Posts Tagged ‘PTSD’


August 25, 2012

I began yesterday to say something else-it had to do with accomplishments and my lack of! I have pondered this problem about myself for all the years of my life since release from the military! And, today I have on my mind what it is I feel has pushed me to return to this blog.

I had been advised by my psychiatrist to stay away from it-but my feelings are that of abandoning a lot of work! I also was beginning to carry a lot of other problems-the weight of the VA determination on my disability claim-the constant defending of my case-all the time knowing how the attacks in barracks D had eaten away at a normal life, a sober life, a life free of  the demons of remembering. All of that took a toll.

I went off to the sea for three months with hope to try to relive what I might have had as an 18-year-old sailor-before everything went askew.

When I returned-I found myself in a hypnotic trance-able to function but limited by having the world eliminated for three months straight…understand, there was no world other than the eighteen crewmen on the ship. 72 days on the oceans-only 11 hours on actual turf!

I had thought that I would finish my book while at sea but became mesmerized by the constant attraction of the white caps of the waves-and I had fairly much concluded this blog should come to an end. The ‘break in’ and theft of all my ‘Yahoo email’ stuff had maybe pushed that idea off the edge to be certain, but in my heart is the thought of my lack of accomplishement…after all, the blog may be about me-but it is not only just about me…it is about any person who is effected by sexual trauma, military sexual trauma-or not! I only know it from my perspective but can say that I am likely accurate on many survivors feelings!

I finally got off my seat after the recent comments by the congress guy who so full of authority spoke about a topic he obviously has no clue about!  It is that kind of ignorance that pushed me back a few years ago to begin writing this blog….a DVA representative taking the initial report on my rape listened to my details as I told him of the attacks-his comment was “gee, you never think homosexuals have a reason to rape each other”-his comments made me sick, and the comments of Todd Akin are just as ignorant and evidence of how UN-educated our society and our leaders are about sexual trauma! Worse off is the case of former Idaho Senator Larry Craig! Remember him? Arrested in a Minnesota airport mens room and pled guilty for soliciting sex. This man actually has the nerve to bill our government for his defense fund….an excerpt from one news article says:

In its complaint, the FEC contends the three-term U.S. senator’s campaign account, Craig for U.S. Senate, paid at least $139,952 to the law firm Sutherland, Asbill and Brennan in Washington, D.C., and $77,032 to Kelly & Jacobson in Minnesota for legal services related to his guilty plea to disorderly conduct….HE WANTS US TO PAY FOR IT!

You see…. many of you who are sexual trauma survivors-are afraid of people like this! I AM! Worse is-to think they are ‘leaders’ and representative of our nation, but they do not know everything!

Sexual trauma is not understood! The confusion of sex being in the line of thought-somehow makes it less harmful sounding, as it is known to the normal, sexual intimacy is to a comfortable and pleasurable moment in two people’s life. Being beat up or having a knife of a gun held to your head-or stuck in your body, and having your body ripped open along with your soul…is not a pleasure-I promise! Todd Akin used a phrase that determined a rape would have to be legitimate (and all this has to do with abortion-I am not going there) and for the life of me….what is a legitimate rape?

I prove this by the statements of the DVA jerk…gee, you never think that homosexuals need to rape each other! He is only a small fleck of the ignorant…it grows-as I recall my first open discussion about my rape(s) was several years ago in the office of a local Baptist preacher, telling him of my assaults he replied that “God has forgiven you!” almost as if that should completely wash away the filth of the memory! The associate pastor of the same church admitted to me that men my age revert to homosexuality as a part of our sinful nature! The idiot has no idea! His head-and their heads-are stuck in a sand-hole….I have not been sexually active in many years-realizing my own intimate contact ability had been broken along with everything else in barracks D….and yet, with out conviction, these men relate rape as a sexual activity-and a sin on the victims part as much as it would be on the attackers. These are church leaders, supporters of nit wits like Rep.Todd Akin!

For those of you who do not know…barracks D is where my assaults took place!

Around my home are many unfinished projects! Some only just begun, some just at the slim brink of complete, but not quite done! It has always bothered me that it is this way! I was not able to finish high school, and then the military…and once my DD214 was in hand-the truth in code to notify potential employers of my conduct…jobs were never available for me-until I learned to drive long haul trucks! What jobs were available my personality and fear of others would see to it the job was temporary, it is a fact-my work history was sporadic and spotty, I’ve had more jobs than industry! I believe the unfinished projects are a part of the tail wind of PTSD, it seems normal to me to keep things unfinished…but-

This unfinished project-the hope to facilitate a change in the VA and DVA system of representing MST veterans-must continue! I am afraid that I do not know how to procede…many of the contacts I had made over the past few years are deleted when my YAHOO account was wrecked-and robbed…and as I mention over and over…my connection to the VA medical system is over-a clause in my disability statement, no more VA health care for me!

I want to welcome-even beg for-guest writers,survivors of MST-PTSD, and supporters…this is your story too-and your justice, so please write as you feel free to do so!

