Below is a very frequent situation we see regarding post traumatic stress disorder and the effect it can have on the life of a veteran who served our country so honorably.
Life Before Vietnam
You grew up in a small town with your brothers and sisters. Your parents could not afford much, but you were able to survive. After graduating from high school, you may have gone straight to work or attended some college. You were in good health throughout your younger years; you weren’t overweight and you did not smoke or drink alcohol.
Life During My Military Service
Your life significantly changed when you were drafted. After basic training you were chosen for advanced training. After all of your training you were ordered to Vietnam. While serving in Vietnam you performed your duty, walking point, flank, and carrying your rifle or machine gun.
While in Vietnam you may have been involved in several firefights with the enemy. There was death and disruption everywhere. You witnessed first-hand the devastation of war on the human body. You may have witnessed your friends being killed by mortars or wounded by enemy fire.
Because of the brutality of the firefights, you were unable to immediately evacuate the wounded and dead. The well-entrenched enemy forces also suffered significant casualties and deaths. Despite the tremendous stress on you, you and your fellow soldiers held your positions with the dead and wounded right next to you. The carnage and smell of death was everywhere.
Living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
When you left Vietnam you were skin and bones, a heavy smoker, and drank alcohol. You recall being relieved to be done with that hellhole, but at the same time you were very depressed because you had lost many friends, witnessed and participated in the carnage, death and destruction of war.
When you finally got home you slept under your bed for a period of time fearing that you were still in Vietnam fighting a brutal enemy. Any loud noise would cause you to jerk or flinch. You had an extremely difficult time adjusting back to everyday life and did not immediately go back to school to complete your education.
When you did return everything had changed, the people were different, you had changed. Because of your traumatic experiences of Vietnam you could not participate in life as you had done before you were drafted and sent to Vietnam. It took you many years to stop smoking cigarettes and drinking alcohol, something that you did not do before going to Vietnam.
To survive you eventually repressed your terrible memories and experiences of Vietnam. You can’t do certain jobs because you could no longer cope with certain experiences. Those suppressed memories and experiences of Vietnam all came crashing down on you.
You have repressed your terrible memories and experiences of Vietnam for many years until now. You cannot go to movies or watch television with brutal violence depicted. When you and your wife go to a restaurant you always sit facing the door or an opening and carefully observe everyone around you. You are particularly observant of individuals of oriental descent. You avoid confrontation at all costs are quick to anger and quick to leave situations where you feel pressured.
What I have just described is PTSD or Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. According to the National Center for PTSD, 30% of all Vietnam Veterans have had post traumatic stress disorder in their lifetime.
You went to the VA to seek help for your PTSD. The representative was more interested in her personal story than in helping you with your condition. The representative told me that you had PTSD but later was informed that you had a 0% disability rating. How can you have PTSD with a 0% disability rating? That is a good question and one that we can help you answer. Just give us a call.