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Living with an OSI.

dogger1936

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Hi all

Not sure if this is the right place for this but here I go.
I'm hurting big time. I'm a senior rank with multiple tours, last one being the roughest I could have ever imagined. At the time I killed people, put people on Angel flights, and loaded my best friend up on a Herc. Shot people, shot at (and hit once..thank you PPE) and IED'ed. However at the time I enjoyed it, the heat of battle was such a high and I really did enjoy killing people. However once I returned home I realised that saying things like the previous statement brought raised eyebrows and almost a shunning feeling at work of me being unprofessional when I spoke of the fun I had when I did destroy the enemy.
I was recommended for awards due to my conduct while on tour and am very proud of how I handled situations.


I got home from tour and was fine. We still were collocated with our peers we had deployed with and everything seemed OK in both my family group and my work. Of course my conduct overseas earned me a great PER and things were looking up. My career goals in my grasp after working like a dog all these years. I felt Afghanistan allowed the "bag lickers" to get separated from the guys who are there to do their jobs and don't go out of their way to get noticed. It sure was.  Afghanistan seemed like the only place where phrases such as "deeds not words" seemed relevant...as usually in Canada the loudest guy/guy furthest up the Officers butt seemed to get recognised.


Fast forward a year since I've been home to now. I'm slated for further career development and my career goals are now met. My peer's are all over the country and am currently working for a guy I would call my nightmare. However we buck up and solider on. Personal feelings aside, for the first time in my career I was getting in shit for something everyday. Talked down to in front of my troops,peers, and superiors on a daily basis.
And after a year something snapped in my head. High ranking officers were approaching me  asking if I had hay fever as my eyes were blood shot at work. Late night?Drugs?hangover? is what they were thinking perhaps. Little did they know I spend most lunch times sitting in my house crying like a baby. Puking everymorning thinking about going to my place of work. My sleep is fragmented, I have nightmares so real...except in my dreams I am not the macho guy I was in real life.


So go get help right? Sounds easy. Infact during our decompression it honestly seemed like getting mental health help was not as bad as it use to be for those before us.  The reality strikes you that your suddenly working with for guys who think of it as weak, your constantly hearing malingerer and PTSD used in the same conversation. Faking, trying to get out of work, etc. I'm sure others have heard the same thing in the combat arms.
I have children and a wife to support so I have been dealing with it as best I can, however when your wife finds you crying in the basement the secret is blown. I feel like a failure of a father, husband, soldier.  I agreed with her to see someone this week.


I'm scared I will lose my job. I've been in the combat arms since the ripe age of 17. I'm a father.I have to support my kids. I know the ridicule I will receive when I tell my superiors I am having problems. I know I will lose peers and be perceived as weak. All the feel good powerpoint briefs, VA memorandums instructing people to treat people with PTSD is great...but it isn't being followed. I see this happening in sidebar office chats everyday.


I fear my upcoming career courses will be cancelled. I fear I will be forced to work where I currently do. Under watchful eyes of superiors looking to "****" me, as I'm copping out of work. I am scared to death.


Do I have PTSD? I really don't know. I honestly hope not. I've been debating cancelling my appointment to see someone and sucking it deep inside, chin up and get on with my career. And at moments it does seem like I can. However 50 % of the time I'm hugging a toilet puking,crying (which is very outta character for me) I've broken ties with family, I make up excuses to leave my house when friends call. Those moments it feels unbearable. I find understanding simple tasks very hard at work. While told to go discuss things with other people I end up sitting on a toilet or a quiet spot outside instead of going and doing my job. I have a weird fear of even discussing things with people at work.


I have to admit I've been the guy in the office saying that I didn't believe in PTSD. We all discussed a CBC documentary at work many times about a few people who had PTSD who were not in combat. And ironically enough here I am.
 

the 48th regulator

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This is some advice, that will guide you to the right path of well being.

I did it, and attest tot he fact it helped me.

Go to this website;  www.osiss.ca

Or, to make it easier click this link;

http://osiss.ca/engraph/peer_sn_e.asp?sidecat=1&txt=1

Find the Peer Support Coordinator that is in your area, and click the square.  Their contact info is available.

If you need anymore help, you can PM me at any time what so ever.  I will help you with any questions you may have.

dileas

tess


 

GAP

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Hiding it is not going to change it.....get the help 48th suggested.