My hope is to try to understand who really in Washington DC is interested enough to hear us!

PEACE…and-if you are willing to contribute, post your story in the comments section and specify if you would want to post it on the blog as a headline-post! I will copy and paste it for others to read! Thank You! and-may the heavens bless you!

“I am a drunk”

July 16, 2011
right turn by jayfherron
right turn, a photo by jayfherron on Flickr.

There is no special group for us! Bill W., founding the AA has no answer for a fellow like me…AA is for alcoholics,I am a drunk! Okay…this is bound to raise some eye-brows!!

I get asked the question almost every time I visit a doctor!… “Do you drink?” …I answer (honestly) “No,I am a drunk!”

“Oh,so you do drink!”

“No, I just told you I was a drunk!”

“Then…you drink!!”

“Well no…I do not drink,I am not a drinker!! Huh?  I AM A DRUNK!!”


I usually explain it this way…I do not like to drink alcohol, as a matter of fact-I don’t even like the way it tastes! It has to be confusing , I am sure! A drinker , in my opinion, is a person who steady has a (since I never drink booze…we are talking about beer here) beer in their hands…every day,day after day! Sure…this may also fall into the category of being an alcoholic, but the fact is by being a drinker the difference comes in that I am not a drinker because I do not feel like having my body feel the agony of being hung over day after day. My body is not requiring me to do that to it! I suffer it on my own inflicting the miserable feeling I have the day after my drunk!

It begins without premeditation! I have no agenda to go and get a six or twelve pack of beer. I might pick up beers at the grocery and they may sit on my kitchen floor collecting dust with no interest from me. I do not drink every day and sometimes go for weeks or longer,no thought of drinking. If I have a beer in my hand then it is sure getting in a drunken state is on my mind-wanting to get life off of my mind.

But something triggers it! My opening my first…

I guess you could say a drinker is also someone who can stop and take a break during the heat of the day and pop open a cold beer for refreshment. And that’s it! Or maybe go to a restaurant for a nice steak dinner and have a beer to wash it down…and that’s it! I do not fit that category either!

Most likely for certain if you see me with a beer you can bet there are ten or more to back that one up! I am in the mode of wanting escape…the beer is the legal drug and fastest concentration of ‘medicine’ that can push the shit out of life and bring out the hap-hazard,I could give a shit attitude…the power and the strength of escape! I know I have escaped when the day after comes and my morning begins but calculating what all is askew and locating the empties and learning how far I went.

I don’t want to do this! I hate it! I hate it all the following day…the greatest curse of it is the feeling so badly lasts longer then the feeling of escape. I just want to escape! To forget! To kill it! To get it away from me!

Why? That is what I try to answer every time, why? I know what it is that I want to get away from. I also know that it does not free me….no matter what kind of support or personal supervisor or meetings will ever fix this! Of course…I know what it is I want to be free from.

Talking about this has been on my mind for a few weeks. I have been seeing a therapist that treats sexual trauma injured folks like us who deals (so it seems so far) in helping us…helping me to determine the joy of love in separation from sexual contact,being that individuals profess ‘love’ to us but we can’t comprehend it because of the distorting way the other half of ‘love’ was presented to us. I have to say I am not sure of how much longer the relationship with the therapist is going to go…I went in the beginning to try to stop myself from being self abusive (self-abuse is not always from drugs or drinking) and the fact that I turn 60 years old in one more week and have been absolutely alone for the past 12 years scares me!

I want to find love. I want to believe in love. But fuck all if it comes to me. I am afraid of it. And yet, I want to feel it for sure for once.

No one is ever going to understand me. And if it is the same for the other many thousands of sexual trauma survivors that we have this same problem,what a state of confusion.

It has always been suggested that when a person dies their whole life replays in the last seconds of life. That is what getting drunk does to me!

I cry so much about what it all has been!….and the confusion it all has created!

I am just telling you the truth about me! I am not a tower of strength as many say I am. It is why I write this…the truth about me! To show the damage of post traumatic stress and from the view of sexual trauma causing it.

A few years ago I attended a conference (I wrote about it here) and heard a woman speak about her own rape. Her experience was something that was so horrid I think about it often! She too has a lifetime of memories, her attacks left her blind. I am not going into the worse of what she endured. I want to find the strength that woman has found to stand up. I am perplexed in how it is managed! How can one rise up and another keep falling?

I apologize…there is not much encouragement here.

Peace…and ending with a poem I wrote in 1981:


Quitting again,

open another farewell beer,

and tell this one goodbye

how many is this? this year?

another farewell lie!

you drunken waste!

give me one more drink and lots of time to think!

Think of what? you’ve thought it all, you are trying to forget!

You’ve drunk a bottle miles tall , and have’nt finished yet.




river and stuff

February 26, 2011

river and stuff 034

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

These things are hard to understand.

The only way I can figure it is that over the past few years my mind was deeply concentrated on the final outcome of my disability claim against the VA (Veterans Administration). That concentration was apparently strong enough that it began to soften the effects of other aspects of what goes on. Last night as now for many nights,I have lost count,I slept a short while in my bed but the fury of dreams and restlessness due to pain but ended  up sitting the night out wrapped in a blanket and sitting up in a chair.

