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socomsam

** Do I Have Ptsd? - ** HUGE - GRAPHIC TRIGGERS **

Question

I served with SOCOM from 1984 to 1988. After 21 years of red tape, I was just awarded 10% disability for a back injury while active duty.

While active duty with SOCOM, I experienced a couple of situations that have bothered me since. First was cleaning up the wreckage (including charred bodies) of a Blackhawk Helicopter crash at Fort Bragg. I was initially told to take video of the crash (I was a 84F combat videographer), but after arriving, I was told to help in recovery. I remember seeing one charred body, but the eyes were not burnt and they were looking at me from the wreckage. I thought the guy might be alive, but when I went to see, he was obviously dead. When I went to pull his body from the wreckage, his head came off. I remember the smell was so bad, I threw up and had to burn my BDU's and boots.

My second incident happened while deployed with 7th SPG in Central America in 1986. I was attached as a camera man and we came into a village in the Honduras/Nicaraguan border that had been visited earlier by Sandinistas. There were several bodies that had been skinned alive, and one guy had his face peeled off and he was still alive. One of our team had to end his life. I still remember him laying on the street, gasping for air. We also came under fire doing a beach assault. All of the video I took of these incidents was confiscated by men in civilan clothes and we were debriefed on not to speak a word of it. I am tired of keeping it a secret. I was threatened with an article 15 when I returned to Bragg for "losing the footage".

The third incident happened while I was videotaping the annual 82nd Airborne Capex at Fort Bragg July 1987. While waiting to interview Socom Cm. Gen. James Lindsey, I began taping a LAPES. I was standing behind the bleachers when the C130 took a dive into the ground about 75 yards in front of me and a grandstand of spectators and skidded down the runway at Sicily drop zone and exploded in a mushroom cloud. The ground shook so hard and hot oil rained down on everyone. I stayed the entire day documenting what happened on videotape (I still have my copy of the crash and footage).

It wasn't until a month later that I went home on leave and on my way back on the plane, I had a panic attack and was convinced the plane was going to crash. I was airborne and on my next jump, I had another panic attack and the jump master moved me to the front of the stick and let me exit the plane first. I was also convinced the C130 was going to crash. I also have nightmares of being in Honduras and hearing that man breathing and also of a toddler in the jungle and I hear it crying and falling, but I am not allowed to do anything. Then it sounds like it falls into water and I hear the child gurgling, but I still am not allowed to save it.

I had planned on making the Army a career, but I ended refusing to jump or fly in any capacity, and because of my back injury, I ETS's (1988). Since then I've had nothing but odd jobs and I still will not fly. It's cost me jobs. I am always worried and depressed. When I hear a plane go overhead, I have to go outside to make sure it won't crash into our house. My wife says I too fearful of everything.

For over 20 years I've been dealing with this and I am all used up. I can't see myself living to be an old man. I fear that I am going to have a stroke or heart attack at any second and die (I would actually welcome it).

A friend who is a disabled Vietnam vet told me to file a claim for PTSD, but I am afraid too but can no longer go on this way.

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You sir certainly have the symptoms of PTSD and should not hesitate to file for it and along with that would hopefully come some counseling that could really help you out. I just went through my first C & P and survived it OK. If you don't seek help for yourself then do it for your family. Good Luck to you sir.

DuRock

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You should get help and evaluated before even thinking of filing a claim.

Go to the VA or a vet center and tell them your problem. They should set you up for an appointment and you will be on your way. If as you noted in your post you feel you are suicidal call the hot line right now and they will help you!

Worry about your health now and the dollars later!

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I think this veteran should do both and ASAP.

With the claims process so slow (although I do feel the new PTSD regs will help this claim go faster than many) this vet will lose a full month of compensation for every month he does not file the claim.

I worked at a vet center in the 1980s as a volunteer with the PTSD vets.The Vet Centers are there to help you.

They could possibly set you up with a service officer or someone who can help file the claim at the center. Some vet centers have professionals who could diagnose you with PTSD.

You will be OK and find out that you are sure not alone and that there are fine people in the VA system who will help you.

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socomsam,

I have edited your topic for those that might be triggered into

some emotional upheaval.

When you post anything in detail such as this, please put a Trigger

note in the Topic line.

Hang in there.

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You certainly have the stressors. I would file Asap like Berta sugggested.

Hang in there. What we are exposed to when we are in service can really screw us up.

J

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