The days of having to "suck it up buttercup" are over, but it seems the ability of guys to admit there might be a problem hasn't changed much.
 

muskrat89

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You've taken the biggest step - the first one. The 48th Regulator is your man. Follow his advice, shoot him a PM as well. The culture is changing.

Thank you for your service, and good luck
 

dogger1936

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Figured I stop back and give a update.
About a week after I posted here I was at work when my officer asked me to pass on simple instruction to my troops. It was like he was speaking a differnt language.I found myself hid away in a classroom avoiding work, and people. I was almost looking at myself in a weird thrid person sorta way and forced myself to march into my UMS. They took me in quickly.

That day I was diagnoised with PTSD.

At first they really scared the crap outta me and told me I wasnt going on my career courses, I would be placed on TCAT. I argued my way out of it and they allowed me to go give it a try. I am now under the care of two differnt shrinks which sucks as it nreally does mess with my work schedule somewhat, but I now know what is important right now.

Knowing that I have help here, and am medicated I can honestly say I am feeling 10 times better than I was. Not to mention I not only departed on my career course but due bto my experience in a combat environment I am excelling at it. Which is also making me feel quite a bit better.

I didnt approach OSIS just due to the fact that I have issues talking face to face with people I dont know well. However on a lighter note I have began talking to my peers...only to find out everyone else in my command structure is going through similar things from our tour.

My dr couldnt get over the change in what she seen that day I marched myself into her office compared to now.Heck I cant believe it. However I am thinking most of the improvement is medicinal, I believe its a great help in moving forward and carrying on life as I deal with the things I did on that tour.

I suggest anyone having problems go get the help. I cannot believe some people go on for years like that. One year of that was enough for me. Now Im never looking back. SO here I am Mr strongman,leader etc admitting to the rest of the army I have issues! And I would recommend seeking the help to anyone. I`ve gone in a mere few weeks from a guy with a release typed up so »»I could just get away, to a guy topping a career course and dealing with my problerms.sure there are bad days but myfamily and myself are very important and I believe I can still serve with the help that has been offered to me.
 

Bruce Monkhouse

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Thanks for the update.
Keep rollin'.......................
 
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c4th

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the 48th regulator said:
Spoken like a true member of the media, and not what is being recognized and understood by the military.....

Tes,
Don't overestimate what is understood by the military.  PTSD IMO is the new liver.  As you know the definition in DSM-IV for PTSD is narrow.  I know many who show one or more symptoms but do not meet the threshold of a clinical diagnosis of PTSD.  I also know of individuals either personally or reported in the media who conveniently claim PTSD when they are either in trouble or want to get out of some deployment or other.  Adjustment Disorders by definition should b
e more common and a minority of claims are the result of an unreasonable sense of entitlement.

I don’t believe the medical system is good at vetting legitimate cases from fraudulent ones.  If you only have a hammer everything is a nail and if all you have is a hospital everyone is a patient.

I also agree and know of many individuals who have legitimate symptoms and don’t seek treatment. 

For those who receive benefits for claims that are latter deemed fraudulent I doubt they will be ever held to account since they are not the ones who made the diagnosis and the following quote from Monty Python would likely work in all cases:
Peasant 3: Well, she turned me into a newt!

Sir Bedevere: A newt?
Peasant 3: [meekly after a long pause] ... I got better.
TNO
 

the 48th regulator

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Trust No One said:
Tes,
Don't overestimate what is understood by the military.  PTSD IMO is the new liver.  As you know the definition in DSM-IV for PTSD is narrow.

I am not a clinician, so please provide links or copies, as I would like to read this.  One can never learn enough.

Trust No One said:
I know many who show one or more symptoms but do not meet the threshold of a clinical diagnosis of PTSD. 

Sweet, I did not know you were a practicing clinician, within the CF, that deals with OSI's.  Can you direct me to any of your published papers, I would be interested in reading them.

Trust No One said:
I also know of individuals either personally or reported in the media who conveniently claim PTSD when they are either in trouble or want to get out of some deployment or other.  Adjustment Disorders by definition should b
e more common and a minority of claims are the result of an unreasonable sense of entitlement.

Yes, and I know of many people who think that eating halls, or peanut butter after leaving the bar will get them out of a DUI ticket?  What is your point, get rid of help for those suffering from OSIs, just so people can no longer use the defense of "Suffering PTSD" to get out of a crime??

Trust No One said:
I don’t believe the medical system is good at vetting legitimate cases from fraudulent ones.  If you only have a hammer everything is a nail and if all you have is a hospital everyone is a patient.

