It’s in….I just received a call from PHX VA and I now have an appointment schedule for mental health. Their first question was, “have you ever been seen by a mental health professional?” I had to pause and think back, no, I have never been seen by a mental health professional. Even after I came back from Iraq, they gave us a form to fill out that had questions on it. Because of my answers I was cleared and told that I was okay, but was I really okay.
Studies have shown that many affected with PTSD don’t show signs up to 3 or 5 years later. Many soldiers handle things that happen to them differently. Many are affected immediately and many think they can just handle it and move forward. That was me, death to me is a normal part of life. My mind took the death of fellow soldiers as a normal part of combat. What I have learned since then is that it is normal, but should be categorized as such. There are so many emotions that come with a death of a soldier, sadness, loss, anger, disconnect, numbness to name a few. If you don’t feel these after a death of a fellow soldier you should be asking yourself why and then seek help. That’s what I am doing now.
When I came back from Iraq one of the new things that came back with me was anxiety. When I get hot, start sweating or feel like I can’t escape the situation, my anxiety increases and gets bad. It is an affect of being cramped in a Hot Truck for hours upon hours knowing that you can’t exit the truck. I also brought back anger. For what reason I have no idea, but over the past few years my anger has been uncontrollable. The worst part is its towards my family and I have no reason for it.
I hope that this next step is a step in the right direction, gets me right with myself and is the next steps to my medical. I still won’t stop posting and fighting for my fellow Veterans, you are all not in this alone. This is why I am fighting, because I am in this alone. No Veteran should ever feel alone, especially after being in the military.
So a few hours ago I received a call from a social worker that works at the PHX VA who is part of the Iraq and Afghan group. I had been calling to setup an appointment, but couldn’t get a hold of anyone for the last week. So I went on to social media and posted and then I received a response. So I guess that the VA pays more attention or spends more time on social media sites than to phone calls. Ok….I can do that. To easy, that just shows the world that there is a struggle for Veterans.
So after a few minutes the question was asked, “Have you ever spoken to a counselor about your issues?” Why, I haven’t. The last screening I received in July I was told that I needed to see a counselor and here we are. No appointment was setup and no one contacted me. When I think about this it makes me realize what all the dead Veterans who were waiting must have been feeling. Or perhaps the suicidal Veterans who were just waiting for that appointment. Now don’t get me wrong, I completely understand they have a walk in clinic, but that’s not the point, we as Veterans want that feeling that we are important. For whatever amount of time any soldier did in the military that feeling wasn’t important because we were in the military for a purpose and once that purpose is gone it is hard to find a new purpose, especially one that is greater than serving your country. At the end of the day a Veteran just wants to know they are being taken care of or that they have a voice.
So I truly felt that my voice was heard and today out of all days I feel like my voice is getting louder. I now have an appointment with a counselor to evaluate me for PTSD and I have an appointment with a pain doctor. After 11 years of being in pain someone is going to look at me. Its like Christmas before Christmas. Its just the sad thing is my disability that I still haven’t been seen for is the reason my PTSD issues are coming back. The more pain I’m in the more I think about those days 10 years ago.
But to be serious this is just the beginning. I won’t stop until all of our voices are heard. Veterans deserve to have individual voices. Not a voice of Veterans, but voices of each soldier that served. If you want to help a Vet then here are some places to start.