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No one to reach out to today...

Discussion in 'Military & Emergency Services' started by Virtues, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. Rugby02

    Rugby02 Active Member

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    @Frieda, @Florian7051 thank you for your well-penned emails. It really hit the nail on the head about how much we can best support each other, be real with ourselves AND with others. We vets simply must stick together because that's the only way we're going to effectively reduce that 22 to 21 or better. I am so grateful to have you on board---and be there for you too---because when it's dark, it's really dark. Florian's initial email really opened my eyes to how significantly he was impacted when he said "I guess I feel like I failed him." Omg,....then you immediately reached out to me. Fall down six times, stand up seven.

    Years ago, I tried making a call list every month to leave a message on vet's answering machine just to say hello but I got out of the habit and had isolated too much to continue to do so. One vet did tell me that it helped her a lot just to know that occasionally my voice was on her answering machine, checking in to show that someone out there cared. I wonder how to create that again?

    On a dark but humorous note, when I get into the worst of it, I sit in my meditation room and have decreed that nobody to my knowledge ever harms themselves while in a meditation room. (Please leave me with this surreal belief because it because it makes me laugh even at the worst of it.) Wouldn't that be an abject Unsat on a Sitrep? Yeah,...my thoughts too.

    Thanks to all for the candor, clarity and support.
     
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  3. Virtues

    Virtues Well-Known Member

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    I haven't posted on here in a while, maybe there is a reason I came back to this peer support site. The recent events threw into sharp relief that not only do I still need help, but also that I can provide help to others. I wish I could go back and change the past, but that is not an option. A friend once told me: "if you can change a person, you can change a home, if you can change a home, you can change a community, if you can change a community, you can change a city, if you can change a city, you can change a county, if you can change a county, you can change a state, if you can change a state, you can change the country, if you can change the country, you can change the world"

    I want to have a positive impact on the world, one encounter at a time...

    On a positive note I thought you would all be pleased to know that I got approved for a service dog today. The wait list is long, but I am in the program. My doc thinks this will help with some of the co-dependency issues I have with my youngest daughter as well as my anxiety.
     
    Freida, ladee, LuckiLee and 1 other person like this.
  4. ladee

    ladee All the hard work has been worth it ! Premium Member

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    So good to hear about your service dog @Florian7051 !!! This will help in many ways, you won't feel so alone trying to understand what is going on with your body and mind... very happy to hear this news.

    Do have to admit, the timing of your post and @Rugby02 reaching out... was more than a coincidence.... you are missed here. Hope it is some incentive to let us hear from you more often.... Hope things start to improve soon... hope to see you around, and hope to hear about your new dog.... glad to see you!!
     
    Rugby02, Freida and scout86 like this.
  5. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

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    I am so excited for you! My SD was one of the best things to ever happen for me..

    If you are on Facebook check out BattleForged Nation, Battles in Distress and Disgruntled Vets. Then if you are really up for some vet crap check out the closed group Disgruntled Vets Underground. I'm a member of all 3 and they all have the same mission -- lower the 22. Battleforged and Battles in Distress are more formal -- DVU is all about memes, fun and support
     
    ladee, scout86, Rugby02 and 1 other person like this.
  6. Rugby02

    Rugby02 Active Member

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    @Florian7051, Congratulations! These posts on this thread are truly a blessing in helping me to realize that I do have a support network and that I can also be supportive for others. For this, thank you! Also, it is with immense pleasure to know that SDs are increasing in number for all of us vets. I tell the public that if I'm going to have a medical issue that at least I got a dog to go with it and smile.

    I'm curious about the process to secure SDs in other states. I'm near Baltimore.

    The process I went through was to get a written authorization from my VA therapist, then I went to a rescue and my future SD chose me. He was a 2.5 year old mutt (Rhodesian Ridgeback x AmStaff x Australian Cattle Dog). The rescue said that my future SD had been returned a couple of times because he was too rambunctious. I opted to bail him out of jail anyway. Then we went to a trainer and it's now 3.5 years later....I keep a written authorization from my VA therapist in the car or if traveling, on my person. I went through service dog tags website for the SD vest and ID that has the SD name/photo as well as my name/cell number on it. It identifies as PTSD only but there is a veteran option ID too.

