Monday, November 30, 2015

Veterans Day March

Greetings Friends and Readers!

Just a quick updated note.  I got to march in Austin on Veteran's Day with Texas NORML Veterans, and, I got to hold the banner! I was soo excited! It was an amazing, amazing experience. I met so many other of the brethren that I hadn't before, including several lady veterans which was amazingly awesome!!! 

We launched Operation Trapped.. there will be more info soon!

We hope to collect over 1000 bottles to give to Gov Abbot next Veteran's Day!

Over and out for now,

Saturday, November 7, 2015

A New Position

PACT logo

PACT lobbying team at the Texas State Capitol

So, in my continuation of my therapy and progress in surviving and thriving with MST, I have this week accepted a volunteer position as the new Veteran's Liaison and Outreach Coordinator for PACT! I am thrilled to be a taking a leadership role in this great organization!  I joined the group at the beginning of the year and lobbied with several of them during this past session. Above is a pic of some of us from PACT that showed up to lobby legislators and many of the same came later to testify for 3785, the Medical Cannabis act, that was never allowed a vote. Little Alexis had a terrible seizure in Feb, and her parents moved her to Colorado, where now she is well over 200 days with NO seizures.  It was very sad that she could not come back to Texas to testify at the hearings herself, although her father, a quite remarkable man himself, and also a disabled veteran did.  Vincent and many of the folks in the above pic did testify, and you can see it yourself in some of my previous entries here.  

Vincent, I will always keep you in mind as I work for the betterment of 
all patients and their right to choose whole plant for themselves!

I have turned down offers from other organizations to do this, but when Tracy at PACT asked, I knew this was the group I had been waiting for to work for and with uniting more veterans in this campaign for justice.  PACT is all about patients. The Founder and Peerless Leader, Vincent Lopez,  passed away in Oct and we will miss his physical presence, but I have no doubt he will be everywhere we are as we continue his work. It is truly an honor to be able to help out in this great alliance.  We didn't get the whole plant through this year, but in 2017, I am sure we will, if it's not done by then.  But, I can still see patients and families needing to be united to be sure we get the bills written in the best interests of patients!

I read this great article (below) and it both triggered me and helped me understand why my PTSD is so severe.  Mine went on for years, and it wasn't just in one place. My supervisors were good at sending me to isolated places so they could do as they pleased with me.  On my second base, when it was the two of them.... well.. that was even worse.  I never fucking got a break from them asshats. I continue to work on getting better, but I know it will only get so good.  My fight to legalize medical cannabis is a vital link to my getting better.  I am working to  right a wrong, as I cannot work to right my own wrongs.  Getting justice and peace for patients is sooo important to me.  I have lost dear friends to cancer and opiate over dose.  I almost lost my sanity, and some of it's not coming back round the bend.

One of the things I realized that was different between MST survivors and Combat warriors, is that we both live with terrible trauma. But... their's isn't personal.  Ours is.  When your supervisor is raping and abusing you... that's as fuckin' personal as it gets.  In war, in combat, they are just trying to kill everyone.. it's not personal. You can be any soldier getting shot at.  But with rape.... it's not just anyone. They picked you, and they enjoy hurting and destroying you.  Well, since the best revenge is living well, I'll go medicate and blow a puff to those that tried to destroy me.  They did not. I'd rather be illegally healed then dead.   And now, as PACT's new and first Veteran's Outreach Coordinator, I plan on helping as many more as I can!   Now I have to learn Powerpoint and start connecting even more.  

Best to all out there,
Over and out,

PTSD: National Center for PTSD

Complex PTSD
Many traumatic events (e.g., car accidents, natural disasters, etc.) are of time-limited duration. However, in some cases people experience chronic trauma that continues or repeats for months or years at a time. The current PTSD diagnosis often does not fully capture the severe psychological harm that occurs with prolonged, repeated trauma. People who experience chronic trauma often report additional symptoms alongside formal PTSD symptoms, such as changes in their self-concept and the way they adapt to stressful events.
Dr. Judith Herman of Harvard University suggests that a new diagnosis, Complex PTSD, is needed to describe the symptoms of long-term trauma (1). Another name sometimes used to describe the cluster of symptoms referred to as Complex PTSD is Disorders of Extreme Stress Not Otherwise Specified (DESNOS)(2). A work group has also proposed a diagnosis of Developmental Trauma Disorder (DTD) for children and adolescents who experience chronic traumatic events (3).
Because results from the DSM-IV Field Trials indicated that 92% of individuals with Complex PTSD/DESNOS also met diagnostic criteria for PTSD, Complex PTSD was not added as a separate diagnosis classification (4). However, cases that involve prolonged, repeated trauma may indicate a need for special treatment considerations.

