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out_here04

Mild Tbi Possible

Question

For almost a year, I have been rated 100 percent schedular (temporary not permanent/total) for anxiety/depression. My "long-suffering" road to the rating began about 15 years ago on active-duty when I began complaining about bouts of lethargy, lack of concentration, confusion, muddled thinking, difficulty prioritizing, difficulty accomplishing tasks or a general lack of or stunting of what I have come to know as "executive functioning" or some similar term. I began re-reading sentences and paragraphs several times to get the meaning. Writing was and still is a chore, even though I have written well on many occasions, all the while thinking no one but me knows how much effort it takes. I ran across a term also that involves having to explain anything and everything and that seems to match up with the convoluted way I sometimes have to use to express myself. I think the term begins with "con...", too. I apologize for how hard it may make to follow this post.

Besides a self-thwarted suicide plan back when my symptoms bounced up against job performance, with subsequent tracking in the mental health pipeline, and two surgeries for chronic sinusitus and finally being diagnosed for sleep apnea, I STILL seem to have cognitive functioning issues. I have been a multiple-list-maker for years and constantly seek out planning/time management tools, trying them and giving up on them. I am a pretty good writer but doing so is like squeezing water out of turnips. My brain or forehead and scalp muscles (around my forehead, ears and down my neck)seem to tense up and there seems to be a lack of fluidity in doing this. Thinking is like pushing play-dough through one of those shape-makers instead of like water going through a garden hose. Getting anything done is like swimming upstream through molasses. I have virtually no self-motivation, self-discipline, even though I want to do so much. This resulted in me barely making it to military retirement (thank God I did) but I had begun getting into low-level administrative disciplinary actions taken against me intermittently and especially towards the end. I actually was more or less threatened into retirement even though my high year of tenure would have given me another two and a half years on active-duty. I would have continued to serve despite the effort it took. I considered challenging some bogus methods to "railroad" me but was advised not to by a military chaplain and others, plus I was too tired to fight any more. I tried civilian employment but was let go after about three months. I have not worked since which was five years ago. I fear trying again but might try some school work of some sort.

I ran across the term "mild TBI" while googling about my symptoms. My anxiety/depression is service-connected per my rating but I/docs never connected it to an event I believe could have been the root of everything to follow (and I think this was aggravated by resulting high stress levels and by separately by a subsequent PTSD stressor event that I have had validated through a buddy/commander statement with VA).

The reason I think I may have mild TBI is this: During a military exercise overseas much earlier in my career, I fell and hit my head falling out of a top-bunk rack. The floor was tile on concrete type. Laugh, I kind of do. I remember that I woke up some time later having missed or come in extremely late for my shift. It is a bit embarrassing to say this, but the symptoms seem to have originated then and there. No one in my chain noticed as I was working with a foreign national who did not speak English (he did give me some pretty intense scowls)/ I did not report this caring more at the time about staying out of trouble for being "AWOL" or "missing movement" or whatever the UCMJ could have thrown at me, or at least getting wrote up. I had been a "super troop" and supervisors at my home bases thought highly of me. After that, things began to change.

I am going to bring this up to my VAMC primary care and mental health providers at my appointments in the next week or so. I have wanted to get to the bottom of this for a very long time and feel this may be part of it.

After all that, my questions (besides any other thoughts welcomed from my explanation) are:

What types of VA or otherwise therapy/assistance are available for mild-TBI?

Any recommended websites (VA or other) would help me better understand these symptoms and how veterans or others cope with this?

I am not 100 percent certain if I would truly be diagnosed with mild-TBI but from what my gut tells me, I do.

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If I read correctly, you did not report this to anyone. On top of which you went on to complete several terms of service in order to retire. Now based on your personal history you are asking to be granted mild-tbi. Is that what I am reading?

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that is what you are reading. i reported the symptoms of anxiety/depression but i don't think i ever mentioned what i believe was a concussion, i may have, will go back into service medical records to see if it is mentioned, may have been. the anxiety/depression may be secondary to mild tbi but that has never been established, to the best of my knowledge it was just 'oh, you have anxiety/depression. let's treat that with meds and talk therapy.' the concussion was never focused on as a stressor or whatever it would be called. i never really tied the two until the recent focus on tbi.

i don't really care if i ever get pigeon holed as a tbi vet, just that i can learn some constructive ways to deal with what i feel are symptoms of tbi or symptoms that mimic or are those held in common with tbi sufferers.

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also, i requested an mri from a neuropsychologist who said it showed no findings other than what a small white lesion deep in my brain which he crassly referred to as a UBO, unidentified brain object, said he'd operate to find out what it was if i insisted, i may have mentioned the concussion to him.

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on top of which it was no small order to complete several terms of service in order to retire

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What you need is to get your doctor to write a letter saying that your present condition is static and not subject to improvement, thus filing for permanent and total. Once you get that, then you can explore other avenues.

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