1st time VA user - Need help.

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1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Randyw » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:33 am

Since sickness, disease, bodily deterioration, and mental acuity are impacted by age, at least I have been, I am guessing some of my former comrades may have had to use the services of the Veteran's Administration for an ailment, check up, or something more complicated. I have not asked the government for anything since we parted company, way back when, however, as depressing as this is, I am going to have to use the VA's services, due to my current circumstances.

I really hate to bother everyone with my personal issues, but I find myself needing help and I feel it's better to go to those who might understand my current situation better than going to a complete stranger right off the bat. Filling out their forms from the VA website have some questions I am not sure how to answer. I don't think I will have a problem proving I was in combat, or that I received a Purple Heart, however, I am not as sure about the Agent Orange issue.

Two questions to begin with; one, did the 6th/31st operate in an area where Agent Orange was used? Question two, should I join one of the many Veterans organizations to assist with this process and if yes, which one do you feel is best suited for the task. I will be using the VA in Detroit, Michigan, so any first hand knowledge of this particular facility would be greatly appreciated as well. It's not really necessary, however, I have always believed that being forewarned is being forearmed.

Again, I apologize for having to ask for help, I tend to keep my military life segregated from my day to day life and for better or worse, it has served me well for these many years.

Thanks for any assistance anyone can provide on my behalf.

Randy Whitaker
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Ron » Fri Aug 25, 2017 6:03 pm

Randy,

First of all, it's good you're seeking help as a 1st time VA user. I'm surprised it's taken this long in seeking some advise, but at least you've come to 'one' of the right places.
I myself am dealing with the Livingston Cty, Veteran Services. Luckily I'm able to work through their Service Officer who has been guiding me and filing all my claims to the VA system. I did start off with another VA officer out of the Pontiac area who was assisting the location near me.
Secondly, yes we did operate in A.O. areas of the Mekong Delta! Joining a veteran's organization will not get you in the VA system any faster, but they will at least help you to process the needed documents, such as your DD214. I myself belong to the American Legion and the VVA.

You're looking for help and all that I can & will do is get you started in the right direction. You're closer to the Pontiac Vet Center and that should help. From the sounds of thing it doesn't appear this isn't a serious matter, otherwise I'd say contact the Detroit VA facility ASAP.

The person you should contact at the Pontiac VA, if available, is Dawn L. Beltran, 44200 Woodward Ave, Suite 108, Pontiac, MI. Her phone number is 248-874-1015. Tell her that I sent you. Not sure if anyone is there on Saturdays. They offer Counseling and/or readjustment. If she's not in then someone else will be appointed for you.

All documents pertinent to your case will be filed electronically as snail mail is no longer done. Hopefully you have yourself in the VA system? If not, get down to the Ann Arbor or the Detroit location and sign in for a VA card as soon as you can. This card will be needed for all visits to VA facilities.

Of course all Veteran facilities, i.e. American Legion, VFW and such should have some also to help you along in these matters as well, but for greater assistance and counseling a VA Center is more helpful.

I believe you stated you lived in the Rochester Hills area and I live here in Howell. If you need any further help or there's any doubt about our A.O. in Mekong Delta and the 9th give me a call. My home phone is 517-548-0650.

Best of luck in getting the right help needed, Randy.

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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Randyw » Fri Sep 01, 2017 1:45 pm

Thanks Ron,

It seems I was unable to reply on this site and had to be reinstated. I have been and wanted to respond to you to let you know of my appreciation for all of the information you provided. I have contacted Ms. Beltran and am waiting for her to return to work after the Labor Day Holiday to schedule an appointment. I will keep you posted on my progress. Even though I must establish this relationship with the VA it is as foreign to me as a speaking Swahili. I am not comfortable with it, however, it's good to know there are those who went before me, survived the experience, and are willing to help.

I have corresponded with Jerry White and may want to get with each of you regarding the use of Agent Orange dispensed in our old A.O. if that would be alright.

Thanks again.

Randy
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Charlie Salisbury » Sun Sep 17, 2017 8:12 am

Any Vet center would have someone there who can help you. They are looking for Nam Vets, with your purple heart you I think, will be getting help right away. I am blessed that I went to the VA, saw a pysco DR. and they helped right then, she knew how to get me right back in Nam in my mind. I hope you have already gone, if not GO! I have the help that I needed, and the pension that changed my life! GOOOOOOOO!
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Randyw » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:46 pm

Charlie,

Thanks for the advice. I do have an appointment on the 29th of September with a person recommend by Ron Raymond. So that initiates my first step in what I hope is helpful environment and not not the dysfunctional world of the VA which has put me off in the past. Either way, it's time, and I am marching in. I am very appreciative of everyone who has contacted me either through this website or by other means. The same goes for my wife, she has been after me to do this for the longest time. She just hopes I have not waited too long.