I believe what had happened was my mind was so deeply involved with getting the disability claim process behind me that the power it had consumed me with softened other sense.

I noticed a strange peace and rest began almost immediately after learning the claim was final. That has subsided. The nights have become worse for me.

My body is in pain. It has been for a number of years,but lately it has seemed more progressive in its manner of keeping me feeling bad all day. I believe that too has taken race for the blank space left behind after the claim was settled.

My dreams lately have taken a shift in size. No,that is not the right way to beginning to describe them,it more reminds me of being in one of those ‘crixmix carol’ stories Charles Dickens wrote,the one where the ghosts take old man mean out to show him what for! I am in these dreams and present as a bystander and witness. They always,always are in a prison scenario of the most hideous bizarre description. I wake from them four or five times,or more,as how can I count? I look at myself in the mirror days and seem to look so tired. I feel tired.

Nothing has changed,and nothing has improved.

Validation is what I was told the awarding of a disability would offer and likely bring.

There is some. I guess really it is the awe of the thing to have lived all these years with it (PTSD) and then to have it be made aware to yourself and to so many that it is what is wrong with me and to share with so many as why. The true validation came from inside, a Spiritual validation that I trusted faith and not a system of men.

Still are the same old things. I drink less,but that is because of my physical pain and I don’t feel like sitting up in a chair all night feeling drunk. The fears are the same. I have made and excuse each day for several why I don’t need to leave the property to go to the grocery store,or even take care of smaller errands. The anxiety is still exactly the same. I still have to prepare myself mentally for certain excursions. I hate finding myself in a place needing to pee. Restrooms are like entering a chamber of horrors for me liken it to being afraid of snakes and every restroom is a den of vipers. Each snake head is really a hand,and all hands are out to grab you.

Let me tell you the truth. I am thrilled to have the VA behind me…not as a back up,but as a past that I no longer am required to respond to. But let me also be honest, Other than being glad the process of the disability claim being over nothing different is in my head to remove the memories of barracks D and what followed.

I wish you peace.

class action re:MST

February 13, 2011

freeze dress for Florida

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

Last May I traveled to Washington DC by thinking there were meetings arranged with several Senators to discuss MST (military sexual trauma)…and there were but the companion in this was a let down and I separated from his company.
Later in the week I was introduced to Susan Burke (a Washington,DC attorney) and I wrote about the visit and was excited about her plans to file a class action lawsuit against the Department of Defense (DoD). This action takes place Tuesday this coming week.

I really have no knowledge of what the wording and the case foundation is about other than that when she explained it to me last May it sounded that the action was to hold the DoD accountable for the way rape cases are handled if they are reported to superiors and how they are followed through from that point. I assume to place the superior in a criminal position for not finding facts and convicting the criminal. Yes,if the superior officer keeps silent about a reported rape…that is a problem.

MST is only titled such because the event of a rape or sexual harassment was directly involving a fellow soldier,or superior officer,on or off the military base or station of duty. Otherwise a rape is just as devastating on the civilian side of this. Sexual trauma is a deviants assault,it happens in homes and in parks and churches and in prisons. There will never be a way to stop the evil heart of a sexual predator,so far as I can know.

It is true! There needs to be some standards changed in the military ranks beginning by making it rule number one that a rape charge should be immediately investigated to fullest extent. The time of telling the victims to hush up and get used to it should be long ended. I don’t think it is. I agree,if the superior that takes the account of the victim and puts it aside to hush it up,yes…that person should be held accountable.

Frankly I am not an authority of any kind to discuss exactly what a class action law suit is. So my words here are based on a layman’s thoughts. I have no room to be critical at all as far as the message the class action will convey towards an eventual change in the future. I am proud to know that someone is shaking the doors at the DoD about military sexual trauma.

The only problem is…the suit is limited to the past 11 years. This would exclude the Gulf war veteran,the Viet Nam war veteran and Korean war veteran and the World War veteran. I am just sad that it is so. I hope that there is something that just don’t understand about this. How many thousand of  veterans have kept silent of thier victimization over 40 or 50 or more years could benefit to be included in the acknowledgement that MST does indeed happen and there is a large number of veterans who have endured a life of silence and shame and guilt and despair that is a part of the post trauma that affects us since the day the crime took  place.

The military is a society just as any,there are all walks of life. There those who came from wealth and those who came from the mountains or the plains or the streets. There are the educated right along with many who finished school with a GED diploma. Smart folks and folks that have never seen a lawn mower. Good guys,and bad guys….leaders and followers,it is a society.  Just as much as we wish to stop crime in  the civilian society,the equivalent is in the ranks as well. There are so many parallels. As we do here in our community when a crime occurs there is an investigation and hopefully a conviction,which is a missing part of what happens in the case of MST. Mostly.

There is a difference too…as who do you tell and can that person be trusted to help. The military is divided by levels of  those you can’t speak out about,who would listen? The fear of ranks and the fraternal divisions and personality. Fear.

