I filed my claim on July 23, 2010 for PTSD. I wasn't really sure what to expect because you hear so many horror stories. I had been having a lot of problems since I got out of the Army back in 2005. When I got out I thought I had everything together, boy was I wrong....
When I joined the Army I planned on making a career out of it. Thanks to Rambo and G.I. Joe, my whole life I knew exactly what I wanted to do with my future. Things certainly worked out much differently, as is life. After two back to back deployments to Iraq (Feb2003-Jan2004 and Oct2004-July2005), I was less enthusiastic about the Army. I just knew for a fact that the next time I was deployed to a combat zone I wasn't coming back alive. So after ETS'ing from Iraq and after only 14 days back home from Iraq, I was sitting in my first class as a Freshman at a major state university. Like a cold bucket of water, it was during the first day of classes when the realization hit me, I was in WAAAAY over my head. It was like a different universe. Everything these people did got on my nerves. I had this EXTREME anger, rage, and utter hatred for things that most people wouldn't even notice. I started to get really depressed because even in a room full of my friends, it felt like I was alone. Nobody knew what I had been through and I hated them for it. My school and books were complete paid for, I had a great job, a nice car, an awesome apartment, no bills, and over $20,000 in the bank. Nobody seen the storm that had been gathering strength inside me since the Invasion of Iraq. And then, suddenly, it began to rain.....
Looking back at what all transpired, and it truly was a "downward spiral." If I really think about it, I mean, all of the warning signs were there. Depression-check, Anger-check, Detachment-check, Self-Medication-Check, etc... I don't think it was as much of me not wanting to see "it" as not know what "it" was. "IT", my friends" was our little friend called PTSD....
The chain of events that led me here didn't start with me punching my boss in the face, they were set well in motion before I even knew THEY existed, but that's when I first realized something was wrong. I had a great job and everything was working out according to plan, but there was a catch. My boss was the same age as me and he had a severe Napoleon Complex. I don't know if he was intimidated by me or what, but he would always single me out and give me a hard time with things no one else got a hard time for. So one day at work for no obvious reason I beat him senseless, lost my job, and set the wheels in motion. I had developed a major social anxiety by this point, so I started not to go to class. And as luck would have it, I had a back injury occur at this time that got me introduced to Oxycodone. The Oxy was the only thing that made me feel better and took away all of the fear, anger, resentment, guilt, and self-loathing that I was experiencing. Soon I just stopped going to school altogether. Take no money from work, coupled with no more GI Bill, plus a new need for Oxy, and that equals a very dark dark place that I would not wish my worst enemy to go... Soon, my savings were exhausted and I was evicted from my apartment.
One day in 2008 I woke up as a college drop-out, homeless, dope-sick, 25 year old, honorably discharged, 2 time Iraqi War Veteran. I had hit a rock bottom that was as bleak and as lifeless as the moon. Suicide crossed my mind more than once.... There was nowhere to go but up. I heard about a place that took in homeless vets and helped them get their lives back on track. When I went there, I got a lot of crazy looks. The place was filled with mostly Vietnam Vets and the next youngest guy there was ten years older than me. After explaining that my mom had died when I was 16 and I had never really had a relationship with my dad, they realized I had no where to go, so thankfully they agreed to take me in. I lied and told them I was already off drugs and through detox because they couldn't take me otherwise, because of liability. Well, after about 2 days they realized I was in bad shape so they took me for my first ever trip to the local VA Hospital, the emergency section. They put me in a program and I got myself in to a good routine that allowed me to get off the Oxy. I stayed there and lived in the domiciliary for the next 30 days while I signed up for classes at a community college so I could receive the GI Bill again, thus have income. Once I left there I never really looked back. I got myself a one room apartment close to the VA and have been receiving help with my fight against all that is PTSD.
I applied for benefits not really expecting much. My doctor at the VA told me that I was very messed up and I should seek Compensation and a Service Connection, if for nothing else than future health benefits.
My C&P exam results can be seen here: http://vets.yuku.com/topic/47361
I never contacted a VSO for help with any portion of the process, or anyone else for that matter. The only help I got came from reading the same forums that I am now posting my story in. I went to the mailbox today and there was a relatively large, BROWN ENVELOPE and it said this:
Your monthly entitlement amount is shown below:
Thanks to everyone who responds to other people's pleas for assistance. You didn't know it, but you helped me by helping them.The records reflect that you are a veteran of the Gulf War Era. You served in the Army from September 17, 2001 to September 16, 2005. You filed an original disability claim that was received on July 23, 2010. Based on a review of the evidence listed below, we have mad the following decisions on your claim.1) Service conection for posttraumatic stress disorder is granted with an evaluation of 70% effective July 23, 2010.