Saw my VA shrink again today and tried to keep working out my PTSD. Hard to get too serious about what I’m thinking because he has this habit of constantly yawning and stretching while I’m talking. Makes me feel like he’s heard it all before or maybe the way I’m saying it isn’t quite interesting enough to hold his interest. Oh, he tells me that he hasn’t felt well and so he’s tired but he was yawning and stretching three months ago when I first tried to face what I’m feeling every day so I kind of have a shadow of a doubt about that explanation.
Granted, I’m sure he hears basically the same PTSD stories over and over in different voices with different stress points. I know he’s been doing this for years so I suppose I’d be a little bored and indifferent or blase’ or whatever word would fit there by now. No doubt it can seem repetitious and it probably gets old and just becomes a job after a while. “Here, read this about PTSD” or “We can try this type of therapy to help you learn to cope with PTSD” become just words that simply slip from his mind to his mouth with little real thought. Understand, I don’t blame him. I’d have trouble listening to the same tales of horror again and again and trying to find some new way to seem interested and sympathetic. I doubt that I could do it, in fact. I lived those horrors, I’ve tried repeatedly to explain what I feel like and even I’m getting tired of repeating the same damn stories again and again.
Hell, I felt like I was making a slight bit of progress with a psych in the Bakersfield VA but when I came up here it was like I was supposed to start from the beginning. I know that the psychs write little reports about their sessions and I’d seen that other guy for more than a year so I know I left a pretty good “paper trail” behind even if it was all on computers. When this new one asked me some question I told him that the Bakersfield psych had asked the same question and we had talked for at least an hour about it and didn’t he have access to all of those sessions? He fiddled with his computer for a minute, said “Oh, yeah! There they are!”, closed the page and leaned back in his chair and continued with the original question.
Two things became instantly obvious. First, when you move from one VA center to another there is almost zero communication between the doctors and psyches and other caregivers. Of course, when you are as swamped with suicidal head cases as the VA is these days then I suppose there is undoubtedly very, very little time to try to read through the new patient’s history and what he’s already said and admitted and cried over. This is in the age of computers, though, when two seconds of clicking will supposedly bring up every single interaction that every veteran has had with the VA since the computers were introduced so not being aware of a patient’s history before you first lay eyes on them is unforgivable but, with the massive lack of funding for trained personnel that the VA can afford, almost understandable.
The second thing that little incident showed me is that there really is no overall methodology in how to treat PTSD. Every psych has their own pet theories as to how to open up those little rat-infested closets that vets create and where they shove all of the pain and sadness away most of the time. Every pysch has what they think is the perfect key to those doors and every other psych has a different key and and different approach. The rats, of course, could care less which key they think will work, they just keep gnawing at the vet’s insides day after day after day until the door opens, the horrors and sadness spill out yet again and blowing your own brains out becomes a very attractive option to seeing the next sun rise and hearing those same screams again and again.
Obviously, what is lacking is vast, fully funded research into exactly what PTSD is, how exactly PTSD affects the mind and emotions and actions of those who live with it day after day and, finally, just the ability to find one or two ways that are nearly always successful in bringing the veteran back to this world, back to being able to trust and understand and interact with people.
Of course that would take two things that this government refuses to allow. First, they simply refuse to accept the vast numbers of veterans that are returning to this world full of sadness and guilt and pent-up rage. They refuse to admit this because then they would be forced to actually justify why our children are being sent to these places to murder people that never threatened us but are simply over there in order to make the rich as obscenely rich as possible. Can you imagine Obama or Boner, er, excuse me, House Speaker John Boehner or Nancy Pelosi actually standing in a forum of ordinary citizens, forced to answer every single question that they are asked about why the hell we continue to kill brown people everywhere we can find them? They would have to prove what they say is true without relying on the American media for their “facts” and they would have to explain EXACTLY what they intend to do to end the war as quickly and with as little loss of life to all involved as possible. How quickly would it be before they turned and ran and hid behind their armed escorts and get hustled into their long, black limousines as they hurry back to a more controlled environment where they would proudly proclaim their efforts a great success and all the people in attendance happy, laughing little morons that our media represents us all as?
Do you think they could do it? Neither do I. That’s why they stand in front of the stenographers that are meant to pass for American reporters and why they refuse to allow reporters from truly independent media to ever get within shouting distance of them. Al Jazeera, regardless of what your tiny minded, drug addled heroes tell you, is one of the most reliable resources for news from everywhere in the world. They have real reporters, real investigators, real editors and real foreign bureaus that report the news factually and in a way that, six months later, their reports continue to stand the test of time and aren’t altered to suit what the wealthiest want the common scum to believe that day (I’m looking DIRECTLY at anyone that is stupid enough to ever listen to anything FOX NEWS ever lies about and calls “news”)
Secondly, in order to ever find a way to truly treat the massively disabling symptoms of PTSD, they would have to spend money on someone other than their wealthy owners and. well, you and I know the days of our government spending a penny on you and I died in 1980 with the election of the second dumbest human being to ever soil the highest office in the nation. From that day forward, the hell that their owners gleefully put real human beings through is just a joke told around the massive boardroom tables and country club buffets.
There will never be that money spent, that research done, those treatments devised and tested and refined so that future head cases can come home, be treated with the dignity and respect they deserve and get the help they so desperately need. No, instead we will whine about “those Muslims” and “unpatriotic liberals” and “damn illegals” and debt ceilings and flag burners and gays in the military and budget cuts that are 100% the fault of the Republicans and the right wing animals that claim to be Democrats but happily negotiate and rule like far right lovers of Ronald Reagan and Grover Norquist (and I’m staring directly at you, Obama). Never again will what is TRULY important be debated because the media is owned by a very, very powerful few who like to see you die and their bank accounts grow. They like to see brown people massacred so that they can move in and steal the oil and land and resources. They like that you are stupid enough to keep sending your kids off to die so that their kids can be even more wealthy than their mommies and daddies in the executive boardrooms.
PTSD and the hell it causes in so many lives will continue to ruin lives and relationships and limit friendships and health and keep the suicide rate at the astonishing rate of 8-20 a DAY that is right now! RIGHT NOW! TODAY. At least 8 kids that we sent off to kill for the wealthy have come home and found absolutely no reason to keep trying to stop the gnawing of the rats in their brains so they just stop their brains. Forever. And Ever. And the wealthy laugh. And laugh. And laugh.