There needs to be an accountability.

But it goes deeper than that. A long time deeper,a long time deeper after the uniforms are folded away and civilian life returns and the nights are filled with terror in our dreams and our days are filled with anxiety and stress all  because of PTSD. It would be great if things went different in my case 41 years ago….if people heard me and took my assailants away and protected me and gave me medical care and held someone accountable. But it never happened,and I never will know if it would have helped. But it would have made some difference, it would have to.

What needs to be introduced is a new way to receive the MST veteran on the civilian side to guarantee sensitive care to the MST survivor.

An additional accountability ought to be assigned to how the MST veteran is taken care of on the VA side. The veteran will be a part of the VA system likely much longer than as a soldier and with out a doubt suffer longer than that!

Sexual trauma should never be divided into levels or lifestyles or considered a past event that would be better off forgotten,although I wish I could forget it but woke even this day with the event fresh from my dream.

Yes…the criminal needs convicting and held accountable.

 The MST veteran will be injured for a lifetime longer than a conviction will cover. There needs to be an accountability that covers the survivors life span as much as there needs to be an accountability that ensures swift and true justice.


veterans info

February 3, 2011

veterans parade

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

This information may be helpful but I need express that these items are from a layman with zero legal experience (with the exception of being a ‘back-yard barrister’) and STRONGLY advises the reader research for themselves,if anything,to build a stronger understanding of the process of filing a disability claim.

All of this information can be found in general at the VA web-site but I am following it with my own experience.

The stigma of sexual trauma attached to our military service makes this a harder process then it really should be. In my opinion the very moment any Veterans Administration official or medical caretaker l;earns that a sexual assault has occurred in the veterans life then a fine line of assistance should be opened for this veteran. A sensitive fine line! And at the end of this line is a person who understands and respects the injury of PTSD when related directly to Military Sexual Trauma! (MST)

The way the process is arranged in typical claims…folks,believe me, MST  is not in the category of a typical claim,yet the process is the same that the veteran must be sponsored by the VFW or AMvets or the DVA. In this the MST veteran is again subjected to his or her story being shared in a venue that in my knowledge has no business being offered such sensitive information about a victim of a crime.

I know this is so as recent as yesterday when I was speaking to a veteran seeking information like I am offering here…he was mostly worried about the Veterans Service Officer requesting the veteran sign a ‘power of attorney’ to the VFW to actually have control over the veterans claim process,and speaking for the veteran….gawd bless folks,that is giving up your right to speak for yourself!! I just don’t get it how we as a nation as advanced as we are is still stuck in some antique mindset (those who still think sexual trauma can’t be that bad) to be so lax with an individuals privacy!

As I explained to the veteran yesterday who was given the impression that his claim would be filed and responded to immediatly….get ready to wait!

The claim process is grueling and slow.

If you are brave enough to want to go this route my advice is that once you begin the process NEVER QUIT!

Brothers and Sisters,we were hurt in an incredibly miserable lasting way. I had no help offered to me when my rapes happened 40 years ago,the lasting residual of post traumatic stress disorder has been evidence of that…I’m still not a normal person from the events,I doubt that normal will ever be used in describing me! We were not offered any justice post-attack and living with the PTSD has not been easy for any of my family to understand,so the injury is not isolated to just destroy one.

It is a way of fighting back at those we could not defend ourselves against. That is the attitude I ended up taking…a disability had never crossed my mind in my whole life since the attacks,but when it was offered to me my mind took a different position and when the ‘battle’ to prove myself became harder the more I locked onto the fact I was NOT going to quit! It was shrugged off in 1970 and damned sure was not going to be shrugged off this time!

You can file a claim online and in private. You might as well expect an automatic denial….it will will be around two months,then the VA will send the ‘denied’ letter.

At that point the rules state you can seek legal assistance from an attorney for appeal.


Think of it this way,if you succeeded then others can too!

Believe me,the success is not in the monetary part….success is in proving your case and being acknowledged that you were injured and remain so!

Once denied find yourself an attorney that is qualified to handle VA disability claims. I have learned that the hard way,my first attorney was not,and was disqualified after my first phase of the claim was heard by a judge.

I suggest the attorney I was blessed to find! The lead attorney is a believer and has a heart for veterans like us…MST survivors. That is a double bonus to be under the wing of a believer.    Mr.Matt Hill. Trust is hard to come by for MST/ PTSD survivors. I just want to express I have a great respect for Mr.Hill,he fully hears our pain!

The country is wide and the yellow pages are filled with the names of attorneys. If you are like me the mere beginning of looking already presents a cinder-block wall…who do you choose? who can you trust? to me the choices are empty because to tell the history of my life to a stranger has yet to come easy…so,here is a name of an attorney you can believe will have a true sympathy for the trauma experienced by a MST veteran.

