Archive for the ‘Recovery from Mental Illness’ Category

Igniting the Fuse

July 19, 2013

Well, Friends…I do believe that I have totally lost my mind!  After much thought and a couple of conversations with people that I work with/for…I have decided to challenge the fact that the Peer Support position that I didn’t get hired for was filled only by men.  I decided to request a review of who was hired and why.

I have ignited the fuse on my PTSI with a blow torch!  The last time I challenged anyone in a similar way…I lost my entire military career.

You ever just get so angry that we, as women veterans and/or MST survivors, are just plain invisible.  I sometimes get the feeling that the faster we go away the happier everyone else will be.  Of course – this isn’t meant to make male veterans feel bad…after all – way too many of you are MST Survivors, too.  You are truly our brothers.

However…when it comes to being a female veteran I sometimes feel that we are treated as somehow “less” than our male peers.  Like we are girls playing “dress up” and not Soldiers, Sailors, Marines, Airman and Guardians.  It sometimes blows me away at how they sometimes justify (not just VA…but many other agencies) not hiring a female veteran to do something because “they have access to a female XXX, so they do have equal access.”  They just don’t get it! 

I like to put it this way…if I were to say…”I want a women gynecologist.” and they say…”We don’t have a woman gynecologist…but we can get you a female proctologist.” doesn’t make it the “same thing.”  It is the same thing with mental health care…a psychologist is not a peer support specialist and a peer support specialist is not a psychologist.  Two different jobs!

As far as the whole Veteran vs. Civilian thing…I have an opinion on that as well (don’t I always.)  My VA Psychiatrist and my VA Psychologist are both civilians.  They are terrific providers who both truly care and they have been helpful…but there is one difference.  There is no ‘cheddar cheese.’

Apple pie is an amazing dessert!  I like mine with a really thin slice of cheddar cheese and whip cream.  It is still really good with just whip cream…but that little piece of cheddar is missed.  Veteran providers in mental health and health care are the little slice of cheddar cheese.  We are the ones who truly know what it feels like to wear the uniform.  I sometimes feel that I have to explain myself or the situation…but a fellow veteran…they get it!

I would like to use an example from this week.  I had a conversation with someone, a fellow veteran, and he complained that he was hungry.  I said – I got a can of C-Rats.  He said, Sounds great.  I said…It is “ham and hockers.”  He said – No way…disgusting.

That conversation was totally lost on any civilian that doesn’t know what a C-Rat is or what a Ham and Hockers are.  For those of you out there who are really young…ham and hockers are ham and lima beans.  Only Cockroaches and Ham and Lima Beans are going to survive a nuclear holocaust.

Now I am too young to have actually eaten c-rats…we had first generation MRE’s…back in the day when everything was dehydrated and the most common field sick call was “too many potato patties!”

So – I have decided to fight this.  Not so that I can have the job…but so that I can bring better awareness to the desperate need for women veterans to have women veterans as peer support specialists.  Additionally – the need for ANY MST survivor to have the gender preference option in peer support.

Please keep me in your warm thoughts and prayers…because this whole thing has me scared to death!

Falling Over

June 3, 2013

Hello, Friends –

This is a follow up to my post Motorcycle Therapy.  Sometimes I think I jinx myself by comparing one thing to another thing.  In this case, comparing learning to ride a motorcycle to learning to live life with therapy and a chronic illness such as PTSI or MDD.

Just like “recovery” – learning to ride a motorcycle is never a straight line – it is always a bit of a roller coaster…up, down, round and around.  Sometimes there are smooth parts and other times – there are lousy parts.

A couple of weeks ago I fell off my motorcycle.  Actually, it fell over with me on it.  I wasn’t going very fast and I protected the bike with my body – so thankfully, she didn’t get hurt!!  I’ve got some ugly bruises and I a nasty road rash to the elbow.  However, I jumped right back on and rode 15 miles – even with the blood dripping down my arm. 

Life is really like that…isn’t it.  I try to use this blog to encourage others, so that we all know that we are going through much of the same things.  You are not alone and the blogs that I read show that I am not alone!  We have to stay strong for one another when one of us bites the pavement 🙂

It was a good lesson – in many ways.  We are always stronger together than we are by ourselves.  After all – out in the Old West no one circled the “wagon” in times of trouble – it was always “circle the WAGONS” plural!

Anyway – off to lunch.  Keeping you all in my thoughts and prayers.  Have a wonderful day.

Joan