I'm BAAaaack!


So, crashed and burned while working as a Child Protection Worker on a First Nation reserve. Seems VA does not want me to return to any work anymore. Assessments done, not good. Deck decision coming. Was approved for dis-ab benefits many years ago, had rebuilt my life completely...suddenly, one of my kids starts acting out, discloses to me, and I got him help...but...crashed and burned as soon as I got alone. Barely got out in time before perp got a taste of the Airborne Infantry in action. I'm freakin lost again. Lost everything. Back to square one.

VA decided after the assessment that I was high risk of suicide, so they want me to come out of the bush and do F2F treatment for it. No-go. Ain't gonna get locked-up again. Social phobia and claustrophobia kicked into high gear and I took off. Camping somewhere undisclosed now. Trying to get my feet back under me. No worries, I am not a danger to myself or others; I am in control...emotions are high, but I am dealing with them. But VA keeps trying to get me to do the F2F thing and don't get it that the virtual therapy I am doing with a VA approved shrink is effective, keeps me stable, lowers the incidence of triggering. Even that shrink doesn't understand why caseworker is forcing F2F and deciding for herself that I am going to kill myself. But the case worker, (I know because I WAS one,) is sticking her values and fears without knowledge of my history over my values and my lived experiences. She's using a cookie-cutter approach based in stereo-typical fears of vets with PTSD. She thinks I would actually hurt someone, (I will never EVER intentionally hurt anyone again,) or kill myself when I can use my coping skills and safety plans--years of living with thinking about it, lots of CBT, coping skills and emergency planning have kept me alive for a long time...but she thinks if I say, "yeah, I think about, but I deal with" I'm in denial and in some imminent risk of suicide; wrong answer lady. They don't want me returning to work because they are scared of an imagined threat and what it would look like in the papers if I went back and did something evil. Fact is, I accept that it is an unsafe environment for me, that I may no longer be able to give professional best-practices help because of the likely of re-triggering, and am content to accept early retirement like they want--but to qualify, the want to put me in harms way by risking a massive triggering and re-relapse through forced social interaction and discussion of my issues with a stranger. Why would she do that?! There are not enough professional Social Workers out there who understand the issues of male survivors and who do not rely on TV for their biased interpretation of what a vet with PTSD is like...we all look the same to them.

No worries folks. I am still accessing my shrink online. Have been told the closed-institution thing is off the table if I do some scheduled F2F's with a registered psychologist in my area...and as soon as I find one, I will comply. Problem is, there are no registered psychologists in my area (only a few) and either they are not taking clients or they have no experience in this area. CLEARLY, there is a lack of professional help out there, just judgement, preconceptions, and warehousing of us if we crash and burn.

You can't just tell this crap to anyone, any stranger with a few initials beside their name (I've got several of my own so their's do not impress me) and there is a HUGE deficiency on this subject matter in both academia and professional practice. (I would LOVE to train as a virtual counsellor myself. It takes away the social phobia, claustrophobia and gives me the ability to use my own history as my empathetic strength in practice...without ever going near a perp, but my caseworker does not accept that option.)

There's a place in Vancouver, only a day trip from where I am, that might be able to help, but first I have to convince the VA that specialized therapy is needed. They seem to think I should be able to open up in a room full of brother combat vets, when the fact is, I LOVED the Airborne--combat is not my issue. WHy would I open myself to shaming, humiliation, marginalization and stigmatization by my brothers at arms. The VA can't get that because we are just numbers, beans to be counted or thrown away, pegs to be forced into holes; our values, beliefs, and needs are not important; their high caseloads, lack of time for file reviews, lack of time to hear our stories, all that, is why I am camped out, hiding from them, waiting for them to see that what they are asking will push me over the top. They say they want me to stop working...ok, fine...now stop doing this to push me out of the system or I will have to disappear and go back to some kind of work somewhere--I am certain it will come back to haunt them if that happens.