Tag Archives: desert storm

The Kurdish Catastrophe


daveinhospRecently I have been in the hospital after having a series of mini-strokes or T.I.A.’s. They are brought on from high blood pressure and stress and my entire right side went numb. The good news is that there is no permanent damage, but it is a long recovery because I am still very weak. I am recovering in an assisted living facility. The bad news is that it could be the sign of a regular stroke coming or an underlying disease. I am hoping it’s neither. However, while in the hospital I met a woman who worked in housekeeping and she noticed I had a Desert Storm veteran hat and she said my brother was in that war and never came home. I am constantly reminded of the fact that no matter how low my depression may get, no matter how bad my pain, no matter how bad my problems – there is always someone else who either has it worse or is no longer with us.

The world is full of pain and suffering which lives next door to beauty and passion. It’s been hard for me to see the beauty and passion in things lately with some of the things I have gone through in recent months. It’s easy to feel sorry for yourself and get caught up in self-pity, but I think that it’s important to try to find a way to rise above all that and do my very best to hold my head high even though it hurts, to smile in the face of adversity, and to laugh when I just feel like crying all day. I refuse to let the bastards who put me in this condition win. I will have my day in court and that day is coming in June – next month. I can hardly wait. My very first hearing with the VA in Detroit.

But getting back to the housekeeper in the hospital; her brother was in the Navy and he supposedly fell of the back of a jeep in Guam and was killed. Her family has always suspected this may have been a cover story for some foul play, but either way he is gone and it was during the war and he saw his share of the war. She gave me the following poem to publish and she said that General Colin Powell, Army (Retired), himself, read it and gave him an award for it posthumously. It is no wonder because it is truly inspiring.

The Kurdish Catastrophe
by CM2 Douglas Lanning, USN
May 1991
US Navy Mobile Construction Battalion 133
Zakho, Iraq

SADDAMI can’t explain all that I’ve seen, but I will do my best to say what I mean

The glow on their faces is almost enough, but you can still tell they’ve had it rough.

You look around, it seems so unreal, and you try to imagine how they must feel.

We came to provide comfort to the people here, they seem to trust us – it’s him they fear.

african american soldier in iraq_soldier_criesThe leader of so many – Saddam Hussein, has caused their suffering and their pain.

From the land mines that he placed all over the place, to the napalm burns and blisters on a young child’s face.

From the people living out in the street, to the ones in town without power and heat.

From the people washing clothes in the muddy waters, to the many who had to bury their own sons and daughters.

amputeeYou see a child selling whatever he can, all of this and more because of the man.

I know it’s hard to believe, but it’s all really all true, think about it a second, I’m not even through.

I’ve been to the hospital to visit a small boy, who picked up a hand grenade, thought it was a toy.

tankerYou cannot blame him, he’s just a curious kid, I can still remember vividly what his new toy did.

I really can’t believe they were able to save his hand, then I also can’t believe this was once all beautiful land.

The mountains from a distance, an eye-catching sight, they really are beautiful with their snow caps of white.

FE_DA_130319IraqIt’s just sad to think all of the people up there, a quarter million people, but he doesn’t seem to care.

When our operation is finally through, I cannot help but wonder what the people are gonna do.

Will they go on living the way they were before, or will the one man, their leader, kill even more?

I guess that is something only time will tell, from my observation, they’ve been through living hell.

 

