Post Traumatic Stress and Injustice
February 22, 2019
The letter below describing the experience of the wife of a Navy corpsman with post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) was originally posted in July 2012. Inasmuch as the situation has only grown worse, we are reposting her letter with some additional introductory comments.
By 2012 whatever we are doing in Afghanistan had been going on for eleven years and the fiasco in Iraq for nine. And while those conflicts continue, the United States is, or has poked its military into other countries like Syria, Yemen, Somalia, Libya, Bosnia, and who knows where else as well. Thus, there has been no deliverance from endless wars in this century.
Modern medicine, armor (both personal and mechanized), and prompt evacuation of wounded has kept the number of KIA relatively small in today’s conflicts. However, in large numbers troops today often survive explosions, burns, loss of limbs, accidents, and head wounds that would have been fatal in previous conflicts.
But survivors very often suffer from the same hidden psychological wounds veterans of all wars have. After 1980 this condition is now known as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Veterans also frequently suffer from blast effects and trauma involving their skull. These wounds are now referred to as Traumatic Brain Injuries (TBI). In our experience, all individuals with TBI also suffer from PTSD. Further, as veterans with PTSD/TBI age they tend to develop Chronic Traumatic Encephalopathy (CTE) and dementia at a relatively early age, so veterans of previous conflicts also compound current problems.
In a frequently-cited WW II study, Swank and Marchand determined that after sixty days of continuous combat 98% of all surviving troops became psychiatric casualties, what we now generally refer to as post traumatic stress. Interestingly, they also found that the 2% who were able to endure sustained combat were predisposed toward “aggressive psychopathic personalities,” what we would probably call psychopaths today. With endless wars and today’s all-volunteer military a new wrinkle has been added to their classic study. Any troops who are not severely wounded or killed on their current deployment are later sent back into combat again and again. Commonly, we encounter troops that have been deployed to one or more wars three or four times, and many have often gone to war(s) even more often. One Army Sgt. 1st Class we worked with was blown up seven times before he was medically retired.
Given these practices, in the military bastion of Colorado Springs with its five major military bases, the Veterans Administration and military psychiatric services have clearly been overwhelmed and are dysfunctional. As one example, to avoid large numbers of disability awards VA and Army psychiatrists were, and possibly still are diagnosing veterans with PTSD and TBI as bipolar. Bipolar disorder has been ruled non-service related and; hence, ineligible for a disability award. Note that with the release of DSM-5 a bipolar diagnosis can be made to fit about 95% of all humans.
With psychiatry coming Unhinged, practitioners reacted by throwing pills at the problems. In any number of cases we have seen veterans given prescriptions for a dozen different drugs, with no one having any idea of the interactions or combined side effects of these often dangerous drugs, e.g., Seroquel (quetiapine, but troops call it Serokill, and there are more than 10,000 lawsuits against its manufacturer); selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) like Prozac; benzodiazepines such as clonazepam; pain medicines (morphine, opioids, Percocet, hydrocodone, tramadol, etc., all of which are addictive); Ambien; and even malaria medicines like Lariam. It didn’t take long before it became evident that these drug cocktails often caused violence, suicidal ideation and suicides, and unexplained deaths; among other undesirable side effects.
Unfortunately, rather than seek effective treatment, the societal response has been to deal with these problems by arresting and jailing veterans suffering from these hidden wounds of war and the remedies given them; or withheld from them after they’ve become addicted. A careful reading of the following letter shows that every manifestation of post traumatic stress she outlines is “domestic violence” under current laws. Multiple veterans are arrested here everyday because of these insane practices.
One of the saddest things is that PTSD can be recognized in a veteran in about 10 seconds by another veteran, or someone familiar with the problem. While we provide a checklist of symptoms and manifestations, it is usually sufficient to simply ask the veteran if they are able to sleep. If not, a jail cell is contraindicated!
To the detriment of freedom and justice it is now apparent that, at least in Colorado Springs and I suspect in much of the rest of the United States, it has become a crime to serve your country if you serve in combat, are wounded, were injured or raped, or became disabled for any reason while in the military. Additionally, the collateral cost to this nation’s children, families, and marriage is incalculable!
Charles E. Corry, Ph.D., F.G.S.A.
President, Equal Justice Foundation
Dear PTSD: Letter From A Military Wife To The Condition Destroying Her Family
Originally published in Business Insider
Reproduced with permission
July. 5, 2012
Before you came into my life, I had heard rumors. Back then, no one really spoke about you unless it was in hushed whispers. No one knew for sure what you looked like — but I heard you did unspeakable things…that you crept into bed with husbands and seduced them away from their unsuspecting wives. I also heard that you drank. A lot. I heard sometimes you could be two places at once — physically in one place but mentally elsewhere. It was also said that you were a liar, home wrecker, careless and violent…that sometimes you would take your mounting anger out on walls or whatever or whomever happened to get in your way. You left shattered picture frames and broken memories in your wake. There have been songs written about you…yet they don’t even begin to do justice to just how evil you are. In fact, there has been talk of you being a murderer. I can’t say that I’m surprised. I wouldn’t put it past you. I believed those rumors and I certainly never invited you into my life.
