Cognitive processing therapy turned out to be a shitshow. I think I gave up when the social worker said something like "you veterans overestimate how many of you actually suffer from PTSD". I actually recorded every session, but haven't had the strength (or desire, really) to go back and listen and sort things out. The social worker continued to play the trick where instead of scheduling all of your appointments for a 12-week course of therapy, you only add them a month at a time. (This makes it appear when metrics are run that I got every single appointment within 30 days.) In the end, I got shorted a week-- 11 sessions, not 12. As expected, after the last session I haven't heard a word from anyone from the VA clinic in Lawrenceville, not a word from the hospital in Atlanta. I never will.
Was the therapy, and the fight I had to go through to get it, worth it? I don't know. Most of the value I got from it was the mental pick and shovel work that I did, which was far more than the therapy asked me to do. I don't want to talk you out of therapy if you're in a place in your life where it would do you good. I went to the Vet Center, and then to the clinic and the hospital and the emergency room, because I didn't have anywhere else to go for help.
The thing about the whole mess-- there was one social worker who was in Lawrenceville one day a week that did the therapy I wanted to get into. That meant I had two choices, the first being deal with whoever that guy was or go to another clinic that was much farther away. There was no "choose the right therapist for you" set of options.
I suppose it was just the best I could do, far away from home and without much in the way of resources to work with.
Nah, fuck diplomacy. Dude was worthless.
I still need to sit down and write a last letter to my U. S. Senator about all of that.
I am back in Wisconsin, in a new (to me) city. Since I have two evictions in the recent past, one of them the result of being tossed out of the VA grant per diem/transitional housing program, it's been an uphill climb to find a permanent place to live. I'm working for myself now, scraping things together. I'm not in therapy, don't plan to be. PTSD followed me when I left, it followed me back. I have office space to work in, which is generally pretty low key and quiet-- I have an actual key and 24 hour access, so I can be here late on Saturday night when it's pin drop quiet. I get a lot done some of the time, a little less others.
I've often worn more than one hat; student, adult student, student veteran, veteran, homeless student, homeless veteran. New place, new time. I'm the only one here who knows about all of that, because I haven't brought it up. I don't tell the history, don't sing the song, don't tell the story. Now I'm just an entrepreneur. A businessman. People ask my advice. People are respectful.
The "PTSD and College" story is over and has been for quite some time. I'm not going back to school-- I could get a bachelor's degree, find some online school that would take all of my credits, let me finish those last few-- but for what? Nobody cares. In the world I'm in now, no one gives a shit about what degree you have if you can do the job. People don't ask me for advice because I went to this school or that school, they ask me because they believe I will give them an answer that's close to the right one.
I went through hell and back to stay in Madison, to get back into UW-Madison, to take that dream as far as I could. Much of the value I got from being in Madison and being on that campus is the knowledge and skill I gained on my own. The last few years I spent hanging around UW-Madison were spent hacking and learning, which was *my* doing. That part was worth it.
After I finally left Madison I was able to see things more clearly, to realize that UW-Madison was not at all the right school for me. I am not stupid. I am not lazy. I gave everything I had to being a student at that school and honestly no one gave a shit if I was there or not, much less if I was successful or not. That I was a student veteran was neither brave nor noble. No one but me cared.
I don't know what's going to happen with this blog. I've gone back and forth for a few months now, can't quite set it to private, can't delete it, haven't had much to say, have had everything to say. I've written the final post probably fifty times, and haven't come up with one that I wanted to post. For now this is all you get.
Don't ever say "thank you for your service" to me. I don't want to hear it, even if you do mean it-- but you probably don't. People say it because you're supposed to say it, but it's not for us. It's for you to feel good saying it. If you want to show your thanks to a veteran, hire her and send her to school to learn how to do what you need done. Let him rent that apartment even if his credit isn't 100% perfect. Ask that guy sitting on the sidewalk to join you for lunch and actually talk to him. You have a veteran in your class and they ask you for help, do whatever you have to do to help them pass that class. Do something tangible. Money talks. Bullshit walks.