It’s almost Veterans Day.
We all have our struggles.
The purpose of this article is not an attempt to collect sympathy, but to promote awareness.
I appreciated an article I recently read. The premise discussed an idea that veterans sometimes attempt to “scam the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs” by trying to get compensated for things like PTSD that they may not deserve…so I wanted to comment on that idea.
I would be happy to see all veterans be compensated for their selfless service.
I admit.. the article did concern me that focusing on possible “compensation scamming” may unintentionally take attention away from the fact that an overwhelming number of veterans do not receive adequate care, have not received due compensation and are often not properly advocated for —
Instead, I would rather emphasize that Veterans who received honorable discharges from military service and who receive compensation is earned compensation— not Charity. Not a handout.
As a disabled veterans myself, I can attest it took me a long time to even admit I was struggling after military service.
I didn’t believe I was entitled to anything –I held the idea I volunteered to serve, nobody twisted my arm to do it and I accepted the risk. I knew could have died but I was just thankful I didn’t.
If anything–I felt like I was scamming if I complained because other soldiers suffered worse than me…and so did the families who will never see their soldiers again. However that does not actually mean the effect on other Veterans struggles don’t warrant recognition and thanks -especially by the VA. Many people may be perceived to be “scamming the VA” for entitlements. I , however, would rather argue that quite possibly it is the other way around…the VA and American citizens are scamming Veterans by making us think and feel that we are not entitled to compensation for the effects in the aftermath of being used as pawns in a war the government didn’t even let us finish.
I initially filed for PTSD upon exiting the Army in 2008. I was denied everything I applied for including PTSD. I was denied any service connection for any trauma or effect on my life. I was told there is no evidence the Army caused any negative effect on me. Like many Veterans I didn’t know at the time how to advocate. I tried again when I got tired of losing everyone I loved because I couldn’t figure out what was wrong with me—why I couldn’t stop scaring people away. Why I couldn’t lying to myself that was “fine”. In 2012 the claim reopened because I found an advocate after at least attempting to get help after failed efforts to save yet another failing relationship but I forgot went anywhere and closed- no evidence of any stressor that could cause anything I was experiencing they said. I continued sucking at life – 2 Multiple resignations from jobs I loved because I couldn’t cope Two divorces and heartbreaks …from two different — absolutely wonderful, smart, amazing, talented women who really did love the real me —but didn’t like and couldn’t deal with the monster inside. And how could I expect them to? I didn’t like him wait her. Then multiple resignations from my jobs I actually loved because —l couldn’t cope with the foreclosures, divorces, and relational ruin at the same time. It was also hard to deal with the slander and public accusations of racism and being a fascist for being politically involved in a candidates run for the presidency who I believed stood for veterans rights. Yes Trump. He won by the way. It also didn’t go over well when I stood up to people protesting at anti-American rallies. I’ve received Criminal accusations filed against me for supposedly spitting at a man who stalked me and chased me in the street calling me a racist and ruining this country – the accusation literally says I have white man disease —you should read it when my book comes out.
I didnt get to see my daughter born because my ex was afraid of my potential for negative emotional response at something as “emotionally triggering” as my daughters birth …because she thought I was unstable. I have had to deal with the development of Bipolar 1 diagnosis due to wreckless decisions made self-medicating with alcohol, gambling, weed and promiscuity while trying to counter depression with self-medication during relapses between divorces and lost jobs. Would you believe it doesn’t work?
I have dealt with addiction. Wreckless behavior like speeding in excess of 150 mph because of flawed thinking like, “who cares if I die it can’t be worse than this”.
2 hospitalizations In crisis recovery for inability to stop ruminating on thoughts of suicide despite the fact that o didn’t want to die- I just wanted to be happy. More diagnosis of PTSD. More delusions and paranoia that people are always out to get me or always going to leave me. One day it’s Monday…”hey look…a good day” Then Tuesday hits.
More paranoia. Are people chasing me? I’m just trying to get to inauguration. oh look I’ve found myself “Abandoned” by a “friend” in a hotel- in a city I don’t know. More paranoia. “Are people chasing me?” More accusations. “You overheard online you attention seeker!!” That’s what I’m told anyway. Oh look…a friend. But are they? How can I really know now? Now I am in Washington DC —its 2016… a senator really invited me to inauguration? Wow. Amazing. I should tell people but they think I’m lying. Im on a radio show? “They probably want to hear my story!!” Nope. They just wanted to mock me. “You’re the crazy Trump supporter traveling the country aren’t you”. “Nope, wrong guy I say.“ “I’m not crazy”. Imminent ”delusional fear” of terrorist danger at inauguration. Yeah…I’m delusional. While they burn down the limousine in front of the police …I’m the “crazy” one.
Why is the secret service following me? Oh-you must not have seen the video I recorded. “You are assaulting me” the DC police say to me…” you assaulted me because you are touching the fence and the fence is an extension of my arm” he says. I better get out of here. “Good thing my family is here with me“, I think to myself. Oh. They think I’m crazy too. “Are you on your medication?” they say. Sigh.
Jonathan we support you. The next day…they throw my stuff out of the hotel room in the hallway of My own hotel room because….because…I don’t know why. Why is the crazy guy crying in the hallway?Hmm…good thing they support me.
