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Tuesday, June 26, 2012

MST Vets Finally Getting a Say So by Jenny McClendon

The following post was written by friend and staff blogger of the "One Weary Soldier", Jenny McClendon.  All opinions expressed are her own.

Veterans that have experienced Military Sexual Trauma are finally getting our say. We were raped. It was not our fault. We did our jobs and other people did not do their jobs. Unfortunately people that did not do their jobs are still collecting paychecks. I am talking about military and Department of Veteran’s Affairs Doctors.

Aware and literate Americans have been reading and hearing about the problem of the Borderline Personality Disorder (BPD) diagnosis for several months. This is the diagnosis that is often given to both male and female members of the military that report rape and are sent for psychiatric evaluations by commanders that wish to dispose of their most recent rape victim.

The National Institute of Mental Health quotes the Diagnostic and StatisticalManual, Fourth Edition, Text Revision (DSM IV TR) in defining BPD this way:

There are nine criteria for BPD and in order to be correctly diagnosed with BPD you have to have enduring and pervasive patterns that include five of the nine criteria:

        Extreme reactions—including panic, depression, rage, or frantic actions—to abandonment, whether real or perceived.

        A pattern of intense and stormy relationships with family, friends, and loved ones, often veering from extreme closeness and love (idealization) to extreme dislike or anger (devaluation).

        Distorted and unstable self-image or sense of self, which can result in sudden changes in feelings, opinions, values, or plans and goals for the future (such as school or career choices).

        Impulsive and often dangerous behaviors, such as spending sprees, unsafe sex, substance abuse, reckless driving, and binge eating.

        Recurring suicidal behaviors or threats or self-harming behavior, such as cutting.

        Intense and highly changeable moods, with each episode lasting from a few hours to a few days.

        Chronic feelings of emptiness and/or boredom.

        Inappropriate, intense anger or problems controlling anger.

        Having stress-related paranoid thoughts or severe dissociative symptoms, such as feeling cut off from oneself, observing oneself from outside the body, or losing touch with reality.

NOTE: The National Institute of Mental Health states that 1.6 percent of the population has Borderline Personality in any given year. The National Institute of Mental Health might have to omit numbers from the Department of Veteran’s Affairs to keep this number from skyrocketing.

These patterns need to be “Enduring” so if a doctor that has known you for less than one year diagnoses you as “Borderline,” this diagnosis might be an act of malpractice. That malpractice will hurt you so please take action. File a complaint at the very least.

These “Enduring patterns” cannot overlap so if you have a substance abuse problem that cannot be used twice to cover self-destructive behavior and substance abuse. Any other issues like depression or PTSD cannot explain these “Enduring patterns”. If you meet the five out of nine criteria but you are suffering from acute PTSD and most of the symptoms pass then you do not have BPD.

Within the field of psychology there are a number of professionals that think that this diagnosis is a stretch of the imagination. The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual (DSM) authors finally stopped calling homosexuality a mental disorder in 1973 and shortly after that, Borderline Personality Disorder made it into the DSM.

Psychologists and psychiatrists at the Department of Veterans Affairs give this diagnosis out when they do not want to treat clients with pervasive Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.

What is shocking is that Trauma Therapists give this diagnosis out and dismiss veterans from Trauma Services Departments for having been traumatized too many times.

What the tax payers may want to know is that a veteran that suited up and showed up to serve their country and was raped by another member of the military. The rape is never enough.

That patriotic American that suited up and showed up to do their part for their country will be psychiatrically abused by a military doctor that often gives them a debilitating diagnosis often after a single evaluation.

That service member will probably lose their job because they were raped. Then that service member has to fight joblessness, homelessness, and lost custody of their children because they were expendable to their commanders after being raped. This makes patriotism punishable by homelessness. This is not a proper reward for service.

By Congressional mandate the Department of Veteran’s Affairs is supposed to treat Military Sexual Trauma upon request. A “Borderline Personality Disorder” diagnosis is the loophole that the Department of Veteran’s Affairs uses to dismiss veterans from treatment with the same level of agony and shame that this veteran was thrown out of the military with. The rape was never enough.

The psychologist that threw your veteran away is paid more than the veteran made in service. That psychologist will receive a government pension that you contribute to. That VA psychologist uses plenty of your tax contribution to go to conferences and to training that will pad their retirement resume. This safe and cushy federal job is not a proper reward for having thrown your veteran away.

Professor Jenny McClendon

Humanities, ethics, and logic professor,
Online and traditional formats,

Historical writer,
Social Scientist,
Social Issues Writer
Old Testament Historian,

Personal/professional email:

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