Tag Archives: PTSD

Uncle Sam Sent Me to Rehab for PTSD, by Danny Sjursen

The money paragraph: 

Here it is: I’m left with the profound, if hopeless, wish that every American voter and aspirant adolescent soldier would spend a moment with the veterans in rehab across this country tonight. To know what I know, to see what we – all of us – have allowed to happen in our names. There’s romance, and naivety, in that wish, I know, but I wish it just the same. 

From Danny Sjursen at antiwar.com:

I arrived an absolute mess; most of us did. Bloated cheeks, sunken eyes, wearing my PTSD and depression on every inch of my face. I can’t say I really wanted to be there, even if I had volunteered. Ironic, wasn’t it?

This, a civilian treatment facility in nowhere, Arizona, was to be my last official duty as an officer in the U.S. Army – an ignominious end to a once-bright career. Still, the truth is I needed it: After several years of treatment for post-traumatic stress, depression and anxiety, I wasn’t getting any better. The Army saw it and decided to retire me a few years early. Over the last year, my life ran off the rails – self medicating, spiraling, the standard drill for a broken vet.

Only those closest to me saw it; however, these were the very ones I’d hurt, who couldn’t take it anymore – with the fallout of bridges burned and relationships sabotaged. Nonetheless, most of us remain publicly functional long after these afflictions have taken the wheel. The frightening paradox of it all was that while my writing only improved, my emotional health deteriorated. That said, kudos to the Army, I suppose, for footing the bill and offering the opportunity for inpatient treatment on my way out the proverbial door. That’s how they do it: Ask the impossible, shatter a life, send for help when you’re too far gone to be of much use any longer – the assembly line of endless wars and the unfortunates who fight them.

It was a strange place, this facility on the outskirts of Phoenix. And expensive! Some 60 percent of the “clients” (as the staff unnervingly referred to patients) were wealthy professionals, well-off white folks with afflictions ranging from depression to suicidal ideation to personality disorders to heroin addiction. Some had Cadillac health insurance plans; a surprising number paid cash, a cool 60 grand.

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