Making it Count


I talked to a friend today.  She is waiting for “The Letter.”  I know exactly how she feels.  The waiting is horrible. 

Sometimes it feels very weird to me to talk about these things face to face.  I can tell you all about them – my cyberspace friends – but in the real world…it is much harder.  In fact, it is much more real.

She is a blessing to me, this friend.  I enjoy the times we get to chat.  It is amazing how hard it is though for we survivors of MST to make those connections.

I made a joke with her about being excited about my 50% compensation and then realizing…”who do I tell?”  It not like I can show up to my local veteran service organization meeting and stand up and say, “Hey, I got 50% because one of  the  rat’s ass bastard men that I served with raped me.  Thanks!”  Wow…there would be dentures all over the floor and hearing aides squealing everywhere!

It’s not really a joke, though, is it?  You can’t exactly tell people – unless they already know.  I am working at disclosing more.  Like I disclosed to this friend – but I had a feeling we were both survivors.   I think she had the same feeling about me.  It’s just about taking the step to get there.

I sometimes feel that if I could just help someone that I could make it all worthwhile.  Maybe that is why I am so busy?  It isn’t just about “helping” it is also about avoidance.  Immerse myself in the very thing that I want to avoid.  Too busy to think.  Too busy to feel.  Up early…work hard…take Ambien…wake up early…work hard…take Ambien.  I don’t always take the Ambien.  Sometimes I just work myself to exhaustion doing anything but thinking. 

I admit it.  I want what happened to me to count for something.  I want what happened to Brigid and to my friend to count for something.  I want to bang on doors and scream.  I want everyone I know to know what happened to me.  I want people to understand why I over react or panic or why I just want to sleep.  I want to buy me a T-Shirt that says, “PTSD SUCKS…and MST SUCKS WORSE!”  Then I want to wear it everywhere!  I want to storm the Governor’s office, the Pentagon, The White House, the Congress, the Senate and I want them all to know that this happened to me.  It happened to my friends.  It is happening to strangers.  I want each and everyone of them to look me in the eyes and then tell me it doesn’t really matter.  I want to hold a sign outside the Military Joint Chiefs offices that says, “Can you see me now?”

I want to make it count.  I want it to mean something.  I think we all feel this way at some point in time.  But standing before Congress or the Governor means driving or flying.  It means strange places and strange people.  It means hotel rooms.  It means restaurants that I have never been in. 

Jay is off in Washington DC this week.  He is doing exactly those things.  He has been constantly in my prayers that God would go before him.  He is my voice – and I thank him for that.  Because right now the best that I can do is just to keep it all moving forward.

Joan

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4 Responses to “Making it Count”

  1. jayherron Says:

    Please forgive me for not bringing you up to speed from the city! I do not own a lap-top and had zero access to a computer while in DC…I would have contacted every one of you personally,and did telephone the veterans who have given me contact numbers!

    What happened? A lot! That is-if you believe in it as I have!

    First-let me begin by explaining the appointments that were made with Senators McCaskill,Spector,Webb and Lieberman-were not arranged by me! A MST survivor from Pennsylvania was the catalyst in that-and I learned a great deal from his abiblity to do this-to set these meetings up.
    I had only personally met this young man Sunday May 9.

    Our first meeting was in Senator McCaskill’s office with the Senators Legislative Assistant for National Security Affairs,and Defense Legislative Fellow.

    I will jump to our second meeting-which was with the same entitled folk at Congressman Turners office (from Ohio) which was where my part in these meetings turned the corner-and I swiftly found an exit!

    How can I explain this?
    The truth!
    Why I went to Washington DC was because I was led to believe our conversations would be for the hope of future changes for all survivors of MST. I had hoped to discuss the need for speedier smoother solutions to disability claims-and include that many changes need to be considered in how the VA treats or un-treats MST.
    I wanted to express that MST is larger spread than the Department of Defense allows the public to know,and this is a serious serious issue.

    This is a huge issue-we all know that,and we all know the way our lives have been affected by being victims ourselves.

    I want you all to know that Sen.McCaskill’s people were genuinely interested-her Defense Legislative Fellow seemed to write every word spoken by myself and the young vet that arranged these meetings.
    Sadly!

    I don’t know why I am protecting his name-his initials will suffice…JMH!

    JMH!!
    How do I explain him?
    As you might realize-as a survivor himself-he too had issues-experiences PTSD,anxiety-much like ourselves. But I had struggles with his personality-and during our first meeting it seemed to become clear that he was not the partner I could share the HOPE for all the other SILENT WOUNDED with because it appeared he had forgotten the SILENT WOUNDED and instead began talking about his own issues-and not the issues of ALL.
    Indeed-he brought a few good points,but over mucked them with descriptions of personal issues that was clear to every one but him-they were self serving!

