

As far as meds, I think they have their place, but nothing helps like talking to others who are compassionate and non judgmental. I too had a very traumatic pregnancy and labor, it still haunts me sometimes, but I talk about it to those I can trust! Those who have went through similar experiences and it helps very much.

I think childbirth can be one of the most traumatic events in a woman's life, but it is taboo to discuss this in our society, so many women are left in the dark, it is not all baby booties and flower bouquets at the hospital! Try to find others that understand, even if it is someone like me here on ats. I won't dismiss your thoughts or tell you to "get over it" because I know how it feels to think no one understands.


posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 05:30 PM
reply to post by Mijamija

I didn't realise until I read this thread and writting the post how much I am still affected. I wanted to tell the thread about the other things that has happened to me but I know this is read by anyone, so I can't be totally free about everything. But it is affecting me and my family. I was actually crying when I was writting the post but it was carthartic.

Thankyou Op, for the thread.

posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 05:55 PM
reply to post by AriesJedi

I'm honestly so sorry to hear about your pain and difficulties. Even though the causes for mine are different, much of what you say could have come from my own hand. It reads a lot like my own story.

Maybe some of my experiences might help you.

Regarding the racing thoughts? I wish I had an answer for you. But after 28 years I still haven't found a way to slow them down. The only thing I've been able to do is to sleep irregularly. I don't do 16 hour days. I do days that last between 24 and 40 hours, depending upon what is expected of me in the real world.

For background noise I have found that white noise helps. You can purchase a white noise generating machine, but I've discovered that I prefer to simply take the antenna off of a radio and tune it until I find pure static. Turn that up until you find a balance between the external and internal noises. It really helps.

As far as PTSD medications go? I think I've already stated in this thread, I do take a benzo for anxiety, but cycle them so that addiction is not a prevalent danger. I also have, after years of searching, apparently found the correct antidepressant for my body chemistry. It was a rough road to find it, but I am eternally grateful that I did so. It is a great help. It allows me to avoid the extremes, but doesn't numb them out terribly. It's like having a few extra moments of reaction time to emotional stimuli - and that makes all of the difference when paired with a self-awareness sufficient to see the bad reactions coming. It, for lack of a better word, gives me a chance to duck.

I think the most important thing to know is that you aren't the only one. There are a lot of us out here fighting the same battle - and we're all finding tricks to win as many of the skirmishes as we can. I've found a lot of comfort in the act of learning to look forward. No matter dark my world gets, I am always forcing myself to focus upon the end of the tunnel and trying to see the light. The light always comes. The darkness never lasts forever.

And the trust? I don't know if that's universal or not. But I don't trust people either. In fact they scare me to death. I have no fear of violence or aggression. I fear judgment and rejection. It's nearly impossible to let people in. So far that's not worked out greatly for me, but I keep forcing myself to get back on the horse - simply because giving up would feel like giving in. Surrender is not an option.

The fact that you've written about it is a great first step. If you haven't done so yet, maybe you might consider picking a person in your real life, and letting them in just a hair. Share just a little bit with someone you think might be at least civil about it. If that works, try sharing a bit more. The more you open up about it, the less ownership it has over you.

If you ( or anyone else in this thread for that matter ) ever needs to just unload, my inbox is always here. And if you simply put "Venting - do not even reply" or some such in the message... I will honor that. Sometimes getting it out - the good, the bad, and the things you can't bring yourself to say... these can be the keys that unlock the doors.


posted on Oct, 16 2012 @ 07:33 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

Heff, have you ever thought of being a counselor or therapist. I think you would be good at it. You seem to enjoy elping others in pain and you are going through the pain and suffering like them. You would be helping them and yourself at the same time cause I don't know about you but the feeling I get from helping someone in need is better then any drug, the feeling is like after sleeping with a beautiful girl. Haha

Anyway I can't do the white noise thing, it makes me start thinking of everything I've done wrong in my life and the what ifs. Being in a room with complete silence does the same, I always have to be occupied whether watching tv, youtube, reading, or going on here. If I watch tv I can't watch some things like police shows, news, movies about the military/war(even if its us fighting aliens i.e. Battle Los Angeles) I still haven't been able to finish watching Hurt Locker, I heard its stupid so idc.

I actually fear taking a shower because I have no distractions, its just me and my thoughts. I tried playing music while taking a shower but that just makes me start thinking of my wife. I cant use the bathroom unless I have my phone so I can watch youtube or come here to keep me distracted. Falling asleep is the worst, if it wasnt for Spongebob, family guy, southpark, futurama and sleeping pills I would never fall asleep. Sleep is a double edge sword cause I know once I fall asleep soon come the dreams and nightmares. The dreams about death and war I can deal with but when I dream about my wife is another story, its a cruel joke waking up with a smile then soon realizing its not real and shes not laying beside me.