I hope some of this help!


rambled brain plugs…

November 28, 2010

National Cemetery-Bushnell,Florida

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

I find an interesting phenom in my head regarding the VA and my discouraged view of my local veterans hospital,that as I am distanced from the scrutiny of the VA my mind is resting from the anger and disillusioned view I have always had. Saying that does not mean that I am conceding that things have gotten better,it means that the further away from the place the less I can say anything in the dark or light,although I know there is dark.

This ‘blog’ idea was the result of my being a male survivor of sexual trauma which later became identified as ‘military sexual trauma’ by my VA therapist,and as I have learned,the phrase is across the board and is known in every VA. As a ‘victim/survivor’ I had always thought it an isolated singular incident. I had no idea there were so many more and that we are a larger group of veterans than previously recognized.

We are silent,I was silent. Sick and silent.

I had a friend when I lived in Tuckahoe (Virginia) as a teenager. My family had just moved there and the neighborhood was still under construction. Our street wasn’t even finished. Across the way was a vast forest which was swiftly being pushed away for more houses. I explored those woods. I found myself one day standing at the edge of a junk yard which was a standard part of a gas station. I think I was about 13 or 14,and there I am coming out of the woods into this junk yard and there driving a large wrecking truck was a boy my age.

The whole story about Bubba Perkins is too much to try to put into this part of this writing,but we became instant friends…except the initiation of this friendship is what I want to point out!

You have to remember that in those days we lived in a cigarette fancy era…the Marlboro cowboy was as likely a hero as Mickey Mantel was. In that region of Richmond Virginia tobacco was nearly as important as God and parents seemed less restrictive of smoking.

Bubba smoked! Bubba drove his fathers wrecker truck! Bubba was about the best kid I ever met and like those who idolize others,I idolized him.

It was moments of my coming into the edge of the junk yard and seeing this kid smoking a cig and driving this huge truck that I was invited into the garage and offered a Coke and questioned about where I came from. Nobody seemed to care that this kid was smoking,so I acted like I was a big shot and wanted a cigarette too. It would not have been my first.

All of this said to tell you that Bubba and I decided to play the game ‘chicken’ to master out who was the toughest…all of this within minutes of stepping onto the junk yard property. Of course,I acted like I was experienced in the game but had no clue what it took to play it.

Bubba put our arms together on a work bench,our wrists were side by side,and dropped a lit cigarette right in between them. The power of the hot tip of the smoking cig was burning into our arms. The test was to see who was the toughest (why we had to do that so early in meeting??) and we stood there with that thing burning into our arms. It took what seemed forever for the game to end with no losers or no winners except that we decided that being best friends would be the best result…and we were.

I had to explain the burn to explain healing.

My parents never knew that I nursed this burn spot on my wrist for nearly two years. The hole was at least 1/2 inch deep and would not scab up or heal. I still have the scar,my wrists are heavily tattooed but the spot where the scar is has been framed by the ink  because the artist said it would never heal. He noticed it right away and some 45 or 46 years later it still is obvious. That is what the scar from PTSD is like,the same scar that sexual trauma has made.

The tattoo artist said if he cut into the scar it may never heal. I kept silent to my parents about my burn,to this day I have succeeded.

If that burn had attention when I first got it the healing might have been different and perhaps the scar less obvious. I was scared as a teen to tell my folks that I was in pain,but hiding it because of the nature of where it came from.

I feel that the same thing is true about my sexual trauma experience and my post traumatic stress disorder. I believe that if things were dealt with properly when the rape had happened that my lifestyle might have gone much differently,I might have healed.

I find that a part of me has relaxed since the tension of waiting news of the disability claim to end has come. It is no longer an issue for me,the paperwork specifically notes that as a part of the decision that the VA can never require me to go through any further scrutiny and that my disability will never improve. I have no more connection with the Veterans Administration Medical Center,thus my ability to say anymore about them is diminishing. I could always remark about past experiences but would hope that always something is happening to improve but as I am absent then I have no place to focus my disagreements of the place.

I do still have the ability to write about what is wrong in the system concerning the rights other veterans who have suffered from PTSD that is directly related to MST. The issue of the disability should be separate from the usual channels of filing a disability claim. The injury and the result are different from any typical expected injury that combat or any kind of military duty could occur. It is one thing to be on a gurney with a bullet wound and years later be able to share a beer with friends and talk about the war-time wounds. We MST veterans have a black space in our military lives that we can never share openly. Post traumatic stress disorder is as equally as harmful to the ‘silent wounded’ as it is to those who have been up in the front and seen the bloodiest of combat,the fears are that great,the nightmares as terrible. The shame cannot be described as our injury should have been that of what was expected,and not as we got it.

I felt so ashamed five years ago when sitting in private with a retired gunny-sergant now a DVA counselor explaining the effects of my PTSD and how I came to be so! The shame in the fact that he did not get it,that he saw sexual-trauma as a choice in sexual activity and made suggestion that it was a homosexual act and not a case of being beaten up and forced into a urinal and forced,and forced!

I still feel the shame! Believe that the filing for a disability has not improved any of the inner damage…I am still sick from it,it should have had attention from the beginning to help it heal. Instead the tissue of the mental scar is as sensitive as the tissue of my burn scar!

