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About Brew

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    E-3 Seaman

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  • Service Connected Disability
  1. maset22 and others - thanks for the comments and kindness. I sucked it up and started writing and I finally turned the whole packet in. I think ultimately, what I want out of this is an aknowledgement - "yep, we broke you, and here is a tiny little safety net in case some day your sheer willpower fails to keep you functioning in the real world". But the other and most important result I want is to be better. It took me some time to come to this - once the disability process started, I started feeling entitled - kind of an odd feeling for me, but it goes back to wanting acknowledgement and fear of the future I suppose. Maybe there are real fears there, but ultimately, if I can go back to work, look people in the face, not be so angry at those who I believe "don't understand" and not hit the ground because a stupid car back fires a block away, then I win. If the VA pays for the attempt to get me back to that point - which they are already doing, then I win again.
  2. Sorry I haven't replied yet - I am sorry you experienced this as well. It cannibalizes self-esteem, I know first hand and empathize. I would encourage you to pursue the PTSD treatment route - even if you are unable to service connect it specifically. PE Treatment is apparently effective for most people when they are ready to dig in and do the tough work of rewiring the brain. I am starting in about a week after a couple months of just therapy and medication to knock down my anger and anxiety. Rough time right now, but I feel like I'm peeling the onion and going to move on with my life and put this all behind me eventually and learn how to feel again.
  3. I am making copies for myself and hand-carrying next week to the Public Contact office. They seem pretty good to work with so far and if they lose stuff, I will cheerfully go give them another copy. Cheerfully the first time anyway. Also, my VSO also recommended "relevant records only" and I also spoke to a VA Benefits Counselor who said to submit only relevant records and attach to form 21-4142. Of course, that form makes it possible for them to request records from the provider, so if they want the complete file, they can get it. If they do, fine. My challenge though still is figuring out WHICH pages to include. For example, I went to counseling for about 6 months (6 or 7 visits) about a year after I was discharged. Some of the provider notes are kind of dumb and there was a definite obsession about my childhood by the provider so most of the conversation was on that despite it not being very exciting or notable. Only my first visit with her did I express anything about my service. I had signed a "do not discuss" form when I was discharged due to the nature of my assignment and I think at that time that I was obsessed with honoring that promise. In my opinion, the only relevant notes are from that first visit - I discussed my service related injuries and a vague description of my emotional issues with my service and clearly stated anger, anxiety, depression, sleep issues as my main concerns. I was prescribed medication on that visit as well. So my question now is - do I submit all pages or just the intake paperwork that is relevant in my opinion?
  4. I appreciate the comments - just to check in on this issue, I have decided to stop worrying about it. If the VA wants to say I am miraculously healed with therapy and medication 6 months from now, I can appeal if it isn't true or if I get worse later I suppose. At this point, I am so far from okay that I have a hard time believing that if I do get SC, that they wouldn't rate me at least 10% and according to several sources, the prediction is 50-70%. I would rather be 10% in six months and actually be okay and able to function and work than to be 50-70% and truly disabled to the point of not functioning normally which is where I am now.
  5. I read the article about how to win an MST claim, but I still have to ask the question. Should I or should I not write out all the awful details of an assault incident. Some (maybe) relevant notes: I remembered the creep's name and rank and unit, am about 95% sure I know when it happened within a few weeks (what if I am wrong though??? will this screw me up later if I get more information from my personnel records and realize the timing was different than I remember?). I have only one person in my life that observed that I changed afterward and who knew I was doing crazy self-destructive things uncharacteristic for me after the assault. The problem is that this person was the messiest person in my friend network at the time - of course I only shared it with her, she was the only person who felt safe to share with because I was concerned about being judged. I tried to get a statement from her, but it has been years and it seems she can't either remember or just can't deal emotionally with my request. As I am writing this, I just remembered that my parents noticed - they approached me and said they were concerned and asked me to see a psychiatrist. But, they thought other things were wrong with me - little did they know. I don't remember the crazy psychiatrist's name - I stopped going because I went from depressed to suicidal and I bailed out. After the assault, I got in a bad relationship and did see a provider related to an issue from that relationship - but I can't recall where the clinic was or who I saw. Such a blocked and faded experience. So, with no one to verify that this happened to me am I just throwing out an accusation with a whole lot of painful personal detail to the wind or will my testimony be sufficient? If I don't have proof, I guess to clarify my question, I am wondering if providing the awful details will help my claim. Curious what you all think.
  6. I have multiple stressors, but am attempting to list all stressors in my claim file to be complete and because the most difficult non MST stressor I experienced is one that haunts me frequently. But this one is so difficult to remember the details for. I have what I think are emotional memories and some that may be actual memories but I've convinced myself it didn't happen "that way". It's a bizarre and unsettling feeling, to know that you were there and not know if what you recall actually happened or what you did. And I haven't been able to locate anyone from my unit that could help me piece it together more accurately. maybe at some point in my healing I will get that opportunity. Other events are not vague and weird, but this one is. So - curious what the advice is out there - should I keep the description very general and say I have difficulty remembering the details accurately and then deal with it in therapy only? or should I include what I replay in my head over and over even though I don't trust the details and then say that I don't trust my memory? My emotions from the event and the struggles I have currently are real - replaying, guilt, anger, nightmares. But I just don't trust my memory because I think I blacked out mentally during the event, my adrenaline was so high.
