anxiety…like a fever

self portrait



Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Tomorrow is almost here-now…I’ve known it was coming for several weeks-plenty of time to prepare,and now it is here. 

My anxiety is in over-drive! This is not a message of healing-or hope…I spent all of yesterday in my own world of detox after spending the last few days trying to remember that a beer bottle gallons tall is never going to eradicate anything,but was too drunk to recollect that I already knew that…or maybe I just got to the point that I no longer cared. 

For the past week-address in hand,I have been planning a preliminary drive to Orlando. I am to be given a mental health evaluation and I need to locate and get a sense of the building. Every day this week I began the day with full intentions. Then I get the invisible door shut in my face…things in my head keep giving me excuses and later departure times and more excuses until I decide that it is too late. And….crack open another beer. 

Yesterday had seemed the most reasonable day….but the night before my weak energy persuaded my other energy to drink. Just like it had Friday-and I believe during the week. Im getting rubber brained now! But-yesterday I woke wondering what had happened the night before…and waking to escape a violent dream of prison. I was exhausted the moment my eyes saw daylight because my body has been working over time trying to process the alcohol and because of the effect the stress has on my physical being. I feel like an old man with emphysema,trying to catch my breath…it seems like every thought that passes by gives me the same reaction as climbing steep stairs. 

I’m supposed to be healed…validated-improved. 

I feel less than! 

What began 5 or 6 years ago (what began 40 years ago) was a plea to say to the medical people at the VA that my alcohol abuse and drug abuse had been a battle to control….so why were they giving me a drug to settle my depression? I should have left it alone…I should have just kept dumping the pills out and never say a word. 

But I told them. I told them first in a group session-a session to interview each of us (about 6 other depressed vets) as to how the pills were treating us. When it came my turn I said they made me feel high-as if I was on a psychedelic experience…and I dumped them out! 

The shit hit the fan then! First-the other guys ALL looked up and nodded in agreement. Then-the counselor removed me from the group and took me to a psychiatrist. That guy asked me two questions…”are you going to hurt anyone?” and “are you going to hurt yourself?” and then he gave me a short lecture about my not giving the med’s enough time to work. That was it! 

I went home with my next bottle…and I dumped them out!  And-I wrote a letter to the VA counselor that escorted me to the psychiatrist and explained that my bouts with drinking and my falling into personal drugs (those known as street drugs) were because of what had happened to me in barracks D-and that I had fought my battles to be sober….and then the VA wants to make me high with their own stuff? 

I need to note-this was a few years before the request I made last year for something to help me travel to see my son in Hawaii. They gave me Aprazolam…which I spoke about the other day. Another addictive drug. 

After the letter was sent-about two months went by and someone from the VA PTSD team called me and scheduled me an appointment. 

I think from that point on…I made the mistake of trusting someone-and trusting in the system. Of all of the offices I had ever been in at the VA-this one seemed for real,and genuine. 

In that office I opened up for the first time in my life-telling about being raped in barracks D and the trail of trials that life was like after. In that office for the first time in my life it seemed there was a haven of trust. 

40 years ago-the morning of the first attack,the officer I reported to who asked me what had happened laughed a chuckle and told me to “get used to it”…after all-you are in a detention barracks. 

I should have left all of this alone. First of all-I have never gotten used to it! Understand that-never have I forgotten the very first words as I entered barracks D…from the lisp of an older feminine acting man who handed me my bedding as I was processed in…”welcome to barracks D…drugs,drunks and degenerates”…I have never forgotten that-nor him…nor walking into the press of men before me-nor the choice I made to find an obscure bunk…nor the time I lay in my bunk needing to piss so badly waiting for hours until I thought everyone was asleep so it was safe….I will never forget hearing my attackers leader saying “hello mister” before I was punched-and as my pants were being yanked from me I will never forget seeing the bedding man and someone else watching through a hole in the concrete wall. I havent been able to get used to any of it…for 40 years-it still causes me dreams that scare the living daylights out of me…I lived with it hardly HARDLY! 

So-something that was supposed to validate this and make me empowered by the very fact that I stood up and reported it-again…and to a man who could not imagine that homosexuals would have a need to rape each other-when rape is not a sexual preference. Aww,gee…there were some jokes too-there was some thought from the man who I reported this too-again,that I might laugh at his jokes about me! 

That was at the Levy County (FL)DVA office-a state paid advocate. 

I wanted to escape then. But at the same time-I wanted to kick ass! But nothing has gotten better…no validation-nor am I empowered by this. 

Tomorrow I am going to yet one more stranger. A psychiatrist to whom I have no relationship with…to whom I have to tell my past over and over one more time. I am being judged one more time-to wait one more time to know…what is the verdict? I am going to this psychiatrist at the request of my attorney-who says we need to refute the conclusions of a VA psychiatrist I spent an hour with earlier this year…another stranger-another recollection of the details of my life since barracks D. Another judge! 

So now I am suffering the anxiety…my bowels are reacting grossly and so are my nerves…and I have no more excuses-I need to drive to Orlando and find this office-and sit there in its parking lot,and hypnotize myself into being strong enough to enter there tomorrow. 

Yes…I can see the validation-and the healing. NOT! 

“Get used to it” ? WHEN ? 

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4 Responses to “anxiety…like a fever”

  1. bookwitchery Says:

    Let me know how it goes, hon. Either here, as a comment, or in email if you prefer.

    Once again a bit short on words…but wanted to offer my support. You did nothing to deserve this treatment…either the assaults in the military or the mistreatment you have suffered afterward.

    You don’t get used to it. Male or female, you don’t get used to it.

    Keep hanging on, dear one.

  2. Joan Says:


    My thoughts and prayers go out to you today and everyday. You are absolutely right. We never get used to it and we never will. Part of the problem with PTSD and depression is that it attacks more than our minds – it attacks every bit of us – our bodies, our physical health, our souls. Things that seem ‘easy’ and ‘normal’ to others are enough to drive us into a state of panic.

    The VA, that is supposed to help us, still practices self-service on more than a few occasions. Standing and fighting is one of the hardest things we have to do. No matter what it feels like we are being judged and questioned.

    I know that you are strong enough to do this! You went to DC for us – alone – and stayed in strange places and went before strange faces with the greatest of love and compassion. You did all of that for strangers, like Brigid and I, people whose faces you may never see and hands you may never shake. I know that you can do this for yourself! You were so strong and brave to stand for us – God will help you now to stand for yourself!

    Blessings and Peace, Brother!


    • jayherron Says:

      I am having trouble functioning this morning!
      Thank you ALL for all of your support!
      My day yesterday was exhausting. My response to the day was to – yes,get drunk. Ahh,but the POWER of being so beaten put me in bed by 9:00 last night-I could hardly lift the bottle of beer.
      So-God is good to keep me yet.
      I don’t know how I feel about yesterday-at the shrink-the entire questioning lasted 20 minutes.
      That was it-20 minutes!!
      I told the doctor-begging he understand,not angry at him personally…but here I am (here we are) the victims,being judged one more time!
      No one ever judged my attackers-they kept on keeping on,and me…I remain the ‘guilty’ one!
      It was a-and is a horrendous experience.
      I hated yesterday-I even hated the doctor I gave 650 bucks to for 20 minutes…plus a 200 dollar fine for running a toll-by accident.
      I know I will write about it,but today seems like a muck!

      God bless you Joan…you made me cry with your comment,it was that touching!

    • jayherron Says:

      I am so thankful for persons like you-the real LIFE GOD is so great,and I am thankful for what you said…I also told what happened yesterday in the comments on my post “anxiety…like a fever”
      God Bless you Joan

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