A SURPRISINGLY HARD TIME |
August 24, 2007
A SURPRISINGLY HARD TIME
Name: SGT Roy Batty
Posting date: 8/25/07
Returned from: Iraq
Stationed in: Germany
Hometown: Yellow Springs, Ohio
The truth is that I have been having a surprisingly hard time since getting to Germany, and the Army medical system seems woefully unprepared to help. I've been hearing all of these reports in the media about how the Army is on top of the PTSD problem and is starting all of these great new programs to help their returning soldiers. The reality is that, at least here in Bavaria, all of that is quite simply bullshit.
There currently is not a single psychiatrist in all of Southern Germany; the only person who can prescribe medication for PTSD is a nurse practicioner who took three weeks to get me anything. I've been seeing a very cool psychologist -- ex-Marine, Vietnam vet -- but we've done no actual therapy, and since he is a part-time civilian, he is completely uninformed on how the Army deals with and discharges PTSD soldiers. I find that for the most part, I am left to deal with the symptoms on my own.
Fortunately I'm not too bad. The worst aspect is the panic attacks -- y'know, mind racing, keyed up, ready to fight or run for the bunkers but nothing is there. That, and the really bizarre and very intense nightmares that make me wake up at five in the morning; once I do finally get to sleep. What really worries me is the thought that I could be a 19-year-old private, left alone in his barracks room with only a bottle of Jack Daniels and some seriously self-destructive shit floating around in his noggin. At least I'm a bit older and have a supportive wife, and a fair bit of knowledge on the subject.
Writing about the experiences downrange has been difficult. I've sat down a bunch of times to write the second half of My Last Day in Baghdad, but rehashing the events minute to minute just brings out a lot of very intense negative stuff, and I find that I have to put it aside. My mother, of all people, suggested simply approaching it from that angle -- i.e. trying to write about it but not being able to, which I think would help. We'll see how it goes. I appreciate the emails I've received from folks asking for the second installment; that's actually really helpful, knowing that there are concerned and supportive people out there.
Roy Batty ain't dead yet, he's just down at Tyrell Corporation for some maintenance. :-)