Well, You are the supposed clinician.  Until I read your academic history, I will refrain from commenting.


Trust No One said:
I also agree and know of many individuals who have legitimate symptoms and don’t seek treatment. 

And this is good how?  Not getting oneself help, for an injury is acceptable?  How many people you know that have not gone to the MIR with a broken leg, and were okay by walking it off a couple of weeks?

Trust No One said:
For those who receive benefits for claims that are latter deemed fraudulent I doubt they will be ever held to account since they are not the ones who made the diagnosis and the following quote from Monty Python would likely work in all cases:
Peasant 3: Well, she turned me into a newt!

Sir Bedevere: A newt?
Peasant 3: [meekly after a long pause] ... I got better.
TNO

Lemme guess, just came back from the Local after having a pint or two of green beer, eh?

What's the matter Marty, you falling apart since I had you under my wing back in the 48th  ;)



dileas

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c4th

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the 48th regulator said:
I am not a clinician, so please provide links or copies, as I would like to read this.  One can never learn enough.
309.81    DSM-IV Criteria for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder
A. The person has been exposed to a traumatic event in which both of the following have been present:
(1) the person experienced, witnessed, or was confronted with an event or events that involved actual or threatened death or serious injury, or a threat to the physical integrity of self or others (2) the person's response involved intense fear, helplessness, or horror. Note: In children, this may be expressed instead by disorganized or agitated behavior.
B. The traumatic event is persistently reexperienced in one (or more) of the following ways:
(1) recurrent and intrusive distressing recollections of the event, including images, thoughts, or perceptions. Note: In young children, repetitive play may occur in which themes or aspects of the trauma are expressed.
(2) recurrent distressing dreams of the event. Note: In children, there may be frightening dreams without recognizable content.

(3) acting or feeling as if the traumatic event were recurring (includes a sense of reliving the experience, illusions, hallucinations, and dissociative flashback episodes, including those that occur upon awakening or when intoxicated). Note: In young children, trauma-specific reenactment may occur.
(4) intense psychological distress at exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
(5) physiological reactivity on exposure to internal or external cues that symbolize or resemble an aspect of the traumatic event.
C. Persistent avoidance of stimuli associated with the trauma and numbing of general responsiveness (not present before the trauma), as indicated by three (or more) of the following:
(1) efforts to avoid thoughts, feelings, or conversations associated with the trauma
(2) efforts to avoid activities, places, or people that arouse recollections of the trauma
(3) inability to recall an important aspect of the trauma
(4) markedly diminished interest or participation in significant activities
(5) feeling of detachment or estrangement from others
(6) restricted range of affect (e.g., unable to have loving feelings)
(7) sense of a foreshortened future (e.g., does not expect to have a career, marriage, children, or a normal life span)
D. Persistent symptoms of increased arousal (not present before the trauma), as indicated by two (or more) of the following:
(1) difficulty falling or staying asleep
(2) irritability or outbursts of anger
(3) difficulty concentrating
(4) hypervigilance
(5) exaggerated startle response
E. Duration of the disturbance (symptoms in Criteria B, C, and D) is more than one month.
F. The disturbance causes clinically significant distress or impairment in social, occupational, or other important areas of functioning.
Specify if:
Acute: if duration of symptoms is less than 3 months
Chronic: if duration of symptoms is 3 months or more
Specify if:
With Delayed Onset: if onset of symptoms is at least 6 months after the stressor

the 48th regulator said:
Sweet, I did not know you were a practicing clinician, within the CF, that deals with OSI's.  Can you direct me to any of your published papers, I would be interested in reading them.
We both know I’m not and I hope no one is coming to army.ca for peer reviewed articles.  I am writing from a position of my own observations as objective, subjective or misguided as they may be.
the 48th regulator said:
What is your point, get rid of help for those suffering from OSIs, just so people can no longer use the defense of "Suffering PTSD" to get out of a crime??
Certainly not.  However from my personal experience from redeploying more than once there is an expectation from comments made to me that I or soldiers in general have PTSD.  I am not denying that some do.    What I personally believe is that within the definition of PTSD it is not as common as one is led to believe by the media.  Again, only my observation.
the 48th regulator said:
And this is good how?  Not getting oneself help, for an injury is acceptable?  How many people you know that have not gone to the MIR with a broken leg, and were okay by walking it off a couple of weeks?
Did I say it was good?  What I am saying is; it is what it is.  I will tell you that plenty go to the MIR with nothing wrong and come back with chits for light duties.  Not all sore legs are broken.  Not that I have ever broken my legs but judging from the bones I have broken I am pretty sure about this one.
the 48th regulator said:
Lemme guess, just came back from the Local after having a pint or two of green beer, eh?
What's the matter Marty, you falling apart since I had you under my wing back in the 48th  ;)
No, and I never worked for you in TO Tes;)
 

armychick2009

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My ex suffers from PTSD. A while back, during a conversation with another military member about it, he kinda said laughing, "Is he one of them fakers? Just trying to get out of tours?" and kinda smirked.