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A Day in the Life


pain6It’s not easy to bare your soul and let complete strangers into your life. I realize that this blog isn’t terribly popular, but this is on here as long as I don’t delete it indefinitely and anyone can view it. That being said, I want to let you into my life and what I am going through. I also want to tell you that I know that some of you may read this and think I am whining, looking for attention, or maybe trying to get sympathy. That is definitely not the case. I cannot emphasize this enough. This blog has never been about me. I’d be lying if I said I don’t want help, but I am not a selfish person and I would like to think that my creative gifts are being used to help others, not just myself. If my blog can in any way help even one other veteran get the benefits they deserve than I should think GIV has accomplished something and would hope it continues.
painThere is a serious injustice in the world today. When I joined the military in 1988 I was only 20. I never gave any thought to the government’s control over me or the fact that when I was older and not able to fight that maybe I would be a discarded veteran at the mercy of a bureaucracy like the Veteran’s Affairs. As I have said before, when I say this I know there are many great workers, some of which are veterans themselves who are trying to do their best. I am referring to the people who run the VA at the top echelon. The decision makers and policy makers. The civilian-contracted corporations who provide cut-rate medicines, medical equipment, medical services, and preside over compensation exams and more. In short, the part that is broken and needs fixing. This is where my anger at the system lies. I also don’t claim to be an expert on the subject. I am still learning every day. I am constantly asking questions and learning from other veterans. Especially our Vietnam, Korean War and WWII vets who have been fighting for a better VA for years. Without them we might not even have a VA.
Now, as I said before, I am letting you into a glimpse of my life that I don’t usually tell many people about for several reasons. One of them is that most people have their own problems and don’t want to hear mine. Since you’re still here reading this I will assume you’re okay with it. Another one is that I believe I have been conditioned by doctors and society to not tell anyone everything because everyone is in such a hurry these days and maybe because they don’t know how to deal with me. In the five years I have been with VA health care I have not had a doctor who could take the time to listen to my medical problems and try and work with me the way a civilian doc would (as it used to be when I was making 50k a year as an Art Director and had very good insurance). They don’t want to hear everything and they certainly have not been interested in doing any of the things that are listed as advice on the VA website such as “work with your healthcare team.” Or ask your healthcare team this or that question. I have tried this and it rarely gets more than a strange look and a question about me wanting to see mental health because they think I’m crazy. I have been so confused about what the VA is thinking when they post these things that are on the website, give out pamphlets, and blog about all these lofty ideals and concepts that in reality just don’t seem to happen. (at least not for me anyway).
pain3I have talked with my doctor and nurses about how much pain I am in and they just keep telling me that there is no solution, but to take pain medications. I have no problem with that and I have come to the realization that I may have to take them the rest of my life due to the overwhelming amount of pain I am in. But, if there were a way that I could survive without them I am all for it. I am not some scumbag sitting around plotting ways to get high. I sometimes feel that is the way I am being viewed if the subject comes up and by what is being said to me. However, the doctor is the one who is responsible ultimately if they do not provide treatment alternatives. For example; I went to a rheumatologist about a month ago. I was told by my main provider in April that I had Rheumatoid Arthritis. Then at the rheumatologist she says no. I asked why my doctor said that and she did not know. I was confused. Apparently they have not or will not communicate about it. As always I am in awe of this lack of communication and the lack of concern that one hand doesn’t know what the other is doing on all levels of the VA. So next the rheumatologist says that she wants to know what is wrong with me. So I go over all the many problems I am dealing with on a regular daily basis and she tells me to stop halfway through – as usual not even my doctors want to pain4actually hear it all. (I guess I complain too much. But they asked, right? So I told them.) Next she says some stuff about how my x-rays showed I have extensive arthritis throughout my body. She said the only way to deal with it is pain medications. She offered to give me a shot of cortisone. (which rarely has worked in the past). She asked me where I wanted it and I said I would like to try my knees because they hurt bad a lot of the time, especially at night. She did it and no help. She told me to call in a few months and set up another appointment to have another cortisone shot. I was so confused about this lack of help that I just sat there looking at her until she told me to leave. This was the appointment I had been looking forward to for months and no help. The other thing that bothered me about the visit was I asked about arthritis medicines and she said, “Like what?” I just throw my hands up. I know there are arthritis medicines, but I just asked and she didn’t know or didn’t want to talk about them or god knows what this doctor is saying or doing and that’s pretty much where I stand with every single doctor I have ever met at the VA. I have never felt like they have my best interest in mind or they could care less whether or I live or die as long as they keep their job. This just makes me want to give up, but I won’t. I will keep on fighting until hopefully some day I may be able to either see a doctor outside the V.A. or I can say that I am actually happy with the treatment I receive at the Veteran’s Affairs.
