EDIT Thank you for the incredible amount of beers I have been offered all over America/Canada.

EDIT I should mention that I was born and raised in France, and moved to the United States in 2001. Many people have asked why I joined the military, so here goes. First and foremost, I wanted to earn my U.S. citizenship. I moved here under odd circumstances, and was an "illegal alien" for most of my teenage years in this country. I would have obtained it in one more year, whether I enlisted or not, but I needed to feel like it was earned. Also, I did not have any way of paying for college, and joining the military allowed me to remedy that. Last but not least, I felt like I needed some structure. My parents didn't raise me, and the military helped me realize a lot of right/wrong.

EDIT I have been ranting quite a bit about the VA system on this thread. I need to clarify that the issues I was talking about are not about me, they are about other soldiers who I personally know. I was lucky enough to receive a stellar level of care, both at Walter Reed (later Walter Reed Bethesda), and at the VA medical center. One name stands out in particular, Dr. Pai out of the Richmond VA Medical center. I showed up there in a wheel chair, and WALKED out 2-3 weeks later. Unfortunately, I want to say many veterans do not receive such amazing care. A damn shame

Everyone wants to see what I look like now, so here it is: http://imgur.com/2K22cAN,6xJ31Wy,0QeVlIA Pic in black was taken a couple of minutes ago.

VBIED = Vehicle-Borne Improvised Explosive Device. Mine was draped over, filled with around 500lbs of Home Made Explosive (HME), based on fertilizer, and anti-aircraft "Dishka" rounds for shrapnel.

Proof: http://imgur.com/a/9rMFR

(The red circle illustrates the wall i went through)

More proof: http://imgur.com/Kjmwmm4

(ID Card taken down because I can't have it up apparently)

On August 5th 2010, I was badly wounded in Southern Afghanistan during a foot patrol. I sustained a moderate Traumatic Brain Injury (TBI), lost half of my jaw, among many other injuries. I spent a month in the crazy world of my imagination while under first an artificial coma, then a heavy painkiller-induced haze. I "woke up" in early September. Since then, I have received over 33 surgeries, not including dental stuff. I sport 43 scars according to VA standards, and will be disfigured for life. Ask about being in a coma, PTSD, pain, insomnia, panic, combat, losing close friends and the problems with the way we care for our veterans.

I'm doing this for therapeutic reasons, as talking about that kind of stuff can help dealing with it, but also because I want people to know what it's like to survive such trauma.

Ask me anything

Comments: 1478 • Responses: 84  • Date: 

InSearchOfNature474 karma

Do you remember all events leading up to the explosion? Were the things you imagined during your coma related to the accident, or were they totally disconnected?

vgb20t842 karma

I remember everything prior. The thing I imagined were a mixture of reality, horror movies, personal fears, and hospital staff (I didn't know that at the time though). Ever a year+ later, I still ran into people from my nightmares, and they would be a cardiac therapist or some other doctor. Melding reality with dreams... scary shit

HawkDriver1590 karma

I flew Medevac in southern Afghanistan for a year (after your incident). I've been in and out of Afghanistan for many years, but doing that job was the worst. I'd guess we picked up around 1-2 people in your condition a day during fighting season. It's hard to express what it was like, after picking up people with missing body parts who are barely alive, and having the medic scream at us (the pilots) to go faster because this one... this one might make it. Of course, we can only go so fast and our blackhawks took alot of damage from being pushed to their limits. Glad you made it. Best of luck on your recovery.

vgb20t1290 karma

You are fucking awesome. People like you are why I'm able to write this

printerpaper4596 karma

Who were you with? I was also in the RCS at the time.

vgb20t371 karma

2nd Cav. Met the British RCS commander at Walter Reed. He said 'smashing' a lot and gave me a NATO coin.

Gunnersbrah174 karma

Dude grats on the NATO coin. Isn't that free beers in any pub for life?

vgb20t207 karma

like in England?!?

