Dear Uncle Sam,
Thank you for keeping my husband alive during war and for that I am grateful. I stood by him through 15 months with a heavy heart, spent sleepless nights worrying about him, and prayed that another day would bring some type of communication. I proudly showed our country's flag and my blue star banner, and literally bled, red, white and blue when was asked of me. You made sure he was fed, showered, clothed, had ammunition when he needed it, and Medical care when he was injured. He fought, and fought hard never questioning his duty, because like many of our brave men and women....your orders are all that mattered and they had a job to do. They did it. Not once did my husband ever complain, because again, it was his duty and he was proud to serve you.
While being grateful, I would like to file a complaint against the United States Military, United States Government and for all those parties that had anything to do with this Middle Eastern War. You sent me back the wrong man. A man, who as I casually watch outside sitting in a chair, no longer communicates with the world, expresses any emotions, and who's family he has left a long time ago all while remaining under the same roof. A man who can't go into public without freaking out, and who's anger and frustrations roll upon his family like a deadly Tsunami. Somewhere over Ramadi, Iraq and back through Afghanistan to come home, my husband must have been switched with someone else. I sent you my husband over there with good faith in you that he would return, and you have let me down.
You gave me all the promises and education I needed for insurance, reintegration, what to do "if this happens" scenarios....but you never told me about this. You said some of our guys might come home with sleep problems or some emotional issues those first few months home. You told us that this is simply a readjustment period and those too shall pass. Uncle Sam, it's been three years. PTSD/TBI never goes away, nor does it simply involve a sleepless night. You failed to mention all the horrors, the struggles, and let downs in between. You didn't tell me that I would be raising a family by myself and taking care of my husband, and you also failed to mention that I would be alone in my marriage with no one to talk to about it or having to deal with my own personal demons alone. You sent him home and left us here.
Your Veteran's Administration is ok. Not too impressed with appointments twice a year to see a psychiatrist. Not impressed at all with a psychiatrist who simply wants to know about any side effects from the meds and then dismisses your soldier with no advice or comments. It took us six months to get us in to begin with and we were treated with total disregard; almost like we were dog poop accidentally stepped in and bothersome to a new pair of expensive shoes. Twice a year is what my husband and our family is worth right? His primary physician I am highly disappointed in because her concerns with my husband's daily bowel movements is more priority than dealing with his PTSD. Fish oil tablets, Vitamin E, D, and all the ABCs do not make a difference in his PTSD I can assure you. He has no problems with his bowel movements, and would love to actually collect it one day and drop it in on your desk and say "HERE IT IS-Now what's next?". We now have a TBI diagnosis in which both of us are still not sure what to do or where to begin, but in six months...we should have an appointment for someone to treat us like crap again. Looking forward to it.
As far as my family is concerned, I would like to file a complaint not just for me but for all spouses. You didn't tell us you would send us home our soldiers so mentally messed up they could not function. You didn't tell us that all of this would fall on our shoulders alone without any help or resources. The ones you did provide us "no longer had volunteers so therefore we are unable to help you". You failed to disclose all the problems our families would face and how hard it would be to struggle each and every day. You failed to provide any type of help at the Veteran's Administration for us spouses dealing with your mistakes. You did provide a once a month meeting in which the "therapist" constantly regarded her watch more than the spouses. You provided us one hour, in which it took 30 minutes of that waiting for the counselor to get there. Thirty minutes a month was all we were worth to the VA. I could not unload a .0005 section of our family problems in that time allotted.
What happened to the resources you promised? If you are heavily depending on volunteers to "give an hour" and they are no longer doing that program, did you just give up? What, we could not take a little bit off each bill or new legislation to pay a professional their time to help us? You also failed in finding volunteers, because of the 20 I called and spoke to....the reason they quit was because no one had told them that they would be dealing with PTSD/TBI/Reintegration issues because guess what? They have no clue what those are nor did they have any experience with working with the military.
My husband along with many deserve more than that. As families, we stayed strong and held down the forts while they were gone. You basically used, abused and then shoved them aside with no second thoughts. Now the families are left trying to hold our family together, keeping our insanity together, and getting all the crap that rolls downhill. Spouses desperately are seeking help all over the United States, seeking some answers and just a knowledge that someone else knows what they are going through. They are seeking because so many of us don't know where to go and the government has failed us, our children, and our soldiers. I want you to stop what you are doing and take a look at the suicide rates among returning US soldiers. Five minutes is all I am asking. Unless they walk in and shoot themselves in the head as in recently, or on a military installation, nothing is ever done or accomplished.
You write pamphlets on all these subjects, but they are just that...paper. It reads like stereo instructions rehashing jargon no one can understand. What we do understand is that you sent us home monsters and left us alone to deal with it. As you looking through those suicide rates, cross reference that with spouse suicides. Then if you have a minute or two to spare, look at the children who went through hell and now have lost either if not both spouses. Just because it doesn't make national news or headlines doesn't mean it just went away. As a supporter of our military, I will still always wave my flag and be proud of our country. Not because of the ones who hold government offices, but because we have so many good people in our country. I will always be the first to yell "Hoo-ah", and help any of our fellow military men and women...but don't expect me to say I am proud of you, Uncle Sam. On behalf of all of us spouses you gave the shaft to, and on behalf of all our military you shoved to the side when you no longer had use for them....I file this complaint.
