Thursday, February 28, 2013

Sharing Secrets

Did you ever have a secret that you held deep inside? The longer you held it in, the harder it was to actually deal with the secret.

I have a secret...

The nightmares have returned. I kind of expected that they would. What I wasn't expecting was how hard it was going to be to deal with them.

I contemplated not even talking about it. The more I dive into the underlying issues, the more my nightmares increase, the more panic attacks I have, the deeper I dive into depression. I can't escape.

A part of me wants to return to normal. I want to bury it in the past, like I have done before. I don't want to talk about it, but I am being forced to. So the only thing I can think of to do, which might help me and help others as well, is to spread awareness.

So, after burying this secret for 13 and a half long years... I am finally going to talk about it.

I suffer from PTSD from MST.

Secrets can consume us. Some
of us are strong enough to hold
on to them until we eventually break.
For those of you who don't know acronyms, that means Post Traumatic Stress Disorder from Military Sexual Trauma. What it comes down to, is this refers to a psychological trauma that resulted from a physical assault of a sexual nature while serving on active duty.

Saying what happened to me is difficult. In fact, very few people knew about it. But I am not alone. During screening for MST, 1 out of 5 woman and 1 out of 100 men have responded "yes" to being involved with MST.

What was my mistake? I didn't report it. Now it haunts me.

When I got out of the military, I eventually filed a claim for my PTSD. I was suffering from depression. My relationships were hurting and I was cutting myself away from people. After several attempts, I gave up. My disability rating was not high enough to compete with the war veterans coming home that needed the appointment slots with the psychologist.

I concurred. They needed the help more than I did, and frankly I couldn't continue to live with the constant talk about the past. I eventually dropped out of the system. What they were doing wasn't helping me. I wasn't a priority and I was put on hold.

Now I am back in the system again. I attempted to reopen my claim last June. I procrastinated so long, that an appointment I should have made last year, is finally in the works. But that means everything is resurfacing again.

The panic attacks are returning. I am back on medication. And my claim is back up and ready for them to send it back unapproved because they don't have enough evidence. Once again, I am living this nightmare all over again.

Yet this time it is different. MST is a hot topic. They are recognizing it as a serious issue now. I have the opportunity to step forward and get treatment. I am working with some people that finally understand a little bit of what I have went through.

But that doesn't help. Because deep down, until they service connect my MST, I will have to pay VA (veteran affairs) for my treatment. Not only with money, but with my time and my sanity.

I don't feel good.

And while there are people out there that understand, there are also people out there that don't. They make you feel guilty. They make you feel like it was your fault, or that you were stupid for not following the right protocol. It isn't an easy topic to discuss. It isn't one easy to throw out into any conversation.


You feel guilty, you feel dirty, you feel overwhelmed, you feel used, you feel hurt, you feel unloved, you feel gross, you feel like it is your fault, you feel like you asked for it....

So what do you do - you hide from it.

But I am telling you right now. Don't hide. You need to face your fears. Take it from someone that knows - 13 and a half years later, I am still being haunted.


If you are a Veteran and you need help contacting someone to deal with MST, click here  for more information. And please spread the word. Maybe then something positive can come out of this whole situation.


  1. I think putting yourself out there like this will help so many others dealing with the same issues as you. I commend you for that!

    I have absolutely no way of understanding what you are going through or can say anything to help you through this. All i can say is I am glad that I found your blog and I enjoy how open you are. Also, I genuinely hope that everything will work out for you and you will find the help that you need. Ed

  2. I can't even begin to understand this at all. I don't understand how the VA can not support all soldiers. This makes me mad, the government should help the folks that help the rest of us maintain our freedom. I am sorry that this happened to you, and I am sorry that it seems that no one cares...that is just wrong.

  3. I hope, with all my heart, that airing this out will help you to start to heal. You are courageous for standing up and setting an example for others that are silently going thru this. Be their voice. I am proud and honored to know you and call you my friend.

    If you need anything, you got my number.

  4. I'm so sorry that you are suffering. I think that speaking out about it and sharing it here is very brave. I hope that you can help someone else who may be in a similar situation, as well as find the support and love from your readers and friends.:) I've suffered from anxiety for most of my life and I know how awful it is when you have been doing well for a while and then it all starts coming back. Seeking treatment is hard enough,but having to deal with the system you describe would make me back away and not want to deal with it either - so I completely get why you walked away in the past.
    Be gentle with yourself. Talk to the people who do understand and lean on them when you need to. Sending hugs and wishes for peace for you today. <3

  5. Wow, Stacy you are so very brave for sharing this here and do hope o god that this will help in beginning some kind of healing process, as well as get somewhere with the VA, too. Thinking of you and keeping you in my thoughts and prayers.

  6. I want you to know that you're not gross, or dirty, or any of those other things. You're beautiful, amazing, and inspiring. Thank you for sharing this, maybe it will encourage someone in a similar situation to talk to someone about it.

  7. Whoa. Stacy, you're bold and brilliant and beautiful and I am so sorry you're suffering...I never had any idea. Will share this so that your story will also help others to seek and get help. I wish our country had a better system in place to help all of our military veterans. I am also stunned that yet, another victim has to be traumatized by not only events of the past but also by the current system. *sigh* You are a voice: a strong voice. You're amazing!

  8. Shew, Stacy, I had no idea. I can't even imagine what you're going through, but I admire your courage to put this all out there. It's an important message, and one that needs to be spoken about. I think you're great and wishing you lots more strength for the upcoming months ahead. xx

  9. You are brave and inspiring. I am really proud of you for having the courage to put your story out there. Who knows how many people will be helped because of you?

  10. I AM SO PROUD OF YOU! For writing this, and for seeking help. So many people wait too long, or never get it at all. PTSD is no joke! It can ruin lives..... I was one of the foolish people that waited too long to get helpo for my depression (now graduated to bipolar). My life could have been so much better. All I can do now is just keep moving forward... I UNDERSTAND what you are going through - from being frustrated by pymptomes to being told you "aren't sick enough" to get the help ou really need, to dealing with those ignorant insensitive people that will never understand.... YOU ARE AMAZING! YOU WILL GET THROUG THIS.... THANK YOU for writing this.


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