But you came anyway.
And you were relentless.
It was four and a half years ago when you crept into our lives — an unwelcome guest. I’m not sure if you were in his med (medical) bag on the plane or if you quietly crept in through an open window one night making him awake in a state of panic…but once you came, no matter how much I begged and pleaded, you just kept finding ways back into our life.
I still can’t believe the cops were never called when you would be banging down the door just to prove you were still there, still providing him the thrilling “alive” feeling I couldn’t…At first you were just a nuisance…doing stupid things like ruining our sleep and tracking your sandy footprints all over our home, leaving shattered glasses, like a disrespectful child never cleaning up after yourself…leaving your mark to let us know you were still there…then you started turning up and interfering with his job.
Leaving us on edge…but you proved to be a stealthy, well-trained machine…incognito even. We knew you were there but no one else admitted to seeing you — some might say you were a ghost of sorts. Eventually, we thought maybe they were right — that maybe you weren’t there to stay….So we tried so many times to go on pretending we had moved on…but you are like the ex we avoided yet managed to bump into on the Fourth of July at the fireworks, causing him to hide under the nearest table so you don’t see him and have to wax nostalgia about all of your memories. Those trips down memory lane were always too much to handle anyway.
But we were wrong. And you were angry. Angry that we wished you away or that we ignored you — I’m still not sure which but you sure let us know it. Quite the elaborate production. You make quite a scene, don’t you? You followed us everywhere we went. Proof of your existence began popping up everywhere but, like us, others knew of your bad reputation and hanging out with you started to get him into trouble at work…and then at home…You once left a hole in the wall at the top of the stairs…and I read the elicit text messages between the two of you…you sure were proving all the rumors true.
The last straw was when you began attacking me for trying to pull him away from your allure…your antidepressant induced numbness…All I wanted was to go back to being a couple but everyone knows, PTSD, you’re a dirty, dirty whore. You weren’t ready to let go yet. You had greater plans…the ultimate sacrifice was number one on your list.
You wanted his life.
And you tried to take it. You probably would have won if I conceded defeat that day but, unlike you, using him for whatever thrill…I love him. So I saved his life. I’d heard you’d been violent before, or in instances like ours, cowardly, disguising yourself as miracle pills that would end the suffering you’ve caused. Some might say you are the snake to Adam and Eve. Even the experts trained to recognize you, they were so afraid of you and the implications of your existence that they concocted an elaborate cover up and sent us on our way. Maybe you are just bloody brilliant.
I’ve been reading in the news lately about how good you’ve gotten at tricking the military into believing you aren’t real and I gotta say, I’m impressed. But I’m not buying it. At all.
I’ve been talking about you, PTSD, and I have about had it with you in my life. The few bruises, the tears, the fear, the insecurity, anxiety, infidelity, deceit and the broken heart…I’m over it and I want my husband back. I bet you feel real big…that uneasy feeling you leave in the pit of my stomach never goes away anymore. Empty promises don’t ease my pain. You have even stooped so low as to bring my children into your little shenanigans and that is just crossing the line. They aren’t babies like they were when we first met. They’re perceptive. They’ve witnessed our arguments. They’ve seen how terrible you are to me but I’m strong. I’m a fighter and when it comes to my children, I always show them that…but you’re expertly trained and certainly know how to subdue your victim until they concede defeat.
This time is different, though. You have me so close to waving the white flag to protect my children…but I know once you put the pen in my hand to sign away the relationship I committed to, you will only find another home to ruin. It is for that reason that I will let you win this round.
I walked away…
No, I ran. In fact I fled. Hundreds of miles. Too tired to fight…but I’m regrouping. Preparing. Training. Filling my arsenal. More focused and driven than before. I’m sure you’ve heard the phrase that Hell hath no fury like that of a woman scorned. If you won’t go quietly into the night and leave my family be, you need to know I’ll never give up. And when you come at me again, I’ll be prepared. This time I have a ton of women who have my back. We will tell everyone what you do. I won’t let you have him.
I want him back.
And I don’t care if you have to rot in hell but you will lose. I hope you’re ready. PTSD, I hate you…
- Wife of Hospitalman 2nd Class Justin Goble, Fleet Marine Force (FMF)
- United States Navy 2003 — pending Physical Evaluation Board (PEB)
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