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How to cope with VA mental health providers who appear to attempt to disprove and discredit mental health disabilities


daroosta
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Don’t know what happened to A similar question that I posted earlier. But it’s gone. So I’ll try again. Seems to me that when involved in mental health groups, or meeting with individual providers, I sense a subtle disdain, and instead Of receiving treatment, I usually feel like it is a subtle setting really for them to interrogate you, and That their real cryptic agenda is to try to prove that you are fine, and that you are lying about your disabilities, or exaggerating them. Maybe I’m delusional, but It’s one reason I normally don’t care to be involved with mental health at the VA. To me, it’s hostile. And it causes a severe exacerbation of symptoms. This has been my experience for a long tine now. I have also had to face providers at times in regard to incorrect notes put into my healthevet thru the privacy officer to get notes amended. But he was not helpful. And once again there is another false note from a recent visit just last week with another provider that I will have to try to get amended!!. The amount of additional mental stress this creates, is off the charts. What can I do to address these occurrences with the mental health clinic?  Who can I politely bring these issues up to without being put on some disturbance list or blacklist by the the VA medical center?  Has anyone else gone thru this sort of thing as well?  Another vet told me something about requesting administrative notes from the release of information office at the hospital. Because he said that those notes are not included in the blue button myheathevet notes. I’m just trying to figure out what might be happening and what actions I can take to protect myself.  Thanks. 

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Hi Daroosta, welcome back.  I am curious if you have been granted  MH service-connected disability by the VA, or been diagnosed for some disability but it was determined not to be s-c. It seems to me that either you have been extremely unlucky with the people that you have been involved with for your care, or, possibly some of your concerns dealing with people in these situations are due, at least in part, to your symptoms of your disabilities. Others can comment here with a great deal more of personal experiences similar to what you are experiencing, but I would suggest that group therophy isn't the correct approach for you right now. You should continue to search and get a professional who you can relate to and who you can trust. And build on that trust slowly.  I wish you good luck.

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Many here over the years have had bad results from C & P examiners who lied on the exam results.

Broncovet has posted here many times how to get those situations corrected.

I have advised complaining directly to VES , QTC or LHI and posted their contact info here-available under a search, if you get a lousy and inaccurate C & P exam from one of their contractors.*

Also a few years ago the VA did a C & P exam on a claim I had as a survivor of a veteran , and when I got the exam it said it had been in "in person" exam.

In person? ????My husband had been dead by then for about 20 years.I raised hell and also filed CUE because the VA again ignored a medical opinion I had. for the claim.

The opinion was from the top cardiologist at VA in DC Central Office.

They awarded the CUE and reversed their decision in 3 weeks.

We need more info-

Has the VA diagnosed you with an MH disability?

Do you have proof that the disability is related to your service?

 

 

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Well, yes, Berta I have posted how to deal with this in the past.    I also know that "not every Vet" is great with a search engine such as yourself.  

So, here goes:

1.  Understand VA is "not" a unified body.  What happens in 1 VA, with one doctor, does not necessarily mean that will happen again and again with different docs and different VAMC's.  

2.  Ask to change your provider (doctor).  There is a box near my "prime care" where you can request a provider change.  You dont have to be shy..you can say that you felt you were being "interrogated" and not "treated".  Its a valid concern, and should change with a different doc.  

3.  When you do get a doc you like, that is Veteran friendly, HANG ON TO HIM OR HER>  

4.   You can repeat step 2 (changing your provider) if doc 2 is no better than doc 1.  But use caution in changing multiple times..these docs often communicate and, if you have had 17 doctors and they were all "out to get you", then what is the common denominator?  

5.  Sometimes there is no choice..there may only be "one" doc who provides service.  This will mean a commute to a nearby VAMC, and try again.  I have a family member with PTSD, and he commutes over 60 miles about twice a week even tho there is a Vamc in our town.  I cant say if he gets travel pay or not...that is a seperate issue.  But I do know he has done that for years.  I also know that there is a VA doc in my VA in my town, who is exceptionally Veteran friendly, and who's evidence was critical in me getting my rating.  

    So, that's what I have got, and it worked well for me.  Change your doc if that is the problem, but if all your docs are bad then it probably is you.  No offense meant, but there are mental disorders when people feel "the rest of the world" is "out to get them".  Of course, I dont know if its you or not.  My best guess:  If its "one or two" bad docs, its probably bad docs.  But if you have changed to 5 different docs, then you probably have some sort of disorder.  Its unlikely to get 5 very bad docs in a row.  

     Warren Buffet explained that one of the things he gets to do (as one of the richest in the world), is that he 
"works only with" people he is comfortable with.  

