Post a clear title like ‘Need help preparing PTSD claim’ or “VA med center won’t schedule my surgery”instead of ‘I have a question.
Knowledgeable people who don’t have time to read all posts may skip yours if your need isn’t clear in the title.
I don’t read all posts every login and will gravitate towards those I have more info on.
Use paragraphs instead of one massive, rambling introduction or story.
Again – You want to make it easy for others to help. If your question is buried in a monster paragraph, there are fewer who will investigate to dig it out.
Post straightforward questions and then post background information.
Question A. I was previously denied for apnea – Should I refile a claim?
Adding Background information in your post will help members understand what information you are looking for so they can assist you in finding it.
Rephrase the question: I was diagnosed with apnea in service and received a CPAP machine, but the claim was denied in 2008. Should I refile?
Question B. I may have PTSD- how can I be sure?
See how the details below give us a better understanding of what you’re claiming.
Rephrase the question: I was involved in a traumatic incident on base in 1974 and have had nightmares ever since, but I did not go to mental health while enlisted. How can I get help?
This gives members a starting point to ask clarifying questions like “Can you post the Reasons for Denial of your claim?”
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Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:
You’ve just been rated 100% disabled by the Veterans Affairs. After the excitement of finally having the rating you deserve wears off, you start asking questions. One of the first questions that you might ask is this: It’s a legitimate question – rare is the Veteran that finds themselves sitting on the couch eating bon-bons …Continue reading
My case [like most] is rather complicated. I am currently 20% SC for Schrapnel wounds to chest, buttox, and both legs and neck/back pain from jeep accident.
I have case pending for increase for Nervous condition, back pain, neck pain, hepatitis C, Depression, Drug abuse, Malaria, chest pain, leg pain.
I recently amended my claim to include PTSD.
I was stationed at Fort Riley Kansas when I recd orders for Vietnam. During that training period I was driving an army jeep back from exercises when I was broadsided by another vehicle. I don't recall much about the accident other than waking up in the back seat of the jeep and being taken to the army hospital by ambulance. I was later told the jeep overturned 3 times and was "totalled". I injured my neck and back and had [what they called] a "mild concussion" along with scrapes and bruises. I don't believe the concussion was mild at all because I have had headaches ever since that time.... and my back and neck has also been a problem off and on since then. This is when I first started using pain medication and drinking alcohol to excess.
I was sent to Vietnam in 1970 at the age of 18 yo.
Vietnam was a horrible dirty place and I was just not ready or prepared for it. It changed my life in a bad way. It wasn't one thing in particular... it was the entire overall experience including fear, stress, shrapnel wounds, malaria, hepititis, homesickness, drug abuse, paranoia, and even sexual advances from a Sgt E-5 squad leader. I remember before leaving the states there were all kinds of war protests on the TV news so I wasn't happy about going there... and very confused.
One of the first things I found was that alcohol, marijuana, opium and other drugs was everywhere. The vietnam people offered to sell drugs to us as casually as trinkets or souveniers.
Another thing I learned quickly was the attitude with most GI's [i met and knew] was that the war was a mostly a waste and we were no longer trying to win. I don't think I knew anyone who felt it was worth risking our lives. This was very confusing to me. It is no exaggeration when I say that most of the guys I had contact with either drank and/or smoked pot and used other drugs everyday. Unfortunately I fell right into it myself. I think one of the reasons was because I was so young and still having some headaches and back pain from the jeep accident and alcohol and drugs made the pain go away. Another reason was that it numbed my fear and I was trying to fit in and the guys who were using drugs were friendly to me. Basically I wanted to feel better and the high I got from taking drugs did the trick.
I was not infantry nor was I in any kind of situation one would consider heavy combat.
The first time I was really scared was when our camp was hit by "incoming". I heard and saw several explosions in the distance and I remember thinking that one could have just as easily landed right on top of the bunker I was in.... This happened a couple of other times but I don't recall anything landing real close to where I was. Someone said it was just a "harrassment" type of warfare meant to hurry up our total withdrawl. I don't remember ever seeing anyone killed or wounded.