Thanks again,

Randy
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Randyw » Mon Sep 18, 2017 6:53 pm

Charlie,

Excuse my short term memory, I forgot to ask you; were you impacted by Hurricane Irma? My brother-in-law lives in Fort Myers and according to him it was pretty hairy riding it out; outside of the debris in and around his home, his place held up pretty well. I hope you and yours survived in as good of shape.

Thanks again,

Randy
Delta Co. 68 - 69
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Charlie Salisbury » Tue Sep 19, 2017 2:39 pm

Glad you are going for it. Same thing happened to alot of Nam Vets, after the war they did not want to talk to you. When I tell people they don't believe me, I never went back for years and years! This site helped me alot, talking about the ACV incident was the begining of me getting the help I needed. They, the VA, knew about my time in the 9th Inf. also knew about my combat with the 1st Cav. I started to talk to the pysco doc, and she had my mind there in no time. The Vet center in Ft. Myers talked to the VA for me too. Thank GOD you are going, something good will happen for you, that I am sure! I now live in Tamarac, it's near Coral Springs, my house was built in 69, she stood the storm very well, alot of scary moments I must say. Ft. Myers took big time hits, Naples too. Ron's info was fantastic, I pray it will work out for you! Rap to me any time, not sure if I help you, but I hope I help you to step into the VA!
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Niner Alpha » Tue Sep 19, 2017 3:17 pm

We have Thursday night chats on Skype and have been doing them every week for years going back to the type chat days before Skype had been invented. Talking to guys who have been there in the same AO is therapeutic for a lot of guys.... including me. It's not a pity party. However, if you want to talk about it, we can listen attentively to your story and have a good understanding of what you are saying without you having to paint us a picture. We don't dwell on the war and mostly talk about other things ..but we all have the Vietnam experience in common that will always be with us and can relate to each another without even mentioning the war.

We regulars... Ron Raymond, Floyd Jones, Chuck Thrush, and myself, can hook you up to the Skype chat..meaning anybody from the war reading this... just for the asking.
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Ron » Wed Sep 27, 2017 9:17 am

Randy,

Just wanted to say that I hope your VA appointment this coming 9/29 works out. Also, don't get your hopes too high as to what you might be hearing. Just because of what you should be obtain for C & P to what you will receive are 2 different issues. From what you now expect as a "service connected disability" and what the VA finds on its examination might sway your expectations. In other words, make sure you have all documentation to support your claim(s) and not go by what others around you may say you have coming!
The VA service officer, or other military organizations, will and should know the best means possible to process your claim. The whole process could take some time depending on the findings or go on for more than a year. Be ready for the VA exams and/or supporting tests done by your private medical facilities. In other words, back up all claims! Have all your medical records on hand and make copies of everything.

If you question the way things are going there's no law in you checking with the VFW, American Legion or other organizations for support. You also have this site or Facebook to fall back on for any questions that you might have.

Best of luck, Randy. :)
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Charlie Salisbury » Wed Sep 27, 2017 2:54 pm

Some really good advice from Ron, I was lucky in that I had gone to a Vet Center in Ft. Myers because of dreams and some other mental issues, got to know this Marine from the Gulf War, did not know he was a psycho Doc. from the VA. After maybe 4-5 talks with him, somehow I was talking about an ambush I blew where my best friend in Nam died and I always thought it was my fault. I mean I drew the ambush, everything, he some how got it out of me, everything. When I was sitting there after this talk, he came up to me and said Charlie stand up a minute, I was completely soaked! Really weird, he drove me to the VA in Miami, saw a woman psycho Doc, was classified 100% on the spot, PTSD, and 30% agent orange issues, because of heart issues. I did not believe her, she told me about the Nam Fast Trac Program, in about 2-3 weeks got 45,000 in my bank account and of course my pension. So I don't know, for me the VA has been a life saver! I can only hope that something good will happen to you! I do know that the VA is looking for Nam Vets, hope they help you as they did for me.
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Randyw » Wed Oct 04, 2017 8:34 am