      Top Secret:  You can do that also.  You cant change people, but you can change the people you choose to associate with, by associating only with people you are comfortable with.  

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Great advice!!!!

I have a wonderful friend ( 100% P & T 1151 plus SMC, for GSW, and also PTSD)  who lived within one block of the little bridge that is the entrance to the Bath VAMC.

I had to intervene on his behalf with the Patient advocate a few times, with his permission- he can be difficult to deal with- he is the vet they almost killed right after my husband's wrongful death.

He now uses the Canandaigua VAMC quite a long ride from his home , a short walk to the VAMC, and feels far more comfortable there.

"Top Secret:  You can do that also.  You cant change people, but you can change the people you choose to associate with.  "

I had to do that recently because I was being pressured to return to a volunteer job I have locally because the person could not accept that  I had the Flu, and was still in the post viral syndrome phase-the fatigue after the flu and also I had 3 severe snow and ice events to deal with-when I was sick.Most of my neighbors could not get out of their driveways for 3 days. After 7 years I simply dropped out of those two volunteer jobs , saw the person yesterday and they seem to have garnered more respect for me and still hope I will return ,but as I told them, the doctor, who gave me a the flu shot did not give me a crystal ball, that could determine when I would get well.

They also  live a good 400 feet lower than me and the climate is far different and they have never shovelled snow themselves- they have a living spouse. I saw it as a control issue they have.

You are right- and this is something that PTSD vets like my deceased husband had to learn-he felt some people  we new were taking advantage of him due to his SC PTSD , and learned to avoid situations like that.

Your statement bears repeating:

"You can do that also.  You cant change people, but you can change the people you choose to associate with.  "

When we change our behavior to people whose own agenda is uncomfortable, or controlling or whatever, etc etc,  to us, they are forced to change how they behave towards  us. If we even want to deal with them again.

The Flu in NY is serious and the new senior flu shot will not prevent the flu but if you get it, it might not be as bad as it could be. And it has killed between 17,000- 22,000 Americans already this year.

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When I was first evaluated after a medical discharge in 1986 I was declared by a contracted doctor to be suffering hypochondria.  I have been on the inside of VA hospitals and have had counselors push me to see if I would break.  It is not always a pleasant experience.  Some of the VA doctors and counselors, not all, are the bottom of the barrel too.  I was also "diagnosed" to be suffering multiple about 6 or 8 different mental conditions, the worst one being mixed personality disorder which is non compensable, before the VA settled on PTSD ten years after my discharge.

I understand what broncovet says about if it is all of the doctors it might be you.  Having a mental disability sometimes makes you harder to treat.  I was very easily provoked following my discharge.  Not being able to find a job and having a physical and mental disability without medical care made me "irritable" enough as it was.  I also agree with your presumption that some doctors try to downplay your disability.

That said you need to take a serious look inside of your self and decide that you want treatment before anyone can help you.  If you are married how is your marriage going?  Do not take your frustration on your family.  Wives and kids suffer our disability more than we know.  

Follow broncovet's advice and get treated, it will make your life much easier.

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7 hours ago, daroosta said:

Don’t know what happened to A similar question that I posted earlier. But it’s gone. So I’ll try again. Seems to me that when involved in mental health groups, or meeting with individual providers, I sense a subtle disdain, and instead Of receiving treatment, I usually feel like it is a subtle setting really for them to interrogate you, and That their real cryptic agenda is to try to prove that you are fine, and that you are lying about your disabilities, or exaggerating them. Maybe I’m delusional, but It’s one reason I normally don’t care to be involved with mental health at the VA. To me, it’s hostile. And it causes a severe exacerbation of symptoms. This has been my experience for a long tine now. I have also had to face providers at times in regard to incorrect notes put into my healthevet thru the privacy officer to get notes amended. But he was not helpful. And once again there is another false note from a recent visit just last week with another provider that I will have to try to get amended!!. The amount of additional mental stress this creates, is off the charts. What can I do to address these occurrences with the mental health clinic?  Who can I politely bring these issues up to without being put on some disturbance list or blacklist by the the VA medical center?  Has anyone else gone thru this sort of thing as well?  Another vet told me something about requesting administrative notes from the release of information office at the hospital. Because he said that those notes are not included in the blue button myheathevet notes. I’m just trying to figure out what might be happening and what actions I can take to protect myself.  Thanks. 

SOME TIMES WE DON'T HAVE A CHOICE WITH OUR VA CARE/TREATMENT

SOME OF US HAVE TO TAKE WHAT THE VA GIVES US for me its that way.