Gunnersbrah165 karma

Yeah should be. If you're ever visiting make sure to bring it along with you and show the barkeep; if they're worth their money they'll supply you with pints as long as you're able to ask for them.

vgb20t189 karma

That's awesome. I learned English (some) in London N8

threadfish382 karma

Do you know if the IED was made from Ammonium Nitrate? Did your leadership ever give you any assurances that counter-IED efforts in RCSW were underway? I was on a CIED team. We celebrated our victories in secret, but the failures are well-known. Sorry we missed. EDIT: Apologies if this was too heartless. You are not a statistic. C-IED is an ugly business. I was on an airborne platform. We never saw the realities on the ground, only flew above in safety and praised ourselves when the statistics turned our way.

vgb20t512 karma

VBIED, what could you have done. Don't worry mate, I'm a grunt

heathersak264 karma

This hurts my heart.

mukyuuuu48 karma

It reminds me of Starship Troopers :(

pujuma31 karma


vgb20t18 karma

I was just at the USMC museum @ Quantico. That's close to Lt. Dan's quote.

oldspice75218 karma

How is your face now? Does it affect your ability to eat?

Thanks for your service

vgb20t385 karma

I have a mean scar where my jaw was blown off (a la predator), I lost both of my bottom front teeth and everything to the left of them, so basically I'm chewing on 1 side only. I drool all the time because my mouth doesn't really close all the way. Luckily I sport a massive beard, so most people can't tell. I can't hold my breath underwater due to water coming in my mouth. My teeth took a bad hit, a lot of them broke, chipped, got infected... fun stuff

wirris154 karma

do you have any plans (or the ability) to replace the space where you've lost teeth? have your surgeons or dentist made any suggestions? how are you coping with healing and eating?

vgb20t237 karma

They can put implants, but at this point I really don't want to go through any more surgeries.

anti09117 karma

Do you think you will change your mind at some point? I mean, after 33 surgeries, what's one more?

vgb20t227 karma

Maybe. But I do everything I possibly can to avoid any kind of pain, at least for now.

khrsid26 karma

If you can learn to close your epiglottis, you should be able to hold your breath underwater... Not sure if it will help but maybe worth a try?

I just try to swallow then immediately breathe in, usually works

vgb20t16 karma


boonedj166 karma

Former Canadian Engineer here brother did my bit in Kandahar in operation athena a couple of times , Sorry you went through this, I know first hand PTSD is no joke. When did you first recognized your were going through the symptoms of PTSD? how long did it take for you to reach out for help? was it hard admitting to yourself you had PTSD. What is your advice for young boys coming back and reaching out for help with psychosocial trauma's. And did you also note a stigma with people after you started seeking help?

vgb20t196 karma

Took me a year or two to even acknowledge I had issues. Treatment is tough because mostly they don't know what to do about it.

boonedj158 karma

its hard man usually they dose you up with serequel til your numb... I found I would rather be angry than numb keep fighting brother there is light at the end

vgb20t172 karma

Been there man. Fuck that shit

jayzer7 karma

Was on Seroquel at one point. Can confirm numbness. I also don't remember much about those couple of years of my life.

vgb20t8 karma

I stopped that quickly

Darcimay77 karma

You probably won't see this but I have a tip for panic attacks/PTSD. I suffer from PTSD and I've been through a lot of therapy. One of the things that helps lessen/stop panic attacks is holding ice in my hand. It's enough stimulus to shock your system a bit, but you aren't hurting yourself. Have a loved one remind you or bring you some when you're having an attack or you feel one coming on.

vgb20t69 karma

Im gonna read everything posted on here. Thanks for the tip

SU7sin1o357 karma

Get a puppy, or a kitten. Whichever. They are awesomeeeeeeeeeeeeee

vgb20t156 karma

We have 2 cats. They are awesome. Leeroy (not pictured) doesn't give a fuck about anything he's awesome

IamJacksCancer84 karma

Please tell me Leeroy's last name is Jenkins.

I need this.

vgb20t131 karma

I ran the wow arenas

AlbertAsimov64 karma

Leeroy don't give a fuck. He does what he wants! I like this cat already.

vgb20t113 karma

He's the best. He loves to get his belly rubbed

nashguitar1141 karma

First off, THANK YOU for your service. My question is this: what is the state of the VA? What needs improving?

vgb20t228 karma

Shortage of qualified service providers (Doctors, dentists, psychologists, psychiatrists...) makes it so that you have to wait weeks, months before you can be seen. The docs push antidepressant meds for everyone and everything, it's scary stuff. It's like they make a fat commission or something. Also, they pay like shit, so you get the bottom of the barrel docs. Regulations that is designed to fail soldiers with mental issues. I could go on