pain5Perhaps it’s not the VA. I don’t know. Maybe the entire medical establishment is in a “who gives a shit” state-of-mind due to recent changes with Obamacare and Malpractice suits, rampant drug abuse… Whatever the problem is I guess it’s a terrible time to have serious medical problems! (what was I thinking by going to war!) Before I had all these issues I felt bad for people like me, but I could never truly understand how badly it affects your every day life until it actually happened to me. It affects every asset you have – your weight, your body, your mind, your spirit, your values – it takes all you got to get through it and the movie can only end badly.
My life is depressing and I try to keep upbeat, because I have a family. I am a man who has always been tough and tried to do my best to be a good dad and husband. My wife had a rough life. She grew up in a small town in Florida with not much money and she was abused by her first husband and so were her two boys. When I first met her I was still in the service. I was stationed in the small town she grew up in. She had three kids when I met her and she dreamed of meeting somebody some day. I am glad I could make that dream come true. I had been drinking heavily when I met her and I promised here I would stop and I did. I’ve been sober for 20 years aside from when my Dad died – I raised a few for him. I had no problem raising her kids as my own and that’s what we did. The kids are all grown up now, my daughter, the youngest – just turned 18.
pain7Now, I am 45 and every day seems worse than the last. I am going to start with the last weekend. It’s Sunday afternoon to you, but in reality to me it’s more like Sunday morning. I don’t always have the ability to sleep so I never know from day to day what my schedule will be. Let’s start with Saturday. I started having severe pain in the afternoon. I hadn’t slept more than four hours the night before and maybe a couple of ten minute cat naps here and there. The severe pain is about an 8 on the scale to start with and gradually works it way up to a 10 on that pain scale the docs love so much. If I could go higher it would go up to more like a 20. (keep in mind this is with two different types of painkillers.) Sometimes it comes down to about a 4 or 5 at the lowest, but that doesn’t usually last long.
pain8The pain starts usually in my thighs. It feels as though a piano wire is being wrapped around the meat of my thighs. I am used to it happening every day so I try to ignore it. I do whatever I can to keep my mind off of it. I read, I listen to music, watch a movie, try to talk to my wife or daughter, I surf the internet or I write. I mostly write. I am trying to finish a book I am writing and I work on this blog. Anything to not have to think about the pain.
pain9The pain in my lower back is always there. It hardly ever completely goes away. I do stretching exercises twice a day to try and keep it loose. This has helped my posture and maybe in some other areas, but the pain has not gone away. I also have stretching exercises I just started for my shoulders. (all my joints are in pain every day due to fibromyalgia, arthritis and polymyalgia rheumatica). The pain in my back gets worse and worse as I move around. I don’t work (disabled) so this is just daily movement to try and make meals, grooming, dressing, etc… and I try my best to try and do slow purposeful movements as I was advised in physical therapy – keeping in mind how I used my body. I was advised to do certain things that may help you if you have this problem – I have been just recently buttoning up shirts ahead of time before putting them on or putting on a belt ahead of time in pants etc.. that way I don’t have to reach, although I mostly where loose fitting, easy to put on clothes.
pain10I am usually able to handle the pain during the afternoon because I have been living with it for years. I used to work with it and I tried my best to ignore it when I was younger. However, when I got older it just seemed to beat me down. I have a high tolerance for pain and I don’t usually talk about it so this is hard to write.
On top of the pain I fight the mental problems which I think is the hardest thing. I am fighting depression, anxiety, and a mood disorder. I wonder why? I don’t like crowds, I don’t always do well talking with others and I get pissed sometimes – so sue me. I don’t know who wouldn’t be pissed if they had to live in pain, couldn’t work, and was broke all the time. I live off a VA pension and I have been waiting five years to try and get the service-connection I know I deserve that would give me twice the amount of money I am getting now. If you don’t like what I am saying or you don’t think I have a right to complain I would be happy to trade places with any of you who are not as sick as me and have a job any day of the week with no questions asked. Ever see the movie with Eddie Murphy – Trading Places?
Moving on, about dinnertime, I am getting the full pain gamut that I havpain11e daily. My guess is because the temperature is dropping. I think arthritis is a lot of my problem because temp. changes are a big factor in my pain level. I start getting severe, sharp pain in my knees, I feel like there’s pins and needles in the top of my feet, and my neck and shoulders hurt. During this time I am also dealing with some other problems. I have chronic diarrhea or IBS. I have a constant ringing in my ears or tinnitus – this is just in the last few months. (no cure for that). As the night goes on the hissing in my ears also seems to gradually get worse. I have no idea why. I also have stomach cramps up under my left rib cage and I don’t know why that is either. I have told doctors and they don’t know either. Of course they also haven’t offered to try and find out why by testing.
