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  • Trouble Remembering? This helped me.

    I have memory problems and as some of you may know I highly recommend Evernote and have for years. Though I've found that writing helps me remember more. I ran across Tom's videos on youtube, I'm a bit geeky and I also use an IPad so if you take notes on your IPad or you are thinking of going paperless check it out. I'm really happy with it, I use it with a program called Noteshelf 2.

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  • 14 Questions about VA Disability Compensation Benefits Claims

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    When a Veteran starts considering whether or not to file a VA Disability Claim, there are a lot of questions that he or she tends to ask. Over the last 10 years, the following are the 14 most common basic questions I am asked about ...
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  • Most Common VA Disabilities Claimed for Compensation:   

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  • Can a 100 percent Disabled Veteran Work and Earn an Income?

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    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

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    • So, my lawyer sent an IME w/ IMO and filed a supplemental claim solely for IU on March 20.

      It was closed on March 25, and va.gov just states claim closed and nothing more.

      Hopefully, I get good news.
    • Thanks for the responses. I am filing a new claim but will continue pushing the NOD. My new question is it stated in law or statute that if during the claims process the VA finds conditions that could possibly rate service connection that was not originally filed for, the VA will “invite” the veteran to file the claim on the claims form. Reason I ask is that my private DBQs, NEXUS letter, and even the VA nurse examiner's DBQs lists bilateral upper radiculopathy as present. If it is written in statute or official guidance it might qualify as a CUE. Just looking at all angles. 
    • Everyone needs to read our stories so they can try to avoid these screws by the va...
      Thank you, everyone contributes, good or bad, all of our stories will help others, and yes, they have been stated by others for ages, over and over, but we just get depressed, and the time turns into years as they screw us..

      Welcome to the department of Veterans Affairs!  I can honestly say, "been there, done that".  

      Even after winning my tdiu in 2017, it was back to the drawing board as VA hornswaggeld my effective date.  (but of course).  

      I finally won my tdiu effective date in Feb. 2020, 18 years after I first applied!!!  

      Here is how they managed to drag mine out 18 years:

      1.  They never adjuticated my decison until 2009, where they called it "moot".  

      2.  I appealed, said it was not moot because it could result in an earlier effective date and SMC S under Bradley vs Peake.  The judge agreed with me, and ordered VARO consider me for extra schedular TDIU, under 4.16 b.  

      3.  The VARO piddles with  the remand for 3 years, and hoped I wouldnt notice.  I noticed and raised cane until they adjuticated it.  (denied of course).  

      4.  Finally, after the baord denied again, I hired a lawyer, in 2014, and appealed to CAVC.   

      5.  The lawyer won a remand, got an IMO and I won tdiu in 2017.  But at the wrong effective date, even after 15 years.  

      6.  I hired another lawyer, Chris Attig, and appealed the effective date, and he won a remand for effective date.  Trip 2 to CAVC.  

      7.  Mr. Attig won a remand, and advised me to get another IMO.  

      8.  The board awarded my earlier effective date in Feb. 2020.  

           So, I do have advice fighting VA for TDIU, they fought and fought and I hung in there and won it all.  

      ADVICE:  Dont count on VA, they could easily throw your fax in the trash.  Follow up!  
    • "Keep in mind that due to the nature of the digestive system, VA would most likely combined your conditions and pay you at the higher rate to avoid pyramiding".    That is one of my main gripes.  They are only listing the GERD with hiatal hernia and ignoring the rest of my gastric issues such as the gastritis which I also had in service.  I included it in my 2007 request for increase and again in 2019.  The info from the civilian dr that stated I had the gastritis with H pylori was not even provided to the examiner in 2007, nor did he have my VA health records. The 2019 request was based on an EGD I had AT THE VA in Jan 2019.   I filed for an increase 6 Mar and they did an ACE on 27 Mar and downgraded to noncompensable on that date.  The only reason I was thinking CUE:  38 CFR § 3.326 - Under Examinations  it states (c) Provided that it is otherwise adequate for rating purposes, a statement from a private physician may be accepted for rating a claim without further examination".  
    • Enough has been said on this topic. This forum is not the proper forum for an attorney and former client to hash out their problems. Please take this offline
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Kelvin

Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression

Question

Good evening, I am currently going through the Cognitive Behavioral Therapy for Depression program (CBT). I witnessed a  boat overturning off the coast of Africa while we were patrolling for Pirates. I had the symptoms of depression for a awhile but they have come to light in January.  I asked to see someone back in January and I have been since then. I see a couselour once a week and she has me the CBT program. I have talked to my psychiatrist and he prescribed me 50mg Zoloft but its not working to me. Is my counselor  trying to steer me away from PTSD? I don't go to the beach, I don't swim anymore and I get angry at the smallest things with my wife. I answer some questions on the defensive and im always isolating myself from my wife. during my event I had a child tossed to me from a RHIB and he slipped through my hands and I seen him sink right under the ship. I then tried to help people onto the boat and locked eyes with a woman who had no energy left to hang on with and sinked. Are these signs of PTSD or just depression?I dont know if after the program do I apply for PTSD or depression cna someone tell me what I should expect?

Edited by Kelvin

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First, I'm so sorry you experienced this. No one should ever have to witness what you experienced. The sense of helplessness you experienced is normal for those normally in a position to defend and help those that can't do for themselves. CBT is designed to help you re-map your thinking by thinking about what you are thinking and feeling. You are attempting to replace unsupported conclusions with fact-based reasoning. It's not an easy task.

My suggestion: remember your wife loves you. You control your thoughts and reactions, so start doing it. She deserves the best 'you' you can offer. You need to remember that she's on your side, but not obligated to help you deal with your issues. That's what the professional psychs are there for. What she might be open to: you explaining how your feeling and that you know your reactions aren't rational, but that you're trying to fix them. Realize that if you don't fix your reactions, you risk losing your wife. If you think you have issues now, try to imagine her not wanting to deal with you and leaving. Would you want to implode your life? Probably not. Again, remember she's trying to understand but can never really understand what you're going through because/unless she's had a similar experience. Have empathy for her - when she talks, listen - really listen - to what she's saying, without looking for hidden meaning. More than likely she's not attacking you but frustrated that she can't help you.

I would not focus on working through the issues, not so much on the diagnosis. If the medication isn't working, ask for something else. It took me several tries with different meds to find a combination of two that work. Take care of the home-front - make it a priority. Let her know you've made it a priority. It may take a while to stop reliving the events, but they will subside with time. You have to replace them with positive events (thus the CBT). Follow the process for CBT - keep a thought journal and work it every day. Write in a personal journal, then review it when the strong feelings have passed. I'm just letting you know what works for me. Whatever you do, don't give up on yourself or your wife. Remember how you feel about her when things are good when you're feeling bad. It will help.

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It takes some time for any mental health provider formulate a diagnosis picture. For example, it's not unusual for an initial diagnosis of adjustment disorder, but then over time it might shift towards depression and/or PTSD. A person can have numerous diagnosed mental health disabilities, but the VA will only provide a single mental health rating. Others here would likely offer their recommendations on whether you should file for PTSD or not.

In addition to what justrluk posted, keep in mind that the VA has a variety of medications to help treat depression. It takes time and experimentation to find the right combination and dosage schedules which work for each individual. They might start out with the lowest dose and then work their way up over time. These type of medications usually do not work overnight. It takes weeks before your body has enough levels for it to become potent. In addition, sometimes side effects of some medications might not be favorable. If you feel you are not tolerating the medication adequately, talk to your doc about it. They might give you something different, but sometimes when you switch meds some of the side effects are brief and subside after a short time.

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I would like to thank you for replying. My wife is tuff and she has been through this with me for the long haul, but its wearing her down. She is the most loving and caring person I know. I just hate that I put her through this everyday and I know its hard on her. I try to do more but I just get in a rut and dont want to move. This CBT brings the worst out of me sometimes, we talk about stuff I dont want to talk about and I keep it buried. Im just not really that all in to it and just want to go home and isolate myself afterwards.

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kelvin hang in there buddy

I too have been taking the CBT , i don't understand a lot of it  but some of it I do and when you start understanding it better it will help, I drive my therapist crazy at times about  the things I don't understand and like you I keep just feeling the same way about some of the things he talks about and I tell him  I don't won't to go there and he changes things up, you need to let your therapist know about anything he mentions that you don't like or reminds you of bad things, as time goes on it will get better but certain thing will never go away, I do believe each one of us is different and having been traumatized  is what its all about   I get to thinking that and it makes me understand a little better and I focus on the things that do matter more now to me

I to feel like I want to just stay in my room and be non- social non productive and leave my poor wife to make answers for me, its hard on our spouses who try their best to understand these things

what helps me i guess more than anything is  I try to focus on what matters  and how life would be without my loving spouse.

