The Mental Health Stigma is alive and well in the military


mh issue
This post graced my Facebook timeline today. It was made by a Staff Sergeant (E-6) in the Marine Corps. I know the guy, he’s the douchebag that got 2 people hurt so bad that one lost his arm and one with an extremely bad TBI. I digress.

The first comment is mine. The second comment is someone I’ve never met. If you think the military is doing a good job of erasing the stigma against mental health issues, you’re mistaken. It will take another 8 years before the NCOs and SNCOs (E-4 through E-7) have cycled out and are no longer in a position to treat Marines like this. Back in 2006 they still punished you if you had a mental health issue and couldn’t “fit in” like everyone else. Got demons and drink? NJP.

Clearly you aren’t responsible enough to take care of yourself, so fuck you, I’m going to take half of your pay, put you on restriction and extra duty. That will teach you to not have demons. I’m so sick of the zero-defect mentality; it is a delusion that kicking people out for these issues will make the Corps better in the short term or the long term. If you send the message that someone with a mental health issue, like PTSD, or TBI (TBIs do have an effect on the function of the brain, and can lead to depression, anger management problems, and cognitive errors) will be kicked out, those with the issues will no longer tell you because of the fear of being kicked out. This causes Marines to suffer for years, hiding their injury and living in shame that they are hurting and cannot confide in anyone. Their performance will degrade, and they may or may not spiral out of control. Ultimately their loyalty is not to the organization, it is to themselves-and why should it be to the organization when the organization would kick them to the curb because they were mentally injured doing what the organization asked them to do?

Have faith, however, because the 2nd commenter that I don’t know serves with the aforementioned douchebag, so there are people out there who will defend you if the shit goes down. Some people seek out the military because they get authority and they get paid to act like douchebags to people who cannot quit their job. The original poster is that guy.

Update to the depression…


Talked to her doctor, and the doctor thinks that bRaving’s night of drinking temporarily altered her brain chemistry.

So far she’s on her way back up and as near as I can tell, it’s going well.

We talked a little bit about how her depression was affecting her, and she mentioned that she had suicidal ideations. Of course, that term may mean something different for each person, so I asked her to explain. I won’t list the explanation here, because I think that’s a bit too personal and not really my info to tell. Suffice to say, I was a little shocked, but in a good way, at least now I know.

So, she recently picked up more work with her at-home job of social media management. I’m proud of her and I hope we can deal with the stress of catching up history with her new clients. 3 of my classes are ending tomorrow, 2 more started on the 1st of August. Those 2 new classes are the last of my major, and will end on 15 October. On 1 October I will start 2 more classes, the last 2 classes of my undergrad, and will officially be done with my undergrad on 15 December.

I’ve been working at it 1 or 2 classes at a time, from scratch, for 7 years. I don’t know how I’ll feel after I get it.

Bipolar affects more than the person diagnosed…


bRaving went to her support group party this past weekend, and I was sick so I stayed home.  At this party she had 9 shots of Fireball whiskey, and came home a VERY sad drunk; tears and everything.  The next day she was extremely depressed.  

Reminded me of the manic cycle we had in 2011-2012.  Fucking sucked.

I’d been worried all day Sunday and a bit the last few days.

Mostly my own emotional reactions to a reminder from how bad it was back then when we didn’t know what was going on, but also an extreme feeling of…

Helplessness…

I felt like I couldn’t do anything but let it happen.

Changes are subjective


I was talking to the wife last night in the shower and she happened to notice how I’d trimmed down in certain areas around my body.  This led to a wider discussion about how the world appeared very differently when she was manic, and things literally looked nothing like what they do when she’s not manic.  I appreciated her FINALLY noticing, although I didn’t really help.  After she told me that she wasn’t sexually attracted to me anymore because of my weight gain of 20 pounds, I started working out, a LOT.  Just as hard as I did when I was active duty and training 2 or 3 times a day.  I could see all these changes on myself in the mirror and I kept asking her if she could and the reply was always the same: no.  I got extremely insecure about my appearance and changed my dress habits at home.  Previously it was nothing for me to walk around in underwear and a tshirt.  After I realized that she would never see a change in me, I was never around her in anything less than shorts and a tshirt unless we happened to take a shower together (HIGHLY RARE during that time) or if she saw me in bed when she got home.  That time was a bad time, I was desperately looking for anything I could do to convince her that I was a worthy husband and that I could change to be whatever she wanted me to be.

Something else we talked about a few nights ago was open relationships.  We read My Year of Living Openly’s most recent post and I chose to describe to her something I had to work through during her manic episode, and that was her view on sex.  A very similar topic was just recently discussed on Samantha Baker’s forum After the Betrayal in the post “Just Sex”.  bRaving Bipolar had told me that she didn’t have a problem with her being with another woman and her husband/boyfriend and having sex with both of them (yes, read that as having sex with the man AND woman)  because there wasn’t any emotion involved, it was “just sex”.  After I got over the initial shock of what she had said, which was days later, I came to the conclusion that if she wasn’t cheating on me already that she would be, and that I could either allow it and have SOME control over who was coming in to our life, or suppress her “desire” to have sex with other men.  If she mentioned that she didn’t have a problem with it because it was just sex, not having a problem with it would evolve into desiring it.  So over a few weeks I force-fed myself lines of bullshit, telling myself that it was better to have some control over who she was sleeping with instead of stopping it and possibly pushing her so far away that divorce would be inevitable.  I could either adapt to a changing environment, or succumb to the laws of Darwin in regards to my marriage and be left behind as nothing but a memory in the history of bRaving Bipolar.  After DDay 1 in Feb when she was trying to expand her affairs into one-night stands with many men around the local area, my resolve was renewed and I threw all that false bullshit up; I would not sacrifice my views of what our marriage was supposed to be just to stay with her, that she needed to have a dose of reality.  At some point she gave herself a dose of it and realized that while what she was doing was wrong, she was unable to stop.

We had a really good night last night and I hope to repeat most, if not all (sex is not an easy thing for either one of us right now), tonight.  So we’re going to order pizza from our now favorite pizza place and watch movies, starting with the last 15 minutes of Coming to America (starring Eddie Murphy, fucking awesome movie) and probably something else.  I felt very connected to her last night, which has been a frequent occurrence since she moved to day shift on the weekends only and we have every night together.  Initially last night it was weird, because she mentioned the possibility of having sex, it created some weird tension.  The only way I can describe it is knowing you want to turn on the light, knowing how to turn on the light and knowing what it looks like when you do, but when it comes to actually turning the light on, you just stare at the light switch confused and wondering why you just don’t reach up and turn it on instead of standing in the dark.  Initially I said no, but through her persuasive powers (read: she is gorgeous and she mentioned that not having sex is worse than having weird sex) convinced me to, and I’m glad I did.

So, in closing for this post, Military Athlete Operator Sessions really do work (and I fucking hope to get access to those again soon, they’re $25 a month but so worth it for me) and my wife is sexy.