    My SD does much of what Freida's SD does plus when I'm out hiking and he's off leash, if he sees someone coming down the trail (even a lost and very innocent 3 year old) he comes up and punches his nose on my leg just to let me know that he's right there,...and the SD made me laugh when he body-blocked a first and only date with this guy who had seeming incredible credentials. "Damn! If you can't get past the dog,...." Yes, he regularly body-blocks at the VA and other places but that one scenario was just too funny. This dog sleeps with me and he literally places his body on mine during the rough nights, he's hyper vigilant and looks around every corner first plus let's me know when someone is even walking up my sidewalk. He keeps alerting at higher levels if I've triggered but most of the time I respond to his low levels so that nobody in the public realizes that I've even triggered.

    I'd love to hear stories about how others secured their SDs and their impact in our respective lives.
     
    LuckiLee, Freida, ladee and 1 other person like this.
  7. Rugby02

    Rugby02 Active Member

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    @Frieda, I looked at some of the sites you suggested to Florian7051. As a female who was a REMF from the era of Persian Gulf, Desert Storm/Shield, Panama & Bosnia I don't identify with most veteran groups. Yeah, I can tell crazy stories about not having a weapon beyond a syringe to protect myself when the Shining Path Guerrillas were on the war path, a downed airplane with an active rapist roaming freely on board (as was the rape victim in literal crises mode). My playing G-d when my patient asked me if they'd live---while I felt like I was standing ankle deep in their blood--and stating/demanding, "Yes you WILL live." (Success) Or just being present during the rattle of the agonal breath and feeling like an abject failure,...

    I'm MST from a veteran-stalker that lasted over a decade. My war zone was and on some days still is, the streets of this country. I'm still too afraid to have any sort of social media because of this bs. My SD looks around every single corner for real in my daily life because that stalker dude has literally hired people-He's financially able to do so. For instance, can you imagine sitting in Starbucks and watching two people with flash cameras walking around your car taking photos of the inside of your car? It's legal. Can you imagine having your cell phone forwarded to another cell phone with a message stating that your cell number is no longer valid and to contact the stalker directly? It's legal in Maryland because he didn't defraud me of money, (a sibling high up in another state's judicial system pressured the local prosecutor to make a case who then made that determination)....I now use a friend's business number so that if it happens again then it'll become a felony. These are my war stories,....and I haven't even touched on the MST topic and how it FUBARed my military career as I watched ALL of the other females in my squad get general (or worse) discharges. I eventually ETSd with an honorable discharge.

    I just don't get where I fit into any of these veterans groups like the ones you identified for Florian7051 which further isolates me. Any suggestions?
     
    Freida, ladee and scout86 like this.
  8. Virtues

    Virtues Well-Known Member

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    Well I haven't secured mine yet, but I've secured a place on the wait list which means I will get a dog it's just a matter of time; from what I read on the website's FAQ's the wait list is about a year. Here's how it all went down for me. I went in to do a video teleconference with the Charleston SC VA (I live in the Daytona Beach FL area). They had changed my appointment time on me from morning to afternoon and I had a Marine Corps buddy in town visiting (this is my best friend from the Corps); he was taking me out fishing in the afternoon so I had to reschedule. The DB VA wouldn't let me reschedule with them and said I needed to wait for Charleston to contact me directly. About a month went by and I never heard from them so I called and they finally scheduled with me about another month out. About a week before my appointment my doctor quit and my appointment was cancelled again. By this time you can imagine I'm starting to run low on meds. I kind of flipped my shit at this point and went to my nurse at the Psychosocial Rehabilitation and Recovery Center and asked her to get me a new doc immediately. Before I left she had refills of all my meds in the mail to me and a new doc appointed to me. I didn't know it then, but this would be the start of something really great for me. Our first appointment was booked about a week out, but I came to find out that he specialized in OIF/OEF vets. I was skeptical at first (because change makes me nervous) but when I got there we hit it off immediately. I told him which meds I wanted to ween off of and he was down for trying it. Then he asked me about my equine therapy. I told him due to circumstance I wasn't able to do it anymore and that's when he brought up the dog. He told me, you've been on every anxiety med the VA is allowed to prescribe (except for benzos which is a road I'm not willing to go down) and the only thing I've reported as helpful was the equine therapy. He asked me why after 2 years of doing it did I up and quit. I explained to him there was some financial burden that caused me to drop from the program, but that I had it squared away now, unfortunately the program had to continue on without me. That's when he started drawing parallels to dogs. He said you say the horses did this for you, a dog could do this for you; a horse did that, a dog could do that. I told him it would have to be a family decision and to give me the information and I would think about it. When I went home and talked to my wife I didn't even get the words "service dog" out of my mouth and my wife was like "YES!!! you need to do this". She had been hinting at this idea for the past couple of years and for me to finally bring it to the table was a green light. I went with the company K9's for Warriors because they are out of Jacksonville FL (not too far away from my hometown) and because they partner with Firehouse Subs and I always see their advertisements at Firehouse when I eat there so I knew of the company. The application process was long and grueling, but when I completed the application, got the prescription from my doctor, did my phone interview, they called my references, had my background check ran, at the end was a welcome phone call from a retired Marine who works in the organization. I haven't been this happy in a long time. He told me to expect a welcome letter in a couple of days with more information, so I am waiting on that. I couldn't be more excited than I am right now; I feel like I'm going to get a piece of my life back. I've really got my doc to thank for this one. I finally met a psychiatrist who was willing to cut back on the meds and prescribe an alternate form of "medication". I'll let you know how this goes over the next year or so, and how the process at the training camp goes (it's a 21 day training camp), but right now I'm just happy that my application was accepted.
     
