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  1. Camp Lejeune Horror Story

    Sort of Long I joined the United States Marine Corps Reserve in July of 1986, and received an honorable discharge in July of 1994. For approximately 45 days in early October of 1986 until late November of 1986, I was stationed at Camp Lejeune, NC with the Warehouse Unit (3051) for training (ACDUTRA). Several years after my separation from service in approximately 1993, I really began to experience the effects of consuming the contaminated water at Camp Lejeune. My mood changed drastically and I began to have major panic attacks. At one point in 1995 I was even taken by ambulance to the hospital for shortness of breath and the fear that I was having a massive heart attack. During this same year, I was formally diagnosed with suffering from Bipolar Disorder and Manic Depression. The strange thing about it is that I have never suffered from any psychological issues prior to my service at Camp Lejeune and do not have a family history of any psychiatric disorders. Over the next nineteen years, I took medication and occasional psychotherapy for my psychiatric condition. In spite of this my condition never really improved to the point that I felt normal. Since approximately 1992, I have had literally dozens of jobs. This is true, because my psychiatric condition makes it nearly impossible to hold down a job for any considerable amount of time. I have real trouble concentrating and focusing on things for long periods of time. Due to my educational background, I have been afforded some really good and high paying jobs like the Social Security Administration and school teaching. However, because of my lack of ability to focus, I am unable to sustain meaningful employment for more than a few months at a time. The stress of the workload and my inability to handle authority make it very difficult to remain on any job for very long; as a result, I ultimately quit. I reason that I can do better working alone and for myself and that I’ll earn a lot more working for myself, but that never seems to manifest either. I would say that most of my family members and close friends believe that there is seriously something wrong with me. I have been out of work for a year and a half and drive for Uber from time to time to earn money for gas and auto insurance. I prefer to spend most of my time alone and have pretty much cut off all contact with friends. I no longer have good health insurance like I did when I was married. Since it is difficult for me to maintain employment, I don’t have regular insurance coverage. As a result, I have not the taken much needed psychiatric medication for approximately four years. Consequently, my alcohol consumption has increased greatly and I weigh more than I ever have in my life. In my heart of hearts, I truly believe that my condition is the direct result of my exposure to the contaminated water that I consumed while at Camp Lejeune, NC. According to the EPA, the levels of PCE, TCE and other chemicals at Camp Lejeune were at least 1000 times higher than normal. Apparently the Marine Corps was aware of this situation and did nothing to correct it. Hundreds of thousands of Marines and their families have been victimized by this situation. In 2012, President Obama signed into law the Honoring America’s Veterans and Caring for Camp Lejeune Families Act of 2012 (P.L. 112-154), which guarantees those veterans who served at Camp Lejeune from 1953 to 1987 for a minimum of 30 days and suffer from any of fifteen identified conditions, free treatment through the VA. I content that I suffer from Neurobehavioral Effects, which is one of the identified conditions. Depression falls within the realm of Neurobehavioral Effects. Perhaps there is a “light at the end of this long tunnel,” because, a Veterans Law Judge, in his appeal letter stated that my service record confirms that I was stationed at Camp Lejeune for training, which falls within the range of subjects identified as potentially exposed to VOCs during my service and that my VA treatment record shows that I have a history of depression and that I have received treatment from the VA for such. Aside from this I also show a history of being treated for years by outside psychiatrist. As a result, I will be afforded the elusive P&C examination as part of my case; I am finally going to receive the due process that I deserve. I keep getting denied! What would you do?