CheesePenis140 karma

What do you think of the US Government Shut Down? How long do you think it'll last?

vgb20t340 karma

It's nice, my education benefits are off the table until the Gov't comes back. Thanks Republicans

ForrestISrunnin61 karma

What happened with your educational benefits? I still have mine and got my housing allowance on Friday. Am I severely uninformed? Thanks for your service brother. I'll be toasting to you and all our brothers sitting in Fiddlers Green tonight. Stay strong my man.

vgb20t101 karma

You won't be able to sign up for new classes until they figure things out. Not sure about the housing allowance, haven't gotten mine in 2 months.

doubleuilliam5 karma

Sorry to ruin your day, but October payments went through fine. If the shutdown goes 2-3 weeks into this month, we're at risk of not getting our payment next month. Check out the IAVA website for updates, etc.

vgb20t3 karma

Ruin my day?

buttermellow11130 karma

What advice would you give to someone wanting to join the military? I'm personally not, but I feel like a lot of young people join up and don't really realize what that entails (like possibly dying, or having half your face blown off).

vgb20t392 karma

Don't do it if you aren't mature. If you aren't sure whether you are mature enough to do it, you aren't. I have seen kids get mentally destroyed, among other things. It's not Call of Duty

mostacks161 karma

I consider myself to have been 'mature enough' when I went into the military. I was not a grunt but I did spend a significant amount of time outside the wire during two of my four tours. I have survived a VBIED as well. I was farther away when mine cooked off, I suspect. Didn't get hit but I did get thrown on my ass. My experience pales in comparison with yours, and even I needed some therapy when I got out. Glad you are doing this. Writing a personal narrative that I let a few trusted people read really helped me. Best of luck on your recovery, man!

vgb20t147 karma

Hope you're doing better brother. Keep looking forward

WredOctober104 karma

This is amazing advice and I've been wanting someone to tell me this!! My son is 16 and he's considering the military after high school. I kind of object to it and most people think I'm just being a "mom" but I KNOW my son and he's very sensitive. I don't think he's suited for it. And I can only voice my opinion so much because I'm being "overprotective". Okay, well how is he gonna fair in the military when he can't even scrape off the dinner plates before washing them without gagging? And don't get me started on how he can't STAND to get his hands dirty. Sigh. Sorry, didn't mean to vent. Everyone's been telling me it'll make a man out of him so it's good to hear that some people just aren't mature enough. Anyways, you seem like such an AMAZING person. We are indebted to you for your sacrifice. Thank you!!!!!!!

vgb20t184 karma

Okay, well how is he gonna fair in the military when he can't even scrape off the dinner plates before washing them without gagging?

Fankly he would get beat up

ohyah111 karma

Do you have any plans to use your Ed Benefits to go back to school? Is that even a possibility for you? You sound like you have a good head on your shoulders. What do you see for yourself in the future? How's your future time outlook?

vgb20t340 karma

Studying computer science via the Vocational Rehabilitation Program. About to move to the bay area from Virgina. Things are one the up n up

itsjawknee306 karma


WalterJrWhite32 karma

I also work for one of the leading internet radio services in the Bay Area. Feel free to PM me if you need a hand...

vgb20t20 karma

I appreciate that. Will do

ohsoGosu1 karma

If you don't mind me asking, what area of Virginia are you in? I'm up in NoVA.

vgb20t1 karma

Near Staunton

SlapYoMomma95 karma

I was in Bagram (RC East Near Kabul) and I heard about this. Honestly bro, I thought you died. I'm really glad to hear that you didn't and I wish you the best of luck.

vgb20t78 karma

Army strong! I'm fucking resilient if anything else. I had a lot of people scared...

anotherguy293 karma

are you still with Karman?

vgb20t220 karma

I'm never going to leave that woman. She is my life

pujuma24 karma

who's Karman ?

vgb20t31 karma

The love of my life. The main reason I am doing so well

genebadd190 karma

How long we're you in your first coma and do you remember anything during that time? Were you dreaming, conscience and trapped inside your body or comatose?

vgb20t153 karma

For me it was a continuous event, I closed my eyes on the chopper and woke up in September. But apparently I was communicating before that. My jaw was wired shut

t0rt01s338 karma

May be a stupid question, but how was it a continuous event if you had nightmares about the hospital staff and such?

