Over 25 years Guard

Jolly cheese

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
After reading through all the posts, I am stressed out even thinking about PEB or VA benefits. I fly in the Guard as an 0-5, numerous deployments, 13 years active duty, 12 years ANG. Electronic warfare officer EWO and bomb Nav.

I have 3 LODs on file. One actually says blood pressure(medical unit told me that was impossible until I showed them) and one for back injury, and other for testicle variocele.

2008-present I have been going back and forth to my civilian doc for depression like symptoms. Tried three different depression meds for a week or two over 4 years. Finally doc ordered labs for thyroid and testosterone. Testosterone was almost non existent at 60, multiple tests. MRI done and then put on testosterone therapy. Told my guard unit I was on thyroid meds and testosterone injections. I was grounded while I awaited drug waiver. During this time I got signed up for VA benefits since the testosterone therapy can be expensive. Initial appt. VA doc of course runs all new labs and asks if I am depressed. Well, yes I feel depressed because I think my testosterone is non existant for some reason. VA doc asks me to try another anti-depressant because depression can cause Low-T. I try it and report it to my military unit since I am grounded anyway. Well, alarm bells go off, all hell breaks lose. Flight doc tells me I need a psyological waiver to stay in unit or I can retire. Not very nice about it either. Only on new VA med for 7 days before I quit. Flight doc said he could see my mail order prescription sent, so BS that I quit taking the med. I was at a loss for words...

Went back to VA doc and tried to hand her back both bottles of meds that came in the mail, but she was so sorry and wrote a letter to my military unit that I had quit taking med after 7 days, and the system just automatically refilled.

Flight doc still demanded a psychiatric waiver, on my own dime if I wanted to stay in unit. I'm really mad now. We go to the commander and flight doc tries to get a commander directed eval. What flight doc was seeing were my different prescriptions for anti-depressant meds through the years before I got diagnosed with low-t and hypothyroid. Fast forward.....some a active duty psychiatrist contacted my family doctor, all my civilian medical files were sent into military without my knowledge. Just read some report in my file from psychiatrist saying I may be depressed, but it's probably low-t like my family doc said. Just to spite everyone I made my medical unit process all of my new drug waivers and I got approved to go back on flight status after one year. A month after that I was deployed. Only reason my waiver was finally completed was they needed me to deploy.

Year later, had to stop testosterone therapy because I was on a roller coaster with my blood pressure. BP was going up to 170/125. Then a guy on the crew kills himself when we got home. Off my low-t therapy but BP still a little high so going to have to go one some harder core BP meds. No way they can waiver this med and let me fly with all other meds I'm on. I'm so pissed off at my unit I want to leave, but I stay just trying to outlast doc. I'm afraid buddy who committed suicide may not have even asked for help after seeing all I had go through for asking for help.

Am I depressed today, yes, don't know why, I know low-t is part of it, but I am loosing my civilian job because I just can't find motivation to work anymore. I'm so mad at my unit, I don't want to even admit for a second that I might actually have depression.

Do I just retire quietly? Try to get VA disability? Or go for a full blown PEB? Can I justify a PEB with LOD for blood pressure, LOD for back(slipped disc, does not hurt too much anymore as long as I don't work it. I am sure I would have to try and prove my hypothyroid and hypogonadism was military related since it was diagnosed between deployments. Just a radar navigator, electronic warfare officer, that use to be on nuclear missions. I still could not prove they are military related. Or do I just say I am depressed, hate to do it that way, I am, but I think because of my other issues. I really am still in shock over what my military docs tried to do to me when I went to VA. I plenty of combat sorties, with a radar between my legs, but the only PTSD I have is from they way I was treated, makes me sad I gave so much of my life for this guard unit. Disgusted. Thanks for letting me vent.....go quitely or loudly?..
 

Deno

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
You need to go for the full PEB. Fight tell the bitter end. Others will chime in. You have a very large support group on this site. Don't walk away without a fight!!
 

tony292

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
First look up each condition in the vasrd or on militarydisabilitymadeeasy.com and see what the percentages are. Back ratings are based on range of motion only, pain is not used to rate it. High blood pressure I'm not sure of but I think it's low, I want to say 10% but I could be wrong. If you do push for depression diagnosis It would be very easy for them to MEB you and find you unfit for it, but without and LOD tying it to service would be very problematic for you. Basically the MEB/PEB can find you unfit for duty for depression but if a reservist and they deem it not duty related they don't have to compensate you for it.

On the other hand, if the rest of your conditions have low ratings and are unlikely to meet the 30% threshold for a medical retirement, depression normally will meet the 30% threshold... But for your sake it needs an LOD tying it to service. It may be to your benefit to stay one more year and get a solid diagnosis of depressive disorder before imitating the MEB.

Regardless, don't stop looking for answers, keep digging! Sometimes answers are hard to find but they are out there. PM some of the reservists on this board and ask them how thier MEB went.
 

tony292

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Also forgot to mention the peb can and does cherry pick, so they could find you unfit for only one of your conditions, normally the lowest rated one which will end your career. This is a dire threat to all of us going through the PEB, they have almost God like powers of our careers and once the process is started, it does not stop.

Like I said, dig, dig, dig before going forward with this.

On the other hand if your mental health is terrible, get help! Tell the doctors how bad it is and try for an LOD.
 

