Archive for July, 2010

This news…

July 8, 2010

American flags

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

This morning an article in the New York Times says more than I will be able to say!

Read this first:

Then understand-I do not know what this means for those of us who suffer from PTSD and from our military experience…yet-our injury was not an honorable one-nor just as that which would happen in combat, we that are victim/survivors of MST are singled out…at least-not mentioned in this article. Combat related-yes. I cannot complain about that. But,it was combat I was sure to see when I enlisted-it was THE POINT! It was what I thought enlisting was about…not that I was going to be raped.

Hopefully it is good news for ALL!! They say this will be in effect as fast as Monday 7/12. Hopefully we can see myriad change from this decison….and hopefully our job here might be done!

anxiety…like a fever

July 5, 2010

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 ?