Well I got to go, talking about this drains me and makes my heart feel weird, it feels like its skipping beats or like its getting electrocuted. Thank you Heff for being there for everyone

posted on Oct, 17 2012 @ 10:33 PM
Some semi-intelligent guy said once:A rich man goes to college,a poor man goes to work....But sometimes a poor guy can't find a job other than the military...

I was in from 1981 to 1984,and it was that or be homeless.

I saw and did some pretty brutal,and inhuman things during those years.I probably woulda still been in till 1994 if I hadn't ruined my leg in a jump,but.....

Good luck getting inside your own head,be careful,it be a war zone in there sometimes.

Just try to take comfort in knowing that your issues were not your fault.

A smart guy surrounded by generic food cans once said:"It's not my fault,I'm a product of my environment".

Please pardon my rambling,.....

edit on 17-10-2012 by MyHappyDogShiner because: (no reason given)

posted on Oct, 18 2012 @ 01:22 AM
Talking it out is actually a great "reality check" from the mantra that is being broadcast by media (newspaper, tv, radio, etc);
It connects the thinker with the actual, physical world, and creates an "Oh yeah" moment.

Of course, keep in mind that one purpose of some of these stressors is to create or exacerbate mental anxiety. A healthy community is an independent one

posted on Oct, 18 2012 @ 09:25 PM
So I went to my second session yesterday and I came out of it very frustrated. They wanted to discuss what is known as stuck points. In other words; what is preventing us from fully recovering. Everyone in the group including the new member (#7) had the corrupt government as their #1 stuckpoint. The doctor and student who run the group seemed very uncomfortable with what we all had to say. We were rudely interupted when discussing the issue with the let's stay on track verbage being thrown out there. It was like being moderated by grumpy ats mods.

They seem to only want to stick with what is in their books and I don;t think they were ready for what we had to say. The Vietnam vets spoke up about Agent Orange and the problems due to it. Man do I really feel bad for those guys. When I see them and hear what they have to say I see my future due to the exposures we had in Iraq. The doctor also did not seem to like the fact that I was taking nots as I am writing a report about this.

Another member in the group brought up the matter of confidentiality and who will have acess to their notes and they tried to stray away from the subject as if it did not matter. I have decided to not only use this group as potential therapy but as an experiment as well. I will divulge more on that towards the end of the group but I think it will peak the interest of My fellow ATS members.

Anyway that's just an update. I am keeping a positive mind and like the other group members very much so far. I plan to update this thread at least once a week with new info so if you are interested there will be more coming. I hope that by maybe sharing my experience here it may help othersa who are in a similar postion.

Thank you to all who have replied to this thread. I have not had time to respond to every post so if I missed a question or if anyone has thoughts or questions feel free to post away. Thanks ya'll.

Semper Fi.

posted on Oct, 26 2012 @ 09:37 PM
reply to post by Hefficide

Thanks Heff.
Even talking to you guys about it has actually helped a lot. I do feel better, (like a volcano has blown and there's not so much pressure.)
As soon as I have someone to talk to I will share.

I can't talk to my hubby as he is already seeing a counsellor for stress and he got told he will made redundant this week.
I can't talk to my 18yrs old as she will think she is the cause of my stress and that will hurt her.
My sister isn't talking to me, as she is trying to get a date and is a bit jealous that I have a hubby and kids.
My mum died before I got married and my dad is an ex soldier who doesn't talk about feelings.
No friends (not my fault)

Not excuses but my life is what it is.

I did read you should find out what destresses you and I wrote them down for me, and I will share that;
Ice cream.
Apple pie.
Coffee drink from Marks and Spencers.
Playing the flute (I used to be in the London Schools Concert Band and then orchestra.)
Listening to flute music.
Crochet and knitting. (esp, hat scarves and gloves for my beloved.)
DIY and woodwork. (I am a weird
Reading books Non fiction mainly.
Stroking the fur on my 17 pets.
Solving metal puzzles. (well it releases stress when I solve it.)
Watching musicals.
Singing tunes I like. (Used to be in a choir)
Canoeing trips ( my favourite) when I am well enough. (Potassium deficiency)
Camping when it is nice weather.

Now all of you go and make a list of what makes you destress and feel joy.
And maybe share it with us because we can always use more ideas.

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