It’s a large part of what life is about… being aware and informed…. getting all of the correct information on a subject instead of just bits and pieces of it.
Especially if you have to make a decision about something.
You need to be aware and educated and informed to make that decision and to make it well; otherwise you’re just standing at the craps table of life and hoping that snake eyes don’t come up.
I wrote a post a while back. In it there were some good links and good information; solid information about a subject which we should all be more aware and informed of and we need to be aware because it is only through widespread knowledge and education that the injustices will stop.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder
Anyone can have that diagnosis… anyone from car accident victims to witnesses of an event to rape victims to, hell, even anyone who has had their life turned on its ass for half a second.
Anyone can have that diagnosis.
And most people with that diagnosis are looked at with compassion; treated gently by society…
But there is one group where that isn’t the case.
And that fact breaks my heart.
This group of people, they put it all on the line to stand in front of the country that you call home.
It’s just been recently that those people have started actually coming out, going public, saying with strength:
Yes, I went to war. Yes I came home. Yes I am different.
And it’s just been even more recently that the stories of the discrimination that this group of people face every day have started to come to light.
But it’s not enough. Not yet. Because the discrimination is still happening. The hiding is still happening. The shame still exists. The blood is still falling.
It’s not enough.
This group… The brave, the proud, the strong.. The Military.
They signed their names on the dotted line to stand in front of the country you call home… To protect your rights and freedoms… To help others try to rise above oppression…
And they are so horribly discriminated against when they come home…. Especially if it gets out that they have four little letters attached to their personalities:
Soldiers lose their children to the Courts.
Veteran’s Affairs; the very people who are supposed to help; lose paperwork, deny claims, shut their doors if their ‘rules’ aren’t followed.
Soldiers have been denied financial compensation that they are owed.
Soldiers have been turned down for jobs that they have tried to get, that they are more than qualified for, after coming home and successfully reintegrating into society.
Soldiers have LOST jobs that they have held and performed stellarly at after it has come to light that they have PTSD.
Military files have been lost, inexplicably lost, making the claims process for the Military Member that much harder.
Honestly, the list of wrongs goes on and on and on… And it’s heartbreaking.
All because people fear the fact that the Soldiers have been trained… That they have seen the darker side of humanity… And they came home. It’s like society must punish them for coming home.
And I even know of cases where soldiers have PTSD, but they never, ever saw combat, but their PTSD is due to something they saw in their job, or worse yet, from Military Sexual Trauma, and they are still being denied everything that Combat Soldiers are being denied.
Why? Because they’re Military. They’re trained. They might be a loose cannon.
But the Civilian rape victim isn’t treated with this discrimination. Why is the Military rape victim? Where’s the justice in that?
So the Military Members hide… They hide their past… They hide their trauma… They hide their truth.
They form support groups that, if you’re Military, you have to ask to join. You hope hope you can gain admission and acceptance just to get some support from your brothers during the darkest of times. The admission process to these groups is pretty tight because there is the stigma, there is the fear.
And while we hide… While we secret away… We die at an alarming rate because the supports aren’t there.
Most of us are living meager lives because we can’t get financial compensation. Many of us are adrift in a sea of paperwork that never seems to end because Veteran’s Affairs will not listen and will not help. Many of us are watching our relationships, our friendships, our lives trickle through our fingers because people just can’t understand and would rather hold who we are and who we have become against us than stand by us and try to understand.
And we die at an alarming rate.
The US has a suicide rate of 22 Members per day. I don’t know if anyone knows for certain what the Military suicide rate is in Canada but I can tell you this, one death of one Service Member because they feel they have no supports, they have lost everything, they feel they have nothing left… That is one death too many.
One death is one too many.
I can also tell you this: In the last 6 months, I personally know of 9 Members who have taken their own lives. That’s just 6 months. And these are people that I would welcome into my home. Nine in six months. If i were to go through the 12 month total; the number would be much higher.
And those are just people that I know.
So even our suicide rate is staggering.
So now you’re sitting there; you’re reading this… this tip of the iceberg of an explanation as to some of the hard facts about the Military and PTSD… and trust me when I say this is just BARELY scratching the surface…
And you may be thinking ‘Okay, yes, there’s a problem. But what can I do?’
Educate yourself… Read everything there is to read… know what you can…
Reach out to people if you can. Yes, it is a heavy load to carry, even if it isn’t your load… but let them know that they’re not alone. Offer to be one more voice in the dark if you can.
Reach out to groups that help First Responders and the Military members. I posted a link on my last post about them. They’re a great group. But they need help too. If you can’t help financially, find out how you CAN help.
Spread the word… stop misinformation. If you see discrimination against someone happening, stop it. SPEAK UP! The only way we can stop it to stop it when we see it.
Hold the government accountable to the Military Members. You voted them in; ask them for accountability. Why are they allowing the VA to treat the Military Members like this.
Contact your local Legion, ask them if there is any way you can help or what projects they have going on to help that you could help with.
Most of all, show compassion. Show caring. And make it public knowledge that you care.
The more light that the public shines on our issues, the more the public understand and accepts us for who we have become since coming home… The less our demons weigh.
Help us carry our load. It’s a heavy load and a long and lonely road.