Well, I have attended my first encounter with the VA system and thanks to a solid recommendation from Ron Raymond, the individual I met with at the Vet Center was both a character and effective in being able to elicit responses from me that I have been unwilling, or possibly unable, to speak about for the past nearly 50 years. I had no idea, although, in retrospect, I probably did know, that I had severe anger issues. Fortunately for family, the anger was not the lashing out and acting out kind of anger, instead it apparently was controlled by me, and the anger was stifled to the point of not showing any type of emotion. Dawn Beltran, the Readjustment Counselor, gave me a book to read, "The Tears of a Warrior" and both my wife and I are reading it. My wife, 30 years together, keeps saying, this is SOOOOOooooo you! I keep telling her, are we reading the same book? Then she points out all of the many times I reacted one way, or did this or that, and then I remember; maybe she's right. So after the first initial meeting, Ms. Beltran has given me homework; read the book and write about your experiences. I am almost done with the book, and next is to write about my experiences in-country. I go back on the 13th and we will begin the process of submitting my claim to the VA with all of the supporting documents she needs.

I went into this for the medical side of my personal health issues, however, it appears, there may be some mental health issues to deal with as well. Again, Thanks to everyone's support, advice, and recommendations, I am very appreciative. I will keep you posted.

Thanks,
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Oct 04, 2017 9:53 am

Thanks for the report Randy. Looks like Ron put you on the right track. I know I have some anger issues too...like, for instance, my grown kids say I have embarrassed them in restaurants a couple of times when I said something less than kind to the waiter when the service or the food didn't suit me. But in my case I think I'm just an old fool with no governor on saying whatever I'm feeling and just need to relearn some manners. I can't link anything that happened to me in Vietnam to my sometimes anger issues....but maybe being aware of the possibility of a link is important to being aware and making adjustments.

I read the intro to the book on Amazon:
Tears of a Warrior: A Family's Story of Combat and Living with PTSD Paperback – January 15, 2010
by Janet J. Seahorn (Author), E. Anthony Seahorn (Author)

I could identify with some of what was mentioned as symptoms from the wife and children's point of view in the Amazon preview. However..... every time I read about the symptoms of some disease I get to thinking I must have that too.
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Randyw » Wed Oct 04, 2017 11:22 am

Truth be told, I never thought I had an anger issue. To me anger is expressed with outrage, flailing, acting without thinking, I never did any of that. However, my wife reminds me, for the first seven years of marriage, before babies, she would try and push all my buttons to get some sort of emotional reaction out of me, not to make me mad, but she needed to know where the hell I was, because to her, I was not emotionally there. One of the things Ms. Beltran expressed was that it appears I became so good at bottling up my emotions, anyone would have thought I was just this laid back dude from the sixties. I do have to admit that I lived by "It ain't nothin but a thing" for a long time after the war and I guess it just became my persona.

I am trying to identify just what was the cause of this anger and my reason for suppressing it. It is early in this process and actually, I am afraid if I am able to deal with the anger and not hold it in, will I become the angry, verbally and physically abusive person usually associated with unbridled anger. Not sure I want that either. However, it would be nice not to be tense all the time, lower my blood pressure, and open up to people; like the person I was before Vietnam.

I can not say at this point if what I am beginning would be good for anyone else. I will keep posting here so others may determine for themselves if it is an avenue for them to take.

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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Charlie Salisbury » Wed Oct 04, 2017 12:43 pm

Randy, was really happy to know that you went, Ron is a stand up fellow who still looks out for his fellow soldiers! Good things shall come out from this I know, never thought any one would help me, but when I took that step, it happened! I know I don't have all the info such as Ron, but I hope I pushed you a little, very happy you went my friend! God saw us all through the Nam, and I am positive you will get results quicker than you think. Keep telling us what is going on, maybe someone else who goes to Robert's site will go see the VA.
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Delta75 » Wed Oct 04, 2017 2:01 pm

Randy...I hope that you were able to open the Word Document that I sent you, via email, several weeks ago, that contained Mac's documentation of the Jan 13, 1969 battle at Cai Nua. If you were not able to open it, please let me know and I will resend. This might help you with your story.