pain12So I am dealing with all this pain and I am always tired, but I can’t sleep as much as I may try. Saturday night I tried to relax because I hadn’t gotten much sleep for a while. Four hours is not much, but that’s better than nothing which also happens. I try and relax and watch a movie or listen to music. I played a video game on my PS2. I tried laying down about 10:00 PM. I fixed up my pillows so that I am sitting up because I have sleep apnea and I am afraid that since I can’t handle sleeping with the mask on that I might die in my sleep if I lay flat. The reality is that I don’t think it matters. I wake up gasping for air, my heart beating really fast and I am always constantly thirsty and tired. I still can’t sleep after 20 minutes.
So I try and watch something on television. There’s not much on basic cable after 10pm. I can’t afford to buy more channels or rent movies or any of the extras that most people enjoy. My friends ask me if I used the DV-R to record a show and I say I have never been able to afford one. This is life without a job. I don’t have HBO, I don’t have any extras – I just am lucky to have a roof over my head and clothes on my back. Three years ago I was homeless. I am thankful for what I have, but on nights like last night it would’ve been nice to have something to keep my mind occupied. But I try and get into some old black and white movie.
pain13By 2 AM I am going crazy. I try listening to an audio book, but I can’t concentrate. My wife and I don’t sleep in the same room. She is sick too. She gets SSI and she has daily stomach problems to deal with thanks to a botched ulcer surgery. I am up most of the time anyways, but she doesn’t like our mattress. We haven’t been healthy enough to make love in years either so it’s not that big of a deal. She is asleep sort of. I hear her get up often. We both don’t sleep anywhere as much as we used to. I lay in my bed and notice that the ongoing sea of crickets chirping in my ears has gotten worse. I am really tired now. I can’t stand it. The pain makes it so that I can’t possibly get comfortable. I have taken the daily dosage of pain medication so I have no outlet there. I decide that I have no choice but to take a sleeping pill. They’re prescription, but when I take them I tend to sleep so heavily that I am seriously afraid of dying in my sleep due to the sleep apnea which causes heart attacks and strokes. It’s a catch-22, but I try and avoid them when I can. I would hate for my family to find me dead.
pain14I woke up this afternoon at noon. I slept from 5:30 AM to noon. (six and a half hours). This is about as much as I can sleep. This is a typical cycle for me. I average about 4-5 hours of sleep all week and then by the weekend my body is craving sleep so much that I have to take a sleeping pill and get an extra hour. I don’t know why – I also have chronic fatigue syndrome. This makes me tired all the time.
So now it’s about 7 PM, Sunday evening and the whole vicious circle continues. Another day and more pain, another restless night, and more wondering how it’s all going to end if ever.
I want to mention that I also have some other problems I deal with daily. They may be considered minor things, but in the scheme of things when you are dealing with a lot of medical issues these things certainly can hinder everything else. I have to take my blood pressure every day for hypertension. Not a big thing for me. I take a couple of meds for this too. My BP is usually higher when in pain. I also have elevated white blood cell count. I have no spleen so I am told this is normal, but I have heard that many veterans who were in the gulf have this. It concerns me, but I doubt it concerns anyone else. When I wake up in the morning my body is asleep. My legs, my hands, my arms all have to be woke up – they’re cold. My hands are curled up in a ball. I have carpal tunnel syndrome too. (not a big deal considering the other things.) I have trouble walking as well and walk with a walker. I can’t walk very far before very severe pain sets in and I have to rest. I have trouble sitting or laying down for a long time and have to stand or move around a little bit so I am up and down all the time.
pain15I also have a serious problem with bright lights and sunlight. I don’t like it. It gives me headaches. I also deal with severe headaches that can come on at any time and just are the kind of headaches that knock you on your ass.
In addition, I can’t stand the smell of chemicals such as common household cleaners, perfume or cologne, or bleach or anything like that. I start to cough and sneeze and get a headache from that. I have asthma and COPD and take several inhalers daily so I’m guessing it’s this or some sort of effect from some sort of exposure. I may be leaving things out even because I never know what’s next for me. I don’t like it and I don’t want it, but the fact is that I seem to be having a lot of compounding problems for the last five years and I never know what’s coming next. Throw the flu or a cold in the mix and I am wiped out for days.
pain16Well, this is a day in the life for me. I have been brutally honest and I know that if you are still reading this and you don’t know have these type of problems it may be hard to understand. You may be thinking that I am complaining or that I’m not thinking about the people that are worse than me. That’s not true at all. Those thoughts keep me going all the time. I know that it could always be worse and it most likely will. I am documenting my experiences as a veteran of the Gulf War. I have Gulf War Illness or Gulf War Syndrome –- whatever you want to call it and all I know is that some day it will be the end of me and none of that will matter. Perhaps it will matter to future generations and some day we will stop subjecting our kids to these horrific mistakes that could have been avoided. Recently there has been a lot of testing done and it looks like we are closer to getting better treatment possibly — it only took 23 years to prove it’s not psychological. 75,000 people could have told you that a long time ago.