vgb20t51 karma

Phrase that better please

tordenflesk83 karma

Initially I thought VBIED stood for Very Badly Improvised Explosive Device...

vgb20t140 karma

Might as well

aemerkel69 karma

I'm a speech-language pathologist who has worked with a number of patients with TBI and dysphagia resulting from injuries sustained in IED blasts. I'm assuming you went through speech/language/cognitive and swallowing therapy following your injury. What cognitive deficits, if any, are you still dealing with and how do they effect your day-to-day life?

vgb20t79 karma

I sure did. Hate you people! (Not really) I had a trach(sp?) and had to learn how to drink and eat again

emptyvee19 karma

I hear ya. I was in icu for 3 months, intubated and then trach'd. It so hard to believe that your body forgets how to eat/swallow. I was 'yeah right' and promptly aspirated my apple sauce. I hated that swallow therapist too, lol!

All the best to you hombre!

vgb20t18 karma

Haha this guy knows!

mego62464 karma

What has been the hardest part about returning to life in America?

vgb20t162 karma

I miss the feeling of being there doing my job

rancery61 karma

19D- fuckin' hooah. Former Scout myself- in RCE for 2010-2011. I made it through deployment without a scratch. Guys like you make me feel like a massive pile of shit. You're off to start a family and the rest of your life. Good on you, seriously. I hope you're able to find some peace brother.

Edit: Right, since this is an AMA: What weapon were carrying? They had me on a M249 initially then switched me to a MK48.

vgb20t62 karma

I was a grenadier: I had a nifty new M320 and I earned an upgrade from CCO to ACOG

AlbertAsimov18 karma

How is the new M320? We only got to play with M203s in Basic.

vgb20t21 karma

Excellent. Much better than the 203 imo

Despst33 karma


vgb20t124 karma

No comments

pat8289031 karma

How did the blast effect your brain?

vgb20t112 karma

I feel like I lost 50% smarts. My short term memory sucks, I suffer from PTSD, reading is tougher, I get upset quickly at times. There's more

spidersenses31 karma

I know people say it's bullshit, but I think it does help. Try luminosity the free trial, doesn't make you smarter but you work out the brain. Read a lot of novels 10 min in your head 10 out loud. Exercise at least 25 mins a day, and socialize the most you can with different people, better if you don't even know them, you have to do a lot of abstract thinking to get to know them. Take up a hobby, painting, writing, anything artistic, and finally meditate. Finally think before you act, double check yourself, before acting. Never act on impulse. With all this you're trying you rewire your brain and create more efficient and stronger sinapsis. Be patient. Good luck dude. Medical student here and also suffered a tbi.

vgb20t19 karma

Daily lumosity user here

dominusbellorum12 karma

Do you think you're improving?

vgb20t87 karma

I know I am

Hooliganhero27 karma

As a Marine Vet who suffered TBI and still suffers PTSD after 6 years I can tell you talking about it helps. There are many programs available some better than others. I recommend talking with those that understand as most people have no idea about combat and the effects it can have.

Good on you for going back to school, it took me years after I got out to feel ready enough to do it. I still struggle with minor tasks but managed to get my AS and now working towards a bachelors.

vgb20t43 karma

Good times brother. I drank a beer with the Sgt Major of the USMC last month. Keep on keeping on. Also if you have pain issues, I recommend acupuncture

Hooliganhero28 karma

It took the VA 4 years to figure out I have 2 ruptured discs, degenerative joint disease, arthritis, and spinal stenosis. I'm 29 and severely limited in the activity I can do.

I finally got a decent doctor after years of complaining and he's considering surgery next year. He did have me put in for disability so I'm just waiting on records to get sent to me before I finalize my claim.

vgb20t38 karma

They love to take their time, don't they? Godspeed

gerwer26 karma

What do you do for fun?

vgb20t108 karma

I play an unhealthy amount of Dota2/Sc2/ArmaIII. Shoot pool and currently learning C programming.

6F6A9O923 karma

Does your month in the medical coma affect you as much as your physical injuries? I mean like all the psychological things you went through?