I was assigned as a security guard on the perimeter of an ammo supply depot near An Khe in the Central Highlands of South Vietnam. We were on duty and in our bunker towers 6pm to 6am seven days a week. It's been about 35 years and the whole experience is foggy in my mind probably because it has been so long ago... and I was using one drug or another practically everyday. There were times while on duty that I wasn't certain of what I was seeing and hearing. There was suppose to be some kind of motion detector near the perimeter wire which caused a beep to go off. I can remember the "beep" going off quite a few times but it could have been animals or malfunctions??? It got to where I wasn't sure if the sounds and movements outside the perimeter wire was real or possibly hallucinations. I was shooting my M-16 or M-79 at just about any sound or movement ... real or imagined. There were times when I saw what looked like muzzel flashes and tracer rounds in the jungle outside the wire and I would shoot at those. After about 4-5 mos it got to the point where I just couldn't take it anymore and told my commanding officer that I didn't think I could go on... I had already been in the hospital for Malaria and was still having headaches and some back pain which I felt were probably related to the jeep accident at Ft Riley. .
I told my Commanding Officer I was using drugs and didn't think I was able to do my job the way it should be done... he was upset and mentioned something about him being able to put me in for a "212" which was a type of "undesirable discharge". At the time, It sounded almost like this was his way of helping me.
Now I can look back and see that Instead of looking for a way to help me get straightened out and back on track, he was taking the disciplinary approach and getting rid of the problem. He eventually told me something to the effect that I was no longer fit for duty and he was putting me in for an "undesirable discharge". I didn't contest this because I thought I would be going home soon. However, I didn't consider how long it would take for the paperwork to process. I believe by this time I had already been disciplined once for smoking pot. It was mostly a situation of me no longer being able to perform my duties and wanting to get off the drugs. I thought when I got home everything would be alright and normal again. I wish I would have been offered some kind of treatment program to recover and maybe I could have returned back to duty
Later on I found out there were thousands of other American GI's who were in the same or similar situation as me. In fact, I have spoken with a few veterans who were there in 1972 and 1973 and they were offered rehabilation for their drug dependence instead of "kicking them out". I realize now I should have tried harder to stick it out but at the time, the situation just seemed hopeless. I wish they would have offered to get me help instead of the other. I defintely would have taken rehabilitation instead of the discharge if offered a choice. I have felt shame and guilt all my life for not completing my tour of duty.
Another problem I was dealing with during this period is that I was sexually harassed by a homosexual Sgt E-5 who was a squad leader in our Company. I woke up at least twice and he was sitting next to me on my bunk. I don't know what he did while I was asleep but this was very upsetting to me. I am still very angry about that whole situation.. I think he probably saw me as a good target because I was young and naive and he knew I was already identified as a drug abuser. Anyway, on the 2nd occasion I reported him to my Commanding Officer who... as far as I know... did nothing. I do think the Sgt was confronted by my Commanding Officer because he didn't come to my bunk again and when I saw him after that he gave me dirty looks.. I have never reported this to the VA or claimed anything from it.
Sometime during that period the same Sgt gave me an order to report for duty. I think this was probably done to document the Army's file for my discharge because I had already had the discussion with my CO and was waiting for the paperwork to go thru.. I was [and still am] very angry that this same Sgt was used as part of the process. My CO had already said I was getting an "Undesireable Discharge" which I agreed too. A couple of weeks later [while waiting for the paper work to go thru] I was wounded by shrapnel from a grenade. I have no idea where the grenade came from?? To this day I think it could have been the Homosexual Sgt?? I was wounded in my chest, buttox, and both legs. My right leg still bothers me even though the Army claimed my wounds were superficial. I recd 4 months of treatment for the wounds and still have "retained foreign bodies" in my chest and legs. I did not get a purple heart nor did I receive any other decorations which is OK and probably right.
