RANGER AGAINST WAR: Lost Between the Cracks <

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Lost Between the Cracks

How can I go home
And not get blown away
Ain't nobody gonna
Steal this heart away
--When the War is Over,
John Farnham

PILE the bodies high at Austerlitz and Waterloo.

Shovel them under and let me work—

I am the grass; I cover all
--Grass, Carl Sandburg

The number of soldiers being discharged from service for having Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has increased almost 40% between 2005 and 2009 (Mental Illness Costing Military Soldiers). For now, these soldiers are lost between the cracks in their psyche:

Soldiers discharged for having both a mental and a physical disability increased 174% during the past five years from 1,397 in 2005 to 3,831 in 2009, according to the statistics.

Army Lt. Col. Rebecca Porter, an Army behavioral health official, says research shows "a clear relationship between multiple deployments and increased symptoms of anxiety, depression and PTSD."

In addition, 150,000 veterans who served in Iraq and Afghanistan have officially been diagnosed with PTSD; however, the number may be as high as 300,000. The perceived stigma attached to the diagnosis has kept many soldiers from seeking help, medical professionals say (PTSD: New Regs Will Make it Easier for Vets to Get Help.)

A recent study on violent dreams
"frequently involve episodes in which an attacker must be fought off" shows a connection with later onset of mental illness, including Alzheimers (Violent Illness May Predict Illness in Advance.) While the study did not target PTSD patients, such violent/acting out dreams are a frequent symptom of the disorder. The implications are depressing.

It is quite simple:
If our soldiers are exposed to long-term combat stress associated with stressful deployments while working for stressful organizations, then we must expect a great influx of PTSD cases. That's the good news.

The bad news is that the onset of clinical PTSD -- chronic and severe variety -- is often long-deferred, known to erupt decades after the precipitating events. So if the stats are trending up now, strap down your gear and tighten your helmet, for they will get worse as time goes on, even were the wars to stop today (which they will not.)

These men and women will be or are your co-workers, spouses and early responders. The ramifications of the damage wrought by the Phony War on Terror (PWOT ©) will ripple out for decades and generations. There is no tidy package in which to tie it up or armistice to hide behind for those who suffer war's lingering impact.

Sandburg wrote about the grass which would inexorably cover the earth's scars, but many humans will not regenerate so easily. Their grass is often a hard carapace of indifference or hostility -- a callous developed to protect the raw meat of the brain.

War does not end when the war is over.

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Blogger Peter of Lone Tree said...

US Judge OKs confession extracted by threatening suspect with rape

Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 5:44:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Serving Patriot said...

Sadly, so few of our fellow "citizens" have invested themselves in this "war" that all these being broken by the PWOT will be ignored and then jailed/walled off/ignored/whatever when their illness manifests among the unafflicted.

In my "King for a Day" moments, I'd decree mandatory service among and for broken veterans by all those who chose not to serve.


Wednesday, August 11, 2010 at 8:29:00 PM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant said...

I'd be much more worried that people who *don't* have PTSD but make various coherent yet unpopular comments will just be labeled as crazy. I own several firearms, I can see getting labeled as a "crazy vet" if I had to make an argument for why I should be allowed to keep them.

As for PTSD, if you go to war and are unaffected, then you're the crazy one. Not the guy who remains a light sleeper with a small tolerance for whiny bullshit.

A tiny percentage of Americans serve. Of those in service, a tiny fraction see combat. I doubt it's going to be a society-destroying thing (that's Obamacare! lol)

Thursday, August 12, 2010 at 1:35:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...

Granted ptsd is not a society destroying event or thing, but we as a society are not giving it due consideration, nor are we planning for the ramifications.
PTSD is however a life numbing event.
Being a light sleeper is not a ptsd symptom.

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 7:46:00 AM GMT-5  
Anonymous Grant said...

I think that you would be surprised exactly how easy it is to get a diagnosis of PTSD. It's like four questions.

In fact, just about everyone I know who has struggled with civilian life has managed to get a PTSD diagnosis and a paycheck ranging from 100-500 dollars a month, tax free, which came in very handy with the whole unemployment thing. Now, my sane, rational explanation for this is as follows:

It's hard to diagnose and even define. Rather than err on the side of conservatism, they make it easy as a way to make sure those who really need treatment get it.

Let me put my tinfoil hat on:

The diagnosis of PTSD will follow you around for life and will come in handy whenever someone wants to discredit a veteran. Like when the vet wants to buy a handgun or run for office.

I'd be curious to see a society-wide plan for the effects of it, though. For some reason, it seems like national plans never quite work out the way you think, but I'd like to know what you have in mind.

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 5:10:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...


In my world there are 5 ways to look at PTSD.

-Dept of Labor


-Social Security Disability

-Ofc Of Personnel Mgt.

-DOD, then subdivided by branch.


My answer would be to standardize these divergent views. Especially since I am so familiar with all the cracks and crevices that are ignored and are contradictory.


Friday, August 13, 2010 at 9:50:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger rangeragainstwar said...

An award of disability from any of these agencies should be recognized by all the others. It's a disgrace to make vets fight each of these agencies in succession.

This is the system today, & imho it's designed to frustrate vets incapable of defending themselves- even thru proxies. Vets must fight, for example, DVA, SSA,and any other agency that has jurisdiction over their welfare.

Usually they do this fight AFTER fighting DOD for their diagnosis.

Friday, August 13, 2010 at 10:07:00 PM GMT-5  
Blogger Jay said...

A lot of research has been done on the effects of being in prolonged chaotic and violent environments, especially on children, but the same mechanisms operate int he adult brain. If you are interested explore the website www.childtrauma.org

It is nothing peculiar to war and it is a matter of having the mind and body having to stay in a vigilant state, ready for fight or flight, for so long that it becomes a fixed habit, impossible to relax without special methods.

The basic truth involved is that what we do to others, we do to ourselves. By creating and establish violence and fear, we impose it on ourselves. By fighting them over there we will have to fight ourselves over here.

Those who return with PTSD may be relatively few, but the effects of their lives and behaviors will spread to their families and communities like the ripples from throwing a stone in a pond.

Saturday, August 14, 2010 at 10:53:00 AM GMT-5  
Blogger Lisa said...


Well-said. PTSD can affect any trauma survivor, and the brain may be irrevocably altered; we don't know. The brightest outlook calls for brain plasticity and new neural pathways. I hope for it.

Brutality of any kind is as cruel as shooting someone full of holes, and the repair, when possible, is often not as effective.

Saturday, August 14, 2010 at 7:27:00 PM GMT-5  

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