Combat PTSD Wounded Times
September 3, 2017
"Don't be intimidated by people who seem to be experts. Hear their points of view and get their judgements. But at the end of day, you've got to make a judgement because it's not their life that's going to be affected so much as your future." Robert Dallek
It seems like everyday someone left behind by suicide goes to the press for publicity on what they are doing, then show how little they really know about how to change the outcome for others.
As soon as I read them being quoted with "22 a day" or "20 a day" the hairs on the back of my neck send electrical shocks into my brain! How does talking about a number that is factually untrue do any good for anyone other than the one seeking publicity?
No one can help veterans find their way out of darkness if they do not know how they got lost in the first place. It is all so easy to talk about stuff that did not merit their time to research. While those left behind are experts on the pain they feel, they are nowhere near being able to change the outcome.
The purpose of "Watchfires" is severalfold -- not only to salute our dead of the War but also to acknowledge the living power they still have to touch us in so many ways. Their examples of courage, honor, and sacrifice set a standard for those who survived them; and our memories of them add strength and depth to our lives.
I'll read about their heartbreaking story, know they still feel the pain. Apparently, they really want to make sure that others do not have to go through it like they did. The problem is, apparently they decided it was not worth investing the time and energy to actually be able to make a difference.
While they could make a difference for others in a support group, they decided they knew enough to talk about a report they failed to read. If it was so important to them, wouldn't it be important enough to learn how to help or at least spend time to learn what the truth is?
Here are the facts they did not bother to learn yet decided they would be the ones to change the outcome, without bothering to discover how to do it.
Veteran Suicide "22 a day"
Was taken from a report from the VA in 2012
The report was from 21 states with suicide as cause of death and stating military service. We have 50 states. The report also stated that even from those 21 states, it was limited data.
It did not help that the press was jumping over the slogan instead of reading the report, or actually understanding that current military numbers on suicides are not part of the VA suicide report. Two different categories.
Veteran Suicides "20 a day"
While the CDC does know the number of known suicides (accidental or questionable ones are not included) they do not know military service connection from far too many states. California does not have it on their certificates of death. They have over 2 million veterans. Illinois does not have military service on their certificates of death. They have over 700,000 veterans.
As the "awareness raisers" are counting numbers they do not understand, they are showing the veterans in need of healing cannot count on them to do more than talk about their heartache!
After over a decade of "suicide prevention" and seven years of "PTSD awareness" the evidence shows that this has done nothing to change the outcome. Considering there is the Crisis Line for veterans and family members to call and over 400,000 new veterans charities across the country claiming to be working to change the outcome, it is actually worse than it was in 1999.
Worse but seems to be the same? Yes, because at the time there were 5 million more veterans in the country.
I spent 2 years researching what experts started to understand a decade before I even heard the term PTSD. As I learned, I shared it with other veterans and families. Then I knew enough to write about it. After 35 years, I've heard it all and read way too much to be able to accept the fact that any of this should be acceptable to anyone!