The Burn Pit Registry


burnpitRecently the president approved a new burn pit registry for veterans who were exposed to burn pit fumes in Iraq and Afghanistan. This is in order to keep track of the veterans who were around the pits and to notify them of new treatments and monitor their existing health problems and health history. This is a long over-due step in the right direction. The provision was strongly supported by the Disabled American Veterans and other veteran’s organizations and is part of the Dignified Burial and Other Veterans’ Benefits Improvement Act. Many veterans lived and worked in and amongst burn areas and it was painfully obvious that health risks were there, but as always following orders is what the military members do. For the troops deployed in support of contingency operations in a location where a burn pit was used are encouraged to register as well.
The National Adjutant of the DAV said, “This is a long overdue step in the right direction.” This same legislation also ensures the VA provide a casket or urn for veterans with no known next of kin and sets aside funds for a military cemetery in the Philippines.
burnpit2In addition the president also signed legislation that will give veterans access to better resources to achieve a quality education. It is called the Improving Transparency of Education Opportunites for Veterans Act.
For more information about how to register for the burn pit registry:
http://www.publichealth.va.gov/exposures/burnpits/action-plan.asp

As of this post I don’t believe the registry is ready yet, but the VA is working on it and if you have questions you can contact your medical facilities’ Environmental Hazards Coordinator.

The Potential Causes of Gulf War Illness


new1It seems funny that after over twenty years we still have no cause. There seems to be no interest by the media other than back page stories in newspapers and no television that I have seen or heard of. Most of what I could find for the causes of Gulf War Illness is the same today as it was twenty years ago. It’s becoming evident to me that the only people who really care about Gulf War Illness are those of us who have it. I guess we are lucky that it’s not the same for Cancer, Leukemia, Aids or other diseases that affect far more people in our society. Then again, if we really cared we would find a cure and stop letting big pharmaceutical companies run the country. Right now there are lobbyists lurking in the halls of congress waiting to trade favors in exchange for getting another big drug approved so that when you get sick, and god help you if you do, they can give you a bunch of pills instead of trying to find a cure or a cause for what is wrong with you.

