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#51 Edited by Hoffafiles (285 posts) -

I saw too many people fall apart before leaving country, it's a hard thing to see, and can't do anything about. We still have a long way to go to help vets with the transition. My last deployment I started to see a bit more attention put towards PTSD, but the first two, we just had a couple of briefings about transitioning back to civilian life, and that was it.

The best thing that happened to us was when we went for our annual training, and got to sit around and talk at length about what happened on our deployment. That's the trouble with being in the National Guard, everyone went back to their families across the state, and we rarely saw each other. When we got back together for training it was just us that we could talk to that would understand what we all went through, nobody wanted to share the worst stories with their families (of course) so the majority would just keep it to themselves, until you can find someone who will understand. Which is the trouble with a lot of the psychologists at the VA, they are either: just out of school/in school or have never been to combat, so trying to just feel comfortable talking to someone like that is weird.

There have been many outreach programs spring up (eager to help) but if you are still serving, there is/was a stigma attached to getting help. I have a friend who was going through OCS and because he was seeking help, and taking medication they were going to kick him from the program. He could choose to stop taking his medicine, or drop out, so he dropped out. I have heard they are trying to change the way it shows in your medical record, but it is too little to late for a lot of vets already. I know that there are some places that dig up the medical files, and see PTSD, and will decline a job offer just on that being noted that they were treated for it.

There is a battle of them saying it's not a weakness to seek help, and once you seek help, we're limiting your possibilities of advancement, or outright dispensing medical discharges. There are several people I know getting quite a lot of money (tax free) for taking the medical out, but for a lot of guys it was a way of life, and it makes life harder to get out, and then have nothing to do. There are many who self-destruct once boredom sets in and you are left to your thoughts.

I do miss being in, but I'm in college now, looking forward to new horizons I hope bring good things. There are so many times I wish I had a helmet cam, or something, but all I had was a crappy camera that would only record in 30 second increments. I managed to get some footage, but if the tech would have been readily available I would have some wild footage.

Thanks for sharing Steve, sometimes we forget there are a lot more vets facing the same issues, and we're not in it alone. I wish you an easy road brother. Take care

#52 Posted by Bollard (5403 posts) -

Great piece duder, thanks for having the courage to share.

#53 Posted by WarOnHugs (61 posts) -

That was a great read. It sounds like you are dealing with it well, good luck.

#54 Edited by EpicSteve (6479 posts) -

I saw too many people fall apart before leaving country, it's a hard thing to see, and can't do anything about. We still have a long way to go to help vets with the transition. My last deployment I started to see a bit more attention put towards PTSD, but the first two, we just had a couple of briefings about transitioning back to civilian life, and that was it.

The best thing that happened to us was when we went for our annual training, and got to sit around and talk at length about what happened on our deployment. That's the trouble with being in the National Guard, everyone went back to their families across the state, and we rarely saw each other. When we got back together for training it was just us that we could talk to that would understand what we all went through, nobody wanted to share the worst stories with their families (of course) so the majority would just keep it to themselves, until you can find someone who will understand. Which is the trouble with a lot of the psychologists at the VA, they are either: just out of school/in school or have never been to combat, so trying to just feel comfortable talking to someone like that is weird.

There have been many outreach programs spring up (eager to help) but if you are still serving, there is/was a stigma attached to getting help. I have a friend who was going through OCS and because he was seeking help, and taking medication they were going to kick him from the program. He could choose to stop taking his medicine, or drop out, so he dropped out. I have heard they are trying to change the way it shows in your medical record, but it is too little to late for a lot of vets already. I know that there are some places that dig up the medical files, and see PTSD, and will decline a job offer just on that being noted that they were treated for it.

There is a battle of them saying it's not a weakness to seek help, and once you seek help, we're limiting your possibilities of advancement, or outright dispensing medical discharges. There are several people I know getting quite a lot of money (tax free) for taking the medical out, but for a lot of guys it was a way of life, and it makes life harder to get out, and then have nothing to do. There are many who self-destruct once boredom sets in and you are left to your thoughts.

