All personal stories are subject to biases, the subtle distortions of memory, and whatnot.The value of these stories is the opportunity for people who do not usually get a voice to speak, and the opportunity for all of us to hear stories that we don't usually get to hear.
Last week, we asked military veterans to send us their stories of life after war— their experiences returning home and seeking health care and benefits from the Department of Veterans Affairs. In the past week, we've heard from not only veterans, but also from family members of veterans, both living and deceased; from doctors who work with the VA; from journalists who've covered the VA; and from various contractors and private citizens who deal with the VA in various capacities.
With all of their input in mind, we'd like to make two points about what we're trying to do: 1) The much-discussed backlog of disability claims at the VA— about half a million claims have been pending for more than four months— is primarily an administrative and political issue, not a medical one.
The problem is one of processing benefits claims, and the resources that we choose to dedicate to processing claims.
Doctors and other medical professionals who work for the VA are not the source of this problem.
After leaving the military, I spent almost a decade fucking, fighting, and having random emotionally erratic episodes and just chalking it up to drinking (I became a drunk) and partying (my family and friends noticed a marked difference in me, but were too worried to mention it to me (temper issues)).
It wasn't until I left my psycho, alcoholic ex-gf (nothing worse than living in a co-dependent bubble that you don't even know you're in), that I found someone (my wife) and I learned normal human fucking behavior and how love should actually work.
I cut back on my partying and stopped fighting (still working on the drinking), but when my wife got pregnant I started to have REALLY LOW lows (did some things I am not proud of over there.
(To be fair, we've also heard from people who've worked processing VA benefits claims, who allege that vets often try to rip off the government for benefits.
Everyone has a point of view.) 2) Our general goal is simply to give a platform to veterans to share their experiences on the homefront.
This is not meant to be an exhaustive report on all of the issues facing the Department of Veterans Affairs.
Collections of first-person stories, like this, or our Unemployment Stories, are to be taken for what they are: people directly sharing stories about their own experiences.