Jolly cheese

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Would it be a good idea to go to the VA and file for my existing LODs and hearing? Also start asking for mental Heath sessions without any new meds. Will VA notify my military unit I asked for mental health help? I use to think not unless you had a real high disability rating, but I think the computers are all linked together now. VA can see military appointments, vice versu, both can see prescriptions filled on base or through Tricare.

I need the job for my family and the health benefits for as long as I can. I can currently serve another 4 years if I don't get myself grounded. If I go to mental health or go on any new meds I figure I'll just be depressed without a job in the end.

I think that is why my buddy committed suicide last month. He needed the money for his family and benefits, I guess he did not want to deal with the long embarrassing process. Just to be clear I am not suicidal, no more talk on that, just trying to figure how someone gets there.

So can I file VA quick claim on my own for hearing and back, or should I go through DVA. Or do nothing for a few more years?
 

tony292

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
My advice would be to stay a few more years and see a psychologist, since they can't prescribe meds that would trigger your flight doc to go all crazy on you again. Try and keep it under the radar. My last 2 years in I saw civilian providers that documented things very well and when it came time for the MEB, the VA shrink that I saw for 30 minutes said 50% for mental health while my own providers filled out the disability benefits questionnaire at 70%. The docs themselves don't assign the rating, but the blocks they check on the form are aligned with the rating criteria.

http://www.vba.va.gov/pubs/forms/VBA-21-0960P-2-ARE.pdf

Specifically, section 3a of the form above aligns with the first sentence of each rating below, the occupational and social impairment statement. This will determine your MH rating.


VA

VA mental health Rating criteria key wording:
Total occupational and social impairment, due to such symptoms as: gross impairment in thought process or communication; persistent delusions or hallucinations; grossly inappropriate behavior; persistent danger of hurting self or others; intermittent inability to perform activities of daily living (including maintenance of minimal personal hygiene); disorientation to time or place; memory loss for names of close relatives, own occupation, or own name …………………..100%

Occupational and social impairment, with deficiencies in most areas, such as work, school, family relations, judgment, thinking, or mood, due to such symptoms as: suicidal ideation; obsessional rituals which interfere with routine activities; speech intermittently illogical, obscure, or irrelevant; near-continuous panic or depression affecting the ability to function independently, appropriately and effectively; impaired impulse control (such as unprovoked irritability with periods of violence); spatial disorientation; neglect of personal appearance and hygiene; difficulty in adapting to stressful circumstances (including work or a worklike setting); inability to establish and maintain effective relationships ...................................... 70%

Occupational and social impairment with reduced reliability and productivity due to such symptoms as: flattened affect; circumstantial, circumlocutory, or stereotyped speech; panic attacks more than once a week; difficulty in understanding complex commands; impairment of short- and long-term memory (e.g., retention of only highly learned material, forgetting to complete tasks); impaired judgment; impaired abstract thinking; disturbances of motivation and mood; difficulty in establishing and maintaining Effective work and social relationships ………………..50%

Occupational and social impairment with occasional decrease in work efficiency and intermittent periods of inability to perform occupational tasks (although generally functioning satisfactorily, with routine behavior, self-care, and conversation normal), due to such symptoms as: depressed mood, anxiety, suspiciousness, panic attacks (weekly or less often), chronic sleep impairment, mild memory loss (such as forgetting names, directions, recent events) ............................ 30%

Occupational and social impairment due to mild or transient symptoms which decrease work efficiency and ability to perform occupational tasks only during periods of significant stress, or; symptoms controlled by continuous medication .................. 10%

A mental condition has been formally diagnosed, but symptoms are not severe enough either to interfere with occupational and social functioning or to require continuous medication .............................. 0%


Having said all of this, your challenge will be to get it service connected. For reservists this happens through the LOD process. I was active duty and not too familiar with the LOD service connections process. Hopefully some reservists will chime in here.
 

Jolly cheese

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
Registered Member
Tony292,

Thanks for good advice. Maybe I like it so much because that is what I was thinking.

Just wondering on mental health. My civilian doc said there was a 6 month wait to get in with psychiatrist, sounds like they are in high demand. The Air Force base where I live and use the pharmacy actually has an active duty psychologist, with no business. I guess I don't dare use him even though convenient. The VA also offered mental health counseling, most of them are not psychologist, but it is convenient. If I tell them no meds shouldn't be an issue, but not sure. Other option is the new Vet Centers, they have counselors and assured me of confidentialality unless I was suicidal etc. Is using a psychologist versus mental health counselor much different to anyone?

I really doubt I have any PTSD, and want to be honest about that. I actually miss the combat deployments, the adrenaline rush, the camaraderie, and focus on mission. Coming home was always more stressful and the problems of everyday life so stupid. I love my wife and three girls, wonderful family. I like the idea of my family and would be lonely without them, but I am much happier when away from them. Knowing I have them feels good, but actually being with them not so much. How would you ever explain that one to your family?.. Going 3 years now where I know I need help, research it to death, but I truly believe this is just something I am going to have to live with. No magic pill or magic counseling that will make it go away.
 

tony292

PEB Forum Regular Member
PEB Forum Veteran
I don't think a counselor can diagnose you but a psychologist could diagnose but not prescribe meds. Seeing a civilian psychologist would keep it under the radar from your flight doc for years as long as you didn't tell them.

The key is getting it service connected or better an LOD.

I know how you feel about family. I feel the same way. I am on depakote now which is a Godsend for the extreme
Anxiety but nothing touches the depression. I am thinking about asking for electro convulsive therapy.
 
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