Shortly after being wounded, I was medivac to hosp in Qhi Nhon and spent what seemed like quite awhile there and was then sent back to my company even though I had not completely healed. My discharge papers were ready as soon as I reported back to my company headquarters. I was in Vietnam a total of 8 months and 22 days according to my Discharge.
When I got to Ft Lewis, Washington, the Army offered to send me home the next day if I signed a medical exam waiver which I did. Otherwise they said I would be there at least another 7 days.... After getting home, I followed-up treatment for my leg wounds with my family Dr. I am pretty sure the VA has those treatment records because the 4 month duration of treatment for the wounds was mentioned by the DAV when they filed my claim back in 1988.
About a year after getting home I was given an Honorable Discharge.
Right now I have headaches, rt leg, chest, back and neck pain, and bad dreams from when the grenade explosion. The explosion was less than 10' away and the blast lifted me up and against the wall of the bunker. I was not on duty when this happened. I continue to dream about seeing the blood coming out of my left upper chest and my right leg shaking uncontrolably. One of the chest wounds is directly over my heart. I remember thinking that I was dying and would never see home again. This is the bad dream I have so often. It comes during the day and at night. In the past I would go months without the dream but it always comes back to haunt me. Usually when other things aren't going well in my life.
I have always had a hard time trying to fit in and make friends since getting out of the service. The only "friends" I've made are those who are hard drinkers or people who use pot and pain killers and other drugs. I have finally cut myself off from these people completely.... but now I am without anyone to talk too other than family. I have been on Methadone treatment off and on since getting out of the service.I have been on methadone this time for about 13 years. The following are the prescriptions I receive from the VA:
I've struggled with depression, insomnia, nightmares, stress, and nervous anxiety all my adult life. The VA and other doctors have given me anti-depressants which don't really help. I have mostly "self medicated" instead of getting treatment from the VA. I have had many different jobs and was either fired, laid off, or "let go" from most of them. I have not been able to find employment since 1996. I think this is because of my work history and companies don't want someone working for them who is on methadone.
I have worked out of my home and earned money from the internet. This is very hard and intense work. It takes someone who can be aggressive and competitive everyday in order to succeed with this. I just don't have that anymore. I don't have the energy and I'm unable to concentrate very long. When I try this now I get headaches and become nervous and anxious. I also get back/neck pain if I sit upright for extended periods. Another problem is that I have very bad feelings about the money I have earned on the internet because I have been selling "work at home" programs which very few people make money from. I feel strongly that it is unethical and immoral to sell these programs and it may even be illegal?? The stress and guilt of continuing to make money like this is just too much for me. I am mostly exhausted all day and have very little stamina to complete things I start. I get drenched with sweat simply by working in my yard for 10-15 minutes. I also sometimes start sweating just by being around other people. I have no social life because I feel nervous and tense when I am around people I don't know.
I asked the VA for treatment for PTSD about 6 mos ago and was referred to this young woman who looked to be in her 20's. She asked me questions like "was I ever surrounded by the enemy" and "did I see anyone killed near me" which the answer was no to both. She also gave me a 500 question test which after about 1/2 into it I got a headache and could no longer concentrate.... so I just hurried thru the rest of the questions. I did not feel at all comfortable with this woman and could not relate well to her. Later she told me I have symptoms of PTSD but my main problem was depression. The VA has me seeing a "therpist" about every 5-6 weeks and I'm taking Miritzipine at night.
I did spend some time in VA hospitals in the early 70's after my discharge was upgraded but doubt if I was diagnosed with depression within the 1 year time frame after release. Most of the VA treatment I have recd is for substance abuse.
I'm sorry this is so long.
My wife is a Clinical Social Worker. She helped me recall a lot of the info and also helped me put this together. I copied and pasted most of it here.
I guess I have a few questions:
Should I submit the above info as a statement in support of my claim or is this to much info?
Should I get an Independent Medical Exam to determine if my PTSD is compensable?
Would the 1 year time frame for the depression diagnosis start from my discharge or from the date I became elgible for benefits when my dischage was upgraded?
Thanks in advance to anyone who takes the time to read all this!!!!
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