Thank you for your service.

vgb20t55 karma

Went from 245Lbs to 190Lbs in 1 month.

seriouspasta19 karma

Where are you now? Socially, emotionally, and geographically speaking?

vgb20t36 karma

Where am I socially? Um, not really sure how to answer that. Emotionally? Strong. Geographically? I live in rural Virginia, but I'm in Cupertino California right now, about to go check out Oakland. Planning on moving here

Daisy121129 karma

I don't have a question, but while you are in California, please visit the redwoods. The peacefulness of it might be a good thing for you.

vgb20t30 karma

Don't think I will have time, but definitely once we move here

seriouspasta1 karma

I mean has it affected your social life in anyway?

vgb20t2 karma

Sure. People stare a lot. I look like a giant serial killer/gang member. I have scars everywhere. People are intimidated

helicopterwindow17 karma

My husband was killed by a VBIED in 2008. I was 18. I have a lot of questions actually. This is a letter his medic wrote to me after it happened.

Even though I can not fully understand what you are going through right now I can say that this has not been easy for me either. Jeffery was a wonderful person. Always there to boost our spirits when situations got too hard for us to want to deal with. There was always a smile on his face, which in turn, put a smile on my face as well. He talked about you and Sonny often. Making sure we all knew full well why he was content in doing what we do. He wanted to provide for his family and keep you as safe as possible. I was Jeffery's medic, and I am writing you to tell you about the events that happened. This is very difficult for me to speak about. That day is constantly running through my mind. No one saw the car bomb coming, and when it did it turned an entire street into a horrible scene you would only expect to see in movies. When I got to your husband he was knocked unconsiences and bleeding badly from the head. After controlling the bleeding and moving him to another vehicle in order to get him to the hospital, I jumped into the vehicle with him. It was then that he began to wake. Although he could not speak he did respond to my voice. Wiggling his fingers as I asked and holding my hand. There was even a time that he reached up and smacked me in the face as he was smirking. Knowing your husband I believe this was fully intentional. I spent the rest of the ride holding his hand and speaking to him reassuringly. As I did so he seemed to calm as if he took comfort in this, and I believe he did. There were this last conscience moments. After reaching the hospital and sedating him. While they flew him to surgery. As you know he did not make it out of surgery. I want you to know that I did everything I could for him, but the injuries had been too great. We are all devastated by this loss. I know I did not go into much detail about the scene, but this is because I feel it might be too upsetting for you. It haunts my dreams nightly. If there is any other questions you may have, or if there is anything my wife and I can do for you please don't hesitate to ask. If you choose you can write me back, I am at the same address Jeffery was. You and your son are in my prayers and I am truly sorry I was unable to do more. Spc. Peterson

I had the pleasure of meeting him for the first time back in May of this year. He was still very affected by the incident and said he couldn't live another day until we spoke. When I received the report there was so much information blocked out. It all said "classified" or "sensitive". I never got the full story about what happened.

So my questions are: 1. How does a normal VBIED work? I was told two people were caught that did it, but they were released to their government and killed for their crimes. Which leads me to:

  1. Why didn't the US punish these people for the death of my husband? There were 4 vehicles in the convoy. They moved him to the last one, least damaged. I assume they tried to treat him on the way to a helicopter. From what I understand, he was awake up until he got on the helicopter, but I have had mixed stories about if he died in the helicopter or on the operating table.

  2. what is the procedure when there are head injuries overseas?

  3. what sort of hospital are they transported to?

  4. why does this sort of thing affect the other troops so much, and is there anyway I can help them? A lot of the troops didn't want to talk to me after his death because my husband had told them all I was cheating on him. It wasn't true at all, but most of them refused to believe me. The few that did believe me knew that my husband was a bit of a drama queen and lied a lot. I have spoken to about 3 people involved in the incident. One is our son's godfather.

  5. Should I leave the rest of those people alone? I see posts on their Facebook pages about my husband often, so I know they are always thinking about him. I wonder if I can help them cope in any way. I had nightmares for years about the incident and still have dreams that its all some crazy cover up and he is going to come home one day. My son has nightmares about it too but not as frequent as he use to.

  6. Should I seek help for my son? His grandmother (my mother in law, who I love dearly) told him the details about what happened. He was about 4 years old when she told him. I was furious but couldn't do anything to change it. Earlier this year he asked me "When is Daddy coming back from Heaven?". I had to explain that heaven isn't a place you come back from. He has recently stopped drawing graphic pictures of what he imagined had happened.