I looked him straight in the eyes and said, "No, actually. I've waken up to being beaten in the middle of the night during his nightmares... woke up to fists in the head, kicks in the back, scratches and bleeding because he freaked the cat out and the cat scratched almost four feet worth of deep scratches and gouges on my legs and back to get out from beneath the blankets to safety. The yelling, the screams...  I assure  you, he is not a faker.  In fact, he's hid it for years so he CAN go on tour."

In fact, he's on tour right now.

The serving member kind of just looked away.

So, yes... people out there think there are fakers. I know of at least two. But, I definitely know of at least one (my ex) who is NOT and it's very genuine.
 

TN2IC

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dogger1936- I wish you the best luck. The CF doesn't look down on these issues. And you took the first step. I'm in some what same situation, and every day looks brighter on the other side. Keep up the good work, you"ll see it soon.

Regards,
TN2IC

:cdn:
 

Armymedic

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Trust No One said:
I don’t believe the medical system is good at vetting legitimate cases from fraudulent ones.  If you only have a hammer everything is a nail and if all you have is a hospital everyone is a patient.

I also agree and know of many individuals who have legitimate symptoms and don’t seek treatment. 

First, it is that belief that keeps the stigma alive. We, trained medical personnel do not interview our patient on the basis if they are "fraudulent" or not. We inquire about symptoms, and then based upon the presentation of those attempt to make a tentative diagnosis.

Perhaps you should have a bit of faith in those whom profession it is to determine that diagnosis. Cause if you have a better way of determining fraudulent cases from legitimate ones than someone who has spent 10 years to become a doctor, then an addition 5 years to become a psychiatrist, and whom has seen many cases of PTSD, both in civilian and military patients, then by all means, come forth, publish, and get your praise.

Secondly, if people have symptoms, regardless of condition, and do not come forward; whom, in the end, is it really hurting? Let me assure you, it is not me.

Finally, why you believe the DSM-IV-TR definition of PTSD is too narrow? Exactly how does an outline of symptoms a page long become too narrow? How would you define PTSD vs. other Axis 1 conditions such as GAD, and still leave room for the Axis 2 disorders and v. codes so that the definition is not too broad?

BTW, PTSD is a treatable condition, and it is not a condition exclusively of soldiers. People do get better. As per any other disease, the earlier a patient comes forward for treatment, the easier it may be to treat.
 

TN2IC

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See the term PTSD seems to be a go-to phrase a lot of people (non-doctors) like to hand out. I thought my issue could of been that, or OSI, but it's more related to anxiety and anger. (Which can be also signs of PTSD).

It's more for anger, but anxiety does play a major role in my life.
But now I'm on the path to correcting my issues. And for anyone else that has any signs, or is in need the help. It's only a phone call away. And no, you won't be put into a padded room. (My room is booked for my retirement party.)  ;D
It's a start to a new page in life for anyone that wants to go out and reach for it. And it has to start with you, and you only.

Talk to your Doctor, or go to the MIR on sick parade. Whatever works, just get your foot in the door.


Regards,
TN2IC

P.S.  I'm not panzy for typing this. My doc says I'm cool.  :nod:
 

the 48th regulator

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http://www.vac-acc.gc.ca/clients/sub.cfm?source=mental-health/support/factssha

[size=18pt]
What is an Operational Stress Injury?

An operational stress injury (OSI) is any persistent psychological difficulty resulting from operational duties performed while serving in the Canadian Forces (CF) or as a member of the Royal Canadian Mounted Police (RCMP). It is used to describe a broad range of problems which include diagnosed medical conditions such as anxiety disorders, depression, and post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) as well as other conditions that may be less severe, but still interfere with daily functioning.

The symptoms and the injuries themselves vary according to the individual and nature of their experience. For Veterans, the injury may occur following combat duties, after serving in a war zone, in peacekeeping missions or following other traumatic or serious events not tied to combat.

