Category Archives: mental illness
After my Sunday post about Army Spec. Jeans Cruz and his PTSD, this morning I got to read how the military continues to put the war before the troops mental health:
U.S. commanders in Iraq are rejecting a recommendation made by Army health experts that troops receive a one-month break after they spend three months in a combat zone. U.S. troops in Iraq are spending more time in combat than those who fought in Vietnam or World War II, and experts say continuous exposure can lead to more mental health problems.
So, Army health experts can kiss off? WTF here? Army psychologists say continual combat may cause more mental health problems. Their research, conducted in Iraq last year, shows that 30% of troops experiencing high levels of combat demonstrate signs of anxiety, depression or acute stress.
This research was conducted last year..it has to be worse now..judging by the violence and deaths spiraling up as the “Surge” has led to worsening numbers in dead and injured troops.
30% of our troops IN THE COMBAT THEATRE show high levels of anxiety,depression and stress….yet we can’t do shit to fix it? How effective can they be working at that level?
Are the military commanders fucking nuts or is it that the war is more important than the lives and health of our troops?
Great way to support the troops gents..fucking awesome. You vile pricks.
More horror from WaPo’s Dana Priest and Anne Hull on what our soldiers must deal with when they return mentally broken from Iraq. The full article can be read at the source linked above..and its worth every minute of your time.
Army Spec. Jeans Cruz helped capture Saddam Hussein. When he came home to the Bronx, important people called him a war hero and promised to help him start a new life. The mayor of New York, officials of his parents’ home town in Puerto Rico, the borough president and other local dignitaries honored him with plaques and silk parade sashes. They handed him their business cards and urged him to phone.
But a “black shadow” had followed Cruz home from Iraq, he confided to an Army counselor. He was hounded by recurring images of how war really was for him: not the triumphant scene of Hussein in handcuffs, but visions of dead Iraqi children.
In public, the former Army scout stood tall for the cameras and marched in the parades. In private, he slashed his forearms to provoke the pain and adrenaline of combat. He heard voices and smelled stale blood. Soon the offers of help evaporated and he found himself estranged and alone, struggling with financial collapse and a darkening depression.
At a low point, he went to the local Department of Veterans Affairs medical center for help. One VA psychologist diagnosed Cruz with post-traumatic stress disorder. His condition was labeled “severe and chronic.” In a letter supporting his request for PTSD-related disability pay, the psychologist wrote that Cruz was “in need of major help” and that he had provided “more than enough evidence” to back up his PTSD claim. His combat experiences, the letter said, “have been well documented.”
None of that seemed to matter when his case reached VA disability evaluators. They turned him down flat, ruling that he deserved no compensation because his psychological problems existed before he joined the Army. They also said that Cruz had not proved he was ever in combat. “The available evidence is insufficient to confirm that you actually engaged in combat,” his rejection letter stated.
Yet abundant evidence of his year in combat with the 4th Infantry Division covers his family’s living-room wall. The Army Commendation Medal With Valor for “meritorious actions . . . during strategic combat operations” to capture Hussein hangs not far from the combat spurs awarded for his work with the 10th Cavalry “Eye Deep” scouts, attached to an elite unit that caught the Iraqi leader on Dec. 13, 2003, at Ad Dawr.
Veterans Affairs will spend $2.8 billion this year on mental health. But the best it could offer Cruz was group therapy at the Bronx VA medical center. Not a single session is held on the weekends or late enough at night for him to attend. At age 25, Cruz is barely keeping his life together. He supports his disabled parents and 4-year-old son and cannot afford to take time off from his job repairing boilers. The rough, dirty work, with its heat and loud noises, gives him panic attacks and flesh burns but puts $96 in his pocket each day.
This is disgusting and it must stop now. The Military has recognized PTSD as an illness since 1980 for the love of GOD! May every bastard that denies these men and women care rot in hell. Support our troops, bring them home now!
Some of you might already of read Cho Hui’s play he wrote for a college course over at TheSmokingGun. But if you haven’t, please be forewarned: It is grisly and very twisted. What does this show us about this young man? Well, as the write-up at TSG states:
The college student responsible for yesterday’s Virginia Tech slaughter was referred last year to counseling after professors became concerned about the violent nature of his writings, as evidenced in a one-act play obtained by The Smoking Gun. The play by Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old English major, was submitted last year as part of a short story writing class. Entitled “Richard McBeef.”