What types of trauma are associated with Complex PTSD?

During long-term traumas, the victim is generally held in a state of captivity, physically or emotionally, according to Dr. Herman (1). In these situations the victim is under the control of the perpetrator and unable to get away from the danger.
Examples of such traumatic situations include:
  • Concentration camps
  • Prisoner of War camps
  • Prostitution brothels
  • Long-term domestic violence
  • Long-term child physical abuse
  • Long-term child sexual abuse
  • Organized child exploitation rings

What additional symptoms are seen in Complex PTSD?

An individual who experienced a prolonged period (months to years) of chronic victimization and total control by another may also experience the following difficulties:
  • Emotional Regulation. May include persistent sadness, suicidal thoughts, explosive anger, or inhibited anger.
  • Consciousness. Includes forgetting traumatic events, reliving traumatic events, or having episodes in which one feels detached from one's mental processes or body (dissociation).
  • Self-Perception. May include helplessness, shame, guilt, stigma, and a sense of being completely different from other human beings.
  • Distorted Perceptions of the Perpetrator. Examples include attributing total power to the perpetrator, becoming preoccupied with the relationship to the perpetrator, or preoccupied with revenge.
  • Relations with Others. Examples include isolation, distrust, or a repeated search for a rescuer.
  • One's System of Meanings. May include a loss of sustaining faith or a sense of hopelessness and despair.

What other difficulties are faced by those who experienced chronic trauma?

Because people who experience chronic trauma often have additional symptoms not included in the PTSD diagnosis, clinicians may misdiagnose PTSD or only diagnose a personality disorder consistent with some symptoms, such as Borderline, Dependent, or Masochistic Personality Disorder.
Care should be taken during assessment to understand whether symptoms are characteristic of PTSD or if the survivor has co-occurring PTSD and personality disorder. Clinicians should assess for PTSD specifically, keeping in mind that chronic trauma survivors may experience any of the following difficulties:
  • Survivors may avoid thinking and talking about trauma-related topics because the feelings associated with the trauma are often overwhelming.
  • Survivors may use alcohol or other substances as a way to avoid and numb feelings and thoughts related to the trauma.
  • Survivors may engage in self-mutilation and other forms of self-harm.
  • Survivors who have been abused repeatedly are sometimes mistaken as having a "weak character" or are unjustly blamed for the symptoms they experience as a result of victimization.

Treatment for Complex PTSD

Standard evidence-based treatments for PTSD are effective for treating PTSD that occurs following chronic trauma. At the same time, treating Complex PTSD often involves addressing interpersonal difficulties and the specific symptoms mentioned above. Dr. Herman contends that recovery from Complex PTSD requires restoration of control and power for the traumatized person. Survivors can become empowered by healing relationships which create safety, allow for remembrance and mourning, and promote reconnection with everyday life (1).


  1. Herman, J. (1997). Trauma and recovery: The aftermath of violence from domestic abuse to political terror. New York: Basic Books.
  2. Ford, J. D. (1999). Disorders of extreme stress following war-zone military trauma: Associated features of Posttraumatic Stress Disorder or comorbid but distinct syndromes? Journal of Consulting and Clinical Psychology, 67, 3-12.
  3. van der Kolk, B. (2005). Developmental trauma disorder. Psychiatric Annals, 35(5), 401-408.
  4. Roth, S., Newman, E., Pelcovitz, D., van der Kolk, B., & Mandel, F. S. (1997). Complex PTSD in victims exposed to sexual and physical abuse: Results from the DSM-IV field trial for Posttraumatic Stress Disorder.Journal of Traumatic Stress, 10, 539-555.