I weep for those who are lost from battle. I weep for the guilt that I did not make it far enough to get there to battle. Last night I watched a documentary about ‘hill 880’ and the film had many faces of kids my age that had the sign of shock in their eyes and they interviewed several survivors through the film who described what terror was happening there. One veteran was able to travel back to the very location of this monster of a battle that lasted 77 days,hour after hour,and finally find peace with it. My eyes flooded hearing the story. The way one veteran explained how many of his best friends,the only friends, ever in his life died there,explaining how they were not child hood pal’s but that friendships so strong began in an instant in a trench at the front by the wire,unlike any friendship formed since.

Every veteran of MST that I have ever spoken to tells me of the same feelings of guilt. It is like a whole part of our life has to be turned off in certain circumstances. I could never be able to tell that I remember my best friend from a fox hole or relate how I went across the battlefield. We have a place where we cannot explain our military service because of the shame it presents for us to tell those who do not understand. I would have welcomed my injury if it came from battle.

I  can still and will fight for the rights of MST survivors.


bedside manner-VA style

August 8, 2010

My anxiety level must be soaring-it has to be the reason I am so paranoid about going anywhere…for the sake of food I finally went to the grocery store yesterday. I forgot about it being Saturday!

I spent the past two days feeling worse stress than my memory can recall. I feel like a fence post is in my throat and stuck at my chest-I am trying to breath around the post! The rest of it feels like a squeeze from some huge hand coming up from behind. Okay…I’ve known in myself something has been wrong for several years. We know these things!

I have mental health issues! I am post traumatic and with that comes anxiety and stress. I spent all day yesterday trying to justify NOT going to the store,but the crumbs here forced the task. It is just that hard-getting out the door sometimes!

There are times when simple issues become quite an ordeal for me to understand. Like the simple word ‘and’!

Recently like other times in other similar situations-I had a verbal outburst about that one word. It was at my bank…long story,and I won’t tell it all-but I was confused over the use of that word (and) on a certificate and could not settle its understanding in my head,so I blasted out at the teller. I have since apologized to her. 

If something so slight as not understanding why the use of ‘and’ can screw me up so bad one can imagine what this letter from the VA regarding my blocked arteries has done.

I wonder what they think? Send out this letter? Why not-no one knows what it means anyway!

What a strange thing to do-really! Is this how private medical care does it…send the patient off for tests and good or bad-they jot the results down in a letter (in terminology not familiar to any lay person) send it in the mail and that is that?

I wonder if the doctor that sent this letter read my record-and saw that I am PTSD and likely to be a sufferer of anxiety-stress? I wonder if any consideration is taken to think what any patient might begin to go through just thinking about it…my heart is sick? My heart is sick? My heart is sick? And with anxiety put in this…my heart is sick 100 thousand times 100 thousand!

Coronary artery disease? Hey…I had to look it up-get some reading in,learn what it is this letter is saying. No doctor has called to say this is severe. My consult date in January 2011,according to this letter. Let’s see? In January 2009 I had to call 911 rescue. The pain in my back-and the nausea I experience ALL the time hadthis time knocked me to the floor. I was taken to the ER at the Gainesville (FL) VA and from that point on I was treated like an interference and an hour later I found myself standing on the curb.

Looking up the symptoms of coronary artery disease on my own I found that the nausea I have described to them (VA) then-and in the past,and the present,and that I lose my breath when ever I simply lay down is included.

I also learned that coronary artery disease has a direct link to ‘post traumatic stress disorder’.  

My friend tells me I never have anything nice to say about the Veterans Administration Hospital.

I have never felt that I had a right to be there as a patient. My military service included just about nothing! I should have been injured in Viet Nam,or in some way connected to being a soldier-or sailor,but being raped in a detention barracks is not the honor from the legitimate wounds.

Interestingly my first knowledge that I could be a patient came from my having severe abdominal pain back in the  1970’s. I collapsed and emergency 911 was called. I was asked en route if I was a veteran…and ended up in the VA hospital ER. The doctors were ready to remove my appendix-but a nurse showed them the hardness in my belly.

From barracks D to this day-I am afraid of public restrooms! My mornings-for every day of my life,the toilet and shower are triggers/reminders. Never a day! Travel and other away from home recreation are not easy for me. The need for special time in the bathroom is an everyday chore.

The nurse back then had discovered I was impacted! Up until then I had avoided the toilet as much as I could-any interruption and I could not relax enough to go. So I quit taking a shit!

I was a patient there for over a week. They gave me something…and I had no choice. It un-packed me!

To this date-I have the blue ID card they gave me.

I have always remembered that-it was back then when everyone smoked and the ladies from the VFW came around and GAVE us cigarettes!

My next experience was about 10 years later. During the deepest times of my practice of ‘damage control’ when my self-abuse was seriously damaging-I ended up in the VA the second time. I had gone out and gotten myself attacked…like a battered wife,I needed to be touched-and the consequences put me there for nearly two weeks. Anyone then could have read my chart-it was not something I would want anyone to read. The doctor at my last consultation was so gentle about telling me what she thought would comfort me-and it was comforting. But I still was doing things out of the normal and right. And did not understand exactly why.