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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Ron » Thu Oct 05, 2017 8:32 am

Randy,
Good to hear you've made some headway with Dawn, even if it's only your 1st or 2nd visit with her. She knows how and will search out your "trigger points" in getting at your issues, even to the point of possibly having your 'best friend' show up for an interview. First few sessions will get rougher as time goes on, so hopefully having that book 'Tears of a Warrior' will open up our minds of what all of us Veterans had and are experiencing. I myself was given that book when I began my visits with Dawn, with both Jan & I reading it from cover to cover.
Possibly Dawn might even set up an appointment with a certified Psychologist or Psychiatrist that deals with your issues of PTSD.
Dawn really got into my underlying issues (know what I'm saying) to the point of me getting red in the face. Yes, those appointments will become intense on occasions, but it's to be expected if you want the help. She will attack the core of your issue so don't become embarrassed or feel all bummed out.
It's going to take quite a few sessions with Dawn before you become more comfortable with her and can even sit down with your wife in explaining what we went through way back when and how you're going to deal with it.

Don't worry, Randy, you'll do fine and in time your blood pressure will begin to look better! You're in good hands.
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Randyw » Thu Oct 05, 2017 2:29 pm

Robert, Charlie, Jerry, and Ron,

Sure seems like the old days when I knew everyone was covering my back and they knew I would cover theirs. So thank you for that.

Jerry if you could, please resend that email, I will try to open it again. I have just begun to put thought to paper regarding my time and incidents relating to Vietnam, so I am sure it would help.

Having a "best friend" show up would be very difficult for Ms Beltran, as one of the ways my form of PTSD has manifested itself is that I have no friends, colleagues at work, yes, however, I have not had any friends, in the truest since of the word, since 1969. As I think about it now, it probably has to do with the loss of former comrades and not wanting to lose someone else I cared for. However, I would encourage Ms. Beltran to elicit testimony from my wife, she will definitely shed some light on the subject, most of which, I don't recall, or don't want to recall.

I fully anticipate this process to be difficult, embarrassing, hurtful, and probably guilt ridden, as I move forward. I mean, nearly fifty years of keeping thing bottled up and now trying to open up those dark recesses of my mind and releasing those memories again, well, I hope I am up to the task. Right now, it does seem daunting. Ms. Beltran, on the other hand, seems quite capable and experienced. I believe if she can draw out the poison by pushing, poking, prodding, and needling me into releasing those hidden emotions, I believe I will be better off for it. Just knowing the fact that I have taken this first step has already had an impact on my psyche. So for good, bad, or ugly I am all in for an attempt at a solution to my demons.

And again, I am extremely grateful to everyone, those who responded on this site and those who have just viewed this on-going saga; I thank you. For years and years I have been an observer unable to put myself out there, perhaps with Ms. Beltran's assistance as well as the knowledge there are others who have gone through this journey already and survived, others who may be interested and not ready themselves, or others who are just willing to lend me their support, it has and is making a difference.

Thanks,

Randy Whitaker
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Randyw » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:47 pm

Visit number two with the VA rehabilitation counselor. During the first meeting, I still found it difficult to discuss events that occurred during Vietnam; which I personally found disturbing. Maybe disturbing is not a good definition, although it was a very odd feeling to feel my eyes water and not being able to speak; really weird. Ms. Beltran tasked me with writing down the events as I remembered them. The writing of facts was not too difficult, Jerry White was kind enough to resend a document written by Jim MacMasters, and the excerpts from the "America's Foreign Legion" (yet to be published); provided me with some missing or repressed personal memories and allowed me to put pen to paper and write the details. However, details were not what Ms. Beltran wanted or needed. What she needs, and wants, are the emotional details; what was I thinking, what was I trying to suppress, where was I directing my anger, who, of those I met, seemed to elicit concern, fear, or frustration with, and who, demonstrated those qualities which I myself held in high esteem.

Now that was a much more difficult task. For all these years, I felt I was able to control my anger and emotions, almost to the point of being, e m o t i o n l e s s; much to the exasperation of my wife. I for one, did not realize, nor did I see this as an issue or problem. If I got angry, upset, frustrated in the years following the war, I would stifle, subdue, or otherwise conceal those emotions and let it slide and move on. The anger didn't really go away, however, no one other than myself, was any the wiser.

For instance, Ms. Beltran asked; what was it like when you first arrived in country? I told her, and subsequently wrote, about the oppressive heat, humidity, smells, sights, signs of war, the sea of OD Green, and the fact I did not have a clue as to what was going on; like a sheep to slaughter. NOT THE ANSWER......she then directed her interrogation toward what "normal" people might think, and at that time, even though freshly trained, patriotic, and ready to take my place in the larger scope of things, I probably WAS thinking; WTF had I gotten myself into, this is a fucking war zone, I could die here. Here I am taking a trip to the Transfer Station, in buses with gun ports for windows, and chain link fences on the outside, which I was told would pre-detonate a RPG causing less damage. "Did this scare you?" Ms. Beltran asked. "Were you scared", she asked, "because everywhere you looked there were Vietnamese, you were on very narrow roads, and NO ONE had a weapon or any way to defend ourselves."