Still have a lot of questions, but I will leave you with those for now. Thank you.

EDIT: sorry, I seriously have no idea how to make paragraphs on this website.

EDIT 2: Because someone told me to enter twice...

vgb20t10 karma

I'm gonna PM you

Cloud519616 karma

How/Why did you lose close friends?

vgb20t33 karma

Much smaller explosives, suicide bomber. It's insane

pachacody11 karma

did you enjoy your time in the armed forces or not up to the blast?

vgb20t53 karma

It sucked quite a bit (Infantryman). Loved it!

forcemon10 karma

How do you feel about Republicans not letting laws that will care for veterans go through the House?

Was there ever a point in combat where you thought to yourself what am I doing out here?

Do you have an opinion about kids playing violent shooter games as fun since you have actually been in a firefight?

What is being in a real fight like? What did you think, feel, see, hear etc.

Thank you for your service to me and the rest of the country.

vgb20t32 karma

Fuck Republicans. No. I think games are games. Let your god damn kids play. Pay attention to them instead of limiting their play time. I don't think it's hit me how dangerous it was just yet. I still have teenage invincibility syndrome.

TehJams8 karma

I don't have a question. I just wanted to say that I am sorry this happened to you, and I appreciate your service.

I work for the Army with a group that does testing of Counter-IED systems. We recently did a test of a system that was designed to attack VBIEDs at checkpoints and it performed quite well. I hope that it can make it's way into theater soon and help prevent these kinds of attacks in the future.

vgb20t14 karma

Hell yeah. I had a HE in my chamber. I regret not firing it

DocBalls4 karma

are you hooked on oxy's?

vgb20t18 karma

No, but I came close. I was aware enough to back the fuck away FAST!

Acupuncture works man.

Monya6193 karma

what do you do for fun in your free time?

Thank for your service.

vgb20t4 karma

I play an unhealthy amount of video games. Shoot pool

spidersenses7 karma

Not so unhealthy if you had a tbi.

vgb20t5 karma

I feel like it helps me

ripper9993 karma

I just wanted to say thank you for your service, I'm from Canada but very much respect what you have done for both our countries and I'm sorry for your injuries.

vgb20t2 karma

What part?

slimlimwhim2 karma

How does you anxiety manifest? Are any of it triggered by recognizable thought patterns? Can you describe the moment before your stress reaction occur? Have you developed tics?

Have you tried psychedelics?

Here's an interesting talk by Dr Robin Carhart-Harris about how psychedelics works on the brain. He relates them biologically to other life-altering religious experiences.

vgb20t9 karma

Mostly, anxiety happened right after I woke up from coma, and lasted until I could discern dreams from reality, so mid September?

makingthewhoopie1 karma

what was the hardest thing coming back to civilian life style? thanks for serving

vgb20t2 karma

Dealing with civilians

GladiatorRobot1 karma

Whereabouts in the Stan? It was sangin wasn't it....

vgb20t2 karma

To be truthful, I can't remember what it was called. West of Kandahar. I could easily find out

electrophor1 karma

hey man, i'm a fellow person with PTSD from multiple counts of abuse, rape, trauma, etc. all from staying stateside. thank you for casting some light on the disease and i really hope youre making headway in dealing with everything. what grounds you? have you been able to get through the flashbacks? does it get better? i'm 16 years old and havent really gotten any treatment for it. thank you for doing your job and pulling through. we all appreciate it. i'm sure the beard looks great on you.

vgb20t1 karma

There isn't really any treatments. Most docs don't know what they are talking about it. Don't take pills that make you feel cloudy. Keep on going forward

electrophor1 karma

ahaha i'm fighting off the seroquel/klonopin scrip they gave me because fuck that shit. i'm too young to get hooked on benzos and anti-psychotics. thank you for responding, also i looked at the articles of you and it is a great beard. i hope the bay area works out for you!

vgb20t1 karma

I'd stay away from klonopin, like seriously. And don't mix any meds with alcohol, like AT ALL. Beard is even better now

BaS3r1 karma

Did you have any Air Force JTACs attached to your unit or a any fellow units? I'm in DEP for the AF and just got an opportunity to go into the JTAC career field and since they are mostly attached to Army units, I thought I'd ask if you'd be willing to share some info about your experiences with them, if you had any.