I stopped drinking was a big help for me and we both do not smoke.

In my opinion what happen to us will always be in the back of our minds   its just that we need to focus on the other things that matter the most to us now  and hopefully over time that crap we carry in the back of our minds will be lost forever...at least that's my hope.

As for as the PTSD claim? in my opinion yes you have it   you need to see VA MH Request a PTSD Evaluation ...And they will test you ask you some questions and things about what you seen that bothers you and the night mares and flash backs  it will probably upset you   and make you sweat and nervous and yes piss you off  but its something that needs to be done for a DSM 5 PTSD Diagnose....after that you start treatment,

iF You already did this   then I'm sorry for bringing it up.

My advice to you is stay in treatment/therapy..it eventually gets better buddy.

& I agree with Vync and justrluk...good advice they mention.

Hang in there & good luck with it brother

......................Buck

 

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kelvin

I wanted to mention too if you are not on the same page with your VA Phyistrist or therapist  you can request a change.

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    • So, my lawyer sent an IME w/ IMO and filed a supplemental claim solely for IU on March 20.

      It was closed on March 25, and va.gov just states claim closed and nothing more.

      Hopefully, I get good news.
    • Thanks for the responses. I am filing a new claim but will continue pushing the NOD. My new question is it stated in law or statute that if during the claims process the VA finds conditions that could possibly rate service connection that was not originally filed for, the VA will “invite” the veteran to file the claim on the claims form. Reason I ask is that my private DBQs, NEXUS letter, and even the VA nurse examiner's DBQs lists bilateral upper radiculopathy as present. If it is written in statute or official guidance it might qualify as a CUE. Just looking at all angles. 
    • Everyone needs to read our stories so they can try to avoid these screws by the va...
      Thank you, everyone contributes, good or bad, all of our stories will help others, and yes, they have been stated by others for ages, over and over, but we just get depressed, and the time turns into years as they screw us..

      Welcome to the department of Veterans Affairs!  I can honestly say, "been there, done that".  

      Even after winning my tdiu in 2017, it was back to the drawing board as VA hornswaggeld my effective date.  (but of course).  

      I finally won my tdiu effective date in Feb. 2020, 18 years after I first applied!!!  

      Here is how they managed to drag mine out 18 years:

      1.  They never adjuticated my decison until 2009, where they called it "moot".  

      2.  I appealed, said it was not moot because it could result in an earlier effective date and SMC S under Bradley vs Peake.  The judge agreed with me, and ordered VARO consider me for extra schedular TDIU, under 4.16 b.  

      3.  The VARO piddles with  the remand for 3 years, and hoped I wouldnt notice.  I noticed and raised cane until they adjuticated it.  (denied of course).  

      4.  Finally, after the baord denied again, I hired a lawyer, in 2014, and appealed to CAVC.   

      5.  The lawyer won a remand, got an IMO and I won tdiu in 2017.  But at the wrong effective date, even after 15 years.  

      6.  I hired another lawyer, Chris Attig, and appealed the effective date, and he won a remand for effective date.  Trip 2 to CAVC.  

      7.  Mr. Attig won a remand, and advised me to get another IMO.  

      8.  The board awarded my earlier effective date in Feb. 2020.  

           So, I do have advice fighting VA for TDIU, they fought and fought and I hung in there and won it all.  

      ADVICE:  Dont count on VA, they could easily throw your fax in the trash.  Follow up!  
    • "Keep in mind that due to the nature of the digestive system, VA would most likely combined your conditions and pay you at the higher rate to avoid pyramiding".    That is one of my main gripes.  They are only listing the GERD with hiatal hernia and ignoring the rest of my gastric issues such as the gastritis which I also had in service.  I included it in my 2007 request for increase and again in 2019.  The info from the civilian dr that stated I had the gastritis with H pylori was not even provided to the examiner in 2007, nor did he have my VA health records. The 2019 request was based on an EGD I had AT THE VA in Jan 2019.   I filed for an increase 6 Mar and they did an ACE on 27 Mar and downgraded to noncompensable on that date.  The only reason I was thinking CUE:  38 CFR § 3.326 - Under Examinations  it states (c) Provided that it is otherwise adequate for rating purposes, a statement from a private physician may be accepted for rating a claim without further examination".  
    • Enough has been said on this topic. This forum is not the proper forum for an attorney and former client to hash out their problems. Please take this offline
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