That was in 1982-there about…It was not until 1999 did I find myself back at the VA again.

Even today-I feel I have no right being there. It seems to me all wrong…even though countless others say I do deserve to be there. I have always ALWAYS felt that the description of my military service is documented there for any clerk to see…that is a level of treatment regulated by the level of your active duty service. Bronze Stars and Purple Hearts got the best when grunts and swabs got median care. And my military record had nothing to impress anyone with. Why should I be there?

I’m rambled off the word “and”!

And? What does this letter mean? At what level of worry should I reach? To what degree of ‘preparedness’ should I go for? Is this squeezing in my chest something that should concern me….or am I okay waiting until January 2011? After all,I’ve only been feeling this way for a few years…must not be much! After all-I am sure by now someone would have called me personally!


this news is clearer!

July 25, 2010

American flags
Originally uploaded by jayfherron


Best read what the VA writes…they can explain it better than I can:

But…just a preview:

Rule is for Veterans of any era.The new rule will apply to claims:


received by VA on or after July 13, 2010;

received before July 13, 2010 but not yet decided by a VA regional office;

appealed to the Board of Veterans’ Appeals on or after July 13, 2010;

appealed to the Board before July 13, 2010, but not yet decided by the Board; and

pending before VA on or after July 13, 2010, because the Court of Appeals for Veterans Claims vacated a Board decision and remanded for re-adjudication.

“Stressor Determinations for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder”

1. What is Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)?

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) is a condition resulting from exposure to direct or indirect threat of death, serious injury or a physical threat. The events that can cause PTSD are called “stressors” and may include natural disasters, accidents or deliberate man-made events/disasters, including war. Symptoms of PTSD can include recurrent thoughts of a traumatic event, reduced involvement in work or outside interests, emotional numbing, hyper-alertness, anxiety and irritability. The disorder can be more severe and longer lasting when the stress is human initiated action (example: war, rape, terrorism).

2. What does this final regulation do?

This final regulation liberalizes the evidentiary standard for Veterans claiming service connection for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). Under current regulations governing PTSD claims, unless the Veteran is a combat Veteran, VA adjudicators are typically required to undertake extensive record development to corroborate whether a Veteran actually experienced the claimed in-service stressor. This final rulemaking will simplify and improve the PTSD claims adjudication process by eliminating this time-consuming requirement where the claimed stressor is related to “fear of hostile military…”


on my knees so I can look up

July 22, 2010


Originally uploaded by jayfherron

This is what it is…for those that don’t know the whole story-I am writing this online journal to describe what my life as a male survivor of sexual trauma has been like. The nature of the trauma changed the way I lived my life-my gauge to say that is that I was prepared to spend my life serving in the US Navy. That life ended abruptly while I was still just fresh enlisted-18 years old.

I was made promises by the education officer on our ship-there was a program then where certain personnel could enlist for 10 years and trade for college right away and return as an officer-although something like an Ensign.

I believed in the things that were being told to me-and I was very excited.

My older brother was stationed on the same ship (I had requested that myself-in boot camp). He told me that was never going to happen,that the education officer was not telling the truth-I had no idea that it had made him jealous. He had not achieved much in his service.

I can only try to guess what happened the weekend I was arrested. I was on a liberty pass for the New Years weekend of 69-70 but had jumped the gun the night before-trying to use a round trip bus ride to spend a few hours extra with my family in Washington DC-from Norfolk VA-and got stuck in a serious snowstorm. When the bus finally made DC it was too late to try to get back to ship-but I had managed to have myself cleared by having the military liason call my ship-after all…I had a pass! And the ship’s Master at Arms told the liason I was free to go.

It was a day later my brother was sent by the ship to arrest me…I was taken back-and accusations were made based on story’s another sailor had told them. Nothing true-but I was afraid…my brother saw to it that I should be. They kept saying I was going to prison!

That night I was taken to barracks D-a detention barracks. There I was raped-and for two months led around like an object-made to do things hard to describe and repeat.

I was given an HONORABLE discharge at the end of the second month. I have never felt honor.

Over the past several years-I guess five or so…I began writing this journal to try educate as best I could that the term ‘sexual trauma’ is not only trauma to woman,but that men can be victims too.

I would never thought that I would ever write about what happened-I lived with it and all the damage that followed for almost 35 years before any one ever cared! I then began a different kind of pain-one that has taken me by surprise and has caused me to shudder at what has been another form of abuse.

My life since 1970 has been an erratic ride of alcohol and drug and sexual abuse. Sexual being the worst of it…like a battered wife who returns to the husband I went over and over to find injury on me-to repeat the life in barracks D. I don’t think I’ve ever said it this way-this openly here. The pain and disgust of it makes me sick.

I fought for years to separate from it…and at times won-quitting cocaine in the 80’s,finding freedom from drinking off and on. Both contributing to the self abuse-the abuse…and both battles-big battles with lots of work to overcome. I walked away from cocaine in the mid 80’s with the help of counseling and my two teenage sons. I have walked away from alcohol too many times…sometimes good,sometimes not.

