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.

The “discovery” that led to D-Day 1


A simple phone number/email address written on a piece of paper, in the front seat of my trailblazer. I may have not ever laid eyes on it had I not decided to go to a 7/11 and get a soda. I was confused when I saw it because it made no sense; she wasn’t in school and she had no reason to email ANYTHING to ANY of her coworkers (no reason that I could fathom at the time). She had been using her phone excessively that day, and when I started to think about it she always sat, or turned the phone, so that I couldn’t see the screen. Anyways, I logged in to her email and didn’t see any unusual incoming traffic; I looked at her sent items and saw the most recent recipient had a strange email address.

That email address was a combination of her initials and the month and day of her birth. The attachments in that email were pictures of her in “sexy clothing”. Later in the evening she put the kids to bed and left her phone down stairs, so while she was with the kids I got on her phone and opened up her email app; no mystery account there. I opened the internet browser on her phone; bingo. What I saw after that was horrifying; reading the emails from men around our area trying to have sex with her, and her responses trying to do the same. I sent an email to that account from mine, something to the effect of “Hi, this is your husband, who is Shawn?”. I couldn’t wait, I let her kow that I knew while she was still upstairs. She didn’t come down for about 15 minutes.

I forgot about this phone number until I saw that bRaving had thrown some stuff away, and this was right on top. This one hurt extra special because it was a Marine in Camp Lejeune, 4 hours south of us. I work with and see Marines 5 days a week. I had his name from the emails, and with that information it wouldn’t take more than 15 minutes to find him after I got back to work. Maybe not literally his room, but that isn’t what I meant; he knew she was married and still pursued her, which is a violation of 2 articles of the UCMJ, which I also informed him, and that I could forward a neatly packaged gathering of evidence to his battalion commander. Why bother with company level, the real punishment starts at battalion, and regimental would be too high.

Anyways, we are struggling financially, still, but we have a better idea of what we are capable of and not capable of financially. We are arguing about the money a little bit. I feel like my perception of her intent is different than what she means, but lately it feels as if everybody is up my ass about everything, her included, and it makes me feel about as capable as a 2 year old. She keeps talking about pushing me to do things that are uncomfortable, but I don’t think she fully appreciates the person I’ve evolved in to since last year.

I don’t like being pushed because I don’t feel like I’m being given the time or space to emotionally deal with whatever it is that is causing me stress, and getting pushed in to action before I’m ready just makes it worse for me, not better.

We are also stressed due to the amount of classwork we have. She has 2 graduate level courses, I have 2 undergrad, and I just started 3 additional undergrad courses.

We are dealing with it fairly well. Arguments aren’t fights, we don’t go to bed angry or upset with each other, and we had some really hot sex the other night. Started moving stuff in to the storage unit so we can get the house ready to sell.

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

1 Bourbon, 1 Scotch, and 1 Beer

The last two weeks have been hell with migraines, and stress, enough so that I finally decided to go back to my doctor and get a preventative and rescue med.  Before that I was on wellbutrin for about a year, and nothing could save me from those migraines, but they were necessary.  I went to a Patient First a few days ago, thinking I wouldnt be able to see my primary care doctor in time, and the dude thought I was full of shit about my headaches and migraines.  He asked me if I had a headache or migraine at the moment and I said headache, but it will turn in to a migraine.  He asked how I know that, with that smug “you’re out of your damn mind” look.  Gave me nothing but a place to spend 20 bucks on copay. I am back on I can’t remember what right now because I’m on Bud Light Platinum numero 3 for preventative, and fioricet for rescue.  Fioricet wors, had to use it already this week.

In other news I have burnt myself out trying to save bRaving Bipolar from stress.  It was also necessary, and I don’t regret it, but I’m falling behind a little bit, about 3 days, in school and she’s letting me use the weekend to make that time up.  I am happy that I can take so much punishment so that she does not have to, but when the time has come for me to recharge MAN do I go downhill fast.  

I also took over the bills at the house and am doing “ok” for now.  We were already having some financial problems, but my GI Bill housing allowance and her student aid are helpig us get current, and within the next three months won’t have anything that is past-due. 

Speaking of my school stuff, in June I will begin 3 classes at one time, undergrad, and bRaving will drop back down to one grad class at a time.  I will have some overlap in June, 2 weeks of 5 classes at one time.  It will shave a month off of how long it will take me to finish.

PS if you are not familiar with the song that my post title came from…your fun card has been revoked until you redeem yourself.