The article states he had been dealing with “survivors guilt” and frustrated by a difficult disability claim process from wounds received in Iraq.
This difficulty cannot be overstated, and it’s been going on for decades. Someone very special to me is a Gulf War veteran who recently hit rock bottom in his life. He’s been out of battle for nearly 20 years and seemingly fighting against the tide since then. He was not seriously wounded in war except for maybe some form of Gulf War syndrome caused by all the shit they were injected with. But his biggest problem is the PTSD. He never thought he had that – he thought other people, the ones you could tell were in bad condition just by the way they looked, were the ones actually suffering. So he kept his problems to himself as much as he could, but they’d force their way out anyway.
It took him losing his maybe 20th job (from falling asleep at work, since he hadn’t been able to sleep in days due to constant nightmares), going broke, getting evicted and ending up in a homeless shelter to finally go to the VA to see if they could do anything for him. This happened in December. Turned out, with his symptoms he could’ve been receiving disability payments for years. He was surprised to learn this. No one had ever told him that.
So of course he goes to fill out the necessary paperwork, and that process has been an absolute nightmare. Just getting his forms and proof of service from the various departments all around the country that deal with this has been an ordeal. Call this place, they say this other place has it. Call the other place, they say no, these other people have that. Wait weeks to get the papers to fill out. Send them back and wait more weeks, only to find out there are still more things to fill out or something was filled out wrong or someone sent you the wrong thing, wait more weeks to get the right thing. Get diagnosed with severe PTSD by a VA-approved therapist but still have to wait months for the government to officially approve the diagnosis before you ever see a dime.
John Lennon: It is knowing, it is knowing
That ignorance and hate may mourn the dead
It is believing, it is believing
But listen to the color of your dream
It is not living, it is not living