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Failures to Find Help - Military Neglect

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Michael Lake, Sep 23, 2006.

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  1. Michael Lake

    Michael Lake New Member

    I experienced potential causes and symptoms of PTSD in the army, but not for the typical reasons. Because my situation was peacetime, and resulted from stigma, bigotry, hate, and harassment by other soldiers, no one wants to listen.

    It started with the diagnosis of a mental illness, bipolar disorder. Doctors told me that I could survive the army with this medical problem. No one told me about the fear and stigma that I would suffer the following year.

    Instead of support by my unit, they punished me when I had problems relating to medicine or the growing symptoms of this mental illness. I have copies of their counseling statements on whyhope.com which show my complaints that they were ignoring medical issues.

    A year of surviving these attacks had an effect on my behavior that was worse than the bipolar disorder. I could not deny having mental health problems, so the stigma took on a life of it’s own. The memories and experiences became my new life and personality.

    Any time that I could escape and see the better side of life, something would trigger the memories. My reactions were automatic, like blind fear. It was not until 2004 that I realized my major problems seemed more like PTSD than the bipolar disorder that the VA has been treating me for.

    The problem is that my VA doctors, government leaders, and veteran organizations will not help me with my belief of having PTSD. It is almost as if they think I am only after money or that I am crazy. These problems started 15 years ago, and five years ago I had documented major problems in a civic group. (Do I go out in public and suffer problems for the fun of it?)

    It seems that the practical side of these issues gets the least attention. I would like my life back, and the ability to be accepted into society.

    Michael John Lake
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  3. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

    Welcome Michael. We hope that you find some answers here.
    Can you tell us exactly what your memories are? What actually is causing the
    fear that you describe? All of us here totally understand the fear, as we have
    felt it.

    When you first got diagnosed with biopolar disorder, what were your symptoms
    that initated you to get help? Could they have misdiagnosed you? Or, could
    you be unlucky enough to have both? Just a few questions to ponder.

    I do hope that you get the help you need.
  4. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Hi Michael,

    Welcome to the forum. Looking at the way you post, you don't write like a person with Bipolar, in that often people with Bipolar will write irratically, very fragmented, thoughts as they occur, not complete and constructive sentences.

    Nam covered the most relevant questions I was pondering also.

    One I do have for you on top of what Nam has asked above, is what do you perceive to fit "traumatic" that has occurred to you, of such a nature to think you have PTSD? I ask this because even in peace time, training and general duties, significant trauma can happen to a person, though prolonged bullying does not fit under the scope of traumatic enough to meet the criteria for PTSD.

    Don't worry about the military either, because they will never change, and they have one interest, and one interest alone, the overall being of the military, and not the individuals that make it up (contrary to popular belief).

    If you haven't already, use the PTSD Diagnosis link in my signature and tell us if you met the basic criteria... I would be interested.
  5. cdunny

    cdunny Active Member

    Welcome Micheal. Yeah it sucks that they told you that you could get by in the military with Bipolar. Its really hard to do anything in the military when your bipolar. Your up you down your all around. Thats enough in itself to give you a stigma in an orginization that prides itself on discipline and uniformity. I can understand how the tormenting was allowed to go on. Dont think that just because you didnt serve in war time that you are any less worthy of getting help. Some people are just a buch of thickheaded jerks. We are glad to have you here and hope you find the support you are looking for.

  6. GR-ass

    GR-ass Well-Known Member

    Hey Michael,
    I hope we can help some.
    basically, what CD said.
  7. Michael Lake

    Michael Lake New Member

    I am sorry that I did not reply right away. Somehow I forgot about the forum after leaving my introduction message, and re-discovered it in my favorites. (I need to remove hundreds of garbage links in my favorites so as not to loose better ones.)

    There were actually 2 major traumatic events that I suffered in the army, among the general fear of other issues like fear and discrimination for being diagnosed with bipolar disorder.

    The first event was being attacked by a much larger than myself barracks mate in AIT electronics school who sincerely acted like he was going to kill me. Before the incident I had gone to Bethesda Naval Hospital for a week to visit my dad who was treated for being an alcoholic. They had a program for family members and told me that I might have problems because of my father. I really did not want to think about his problems, or that I had any, so ACOA added an element of uncertainty to my life.

    It was the idea of ACOA and my alcoholic father which probably made me act stupid enough to be friendly to the Ass H. barracks mate. I heard that he was leaving to be married, so I tried to wish him well. Then he attacked me, put me in a bear hug, and seriously acted like he was trying to collapse my chest. Others in the barracks got him off of me and I left stunned and about ready to pass out. Someone told me that I should probably leave for a while, and I started walking. In a trance I walked into the woods for miles and hours, thinking to myself that I could not survive the army. (This was similar to how I had thought of my father when he was drinking.)

    After I eventually returned hours later, I found out that the guy who attacked me had left to be married. No one had any idea why he attacked me, other than that he did not like me for some reason. Thinking that I put it behind me, I became a distinguished graduate of the army electronics school.
    A year later I was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when I complained that I was having mood problems which I thought were related to growing up with my father being an alcoholic.

    The second major threat to my life came after another year (2 years from the first). I was sitting depressed in a barracks common area that went to 4 rooms of 3 bunks. A roommate and 3 of his friends arrived outside the common area door, asking to be let in because he forgot his key. Either the depression or lithium was making me slow, and the roommate was a real jerk about it. Drunk, they all got in my face to harass me. I got scared and went into the room locking the door. A few of them then tried climbing up to the second story window to get in.

    Afraid of what might happen, I managed to escape and ran to the company headquarters a few blocks away. I told them exactly what happened. Then my roommate and his friends arrived shortly after me, claiming that I want crazy and was threatening, etc. Though I asked for another room, I was forced to wait several days. While waiting I secretly crawled under the fence at my electronics detachment and slept in an unused storage shed. After getting a new room, my mind became worse, I missed formations, etc, received an Article 15, etc… no one gave a damn. I wanted to kill myself to escape. Eventually I was let out of the army with the claim of a non-medical personality disorder.

    The VA gave me medical help because the bipolar disorder was documented. Hints at the other events are documented in counseling statements on my WhyHope.com website.

    Currently I have started protesting in front of the local VA, as I describe on WhyHope.com. The VA and government leaders do not seem to care about truth, so protesting is my last option. The reason that I am writing so well with bipolar disorder is due to a lot of practice and a little genius. My doctors failed me so I have been learning to help myself as I can. A non-quack doctor with wisdom and perception might help me deal with the issues that still hold me back. Instead of killing myself to escape, I will risk confronting government leaders and the public about these issues until something happens. (If they don’t want me annoying them then they should show compassion for a change.)

    Michael Lake
  8. anthony

    anthony Silently Watching Founder

    Michael, I must say mate, your one determined tough cookie, and well done for standing up and being counted. It is for people such as yourself that make things happen, and that you should be recognised. I am well impressed that your corrected your output style in writing with bipolar.

    For the PTSD... yep, that could do it, because you mentioned your fear of intensity, the fear for being killed by this other person. What do you suffer in regard to symptoms from PTSD itself?
  9. Kells

    Kells Active Member

    My husband has Bi Polar Disorder (in addition to his PTSD) and when he writes, he expresses his thoughts beautifully, but in daily life, Anthony's description fits to a "t". *shrug* I suppose everyone's different
  10. Dracanon

    Dracanon New Member

    damn, I hear ya. I had a crazy roommate too in the Marines. Him and me did get along for a while in training, but later I think the stress of the place we were at made he go over the edge.

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