I managed to finally find a place where I stopped. My stroke in 1998 helped more than anyone could ever imagine. No more cigerettes-no more drugs…no more drinking. That ended later in the year when an individual wanted by the authorities came in my life-and I got caught up in her case…I quit drinking for 5 years! FIVE YEARS!!!

Then one day at a routine visit to the VA….all the goodness ended!

I was asked if I was ever depressed-the standard interview…and YES by GOD-I am! And I said so…and they gave me pills to take home. The pills honestly gave me a high I can only compare to a mild psychedelic and I felt strange-and dumped them out!

I am free of drugs by then-over 12 years. Sober the longest I’ve ever been!

I explained in a letter why I dumped the pills-that I had fought sobriety for what seems forever…and the pills made me feel high. I explained about my life!

That brought an eventual response a few months later-I was scheduled to begin three years of weekly meetings with a social worker-my therapist!

During that time it was suggested that I validate my injury-the PTSD-by filing a disability complaint against the VA.

That began this blog-journal.

The ‘healing’ that was supposed to come from all of this has become more detrimental to my health than ever! I have constantly explained that my first meeting with the State of Florida DVA advocate brought insults of bigotry…he tried to suggest the rapes were homosexual behavior-and could hardly believe the men involved were not black men.

I hired a lawyer instead…only to receive a letter from the VA saying she cannot represent me-after all,she was not registered with the VA for their approval.

Eventually three years later it is ‘agreed’ that the rapes had happened-and they had disabled me with PTSD. I was given a 70% rating and at that time thought it was appropriate-after all,it happened in 1970!

Strange crazy insane thing! I say that because I am so confused!

I find myself scheduled for a new hearing-like the same one I went to two years ago-having to again prove myself….prove something that has constantly daily affected my life-and has made me who I am because I cannot escape it-and tried to live with it…HEALING? It has never happened.

I am having to defend myself. The whole matter-built up over these years-has exploded inside of me! The anxiety and the pressure of the memories intermingled with the current affairs of what this has done…an institution (the VA) has literally repeatedly offended me in trying to convince that I shall be validated!

I woke the other night (shall I say-came to?) on my knees with my face in the dirt in the woods that surrounds my house. Toxic…again! God I HATE IT…that must have been what I was saying when I was trying to look up!

these words….

July 11, 2010

American flags

Originally uploaded by jayfherron

 The following is cheating…I did not write it-just copied it from:

Here is what they are saying about the new VA PTSD rules.

New VA Regulation Eases Burden of Proving Service Connection for PTSD

A new U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs (VA) claims adjudication regulation has made it easier for certain veterans to receive disability compensation and health care for post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

PTSD is a debilitating anxiety disorder that is triggered by an extraordinarily stressful event (or “stressor”), such as combat, motor vehicle accidents and personal or sexual assaults. PTSD can become a life-long battle for not only the veteran, but his or her family and friends as well. Symptoms include uncontrolled anger, violent behavior, exaggerated startle response, flashbacks, hallucinations and blackouts. Service members and veterans with even moderate PTSD are often unable to work, go to school or have functional relationships with others. One of the scariest things about PTSD is that it can take months, years or even decades for symptoms to appear. While PTSD can be successfully treated, there is no known cure.

VA regulations require that in order to receive VA benefits for PTSD, a veteran must prove that the disorder is related to his or her military service. To prove service-connection for PTSD, there must be: (1) medical evidence of a current diagnosis of PTSD, (2) medical evidence that establishes a link between PTSD and a stressor during military service and (3) credible supporting evidence that the claimed stressor during service actually occurred.

If the veteran was in combat and the stressor is combat–related, the VA is required to accept his or her account of the in-service stressor as proof that the stressor occurred. If there is no evidence of combat, the veteran must produce military or other official documents that establish that the stressor occurred, even if the claimed stressor is combat-related.

Proving that a stressor occurred during service is often quite difficult, sometimes taking years for the VA and/or the veteran to find. Because of the backlog of pending VA PTSD claims, the VA decided to eliminate the requirement for veterans to produce credible supporting evidence of a stressor if they received a diagnosis of PTSD during service and the claimed stressor is consistent with the circumstances, conditions, or hardships of the veteran’s service. In these cases, the veteran’s description of the stressor alone will now be sufficient to establish the occurrence of the claimed in-service stressor for benefits purposes.

Without having to produce documentary evidence of the stressor, veterans with diagnoses of PTSD during service will receive their VA claims decision much faster than under the old regulations.

The new VA regulation is currently in effect, however, the VA has invited the public to comment on the relaxed evidence requirements and can still change its policy. For now, the VA will apply the new burden of proof standard to all PTSD claims for service-connection that are pending as of October 28, 2008, or that are received afterwards. Veterans with diagnoses of PTSD during service whose claims were denied before that date will not receive automatic reconsideration. Rather, they must file a new claim and specifically request considerations under the new regulation,

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