So this is the type of story I must turn the facts into. For a person who has spent a life time suppressing these types of emotions, I must know think in an entirely foreign way, in a way, I probably did think in those terms back in the day, but have long forgotten or suppressed those emotions and thoughts as they did not seem appropriate in a battle zone.

So I have been working on that for my next meeting. It is not an easy task for me. I will let you know how it goes.
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Niner Alpha » Thu Oct 19, 2017 12:56 pm

You write well, Randy. I got a feeling you will get through this new journey better than most. Really interesting reading. I look forward to anything else you say in future.
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Charlie Salisbury » Thu Oct 19, 2017 2:57 pm

You know Randy, reading your account so far, I just realized how much the war changes every pore in your body and mind! You are right, it started on you right from the beginning, that bus trip into hell, at times so insane, just hard to sort out! I hope you keep plugging, one thing I have learned from your account, boy was I really messed up, sitting with the guys once a month, has at times been really good, but there are times it is so hard to deal with, we were not taught to kill people as children, to realize that you got caught up in that on a daily basis, is hard to come to terms with! Keep going forward my friend, something good shall come apon you! I just hope I don't upset you in any way, move forward!
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Charlie Salisbury » Thu Oct 19, 2017 3:09 pm

I wanted to say, went to the VA the other day, have a sore on the top of my head, sometimes bled, also have a hole on the back of my left foot. you know the VA, they say I have to go to the VA in Miami, so far they won't tell me what is wrong, go Tuesday for more tests. Guys, remember any weird things crop up, get it checked out, from what some vets tell me, AGENT ORANGE is around and shows up as you get older.
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Ron » Thu Oct 19, 2017 6:31 pm

Randy,
Now what did I tell you on what to expect from Dawn!. She doesn't want details as to what actually happened, but what how we saw things and what went through our heads on being in-country. Our feelings, deep emotional as they may be, has to documented by the veteran. It will pull you apart, get you 'red' in the face, shiver, sweat and become almost angry at what the therapist wants from you. One of my 1st long ago sessions in about 1985, it became known that we WILL NOT strike the VA officer! Strike out hitting them and you're out the door.
You're suffering like the rest of us who went through combat, returned home and carried our experience, good or bad, for the remainder of our lives. True, we didn't go through any debriefing upon returning home, but would any of it really helped to cure us of what was really hurting inside? :(
I was not married at the time or had a family so as to have some support or verify what I was going through.
I myself didn't know what was happening with me the first time I went through some depression until I talked to a cousin of mine who served with the Marine Corp. in 'Nam. He served in-country a year before I did and sought help from the VA as soon as a family crisis was critical. Gary knew right away what I was going through; he just didn't realize how bad it got for me in my combat missions of the Mekong Delta. He not once interrupted me when I explained to him what my "incident reports" were until I was finished, and it even seemed both of us had to catch our breaths to continue on.
Toss those "incident reports" aside and write what you FEEL, Randy. I too have that 1/1969 incident down as well as 3 others. Dawn wants nothing but your own thoughts on paper, and even then she'll possibly have you re-write it, pending how it looks to her. My 1st description in writing was also not what she wanted - "re-write it Ron.
It took me about 3 attempts before it came out to what she wanted. Each time it took me deeper into thought and feelings. Most of this you're already experiencing what Dawn is sweating out of you.

So, you're now on point again, Randy, but 'slow as you go' and in time these sessions will bring you safely home.

Take a deep breath and let someone in. :)
You've got my number if needed.
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Randyw » Wed Oct 25, 2017 8:56 am

Ron, Charlie, and Robert,

Thank you all for sharing your thoughts on how you have progressed in your attempt to come to grips with the traumatic events of the past we all shared. Those insights really offered me encouragement knowing others have made this journey before. Ron was right when he indicated it takes time to get your head back in the game. Some things you remember are etched into your memory, as clear as yesterday. However, most of those reflect the facts, the surface, and the superficial collaboration of both your own and others recollections of the event(s). To get down to the emotional level, the level that separates the story from what actually drove you through those events is quite difficult, at least it has been for me.