I am the parent of a troubled young man that tried to commit suicide on Thanksgiving 3 years ago when he was living in AZ. I do not wish to fan the flames of sensationalism. I write this as a way to show how little we, as humans, pay attention to those among us that are emotionally or mentally scarred, for whatever reasons. They walk and live among us as ticking time bombs, which can go off either internally, as my son did, or externalize their problems on a chilly spring day in southern VA, on a campus of 26,000 students with results so devastating the entire country mourns for those affected. The play, “Richard McBeef”, tells the story of a 13-year-old boy who accuses his stepfather of pedophilia and murdering his father. The teenager talks of killing the older man and, at one point, the child’s mother brandishes a chain saw at the stepfather. The play ends with the man striking the child with “a deadly blow.”
IF this is just from his mind, his musings so to speak..what kind of mind thinks of these types of things? If he suffered some type of brutality in his youth, how could he hide something of this magnitude? I cannot feel hatred towards this young man, he was sadly very sick. Of course, I wasn’t personally affected by his killing spree either. A blogger friend of mine is a Dr. of Psychology; he goes by the name of Dr. BLT. I asked him to read Cho’s play and give me his opinion. Below are his brief thoughts:
It is tempting to automatically jump to conclusions but I never make diagnoses on patients I have had no direct professional contact with. I will say that, given the profound loss of control, and the devastating violence that was unleashed on the students as a result, and given the content of the play, it appears as if he could have been the victim of severe sexual, emotional and physical abuse. This would suggest that environmental factors may have played a huge role in his loss of control in this circumstance. But of course, environmental factors go hand in hand with neurological and genetic factors. For example, psychological trauma produces distinct neurological changes in the brain.
Of course it is possible for a creative person to generate fiction that does not directly correspond to his/her own personal experience, but in many cases, the writer uses the particular creative writing medium as a cathartic way of releasing pent-up emotions and projecting onto the various fictional characters disturbing aspects of his/her own personal experience.
I realize this post will probably go over like a lead balloon, but I will try and make it short for you, the reader’s sake.
This young man planned this mass murder make no mistake about that. He bought the Glock roughly 5 weeks before he carried out his last act as a living being. He purchased several 15-round clips for the gun. The second weapon was purchased less than a week ago. Both guns were purchased legally. Witnesses have said he loaded the Glock so quickly; it was as if he was a professional. He chained the doors so that students could not escape his rage and anger at Norris Hall.
But he was a young man with a tortured mind and soul and above all, he was a ‘loner’. Even his dorm-mate said he didn’t know him. No one so far has claimed to really know or to be a ‘friend’ to Cho. The thought of someone spending most of his life without a close friend is sad indeed. It is no accident that very few of the several dozen students questioned in the dorm where he lived knew Cho according to some articles. According to two who were aware of him, he was quiet, serious and, in the words of one, “gloomy.”
Cho, who arrived in the United States as boy from South Korea in 1992 and was raised in suburban Washington, D.C., where his parents worked at dry cleaners, left a rambling note in his dorm room raging against women and rich kids. The Chicago Tribune reported on its Web site that the note railed against “debauchery” and “deceitful charlatans” on campus. ABC, which has a fairly in-depth write-up, citing law enforcement sources, said that the note, several pages long, explains Cho’s actions and says, “You caused me to do this.”
VA. Tech has a larger population than the city I graduated high school and college from. As one of the bloggers on my local newspaper blogspace wrote today: “Some Universities are essentially Cities without services or inadequate services.”— We can’t even protect women from rape on college campuses..how in the blue hell can we protect students from something like the Virginia Tech mass murder?
Sadly, the answer is..we can’t.
Cross-posted at The Blue Republic
Already, a play written by the Virginia Tech killer Cho Seung-Hui, is online. Its over at the Smoking Gun. I will not reprint any of it here, if someone is interested in the mind of a sick young man, they can click the link.
What does this show us about this young man? Well, as the writeup states:
APRIL 17–The college student responsible for yesterday’s Virginia Tech slaughter was referred last year to counseling after professors became concerned about the violent nature of his writings, as evidenced in a one-act play obtained by The Smoking Gun. The play by Cho Seung-Hui, a 23-year-old English major, was submitted last year as part of a short story writing class. Entitled “Richard McBeef,” Cho’s bizarre play features a 13-year-old boy who accuses his stepfather of pedophilia and murdering his father. A copy of the killer’s play can be found below. The teenager talks of killing the older man and, at one point, the child’s mother brandishes a chain saw at the stepfather. The play ends with the man striking the child with “a deadly blow.” (10 pages)
What is so wrong is that this young man never got, for whatever reason, the help he needed.