vgb20t1 karma

Man, I'm not even sure what that is =/

rywhi71 karma

Hey man, first I want to say thank you for your service. I was also in Afghanistan/Iraq. I am suffering from PTSD, Severe anxiety, and rarely sleep. I am going through the VA wait myself. I just want to say my prayers are with you and all our fellow soldiers.

vgb20t1 karma

It's great fun isn't it? Godspeed

Aearin1 karma

The PTSD, does it ever lessen. Have you found a way to dull your reactions, and not freak in front(or privately) of everyone. If so, what is the method?

vgb20t2 karma

I don't hang out with "everyone"

Veilus0 karma

I know that just because you have PTSD that it doesn't make you an expert, but I was hoping you'd have some insight. I've had PTSD like symptoms since I was a kid, but I can't think of what could have cause it. I've had therapists confirm that some of the symptoms I have, such as heightened startle reaction, and hyper awareness, for example I can't stand someone standing behind me, it makes my skin crawl and if they move suddenly or make a noise I have to restrain myself from punching them in the face. I also absolutely HATE going through walmart cashier lines without someone with me, it's like there's too many people, too much stimulus, etc, and I feel like I can't trust any one there and I don't have enough eyes to keep an eye on all of them so I feel like I'm slowly going insane until I check out and get the fuck into my car. I also have a hard time being social because I don't trust people, other times I'm just socially awkward, other times I'm just flat out paranoid. If I do have PTSD I want some help dealing with this, partially because I work at a call center and every day people walk behind my desk and tap the back of my chair which makes me jump out of my skin, gasp, and then I know only have to restrain myself from punching a coworker but also explain to the customer what just happened. The reason why I haven't been diagnosed yet, is simply because I don't know why I'm like this. All I know is I can't remember jack shit from my child hood and these psychologists just sit there and say "try and remember" but I can't even remember what kind of cake I've had each birthday since I was 7. I barely even remember having birthdays, just the occasional new toy that showed up around that time. Now to the question, What the hell can I do? If the 2 or 3 therapists I've seen couldn't help me, then who?

Tl;dr, I've been experience PTSD like symptoms since childhood, but can't remember what could have caused them because the majority of my childhood is a blank so I haven't been officially diagnosed. Any help?

vgb20t0 karma

I'm sorry, did I claim to be an expert anywhere?

Forgotten-Six-2 karma

What's the best advice you could give to an enthusiastic 18 year old ready to grab a gun, ship off, and "shoot some bad guys"?

vgb20t25 karma

You're too young.

Niadra-2 karma

I don't believe you. Link pictures of your injuries please.

vgb20t4 karma


Niadra1 karma

Ok. I believe you. Can I see the pictures now?

vgb20t1 karma

I have bloody surgery pics buried somewhere in my gmail. They make me want to throw up though

FourLokoKills-5 karma

Do you feel that it was right or fair what the bomb planter caused to be done to you?

vgb20t10 karma

Lol. War is war

jampola1 karma

I think it is a great question with an equally great response.

I guess you sign up to these things knowing full well what can happen.

I admire you for being so brave and blunt with your responses at the same time. I hope this is helping you at the same level as the insight you're proving to others.

Best of luck matey.

vgb20t1 karma

I signed up for Infantry. I know what I was doing. Thanks

NinjaDiscoJesus-37 karma

I'm sorry this is not proof to me.

It is a pic of a cat, a hole and a medal.

PM the mods if you want to provide proof in private

EDIT: Why bother to ask. Pointless. The first proof was indeed a pic of a cat a hole and a medal. Utterly meaningless.

vgb20t12 karma

Would a picture of my head xray work?

vgb20t1 karma

That is me

NinjaDiscoJesus-10 karma

Pics normally have to show you yourself, or some form of ID etc. Or else they could be anyone you know mate?

vgb20t10 karma

As you shall notice, I'm an E4 retiree. It's impossible unless I was badly wounded and medically retired. You usually need to put in 20yrs+ to be retired, and you cannot last 20yrs at E4. I think minimum is E6 or E7.

thejerkface3 karma

E-7 with the change in RCP rules and the proof you provided is good enough battle.

vgb20t1 karma