,,,about the only advice I can give is if you don't click with your appointed therapist, ask for another therapist...Having PTSD its hard to deal with it in the first place and most of us that have it wants to Isolate our self& carry guilt and not be around people  even family, it all starts at the treatment leveL what type of treatment you get,  this is why you need to get along well with your therapist,  if you both understand each other  then things will change for the better, basically in my opinion  ,,,,treatment is to learn how to cope with our problems  how to control our anxiety/ stress,, manage our life better,and these VA Therapist can teach us how to do that  and learn the tools it takes to cope better with this crappy PTSD, there's no cure for PTSD  so we can only learn how to cope with it and adjust accordingly, different types of therapy help different types of Veterans with PTSD ...WE JUST NEED TO FIND WHAT WORKS BEST FOR US/YOU...And when you get the right therapist  this can happen...for some of us nothing helps.

I've learn through the years   to never discuss how I feel to a VA Phyistrist and my actions when I have a panic attact and my anxiety is through the roof...they seem that they do not want to here us piss and moan about our problems .

I had one VA physiatrist  mention to me well this is why you have a therapist she can help you...I can prescribe you medications for PTSD ...This Dr did not show any empathy at all or understand how  I/we feel and the pain we go through , She  just prescribe medications that knock us out  is what I think about a VA Phyistrist.

   to to me the VA L.C.S.W.  Therapist works the best  when you get one that you can click with.  they can learn you the tools you need to cope  and how to breath and control your anxiety some what better.

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Yes. Thanks for replies. Yes I admit that I am not well. I have not been for a long time. Much more severely then can often be understood. Even by professionals. Yes I was hospitalized in the service. And since,.. but it doesn’t matter....the providers don’t appear to care. They only appear to be out to downplay and diminish.  Not all of course. But yes, I have had one of the same providers for a while now. She’s ok. It’s the others. In the group settings. And to be honest...the group is so mundane and uninspiring to begin with, I feel like Im attending a funeral gathering. 

 

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" Yes I was hospitalized in the service. "

Has your claim been denied?

If we have more info we can hopefully help more- so far  the advice here from others is superb-

I worked at a VA  vet center many decades ago, as a volunteer ,and the PTSD combat Rap group voted me in to be a member ( I am a civilian).

I found the " group setting" at this vet center-per the vets in it ,

(not all in it were combatants but all had PTSD from Vietnam)

to be a secure place where they could get a lot off their chest and felt a strong comradery with each other.

My role with them developed into being a non judgemental  'wife, girl friend, sister, or parent'.

All of them needed encouragement . None of those meetings were documented , so VA had no control over them and a few vets revealed things in service, that happened to them  that they could not tell anyone about ,not even the VA-for claims purposes.

We don't know know what your disability is and if it is what you were hospitalized inservice for ,knowing that info would help us to help you.

I hope your bad experience was not in a vet center group. Vet Centers have helped Many veterans.

My experience there as a civilian VA volunteer ( 1983) changed my whole life.

 

 

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Wow.  Thanks Berta..you repeated what I posted TWICE.  What an honor. 

Sometimes we think we "have no choice" but that is usually because we are not willing to do what it takes for the alternatives.  For example, some are unwilling to drive to a different VAMC to get a different doc.  Ok, well you made that choice...you had a choice, and you chose to go to the closer VAMC rather than change your doctor/provider/VAMC.  

I have heard people, for example, tell me they "had no choice" because they had to have a car "right away".  Well, they had a choice, but they chose to be impatient and suffer those consequences.   They could have taken the bus for a while while they shopped around, but they didnt want to do that..they wanted it NOW.  

So there is almost always a "choice".  As I explained, I have a family member who drives 60 miles one way to a VAMC in Columbus, when he could go here.  Buck, you could go to a VAMC somewhere else, but it may mean moving or a commute, and you dont want to do that.  But its still a choice you made.  Someone else did not choose for you, you chose where to live.  Some people choose to live near a VAMC they like.  

Once, I was giving a gal financial advice.  She explained, "Well my rent is 750."   I told her that sounded high.  She said, "Well I cant find a place that will accept my cat for less than 750".  

Ok.  She chose her cat over her finances.  Its okay..money is certainly not everything, but she needs to understand that her cat is costing her 400 per month, and trashing her finances.  Now I would not make that choice, but Im not all that crazy about cats so it would be an easy choice for me.  

But I do think we need to take responsibility for our own choices, and not just say that we dont have a choice or that we let others make our choices.  Mostly, I make my own choices, and rarely get in a position that others make choices for me.  Its tough..because I have to accept responsibility for my failures.  Its easier to blame others (the government, the VA, my boss, my spouse, my kids, my neighbors etc. etc.), but my life is mostly about choices I made.  

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