  7. I am currently filing a claim for compensation for PTSD and the process itself has prompted me to get care for the first time. If I make improvements during my treatment process and my claim is still being evaluated, will this lower my rating? I realize this is ambiguous because I have a medical record trail of significant PTSD issues for over 10 years. I've also had a couple TBI's, so I guess my fear is that I may see some improvement in the PTSD area, but that I will still have difficulty with employment, relationships, etc even if I have the nightmares, etc more under control. Just curious what people think about how the raters view current treatment in the big picture considering years of problems. ultimately, I am far better off if I can function as a healthy person, but I have hit a point where I am concerned, and my family is concerned that I can't control all of the factors that I struggle with despite genuine efforts to function normally in work and life.
  8. Thanks to everyone who provided input, this has been very helpful. I have another topic to ask about that I will post as a separate topic. Hopefully my questions are helpful for other Vets as well.
  9. Capt Contaminate - sorry, one more comment on the medical records - on this site I found an article by a "nurse, vet, claims rater" and she states: "I understand that some veterans cannot afford to pay for copies of their private medical records. However, if at all possible, include copies of relevant medical records with your claim. It really does speed the process. We have to give the doctor or hospital 60 days to respond to our request before sending a second request. They have 30 days after that. If they don't respond, we do no more because it is ultimately the responsibility of the veteran to provide relevant private records. - Relevant is the key. I go through every piece of paper sent in support of the claim. If for instance, you are claiming knee problems, your psychiatry records, gynecologists records, billing/insurance statements, etc are not needed and just slow my ability to decide the claim. More is not better, relevant is." So, I guess I am still confused - maybe I should go and talk to the Federal VA public contact people and ask them as well?
  10. Sorry - Capt Contaminate, not Elder. :) Also, SP4RVN1971, do you recommend faxing over hand carrying? I happen to live in a city with a Federal VA office that has a public contact office. I turned in my VCAA letter direct to them requesting 30 additional days to gather information.
  11. Elder - thanks for the input. There is really only one condition I am claiming that I think I've shot myself in the foot on and quite honestly it is the least of my concerns - so I will follow your advice and submit all. The other three conditions, two of which I was discharged for and PTSD are so clear cut that everyone I have worked with so far seems to think I'll rate successfully on all during round one. We'll see. I really am not trying to hide anything, so it's probably good like you say, to just present all. The only PTSD blunder I made at any point was claiming I didn't have sleep issues prior to taking a particular medication. But my records in every other way scream PTSD and are consistent for 13 years since my discharge. Follow up question - my medical record errors were actually through a private provider who has accepted an amendment form from me and will take up to 60 days to correct. Should I include this form with an explanation and hope for the best? Carlie - I was NG, but on active duty for over 3 years during that time. 1993 - 1999. I am a priority 3 in the VA health system if that helps.
  12. Hi, am wondering if someone can advise me (or just share thoughts/opinions) on how to best handle submission of private medical records for my initial claim for disability compensation. I have copies of my private medical records but have some specific questions: 1. I really don't want the VA seeing ALL of my records - do you think it would be good/bad/indifferent to include only records pertaining to my conditions claimed or will that make them think that I have omitted information? I heard a rumor that if they have to request medical records that it will take a lot longer to process my application AND there are a few things that I feel are not too my benefit (like me claiming to a physician that I didn't have sleep disturbances when the truth was that I didn't want to admit that I had problems - typical for a PTSD sufferer apparently when undiagnosed). 2. I found two errors in my medical records that could be material. One is a statement that I had a condition since childhood when in actuality, I said "when I was younger" meaning in my early 20's. The other is a reference to chronic right hip pain when it has always been my left hip. I have requested amendments, but am curious if I should wait to submit or submit with a copy of my amendment request to the medical provider. Thanks for the input. -Brew
  13. Thank you to whoever started this resource - I have spent years feeling alone and disconnected from resources, only to suddenly in January find people at the VA who are helping me, a couple of great VSO's, and now a place to post questions to fellow Vets. I suffered an assault at the hands of an officer less than 1 year after joining my first unit (age 21) and then for some unknown reason volunteered for a high risk assignment - spent 2 years in that position and upon separation had severe PTSD (without understanding that was what was wrong with me) and had two physical injuries as well that I was technically recommended for discharge for after failing to get better after rehab. I've struggled physically for sure, with severe hip pain, degenerative issues in the joint, etc. But my life has been most altered by nightmares, feelings of guilt, shame, and all the other unpleasantries of PTSD. I thought I was weak - I am starting to feel I am strong. But now I recognize that I need help and I need the safety net of VA service connection in case things get worse from here. So, thanks to some random people who knew what questions to ask me to get me to start talking, I have just started my disability application with the VA and am also in treatment for PTSD and physical issues. I am so happy to have a place to vent questions and maybe frustrations along the way and hope I can return the favor some day. Thanks again. -Brew
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