Ok skip ahead…have you heard of Kelly Ann Conway and Mike Pence? Or a band called, “Transform DJs” …short story…the secret service finds me by name…escorts me to then …I lead them to their concert because their tour bus got lost. Now I’m on their stage with them…in front of 2 million people at the March for life…Mike Pence is there. You don’t Believe me? Did someone tell you I had bipolar? Are you thinking these are symptomatic delusions of grandeur? I get that more than you think. Or maybe it’s PTSD? Nope. I don’t have that. Did you forget they said there’s no evidence? And it’s not service connected? Good thing I have Video of all this too. “I hope one day I get to tell my story” I think to myself. …But they don’t want to hear. They think I’m crazy.
Oh well. Fuck ‘em. Plus…they’re not all wrong.
I can’t believe I was in the front row of President Trump’s inauguration! A true historic moment and I was a part of it. But I’m still unemployed. That’s too bad. I miss my daughter. I’m going home now guys.
“I missed you so much Viviana”. And she loves me too…but I found a job —sure, it was in the arctic circle where the polar bears are and the sun only shows up 3 months a year …but it was a job and I needed one. right? Yeah. But that’s another chapter—for another day.
I’d rather focus on Arizona right now—my new home.
Need to stop thinking. Need to take a break of remembering the angry people burning the city to the ground in front of me and attacking me. Theyre not happy about our president. Uh oh …looks like “the crazy guy” was ridiculed in the news media for celebrating the win of my president in this “free country” I served. Lots of trying to get life together, lots of depression when met with opposition. I have to remember they don’t know I’m a good person. They don’t know me. “One day I’ll get to tell my story”, I think to myself again. One day….they’ll know I’m not crazy. One day…they’ll know Vets are not crazy. One day they’ll know disabilities don’t mean you’re dangerous. Maybe I can help. One day. I have to think positive.
Finally filed to reopen PTSD claim in 2018 adding my own evidence and my own written testimony and narrative since I’m 2008 even though I was seeing a psychiatrist and diagnosed for OCD and PTSD the VA WHILE still in the army post deployment to iraq in 2006/07…VA claimed not enough evidence as if they didn’t have any way to figure out I was in combat or went to the army mental health.
THIS time in 2018 the scheduled me an exam in about 4 weeks from reopening same damn PTSD claim. I received Service connection and a 70% rating for PTSD. 30 days ago after relocating to Arizona from Alaska for a new job I was out on mandatory sick leave to go to the VA for complaints of coworkers that my demeanor scared them, they think I’m too to harsh, don’t like my tone of voice, etc etc. Boss said my disability was interfering with work culture and I was moving beyond “reasonable accommodation “
So 30 days ago I requested HLR higher level review. I contested the effective date of PTSD which they put as 2018 and I contested my rating from 70 and said I deserve 100.
Just yesterday the HLR Call came in.
He informed me he could not take new evidence but Asked what I contested. I told him if the VA had originally looked into my file they would have seen my stressor was service connected because I was deployed and I was in combat and I had a army diagnosis at army mental health and was medicated. I also told them I believe the VA examiner under communicated the actual extent of my difficulties in life. I admitted it was possible I withheld some of the things and behaviors I do because I was ashamed.
The VA Higher level reviewer told me he worked with the va since 2008 and he knows how the va was so I don’t even have to tell him. He also told me if my rating doesn’t get increased to be aware of TBI you and I should apply for it. He then said that if he can get me 100% rating he will. He told me that most people ask how long it will take and he said after speaking with the battery and he has been getting things done in a couple of weeks.
I am now waiting to hear what his decision is.
If career politicians are entitled to lifelong salaries for government office service.
I personally believe ALL veterans of foreign wars who make it home alive deserve compensation for the effects of reintegrating into a civilian society in peace after being psychologically programmed to comply to the demands of a war and combat.
Any veteran seeking compensation – deserves the benefit of the doubt and no ones needs to perpetuate a narrative that veterans are crazy. Veterans came from a system which considers them —not humans—but property and tools—for missions. Missions civilians will never hear about.
If anyone scammed anyone —maybe it was the bullies, the haters, the deceivers, the enemies of truth and openness…of freedom to be honest about your struggles. Maybe the scam….is that someone is trying to pull our strings. Someone is trying to make sure our story doesn’t get told . Someone is trying to tell us all—that freedom isn’t real anymore.
I have more to tell…but it will be in my book. One day. For now…Veterans day is coming. Please honor veterans by thanking them. Maybe not the true scammers like Beau Bergdahl. You don’t remember him? The taliban who dishonored our unit, our corps, and our country by deserting his obligation and joining the taliban and was invited to the Whitehouse by Obama? …but I’m the crazy one. Berg heals disability was acknowledged. It’s 2019. Up is down and down is up.
Happy Veterans Day. 🇺🇸 We’re not crazy. We might be a little rough around the edges–but despite the fact most the ones I know are some pretty good dudes.
No one has any right to call any Veteran who received an honorable discharge crazy or a scammer —especially the government they served.
I am confident to speak for most of us that we would just like to belive that everything we did was NOT in vain and not for nothing.
I encourage you to allow Veterans Day to be a reminder to thank us for our sacrifices and remind us that you care.
We aren’t just after free meals at Golden Corral and 10 percent discounts.
Like most people, we just want to be happy.
So, Happy Veterans Day.