The Military Wife
- Army Strong Bonds Retreat Program
- Battle In Distress
- Brain Line
- Camp Corral for Military Children
- Caregiver VA Hotline
- Catch a Lift
- Checkered Flag Organization
- FRG PTSD/MTBI Chain Teaching Program
- Family of A Vet
- GI Rights
- Gift from Within
- Give An Hour
- Graffiti of War Project
- Guitars for Vets
- Hearts Toward Home
- Hearts of Valor
- Interesting Resources
- Lest We Forget-PTSD/TBI
- Long Walk Home
- Married to the Army
- Military Order of the Purple Heart
- National Resource Directory
- Operation First Response
- Operation Second Chance
- Operation We Are Here
- PTSD News
- Pentagon Foundation
- Physical Evaluation Board Forum
- Project Healing Waters
- Salute America's Heroes
- Salute Our Heroes
- Semper Fi Fund
- Soldier's Angels
- Stolen Valor
- Team River Runner-Kayaking
- Tempered Steel
- USA Cares
- VA Watch Dog
- Veteran Caregiver
- Veterans Network
- Veterans Retreat
- Veterans Voice Daily
- Vietnam Veteran Wives
- Voices of Warriors
- Warrior Beach Retreat
- Warrior Chef
- Why is Daddy Like He Is?
- Wounded Warrior Family Support
- Wounded Warrior Project
- Yellow Ribbon Foundation
Sunday, June 13, 2010
Letter of Complaint
Posted by Uncle Sam's Mistress at 8:25 AM
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I read your posts and some, like this one, make me tear up. It just isn't right, is it? When they're in the military we get some (and i say that with some sarcasm) support but once they're out, the military kicks them to the curb. The VA stinks so bad. My husband was discharged 2 years ago in July and he didnt' receive ANY help from the VA for the first year. Then, the help was spotty and shitty. Have you ever thought of finding a Vet Center? We have a counselor through there who works with my husband individually, in a group, and we also go to marriage counseling with him. It has helped some...ReplyDelete
He does see someone at the Vet Center. He sees him maybe once every three months and only because he makes SURE he sees someone. Yes they are great for the soldier, but not much help here as far as families go. We were told yes, they offered it. Then we were pushed back to the VA and waited, and waited, and now into the program. Problem is she is overloaded and often our appointments are canceled along with the fact that she deals more with individuals. She keeps trying to get us to buy all these books on marriage and healthy relationships, neither which have anything involving PTSD/TBI. We have seen so many marriage counselors that my husband and I sort of feel numb now to any help like that. Most do not understand PTSD, nor did some have any involvement with spouses. I spent most of my time justifying how I felt and being on the defensive side rather than being helped. Yes its good to have the soldier receive all the attention because they need it, but its also important that the spouses who are dealing with it 100% all the time, have some time for themselves too. Somehow, we are getting lost along the way. My point is the military is not educating spouses enough before hand so we are prepared and then provide us help throughout. It's like they just forgot about us. Thank you for the comment! Keep 'em coming!ReplyDelete
My heart goes out to you. It is infuriating how patriots such as you, are being neglected.ReplyDelete
Hi KW! It hurts me to see D in such pain and it just got me to thinking this morning. I know she is getting some emails, but I have gotten more than 20 so far with the same stories. It's sad, but its also so frustrating. I grew up in the Army, and it just makes me sick so many are being turned away when they want help, and for those who are looking, we can't find it. Spouses matter too, because after all is said and done....our service members come home and we are the fall out shelter so to speak. Thanks for the support and kind words ,<3ReplyDelete
That sucks about your Vet Center. That has been our one shining moment. Our counselor is a Vietnam veteran who himself has PTSD. I was so afraid when I started seeing him that he'd be all about my husband and how I wasn't doing stuff right. However, he has been GREAT, and that has not been the case.ReplyDelete
I agree though, the military does not do much for spouses in educating them in what to expect and how to seek out help for both ourselves and our spouses.
Well its good for my husband but for me it's never been offered and when I ask, they kick me back to the VA. My husband really likes this counselor because as you said, its someone who has been there and done that. Which makes our Vets feel more comfortable. We need counselors for spouses who live with someone or have experience with PTSD/TBI and maybe spouses would not feel so alone.ReplyDelete
Your letter reads like a page out of my life (and the life of SOOO many others). When you have time, head over to www.FamilyOfaVet.com. It's a website I started to help educate families and Vets about PTSD, TBI, and other post-combat issues. If you're interested in contributing or have ideas, we'd love to have you!ReplyDelete
Founder of http://www.familyofavet.com - a site dedicated to helping heroes and their loved ones survive and thrive after combat!
Proud wife of an OIF Veteran
Sent you a message Brannon! Thanks for checking me out!ReplyDelete