Most of my post-war life was conducted with me in control, limited thoughts or memories of those days back in Vietnam, and a subdued and concealed set of emotions that allowed me to participate as a "normal" person. However, the older I got the more I realized I wasn't a "normal" person at all, no friends, anger issues, guilt, and the most befuddling was the fact that I had so successfully controlled and concealed those emotions, now, when I need to dredge them back up to the surface, I am finding it very difficult.

The facts, they are pretty straight forward, the emotions, not so much. As Ron alluded to above, the deeper you delve into those emotions, the harder it becomes, but, hopefully, not impossible. Sort of like that proverbial onion, one layer at a time. My VA rehab counselor Ms. Beltran, seems very adept at drawing out things, emotions, events, I have, in the past refrained from speaking about. Ms. Beltran, I also realize is looking out for my best interest, and so in that light, I am willing to place myself in her hands and hope for a satisfying outcome.

I do have another session coming up and I will let you know how my current dissertation will either meet with her approval or not. By Ron's standards, I believe I will be doing several more rewrites in the future. Not only does Ms. Beltran want me to get it right, I do as well. We shall see what we shall see.

Thanks,

Randy Whitaker
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Niner Alpha
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Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Niner Alpha » Wed Oct 25, 2017 11:11 am

What you are saying gives me a shiver when I think about my own history and memory. Ron mentioned on the chat an incident he knew about involving me and someone we both know and he wondered if it bothered me .... and I said...truthfully... no. It doesn't bother me to remember. I came through that incident without a scratch and the guy in question only walks with a limp today. I just remember it better than a scene in a movie, and what the plot was, and the dialogue, and my part in it. That I still remember something that happened 47 years ago that well does make me wonder why though. Then, in a quiet moment I got to thinking further about my personal war history and I started to check off a list of events that popped one after the other into my mind that were about the same degree of memory significance as the story Ron mentioned to me , but generally more "frightening",..... for want of a better word than "frightening". Then I started to think about some of the symptoms you have mentioned. And... I wonder about my own ptsd condition.

I think I was in a better position to cope when I went to Vietnam than the majority of guys that ended up in the bush. I was older for one thing. I had just completed a degree in History and Philosophy when I was drafted. My age and added education was....I think... a personal buffer that made it easier to cope with the insanity of war in Vietnam. My personal mantra was the same shared ones.... "wherever you go. whatever you do. there you are" and "it don't mean nothing". Life was "don't think about it...just do it". Put one foot in front of the other and live one minute at a time. Each day lived was another mark on the short timers calendar.

I asked my wife one day, after reading some of the symptoms, a question, "it says that avoiding family gatherings as much as possible is a symptom..... do you think that may be why I often feel like bowing out of things like that? She said..."not likely... you've always been like that". I said, "Thanks, I was worried for a minute."

It seems very true to me that the multiple war experiences I went through in Vietnam had a lot to do with how I acted and reacted and interacted in society after I cam home. The fact that there was nobody to talk to about it back then, and no recognition by the government that there was a problem, makes the problem now coming to the surface more important to address. Now we are in retirement years. Our work years had kept it all buried below the conscious mind because we had tasks and deadlines to meet. Now, at this late date, it is important for those with symptoms that bother them to seek help. It is good that help is at long last available to those who seek it.
Randyw
Posts: 21
Joined: Fri Jan 06, 2006 2:02 am
Location: Rochester Hills, MI

Re: 1st time VA user - Need help.

Postby Randyw » Wed Oct 25, 2017 2:47 pm

I can never attempt to know what you went through personally, however, I can say that being with someone who is capable of drawing out those emotions and being there to separate them from the memory of facts has made my inroads to help possible. I never thought I needed help, never wanted help, didn't care whether I spoke about Vietnam today, tomorrow, or next year. It was an episode in my life and that episode; the curtains have closed. Or so I thought. I don't know how far I am, but am certainly grateful for Ron providing the name of someone experienced in these matters, someone who knows how far to push, and push a little more. Even though I leave those sessions more upset than the last time, it seems my breathing is easier and my mood lighter.

It certainly cannot hurt to explore your own thoughts, memories, and events with someone willing to advise and assist, even if it's just to have someone to vent with. I am finding it maddening but helpful. As you alluded to at the end of your reply, it is good that help is available; especially for those who seek it. Something to consider. So much for my two cents.

Randy Whitaker
Delta Co.
1968 - 1969

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