I am three years sober now, one and a half years living on my own (for the first time in my life). I have a tendency to be co-dependent and I am still in the process of getting to know me. I know that sounds kind of funny with my being 40, but I used to live for everyone else and depend on others to define who I was.
I am not as perfect as I seem to be, thats the persona that I project. Its a defense mechanism that began in my childhood that is deeply ingrained. I can withdrawal emotionally very easily, I fight to be who I want to be and who I used to be on a day to day basis.
I was at a treatment center for homeless veterans for 20 months. I was in intensive therapy; group therapy in both a large and small community, cognitive and behavioral therapy, PTSD (childhood and combat) therapy and group, counseling in personal skills, and private therapy for childhood-core issues. I attended classes for social, spiritual, meditative, addiction, behavioral, and interpersonal communication just to name a few.
It was through this continuing rebirth that I found out who I am and what my purpose in life is supposed to be. So, I went back to college and have just graduated last semester from Jefferson Community & Technical College with an Associates in Arts. I am in the Kent School of Social Work at the University of Louisville in my juinor year. I will complete my masters in 2011, specializing in clinical Social Work with an emphasis in Therapy.
I have two interests that intrigue me, I am plan to serve my first practicum (internship) at the Department of Public Advocacy. They specialize in advocating for the indigent. Quote from a flyer, “Kentucky’s…program protects what we value most-our liberty and our life. Defenders stand up for citizens…Defenders insure the criminal justice process is fair…providing a holistic approach…providing rehabilitative services…”. That has always interested me for as long as I can remember, I see to many people going to jail for circumstances beyond their control. Now, I know some people would say “What the hell are you talking about? If you commit the crime do the time”.
I am here to tell you, the guy who stabbed me in the throat was trying to kill me. He pled to assault under extreme duress, a class 3 felony. Now I think he should of been convicted of attempted murder, which as I explained is what he was trying to do. So, more about that at another time. I have had experience in this area and have a unique perspective considering this area of interest.
The other area of interest I have as one might surmise from my blog here is working with Veterans with PTSD and combat trauma therapy. I plan to serve my second practicum at the VA medical center in the mental health division. In the next 10 to 15 years we are going to see a sharp rise in veterans who suffer from this mental illness to the point of epidemic proportions. You see, never before in war have our troops been subjected to such prolonged exposure to combat.
In WWII our troops were fighting a defined enemy with real objectives and sufficient downtime on average in between engagements. Most of the troops to see combat were forward soldiers, not the ones “in the rear with the gear”. There was significant political interference in the Vietnam War(VW) triggering little to no tangible objectives for our soldiers. Compounding this stress was Guerrilla warfare, an inherently cognitively damaging military action. Even with the troops having regular downtime in between engagements. Now that being said, I know a guy that did 5 tours in Vietnam. That was uncommon in VW, most soldiers did their two years and the ones that survived went home.
The Gulf War is another blog topic needing separate expounding.
The soldiers in the Iraqi war have been sent on multiple deployments. It is not uncommon for our soldiers to have two or three tours of duty with little time in between. While in Iraq, there are no friendly countries or areas to spend leave time to relieve stress. They are on constant alert and most, even non-combat soldiers, see combat or threats on a daily basis. Now combine this with the most intensive warfare possible, guerrilla warfare in an urban environment. We get troops that are overextended and overexposed to life threatening situations. This is what is not being said about whats going on with this war.
The reason we don’t have 20,000 soldiers dead compared to VW 5 years into the war? Our medical knowledge and experience gained from the VW.
What we do have are veterans that would have died in VW or WWII that are going home with their bodies and minds shattered. The amputation rates have risen to twice that of previous wars.
Now, I know I digressed quite a bit from my original stream of thought. But this all had to be said by me and through me. This information is not just me spouting off about what I think. I have done research on all of the subjects that I have brought up and have some type of experience with most of what I have said. What experience I lack I am preparing myself to engage and do something about or with.
I challenge others to take up their passion and make it their quest in life. How else will we change the world?