It is normal to experience some form of distress after being exposed to a traumatic event. Fortunately, help is available for those struggling with an OSI. The earlier help is sought, the better the rate of recovery.



dileas

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mellian

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Speaking out of ignorance here...

Is there presently any methods to help prevent PTSD, like some kind of mental training beyond just the training you get when joining? Or is it to unpredictable and random, as well dependent on the individual and previous life experiences?




 

HItorMiss

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Think of yourself like a bucket Mellian

Some people have bigger buckets then other and each event in life fills the bucket a little. Eventually the bucket over flows. Can't train yourself to really be a bigger bucket overall just ways to cope with carrying the weight of the extra water.


Now granted this is a simplistic analogy but was one of the best I have heard from a mental health professional.
 

the 48th regulator

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mellian said:
Speaking out of ignorance here...

Is there presently any methods to help prevent PTSD, like some kind of mental training beyond just the training you get when joining? Or is it to unpredictable and random, as well dependent on the individual and previous life experiences?


Very good question.  Just like the avoidance of any other type of physical injury, there are methods to minimize any type of damage, through education, and good practice.  With this in mind, the CF has looked at improving the rate where one recovers from a mental injury, as the key term is an injury.


The CF and DND have launched the be the difference campaign, that employs people from the Joint Speakers Bureau who are made up of members, who have suffered from an OSI, and paired up with a clinician.  They educate the concept of OSI's, Peer help, detection, and manners to get help.  All BMQ, PLQ and such are mandated to have this training.

Education in "The Bulletproof Mind: Mental Preparation for Combat." Col. Grossman, through the Killology group he has been a part of, has been approached by the CF.

He speaks, quite frequently in Canada, and is a treat and educational chance you can't miss.  He has written many books on the subject.

dileas

tess
 

dogger1936

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At first reading some of the posts  I was a little angered. However when  I stopped and thought about my own opinion on PTSD a few years ago, I really can't say much....as you are echoing my past opinion.

First off I have not and most likely will not ever approach VA for money. Infact it isn't even a slight concern right now. My main effort is getting better,getting healthy again, and finishing my career.Full stop.

While I am still having issues like nightmares, panic attacks during the day, and can become confused I still pulled off top candidate on my last career course. The issues I am having have been aided by a pill called effecter, which is a anti depressant. After taking it for a while I can honestly say  I have more days and moments of clarity. That being said there are days that are total write-offs.

I fully trust the medical staff that diagnosed me. They gave me the respect I deserve, and let me retain my dignity. Infact if it wasn't for the medical staff I would likely be in jail for angry outburst at work, divorced, and not in my current senior position doing fairly well.

Why did  I get PTSD? I really don't know. I've been wounded,watched friends die,blown up and killed many people.At the time it did not bother me,infact  I rather enjoyed it. What of the above is causing me issues? I cant really say. I'm currently working through that.

Just due to a trained DR telling me I have PTSD does not excuse me from the responsibilities to my troops IMHO. However I know that if it again becomes such a issue where I cannot command effectively that help is there for me.

One main thing  I want to get across to people is that there are a large number of us serving with a OSI. People you would never know had it. While some have worse symptoms and issues there are many of us who enjoy serving our country and plan on continuing to do so. Do I miss exercises and deployments? HELL NO! Infact I've probably been tasked more than most people without issues! I find keeping busy really helps me.

While I know I will not change peoples opinions on OSI's this is my story anyway.
 

SeanNewman

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There are actually quite a few ways to reduce the probability of developing PTSD, but most of them have to do with things far out of the individual's control.

Having your country behind your actions, having a long decompression between action and family life, getting to spend the next few years with your peers instead of being posted out, having your side earn a clear victory that justifies your actions, etc.

Grossman in "On Killing" covers a lot of it.  A lot of the things in WW2 that helped were completely thrown by the wayside in Vietnam, and a lot of those lessons learned are why we try to do things better now.

As has been covered though, everyone is different.  One guy who picks up 1,000 decapitated heads in Africa may never have a symptom, and someone else who hears a couple rockets go overhead may feel incredibly at risk and not in control of his life/death.
 

Armymedic

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The CF Senior Psychiatrist, Col Boddem, debunks Grossman's comments about being able to develop a bullet proof mind.

It is his opinion (as interpreted and paraphrased by me) that no amount of training can protect you from developing PTSD, and there is no scientific evidence that there are any particular factor that makes you less susceptible either.

As Bulletmagnet said his post, as was explained to him; you can not become a bigger bucket.
 
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