Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD):

by DAVE GAUBATZ September 28, 2011
 
Twenty five years ago very few people knew anything about PTSD. I will keep this article in relation to combat PTSD. In 2011 there are still many people who know very little about PTSD. This article will relate my experiences with PTSD. Hopefully after veterans read it, they will insure they get medical treatment before PTSD ruins their lives.
 
In 1986 I was part of the Libyan bombing campaign; in 1991 I was awarded medals for my intelligence gathering during Desert Storm. In March 2003, I was deployed to Nasiriyah, Iraq, as well as Basrah, and Baghdad. I had been a U.S. Federal Agent for over 15 years and had an outstanding and honorable career. My clearances had been Top Secret and above. I had worked primarily in counter-terrorism and counter-intelligence.
 
As with most law enforcement officers the majority are adrenalin junkies. I was one of them. The closer we came to danger in combat the more my adrenalin and ego took over. While in Iraq every day one other Agent and I would travel the major cities of Iraq and were looking for loyalists to Saddam Hussein. We had several close calls, but the closer the danger; the more we enjoyed our job. It was a common practice for our two man team to pull over suspicious vehicles and apprehend the occupants. The majority had RPG’s, grenades, pistols and other weapons.
 
After several months of fighting in Iraq I was sent back to my new assignment in New Mexico. For several months I realized I was not the same person, but gave it little thought at the time. There were little indicators that something had changed in m y life, and not for the best. Early in my career I had been very motivated and excited about narcotics operations, homicide cases, and other type cases most people would enjoy working. They had the opposite effect on me. I was very, very bored with any case in the U.S. After spending several months in Iraq and facing death almost every day, it was going to take a lot to get motivated about a narcotics bust.
 
Upon returning from Iraq I began to notice other changes in my life, but I had never even heard of PTSD as late as 2003. I had always been involved in spots, antiques, auctions, etc…, but I no longer had any interest in these. I was beginning to feel depressed and numb inside. I literally had no emotions. I had always been a good provider for my family and I believe the best dad in the world to my children. Without even realizing it at the time I was beginning to withdraw from my family, friends, co-workers, and after only a couple of months from returning from Iraq I left the best job I felt there was (A U.S. Federal agent/1811). I was beginning to have trivial arguments with my co-workers and Commander. In late 2003 I obtained the position as the Chief Investigator for the Dallas County, TX Medical Examiner. There are hundreds of people who would give their right arm to work CSI cases. I had it even better. I was the Chief and had 13 people (investigators) working for me. I made every attempt to pretend to enjoy the job, but again nothing compares to combat and I was again very bored. I stayed 3.5 years and dreaded every minute of the work. I did a good job but the only thing I was really interested in was making a paycheck for my family.
 
I must mention that in early 2004, I went to see a doctor and was diagnosed with severe depression and PTSD. Medications helped, but I was still numb, had no emotion, and was very depressed. I began to wonder why this happened to me. Yes I had been in combat, but I truly enjoyed the experience. Finally I needed more answers. I went to see mental health specialists. The answer to my PTSD became very clear. I had been prepared for war when men kill men for political reasons, but I was not prepared for seeing dead children who were killed for no reason. I saw young children come to our base gate with skin falling off of them from severe burns from bombings. I saw children who had been buried alive in mass graves by the thousands.
 
In 2006 I took a job for a health care company in Richmond, VA. This lasted about 6 months. I was making a 6 figure income, but I could no longer concentrate on my work, and had little interest in the well being of my subordinates. This was not intentional it was just a matter of depression and withdrawal.
 
In 2007/2008 I was contacted by the attorney for the Center for Security policy, Frank Gaffney (The Executive director), and asked to conduct counter-terrorism research across America. I was excited about this, but had hesitations about working for a non profit organization. Non profit organizations come and go. I was making $150,000 a year plus expenses. My wife was more hesitant than I was and requested to speak to the attorney (David Yerushalmi) to determine if this was a long term project. Yerushalmi assured my wife this was a life time project (Mapping Sharia Project). I was very excited about this job and gave it 100% of my time. For two years I traveled across the U.S. obtaining very valuable intelligence on terrorist organizations. Then in Jan 2009, David Yerushalmi called me and said the project was out of money and I no longer had a job.
 
This in conjunction with my PTSD brought even more stress. I tried to shrug it off and find another job. This sudden loss of a job and the symptoms of PTSD were very stressful to my wife. In Aug 2009 she had had enough and we separated. The stress of thinking about the children killed in combat, the loss of a job, and my wife and I separating after 33 years of marriage was more than I thought I could handle. I spent six days in a mental health facility to help me deal with the issues.
 
This came at the worst time of my life. I had a book being released in Oct 2009 and I had numerous tasks to get the book in order. I did not tell anyone I had PTSD and pushed ahead. When my book was published it should have been the happiest time of my life, but contrary I was miserable. I had up to ten radio shows a day, television, newspaper and other requests for interviews. On top of this I had a major lawsuit with CAIR. 
 
To say the least dealing with PTSD is difficult. I highly recommend any veteran of combat to seek counseling early instead of late. If you wait you are likely going to lose your job, family, friends, and a future career.
 
I am in a long term PTSD program with the Veterans Administration in Salem, VA. I again ask veterans not to try and brave it out, but get help early on. If you care for your families you will do this. Otherwise you will become one of the thousands of homeless veterans who are on the streets and no one really cares about your well being….not even after you have served 20 plus years on active duty and been willing to sacrifice your life for others. You will be just another statistic.
 
FamilySecurityMatters.org Contributing Editor Dave Gaubatz spent 20 years as an active duty USAF (Special Agent/OSI), 3.5 years as a civilian 1811 Federal Agent, trained by the U.S. State Department in Arabic, and was the first U.S. Federal Agent to enter Iraq in 2003. He is also a counterterrorism counterintelligence officer. He is co-author of the book Muslim Mafia: Inside the Secret Underworld That’s Conspiring to Islamize America. His website is www.muslimmafiacomics.blogspot.com, and also http://www.wearenotafraid.blogspot.com/, and he can be reached at davegaubatz@gmail.com.
 

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