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.

Advertisements

1 year and 4 days ago


16 April 2012 was probably one of the worst days of my life.  Prior to that it was 15 April 2006, followed by 19 February 2012.  15 April 2006 is the day three Marines in my platoon died in Iraq.  19 February 2012 is when I discovered my wife had set up an alternate email account and online dating profile an was 18 hours away from meeting another man in the area for sex in a hotel–during the work day, while paying for a babysitter.  Prior to 19Feb I discovered a text message sent to her from her boss, with a video of him masturbating attached, and a picture she had taken of her lady parts within 2 minutes of receipt of that picture. 

16 April was an interesting day.  Late night 15 April and early morning 16 April I woke up to her writing in her “therapy journal” by phone light.  This isn’t something she normally does, and ever since I know she had been emailing that man in February while I was sleeping next to her, seeing her phone on in the middle of the night was and will continue to be a trigger of anxiety for me.  Throughout the day I noticed that her journal was not left out in a random place like it usually was; my suspicions started to rise and when she went to work that evening, I put the kids in bed and went hunting.  It took about 30 seconds to find it, in the first place I looked.  After I found it I flipped to the less-worn pages to find the newest entry(ies).  About 5 seconds in to it, I thought I was literally going to die.

“I’ve slept with y boss, 4 times…” was the first secret in Pandora’s Box.  While reading I lost the ability to hear anything but rushing wind and my own heartbeat-not the kids playing happily in their rooms and not the kid’s show on the tv.  The next thing I see is that she slept with him the first time on the day before our wedding anniversary, which happens to be 2 days after Christmas.  I couldn’t think, didn’t want to think, I couldn’t breathe, I couldn’t cry, I couldn’t stand up, I couldn’t eat, drink, couldn’t do anything but read more. 

Strangely though, for a brief glorious moment, I felt validated, and good about myself.  All the lies she told me about what I was suspecting, and all the misery I put myself through trying to “better” myself and correct all of the faults she continually reminded me of, and how crazy I was driving myself because I KNEW she was doing it but I refused to believe it, it ALL was wrong and I didn’t have to believe my head, I could trust my instincts again because I KNEW what was going on the whole time, even if I didn’t know all the details.

So here I am feeling a little down because i a few days I’ll have 3 Marines to mourn, followed by the 1 year anniversary, or antiversary of finding out, from words written by her own hand, about the affairs.

Braving, I’m sure you’ll read this-don’t fret, I’m not upset with you, these are just feelings that will go away with time, so just keep doing what you’ve been doing because it’s been making me feel good.

“I am the Master of my fate; I am the Captain of my soul.”