Gut Rumbles

January 17, 2005

post-traumatic stress disorder

Did you ever notice that once psychologists give a mental disorder a name, a LOT of people develop it? And when the government accepts that disease as a "disability" and sends people a check every month, a LOT MORE people exhibit the symptoms? Isn't that amazing?

Yeah, I'm a really hard-hearted shit-ass for thinking the way I do.

I have a neighbor who has been drawing a 60% disability check for post-tramatic-stress for damn near 40 years now. He saw some combat in Vietnam back in 1968. He wasn't wounded. He joined the Marines back then because his other option was going to jail for burglary. The Marines were supposed to "straighten him out."

In MY humble opinion, Vietnam didn't fuck him up. He was fucked-up when he went there and he found a sugar-tit to suck once he got out. He goes to either Charleston or Augusta every three months to let the shrinks know that he's still crazy so the checks keep coming. Being "cured" is the last thing in the world he wants.

He still pulls that shit on me when he's been drinking... "Man, I can't help it. My mind keeps going back to Vietnam. I saw some horrible shit there..." I have no doubt that he did--- 38 fucking years ago. But I ain't his shrink, so I ask questions such as, "Describe the worst day you ever saw." I don't get a straight answer. In fact, he's "pushed a lot of that out of my mind," except for when he needs to be crazy.

HE is an example of a lot of post-traumatic-stress-syndrome today. It pays fairly well.

I've read that Audie Murphy always slept with the lights on and a .45 under his pillow until the day he died. I'm not saying that combat won't affect your mind in terrible ways. But my neighbor is no Audie Murphy. Audie saw some of the worst combat in WW ll and was the most decorated soldier in US history.

Audie was never "disabled."

Just think about it.


I have seen what PSTD does to vets, but I won't argue, there are some who use it as a scam, if you want to have fun, read about the asshole who just figured out after ten years of service, that war inflicts misery on people and is using the PTSD excuse to claim he's now a conscientious objector .

Posted by: Sherry on January 17, 2005 01:57 PM

Two of my uncles fought in WWII one in door to door
fighting in Europe, the other in the South Pacific both were wounded in hand to hand fighting. Both survived, and beyond having drinking problems and the demons of war they never once drew any pension or veterans compensation. They simply never dwelt on the war or what they'd seen and done. They set an example that I and my family try to live up to, I no longer drink. beyond an occiasional social drink and I have my demons too.

Posted by: Jack on January 17, 2005 03:08 PM

My Uncle Bob tried to join the Marines in WWII.
They just laughed at his fake stuff, and said, go join the Navy, and become a corpman. He was 15. He was a medic at Iwo Jima, Tinian, Saipan, and Okinawa. I think he should have been a candidate for post-traumatic-stress syndrome. He wasn't. He retired as a Navy chief after 30 years, went to college, and taught English in a San Diego "tough" high-school until he retired at 65. Maybe he was fucked up inside, but he didn't go around complaining about it.

Oh yeah, Audie Murphy is one of my authentic American heros. Big Time.

Posted by: Dan Pursel on January 17, 2005 08:17 PM

Actually, Murphy WAS somewhat disabled. He had half his ass shot off, like that woman in "Candide." I don't think anybody got to eat it, though. It kept him out of West Point, but didn't stop him from boxing for fun. From all reports, he was a very nice guy as well as being braver than Dick Tracy. Would that all of us were so. Sorta puts my own bitchin' in proportion.

Posted by: Justthisguy on January 17, 2005 09:40 PM

Yeah, I remember that. Audie went back into combat with a battlefield promotion, and people called him "that-half-assed lieutenant."

Posted by: Acidman on January 18, 2005 07:14 AM

In accordance with your closing comment, I thought about it.

I thought about my brother who came home from Vietnam a shadow of his former self, who slept in a room locked from both sides and with mesh over the windows, who never went anywhere away from his home without a gun, and who jumped at shadows all his later life.

I thought about the times I heard him shouting in his sleep, despite being doped to the eyeballs.

I thought about the wife and child who left him, afraid for their lives and the years of tears and distress and cries of "What's wrong with Daddy?"

I thought about my love of my little brother, and the pain when he took a length of rope and left his world of howling agony the only way he knew how.

I did "Just think about it".

And I am crying like a baby.

Posted by: Henry Blowfly on January 18, 2005 10:46 AM

Some people do have real post-traumatic stress disorder, but only as a result of real trauma. The idiot gummint doesn't have a definition of real trauma because the decisions have to be made by bureaucrats who never experienced one. As a result, they end up giving the benefits to people whose idea of trauma is having to march around and learn how to salute.

I'm real sorry for your dad, Henry -- but he's just the kind of man who's hurt most by the phony PTSD types Rob's writing about.

Posted by: McGehee on January 18, 2005 01:33 PM

Have to wonder about all this. Did two tours in RVN, with good about even with bad. Saw some ugly stuff, but grew as a human being too. Didn't start waking/screaming at night though, until I had to hold down a full time job. Now THAT's scary.

Posted by: iowa dude on January 18, 2005 03:43 PM

Regarding PTSD - I have it, and let me tell you, there is nothing fun about it. But it can be overcome, and that is what many people miss. I work in disability retirement, and a lot of people use PTSD as a crutch to get out of going back to work. Those who abuse it make light of it for those who truly suffer from it. But with work, and willingness to face it, it can be lessened, and life can return to some level of normal.

Posted by: Ally on January 19, 2005 09:51 AM

Oh, Henry, and McGehee? Murphy apparently had some ghosts in his head, too, was just too polite to inflict them on others. I recall, I think, either reading, or hearing some movie critic say on TV, that Murphy always made the other guys on the set, when he was acting, uncomfortable when he looked 'em in the eye, and that you can even feel the effect when watching his movies, yerself. Even on the TeeVee.

Posted by: Justthisguy on January 20, 2005 01:19 AM
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