The following factors may have interacted to bring about specific symptoms in veterans. Obviously, the combinations of factors differ with individuals, hence it is likely that there is not one single explanation of the whole spectrum of symptoms. However, the following main categories are candidates for causal relationships with illnesses reported by veterans:

Administration of three vaccines intended as protection against nerve and biological warfare agents. These were:
gw3Pyridostigmine, normally prescribed for myasthenia gravis and known to have serious side effects, especially when the person taking it is exposed to heat. It is also known that exposure to pesticides and insecticides (Baygon, Diazinon and Sevin) should be avoided when taking pyridostigmine because they can accentuate its toxicity. Some women who took this drug during pregnancy and have breast-fed infants have seen side effects in their child.
Botulinum Pentavalent, an unproven vaccine intended to counteract botulism. It is unlicensed in the United States.
Anthrax, to protect against the disease anthrax. This was apparently selectively administered to troops during the war, and women receiving it were warned not to have children for three or four years.
du1Depleted uranium was used for the first time in this war. It was incorporated into tank armor, missile and aircraft counterweights and navigational devices, and in tank, anti-aircraft and anti-personnel artillery. The scientific information on this deadly chemical has been reported in “Radium Osteitis With Osteogenic Sarcoma: The Chronology and Natural History of Fatal Cases” by Dr. William D. Sharpe, Bulletin of the New York Academy of Medicine, Vol. 47, No. 9 (September 1971). There was no excuse for this human experimentation because the effects of this exposure were known.
Smoke and chemical pollutants released by the continuous oil- well fires. Levels of soot, carbon monoxide and ozone have been studied by an Environmental Protection Agency Task Force. The National Toxics Campaign, Boston, Massachusetts, found five different toxic hydrocarbon products in the smoke (1,4-dichlorobenzine, 1,2-dichlorobenzene, diethyl phthalate, dimethyl phthalate and naphthalene), any one of which could induce serious health effects.
Old World leishmaniasis, a parasitic disease transmitted by the bite of many species of sand fly indigenous to the region. Non-indigenous people who enter an infected area are known to be more seriously affected by this parasite than the inhabitants. If left undiagnosed, and therefore untreated, it can be fatal. Diagnosis requires bone and spleen biopsy, and the disease can have a three-year incubation period without causing symptoms. It can be transmitted by blood transfusion, and transmitted by a woman to her unborn child. Leishmaniasis was reported as widespread in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. This disease is thought to be responsible for the Pentagon ban, November 1991, against blood donations from Gulf War veterans. This ban was lifted, for unknown reasons, on January 11, 1993.
du5Pesticides and insecticides were used extensively throughout the war to protect against pestilence. It is known that large quantities of DDT, malathion, fenitrorthion, propuxur, deltamethrin and permethrin were used. They are all toxic nerve agents, and many are suspected carcinogens and mutagens.
Destruction by allies of Iraqi chemical, nerve and biological warfare weapons resulting in widespread distribution of these toxins in the environment. This problem has now been, at least in part, documented by the U.S. Department of Defense. They are focusing on this potential cause as if it were the only candidate cause.
Depleted-Uranium-Mortar (1)The electromagnetic environment which permeated the battlefield during the war. Veterans were exposed to a broad spectrum of electromagnetic radiation created by electricity generated to support the high-tech instruments, thousands of radios and radar devices in use. This intense electromagnetic field causes both thermal and non-thermal effects, and potentially interacts with the other hazardous exposures and stresses of the battlefield. Electromagnetic radiation can alter the production of hormones (neurotransmitters), interact with cell membranes, increase calcium ion flow, stimulate protein kinase in lymphocytes, suppress the immune system, affect melatonin production required to control the “body clock,” and cause changes in the blood-brain barrier.

