2017=47 years of PTSD

river and stuff 004
Forty-seven years ago today I woke in a bunk at detention barracks D on a US Navy base on the James River-Virginia. Twenty-seven hours earlier I had been sexually traumatized.

Today is ‘new years’ day….the wee hour of early morning before the sounds of roosters. In my constant replay of this period of my life I hear the muffled sounds of sleep and snoring across the barracks…actually-my mind begins to react to waking and an inventory in my head begins; an inventory of this date-of where I am-and what surrounds me-and the thought of how I ended up in this place, now my home-my home since 1975.

The inventory is searching for the sounds…now missing excepting when I ‘hear’ them in a space only my mind occupies, also the stink of jail and a hundred men or so breathing and farting in a closed building day after day after day.

Also the fear. There is a lasting fear, an insecurity of not feeling totally safe….and-since 1975 I have lived deep in a forest on a land-bound island of sheer privacy, and yet-there is the fear.

The inventory expands when I make myself coffee-and eventually to the worse reminder, the toilet.

The toilet.

I do not require a check off sheet. I know every hard memory of he events leading up to my being taken to barracks D. I know them because huge remnants won’t even wash off in the shower. There are reminders there-too.

So…fast forward through the years of booze abuse and drug abuse and personal physical abuse….that one in particular I referred to as “damage control” because I was doing the damage-to me-and had no control; the damages were trying to relive the events on and on as if for some reason I had some other person inside of me controlling what I did with out my permission….solely to get hurt-again; for 30 some odd years I self destructed….enter the Veterans Administration Medical Center, Gainesville FL.

First thing is….I am a male. So when? When is there a time-and where is there a safe place for male rape victims to go? Who do we talk to?

For thirty-five years I kept my mouth shut-in shame-of my non-military service during an era where other kids my age where being shot at and trying to kill the enemy….not being detained in detention-FOR NOTHING!!

For all the years I had to live in silence all the time falling on my face from trying to drink the memory out of my mind.

It is still here.

The memory….they call it PTSD.

Let me be honest…all the VA wanted to do was medicate me!

That is when I had enough.

So I became an angry MST (military sexual trauma) veteran when the VA instructed me to seek validation for my ‘injury’ of post traumatic stress by sending me to my local DVA advocate to file for a disability.

Every bit of the idea confounded me…and yet I went into a world of proof of why I kept my silence in the first place!

“Gee….you never think homosexuals
need a reason to rape each other” the DVA guy said seriously.

That pretty much sealed the deal for me. Anybody that could think that-is not a person victim of this crime-and never found justice.

I began writing fiercely during the period of my filing a VA claim-hopeful to help other silent wounded to come forward and seek justice; the empowerment of many to face the VA and make the VA face the facts….MST is real and it is serious….
AND-no survivor should be handed over to a DVA advocate to further the hope for justice.
Never!

The last few years my attention to any of this was avoided-because my eventual contact with other survivors began to weigh on me. I am just a high school drop out who enlisted to serve my country. I am just a guy. I am just somebody around.
But-the injustice of it all still eats at me-on top of the memories that are everlasting. It became difficult to maintain my own sanity and then adding more of me on top of that in the words of other survivors-it became hard to assume all of the history of each experienced assault.

I still want change in the process for the silent wounded.
It should not be in the care of a DVA advocate.

The moment a veteran opens up about any sexual trauma while in military service,,,,MUST have sensitive care.
Not care from someone that concludes rape as some type of sexual misbehavior on both parts; as something humorous; as something which is the victims fault.

I am older and tired now more than ever-had a heart attack and seven hours of procedures to open an artery almost two years ago. I’m worn out. BUT-I am still pissed at the insensitive manner that the VA treated me with….and-mistreats so many others.
I hope to renew my writing and commentary  and efforts  although I have not entered a VA in over five years….I still am angry the now-still in 2017….no improvement in this has yet to enforce change.

I hope to raise that up where we can make a change; and open an easier sensitive led process to justice.

Peace017

2 Responses to “2017=47 years of PTSD”

  1. Elk Whistle Says:

    It is such a bias system. I too am a victim of PTSD twice in the military, Since I never filed a complaint back in the day (1980) when I would have been Dishonorably Discharged I just “sucked it up.? I’ve never been the same. I get VA Disability but not for MST/PTSD they gave it to me for Severe Depression (Suicidal Fixation). According to the VA Rating a veteran can’t have “multiple mental health disabilities”. But try telling that to my mind every time I have flashbacks, terrible life choices from victimization and the numerous suicide and personal self-help addictive habits and medications that I have tried. There is no cure or help for this even my religious faith can’t “fix’ it but it does allow me to somewhat cope with it or at least wake up daily.

  2. owningitlog Says:

    Jay, I had a hard time reading this. I am so sorry you experienced this horror. I’m struck that even though you are tired,you are fighting to help others. Your words make a difference, one letter at a time. Your strength is inspirational. Thank you.
    Brian Dennis

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