I do miss being in, but I'm in college now, looking forward to new horizons I hope bring good things. There are so many times I wish I had a helmet cam, or something, but all I had was a crappy camera that would only record in 30 second increments. I managed to get some footage, but if the tech would have been readily available I would have some wild footage.

Thanks for sharing Steve, sometimes we forget there are a lot more vets facing the same issues, and we're not in it alone. I wish you an easy road brother. Take care

The National Guard has a very specifically crummy situation for the reasons you stated. A lot of those guys don't have the immediate access to help and don't usually know about a lot of veteran resources. Of course they have all the entitlements as any other veteran, but they don't have that daily exposure to other men and women that might share their experiences and disorders.

Despite all this I miss my deployment and wouldn't trade that experience for anything. Right now I'm going to school in southwest Ohio and dating a really nice lady which helps a lot despite her not really knowing.

#55 Posted by Wheady (106 posts) -

that was very interesting to read. thanks for sharing man.

#56 Posted by Nasar7 (2611 posts) -

Great blog as always, man. I've always loved the sound design from Bad Company 2 and 3. Those videos you posted really demonstrate how disturbingly accurate those games' sound. I'm sorry about your friend; your service is truly appreciated.

#57 Posted by ilduce620 (28 posts) -

Great post, and thanks for sharing your experience(s) with us!

#58 Posted by darkfiber (33 posts) -

Good read. Thanks for sharing, and I hope things go well for you.

I've never been in any kind of real-world situation to relate it to a game I've played... but I do remember the first time I played Ghost Recon with a buddy in co-op and we were pinned down in the grass with sniper rounds going over our heads and we were yelling back and forth at eachother... I felt real genuine stress for a bit there... and I can see how that feeling would be very different for somebody who had really been in a real-world situation like that.

#59 Posted by troll93 (386 posts) -

That is the one thing the I continually hear from anyone around my age, the 18-late twenties band, that has seen action with the military is that when it all went down all the could think about was how much it felt like they were in a movie or a video game.

#60 Posted by bybeach (4775 posts) -

This ought to be pinned in some accessible category somehow. The perspective and content makes it that unique.

#61 Posted by squigiliwams (20 posts) -

Fuck dude. I'm so damn glad you're getting help. Remember each and every single one of us here has your back even when you feel like no one is listening.

#62 Posted by GERALTITUDE (3195 posts) -

Thanks Steve, this really spoke to me.

#63 Posted by Brodehouse (9793 posts) -

Good read.

Online
#64 Posted by AlKusanagi (915 posts) -

Here's something: While I don't work directly with them, I'm in an environment with children from abusive homes, so I'm required to go through the same training as the people that care for them (due to various government licenses and regulations). We've now started to receive training specifically for PTSD since children from abuse situations are now being diagnosed with it with more and more frequency.

Hopefully, with it starting to become a larger issue, people will start addressing it more and making sure the people who need it get help.

#65 Posted by phantomzxro (1571 posts) -

Thanks for sharing this it was a great read!

#66 Posted by TehBuLL (603 posts) -

Thanks Steve. Just want to let you know that I've appreciated every ounce of insight you've given us over the years. I will always wish you the best and I'm glad that you are brave enough not only to acknowledge that you have this disorder now but that you sought treatment. Dodging those bullets you can't see is just as important as the ones you know are coming. Thanks again.

#67 Edited by Seppli (10251 posts) -

Thanks for the insight.

Truely, the essence of videogames lies in the interaction. How your wartime shaped piece of mind slipped perfectly in BF4's virtual boots at the sound of really well made fake gunfire. In a way, you and your squadmates had a perfect gaming moment then. Everything we - the outsiders - romanticize about war, none of danger, created in a bubble, with an offswitch. Players are creators, that's one of gaming's most essential truths and downfalls.

