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I am a combat wounded Vietnam Era Veteran with a 100% service connected disability. Since 1967, when I was discharged, I have felt that I was in control of my life, living the normal life that everyone else around me did. But not until I had a near death experience in a hospital in 1996 that in reality something else was controlling me. Don't ask me what was going on but I was having a difficult time living within my "Personal World! I could not control my anger at the smallest event, I started to drive as though I had to be at the head of a line of cars, my social life disappeared as I stayed home and watched more and more TV. I just didn't want to go to the movies at all! This change came on very suddenly and its effects are still present today.
In 1995, I attended a National Convention for the Military Order of the Purple Heart at Norfolk VA. This gave me an opportunity to meet with others who had been awarded the Purple Heart and learn about the concerns of this organization. Upon my return I went into a major depression and could not account for it in any way. I was just in a "Blue Funk" all the time. My future wife insisted that I pay a visit to my family doctor to get some form of help. During our conversation the topic of the convention came up. He asked me several questions about how I was feeling, how did I react to seeing fellow human beings with lost limbs and other major battle scars, my background of military service and had I had any bad experiences during my time in the Army. The final outcome was his advice to contact the Veterans Affairs Vet Centers nearest to me in Colorado Springs to see if this might be the root of my depression (He later told me that he had suspected PTSD. At this time, I did not even know what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was but let me tell you since that time I have learned a great deal about its effect on a person's life! Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was in control! What developed for me was an anger that I could not control, depression over the loss of a real "normal" life for 30 years and the realization that I had isolated myself from the world around me and any possible "loved one."
A link to my personal experiences with the Department of Veteran Affairs may help you. You will find information on the referral to the VA by my family doctor, the intake process by a VA Vet Center, various forms of stress letters/reports based on the need for treatment for myself, and other correspondence that I have had over the years. This information will be helpful to veterans wishing to be reviewed for the Compensation and Pension (C&P) Hearing for entitlements offered by the VA [This should never be done by yourself!] Please use one of the National Service Organizations, they are there to help you. Use their knowledge to your benefit! Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), as currently defined, is caused by an overwhelming event outside the range of ordinary human experience, such as combat, a natural disaster, or a physical assault. It is also important for you to use these services because we can not remember all the details on our trauma, they can help bring it out for you.
The topics we cover include the symptoms, diagnosis, and treatment of PTSD; Recognition of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder as an anxiety disorder that produces some of the examples of the following: Anger and Depression; Isolation - "the world of PTSD", and assistance for our spouses or partners to understand what we are going through and force on them to be a part of it too!
At this time, most personnel will experience some form of Combat Stress that will go away after a short time (Thank God!), and not have PTSD! Most will adapt back to the life they had prior to combat or being in a Combat Area of Operation where combat, death in all its forms, sniper attack, or incoming mortar rounds dropping nearby were present! What I am personally concerned about are the ones who do not adapt, the ones who spent day after day in combat patrols, takes a combative's life, or was exposed to recurrent trauma! We have or are producing a New Generation of PTSD Combat Veterans!
Visit this link to a Brief Check List of PTSD Symptoms!, in a test format and see how you are doing.
A recent development that all medical discharged veterans should be made aware of is improper diagnosis by DoD reducing possible benefits...
Disclaimer: This information is for educational purposes only. Speak with your “Sick Call” medic, family doctor or Veterans Center representative if you have questions about understanding symptoms, treatment, medication or possible therapy.
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