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This paragraph was taken from Mark Levy's website which is listed in Links:

'Mike, you gotta be shitting me', I said. 'Three Bronze Stars, two Purple Hearts, and they're giving you how much, thirty percent for PTSD? That ain't right, brother. You got nightmares, you got startle reflex, can't sleep with the wife, flashbacks, depression, stay to yourself, working a job beneath you; that ain't right. Appeal it, Michael. Request an increase in your rating. Maybe get fifty percent. Maybe a hundred, I don't know. But all the money in the world don't mean shit if you're just popping VA pills and what you really need is someone to talk to. That's what I don't understand. Here you are, heavy combat vet, a janitor in the VA. So they gave you a job; big fucking deal. What are they doing for you besides pills? From my experience, you meet someone you can trust, you can talk with, that buried shit starts coming up. Yeah. You'd be surprised what can happen. You cry, Michael, you cry. Or get angry, or fearful, or worrisome. But sometimes, just sometimes, the pressure inside your head goes down, it really does, don't ask me how, and even if it's just a little while, that's a whole lot better than taking those fuckin' pills the rest of your life, never knowing what's eating you up. You understand me, bro?'

Today Is National Mental Health day!

You can do your bit by remembering to send an email to an unstable friend. (Well..my job's done!)

I have no intention of telling you how to file a claim with the Veterans Administration. Thousands of Americans make a living doing that very thing. The veterans Administration exists for the soul purpose of providing earned benefits to veterans and their spouses. The Disabled veterans Administration exists for the soul purpose of making sure the Veterans Administration does its job. Each County in the State of Oregon has a Veterans Service Officer. The State has a veterans service organization. Individual cities with sufficient populations and the state have Disabled American veterans service officers. Each year millions of taxpayer dollars support thousands of Bureaucrats engaged in the process of providing earned benefits to veterans. I find this all very strange as most of the people I know Have filed their own claim because they couldn't find help. Nuff said.

It is critical that I maintain a clear separation between the veterans Administration bureaucracy and the veterans hospitals. I can't say enough bad things about the VA Bureaucracy, so I won't. The veterans hospitals are manta from God. I know of stories where they have gone the extra mile, perhaps breaking rules and calling attention to their careers. Perhaps the oath of the medical and mental professions guides them to do what is right. Perhaps this wonderful angle is the secret. Maybe I can fix the bureaucracy by sending them this angle.They would just deny the angle benefits by saying they did not recognize the connection between getting your legs blown off and alcoholism. They would tell the angle that it couldn't be service connected because it occurred 5 years after the event. The angle would reply that they were unconscious for 5 years. The VA rep would quickly claim that being unconscious was not their problem. I made all this up of course. Did you hear about the veteran who told his buddy he had found a cure for PTSD. His veteran buddy said, "don't tell me yet, I have a claim pending.

The two good things to come out of Vietnam were the 18 year old vote and the official classification of PTSD as a mental disorder. On the 18 year old vote, it seems to me that a guy who gets his legs blown off should have the right to come home and vote against the Politician who sent him there. But thats just me. The subject of PTSD will take up the rest of this page. The bottom line is: PTSD is chronic and progressive unless you do something about it. I plan to address the subject of research and processes that allow us to manage the characteristics of PTSD. Please keep in mind that I do not claim to be a shrink, however, I am small of stature.

In my personal quest for an understanding of Trauma induced behavior I had a lot of wrecks. I had some success. Ain't that the way? At one point I received one weeks training on the Mitchell model for conducting critical incident debriefings. Over the next seven years I formed a team in Eastern Oregon and trained debriefers. I conducted 50 debriefings with over 600 people receiving information on dealing with trauma. I conducted debriefings from the Columbia river to the Idaho border. I would get a call in the middle of the night. They would say,'How much',. I would say, 'no charge, when and where'. I had to stop doing the debriefings.There were to many drunk drivers making dead babies. The babies die and the drunk lives. I learned a great deal about trauma. I tell you this to point out that my experience with trauma is from a users point of view and not that of a mental health professional. Therefor, I offer you Reviews of books from professionals in the field of PTSD. These are the works that can help you manage those pesky little problems like wanting to kill authority and everyone looks like the boss. One of the Authors is the head of the severe trauma center in Boston. Another Author is the chief of psychiatry at the Boise, Idaho Veterans affairs medical center. Both these Authors have dedicated their lives to working with veterans.

I found I had to read each of these books, and many more, at least 3 times . First I had to learn the vocabulary because I am not a mental health professional. I'm a grunt. On the second do over I gained understanding, and third, I could put the pieces together and quote some of the text. The results are beginning to emerge from a body of research called; 'the decade of the brain'. This multi billion dollar project went on for more than 10 years. The research brought to light the fact that Just one traumatic event in a persons life will permanently alter neural, physicalogical, biological and chemical reactions within that person. A traumatic event will rewire the path way and go directly to the central nervous system without checking in with the brain. Enough from me. Please consider the words of these professionals. They can help you manage your life.

Faith and the history of Vietnam are critical elements in putting the pieces together. You got to believe in something, even if its nothing.

Related Links & Resources:
Carry the Guilt
Common Dreams - the truth about veterans suicide
Veterans Programs

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