I'm sorry to hear that your friend didn't find the offswitch to his war, and ended his life instead.

#68 Posted by core1065 (543 posts) -

Great article and thanks for sharing. As a UAV Operator we have a lot of respect for the boots on the ground. Some of the stories my Squad Leader (Who was in the 82nd.) tells me are crazy and makes me respect what you do even more.

#69 Edited by ZmillA (2268 posts) -

Powerful stuff. Thanks for sharing and serving.

#70 Edited by germanBoy (1 posts) -

oh man, so emotional. i'm a 14 year old german and i want to became an US Army soldier. after i read this I really realized what it means to be a soldier. you guys are risking your life out there for the civilians in america or europe. i have great respect for you and it would be a honour to serve america like you did. I also blayed Battlefield(Bf3,Bf4,Bf BC 2,Bf1943) and you're right. the sound of the gunfire,grenades,rocket launchers and the other stuff sound so realistic,it is terrifying.

sorry if my grammar or spelling is not correct.

#71 Posted by HammondofTexas (622 posts) -

Good write up duder. I live in Central Ohio, as well as you? Not sure since you mentioned OSU. Let me know if you ever need a buddy to talk to or play Battlefield 4 with.

#72 Posted by McShank (1629 posts) -

First blog in a while that I actually read everything in it. I do enjoy the sound and BFBC2 was the reason I got a 5.1 surround sound. Loved it in BF3 and am loving it in BF4 as the sound is part of the reason I love that game as it can most definitely have you lose yourself in the fights at times with the sound.

#73 Posted by MelficeVKM (160 posts) -

This was really interesting. Thanks for sharing!

#74 Posted by Rxanadu (507 posts) -

I'm glad you wrote this. I'm also glad a game was able to help you discover a condition you didn't know you had. This post not only has inspired me to work harder in my goal to become a great game developer but has given me hope for the AAA part of the industry. If the developers of such games can harness these different aspects of their games, they could create something that transcends a typical game; they could create something truly helpful for their consumers to use to discover something useful or interesting about themselves.

#75 Posted by EpicSteve (6479 posts) -

@rxanadu said:

I'm glad you wrote this. I'm also glad a game was able to help you discover a condition you didn't know you had. This post not only has inspired me to work harder in my goal to become a great game developer but has given me hope for the AAA part of the industry. If the developers of such games can harness these different aspects of their games, they could create something that transcends a typical game; they could create something truly helpful for their consumers to use to discover something useful or interesting about themselves.

There's a lot of possible nuances in games. A game doesn't necessarily have to have a child murdered in the beginning like the Last of Us. More powerful moments come from things that potentially the developers or writers didn't intend.

#76 Posted by Slag (4228 posts) -

@rxanadu said:

I'm glad you wrote this. I'm also glad a game was able to help you discover a condition you didn't know you had. This post not only has inspired me to work harder in my goal to become a great game developer but has given me hope for the AAA part of the industry. If the developers of such games can harness these different aspects of their games, they could create something that transcends a typical game; they could create something truly helpful for their consumers to use to discover something useful or interesting about themselves.

There's a lot of possible nuances in games. A game doesn't necessarily have to have a child murdered in the beginning like the Last of Us. More powerful moments come from things that potentially the developers or writers didn't intend.

At least for various war vets I've met who struggle with this, and a very high % of them that I know have, it usually it is some sort of sound that's the primary trigger.

e.g. One of my old position coaches would hit the deck just about everytime a helicopter got too close to the practice field which fortunately only happened 2-3 times while I played from him. At least the first time it happened there was no way he saw it, but the "whup whup whup" sound of the Coptor's rotors were quite loud. He served in Nam. It wasn't later till I appreciated how much guts he had to go out there and coach in public knowing this could happen to him anytime.

#77 Posted by NicksCorner (415 posts) -

This was a very powerful read, thank you.