    LuckiLee, Freida, ladee and 2 others like this.
  9. ladee

    ladee All the hard work has been worth it ! Premium Member

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    Wish we had a congratulation emoticon with confetti !!! You would be seeing this space covered with them. Great news, and even greater that you are happy and excited, that you have a Doc that 'get's it', and you have something to look forward to... CONGRATULATIONS !!
     
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  10. Virtues

    Virtues Well-Known Member

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    I will post here a little more often than I have been. The isolating has not been working out for me or anyone else for that matter. Thank you for sharing your excitement with me. It has been a long road since I've been away, and a lot has happened. It really is a shame what happened to bring me back here, but I am so glad to see familiar faces and know that you all are happy to see me.
     
    ladee, Freida, LuckiLee and 1 other person like this.
  11. Virtues

    Virtues Well-Known Member

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    I am on Facebook, I will check out these groups... I can't promise I will join, it depends on how revealing the groups are. I am very private about my PTSD on FB. I went through a period where my peers were very critical of my PTSD when I was going through my MEB process. I think I weeded them all out of my FB account (because I don't need that type of negativity in my life) but if I had to go through that again, I'm not sure how well I'd deal with it. That's one thing I didn't even consider about my SD. The first pictures to hit FB are going to shock a lot of people. There is a whole world of Marines who are unaware that I suffer from PTSD. I'm not really sure how those conversations are going to go just yet. And let's face it, with a dog that goes everywhere with me there is bound to eventually have a picture of him/her in his/her vest hit FB. I guess I'll cross that bridge when I come to it...
     
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  12. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

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    The disgruntled vets u underground is a closed group and mostly based on the dark humor that most civilians don't get. The people in it are very supportive....it's not a ..oh I have ptsd poor me thing. Some do, some dont, doesn't really matter. It's more about sticking together and not being part of th e 22. And since it's closed my "real" people can't see what I'm posting on the days I need some extra support

    @Rugby02 I get the mst thing more than I wish I did. One of SDs jobs is to go thru doors before I do looking for the shooter who is waiting to kill me because I started talking about it. I was promised a bullet in the brain if I said anything and even though it was years ago I still think it's going to happen. If this site didn't let me be anon I would never have joined because it is to dangerous

    Side note... You know you can get free mst counselling at the va?

    I also don't tell people about having ptsd....I just tell them SD is an alert dog and leave it at that. I had a hard time at first because he was a living signal that I was broken.....But I'm pretty much over that now that I've had time to work it out in my own head

    SD was a series of things that went right. Short version....found a puppy, then found out I needed a service dog. I hired a private trainer who trains service dogs for vets. She took him for a month to do the basics then we worked with her once a week for about 6 months. She would give me homework to do during the week then review us each week to see if we could do what're she assigned before moving on.

    We had to pass the AKC good citizenship test CGC Training & Testing – American Kennel Club

    And the public access test
    Public Access Test for Minimum Service Dog Behavior

    Before we could graduate.

    overall it was great...I got to keep him while we were training, it cost way less than buying one through one of the sites and I didn't have to wait the the 2 years.
     
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  13. ladee

    ladee All the hard work has been worth it ! Premium Member

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    And @Florian7051, the other side of that coin of who might have an opinion about you having a service dog is, you may pave the way for others to know it's ok to need help. Not being a PollyAnna here, just saying, sometimes others need someone they look up to, to open doors they may have wanted to walk thru, but was concerned what others would think or say... so we will hope for a good outcome... and yes, it's very good to see you back... !!
     
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