    Our walks from one office to the next were long-and enough time more for me to observe JMH as now his personality was beginning to show-and it made me uncomfortable.

    In our secnd meeting he made me ill.
    He made both representatives of the Congressman uncomfortable too-his drive to explain details that had no neccessity turned these people off and made the female of the group seriously uncomfortable-she even expressed her discomfort.
    I WAS UNCOMFORTABLE!

    Abruptly-I made my apology,expressed my sincere THANK YOU…and fled right out the door and out of the building.
    I did not come to DC to stain the cause for MST with JMH!
    It was clear the only MST survivor he had concerns for was himself-and the more I listened to him in the Congressmans office I realized he was putting an anchor the size of what might have been on the Titanic into the small canoe we paddle!

    So….was there any positive reasons for being in Washington DC?
    YES!

    Susan L.Burke,PLLC
    sburke@burkeoneil.com

    Address:
    1000 Potomac Street NW Suite 150
    Washington DC

    She is our key for HOPE!
    I met Susan May 13-we spoke for a QUALITY hour!
    It would be easier to ask you to GOOGLE search her-you will hit ‘bingo’ right away!

    Susan Burke is writing a ‘class action’ lawsuit against the Dept. of Defense regarding the issue-MILITARY SEXUAL TRAUMA…and-she needs the words of survivors!
    This is no willy-nilly project of hers-this is HUGE and seriously in my heart was set by the providence of a Higher Spirit than us.

    This law firm has tackled the big BIG boys of government-sued Halliburton and Blackwater for the Abu Garib torture survivors. Our cases are her priority now.

    Lynn Johnson-you may know of her work as a photo-journalist interested in following MST survivors-did accompony me through every day of this journey,photographs as well! We both left Susan Burke with the feeling-THIS WAS WHAT WE NEEDED!

    So…the future?
    I AM going back!
    I learned enough by the two meetings at the Hart Senate Building-and the Cannon Building that citizens CAN see these lawmakers,it just takes making the appointments!
    I can do this myself-although it may take others to help!

    What else?
    Susan Burke wants me to join in the round table discussions as to how to write the lawsuit. She also suggests I return to DC on May 20 for hearings that are to take place regarding MST.
    I have no idea how I am going to do this-I am a poor man,this last trip was on a shoestring,that’s for sure.
    BUT…I AM GOING BACK!

    I am asking permission to keep the statements all of you wrote-keeping them for future visits! Your words will always be important…ALWAYS!

    I await response!
    Sincerely,Jay

  2. enemyinthewire Says:

    You have my permission to use anything you need! Thank you so much for all you are doing! I will also contact Susan – she sounds wonderful!

    I am so excited to know that all was not lost despite issue with one of the survivors. I find it interesting how so many of us are stuck in our own places and find strange ways to compensate. I spent the weekend with a female veteran who has had some experience with MST and she is one of the most vulgar people I have ever met! She is overcompensating, I know, but I have little desire to constantly hear about sex – especially the strange sex she likes to talk about. I don’t find a lot of people that make me uncomfortable and I can be wild and goofy myself. However, she made both Brigid and I highly uncomfortable – and I for one am no prude.

    It is so exciting to know that you are being invited to the hearings! I heard about those and it is so exciting. I am tired of them ‘studying’ the problem – I want action – I want change…now! Thank you so much for being a great force behind that change.

    I can’t make the May 20th visit – but I will make you this promise – or maybe I should say I will make myself this promise. I will come to Washington DC with you one of these days. I will stand up for the rest of us who are kept silent with this horrible weight that we bear. I will, one day, get on a plane and fly to DC. I will help speak for those who cannot speak out of fear or shame.

    Brigid…what do you think? Think we can do DC?

    Blessings and thanking God for Jay’s safe return!!!!!!

    Joan

  3. enemyinthewire Says:

    Jay,
    Sorry things didn’t go so well in DC. I am all in for anything that is needed. Anything at all! I will also contact Susan. You can use anything you need from me as well.

    As to going to DC next time? I again am all in, but Joan, you will have to hold my hand the whole time. I am willing to sacrafice my comfort level, and suffer for the greater good!

    Brigid

  4. jayherron Says:

    Ahhh-despite it all-things did go well in DC!
    I met Susan Burke-and I believe she is the mystical reason I went to the city!
    She IS our catalyst for help!
    Thank You for your support-and prayers!
    peace

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