PTSD Dogs are a Veteran’s Best Friend


dogs1There is scientific proof that people with pets live longer. They also help you lift your mood, help to relieve stress, and provide emotional support. Personally, I like the fact that my dog doesn’t talk back and loves me unconditionally. Not only that he is always happy to see me. I know that since I got my dog a few months ago my mood has improved with him around. He is a very smart dog and loving too.
For veterans who suffer from various mental conditions such as PTSD it can be a great step in the right direction and provide you with therapy at home and everywhere you go because service dogs are allowed anywhere. All you have to do is talk with your mental health team at the VA and it is possible you might qualify for a service dog or emotional-support dog. In addition, you may be giving a dog a home that might otherwise be put down. I think that’s a definite win-win situation.
dogs2These dogs can help bring feelings of love, companionship, get you out of the house, and they are a great way to meet new people. The dogs are well-trained and used to taking orders. They are also very fun. If you are able to do physical things they can be trained to catch a frisbee or a ball which is a blast at the park.
dogs3Recovering from PTSD is no easy task, but these dogs have been known to literally save the lives of many veterans. If you see one with a service dog just ask them and they will tell you. The last time I talked to a Vietnam veteran with one he said that his wife died and he was very lonely and that’s when the PTSD started to get worse. He told his mental health team and they got him a dog. He told me that before that he was seriously thinking of suicide. He was smiling and petting the dog like it was his angel. I was almost in tears because I love it when these therapies work for my fellow veterans.
dogs4Have you ever felt uncomfortable in crowds or felt uneasy standing close to a stranger? Have you scanned a building for danger? Evidence-based treatments have proved that these dogs can help you deal with some parts of living with PTSD and you no longer will feel uncomfortable in these situations.
Of course, there are some people who still feel uncomfortable. For example, the dog may keep people from coming too close so that you could become dependant on the dog to provide security. success comes when the veteran trains the dog to allow certain people closer. I have heard from one veteran that he didn’t care for the dog because it would not allow him to branch out more, but he did learn from it somewhat and he was able to do more on his own and gave the dog back to help another veteran. Like any other therapy, everyone is different. However, on the whole, this is a great program for most.
What’s the difference between service dogs and emotional-support dogs? A service dog is one that is trained to do specific tasks for disabled veterans. They are able to pick up things, guide a person with vision problems, or help someone who falls or loses balance easily. They even can be trained to get dangerous objects out of the way in case of seizure.
dogs5An emotional support dog is the one used for veterans with PTSD. They provide protection, give emotional support, or they can be a companion, your best buddy. They are also called comfort or support dogs. Usually a regular pet can be your emotional support dog if a mental health provider writes you a letter stating that the owner has a mental health condition or disability and needs the dog’s help for treatment.
The emotional support dog is not always allowed in all public spaces such as restaurants or stores, but in some cases you can get permission to have them in places such as an apartment that doesn’t normally allow pets or an airplane. Most veterans I’ve seen with them take them to the VA where we all know that you will most likely be asked to hurry up and wait.
dogs8Of course pets require constant attention and that may not be up your alley. You have to be a responsible owner. They can cost a good deal of money as well between food and veterinarian’s bills. If you are unsure about this situation you should discuss it with your doctor first. If you have PTSD and you’re unsure if you can provide a safe and caring environment for a pet you may want to wait until after you have completed some treatment for PTSD first and then see where you are at.
For more information visit these sites:

dogs7http://www.ptsd.va.gov/public/pages/dogs_and_ptsd.asp

http://maketheconnection.net/conditions/ptsd?utm_source=adcenter&utm_medium=cpc&utm_term=ptsd%20for%20vets&utm_content=ptsdveterans&utm_campaign=ptsd

Depression


vabenefitawareness

Depression is a very common problem. It affects individuals differently, affecting their mood, actions, body and thoughts. It impacts daily life and functioning. Depression is not a sign of weakness and says nothing about your character. It affects all walks of life and no one is immune to it. There are many life events that can cause depression from loss of your job, loss of a family member or friend, stressful events, seasonal blues, medical issues, or change in habit; such as when a person quits smoking. There are a lot of people who suffer from depression and many people are going through the same situations in life as you are, you are not alone.

Many veterans suffer from depression; it is more common in woman than men. Then again, women are more likely to get help for their mental health then men are and men are more likely than…

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