Battling the Storm Within

Friday, August 29, 2014

Progress and success with Bill SB1422 in CA by removing investigations and prosections of military sexual assualt cases from the chain of command.

Earlier this month, we took a stand in California, and together, proved that we are #NotInvisible!

Thanks to supporters just like you, Governor Jerry Brown heard us loud and clear, and signed California State Senate Bill 1422 into law.

This marks the first piece of state legislation to remove investigations and prosecutions of sexual assault cases within state military departments from the chain of command. California Senator Alex Padilla took up this fight by introducing SB 1422. The bill received bipartisan support and passed through the State Senate with a unanimous vote of 36 to 0, and just last week it was signed into law!

While Washington has remained divided and inactive, you stood up in California and made a real difference. Together, we are making history.

But our work is far from done.

Now, more than ever before, we need to continue to lift up the voices of courageous #MSA and #MST survivors, like those we heard from in The Invisible War, and demand action in every state.
Tweet a message of support, and show other states that the time to act is now. Our fight is far from over!
Thank you for your continued support. Together, we are driving a nationwide movement.

Together, we are #NotInvisible.

Amy and Kirby


Freedom From Addiction

VA clinical psychologist raises military sexual trauma awareness

Veterans Suicide Prevention Act Honors Legacy of Thousands

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Military life style is like....

In the military, you'll work the hours you are told to work, you'll work overtime with no additional pay, you'll do the tasks you're assigned to do, even if they don't relate exactly with your job, you'll live where you're told to live, and you'll deploy where and when you're told to deploy. Basic Training sets the tone for the life style you have signed up to live. If you are a person that can’t take orders or having people control and dictate your life, then don’t even think about joining the military. It’s a life style full of personal sacrifices, you make in order to fulfill the needs of the government.

Research Study: Gulf War Illness Detoxification Program

Veterans Doubtful About FBI Investigation Of Veterans Affairs

Philly VA training slides depicted veterans as ‘Oscar the Grouch’

The Epidemic of Military Sexual Trauma

Tuesday, August 26, 2014

President Obama Announces New Executive Actions to Fulfill our Promises to Service Members, Veterans, and Their Families

Many women have suffered MST... check out the photos

Learn how to beat the VA at their own game!

I joined the military because.... why did you join?

So I made a choice of joining the military as a career path to explore the world safely and to obtain some level of stability and success that I so greatly desired. I felt the only hurdle was me, what did I think could happen would. I knew I had to take control of my life; I did not want to end up being a statistic of being a black broke single parent struggling all my life.  I wanted to travel and make money, I was willing to take whatever risk there was to get there and joining the Army seemed to fit. Society promoted getting a good college education then a good job and retiring at an old age. It sounded good however the choice I made to join the US Army Reserves unknowingly drastically threw a curve ball into my big dream in the sky.

Army Veteran walks across the country to bring awareness to PTSD and TBI

The reason many veterans committ suicide

Friday, August 22, 2014

Virtual reality helps treat PTSD in soldiers

Mental Health - Great article on PTSD and mental health


Veterans suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) could gain some relief from a new virtual-reality program, new research suggests.
The simulated environment, which lets members of the military "relive" their traumatic experiences in a computer-game environment, has shown success in several early studies, researchers said in a talk Thursday (Aug. 7) here at the annual meeting of the American Psychological Association.

Approximately 28 percent of U.S. soldiers returning from Iraq are diagnosed with clinical distress, according to the U.S. Air Force. A 2010 study published in the Australian and New Zealand Journal of Psychiatry found that up to 17 percent of U.S. Iraq War veterans may have combat-related PTSD. Exposure-based therapies have been shown to be a promising form of treatment, said Skip Rizzo, a psychologist at the University of Southern California's Institute for Creative Technologies in Los Angeles, who is leading the work.

"The [virtual reality] format may appeal to a generation of service members who have grown up with the digital world, and feel comfortable with it," Rizzo said. In addition, the virtual-reality program is wireless, making it convenient for veterans to use, he added.

The first versions of the virtual-reality program, called "Virtual Iraq" and "Virtual Afghanistan," were adapted from the first-person video game "Full Spectrum Warrior," which was released for Xbox in 2004. The program featured a wide range of combat situations, and allowed the user to tweak the time of day, the weather conditions and the wound levels of characters in the game. In addition, medical experts could insert "trigger stimuli" to mimic the original traumatic experience.

Now, the researchers have developed a new virtual-reality program, called "Bravemind," which was created using feedback from the first version and includes an expanded set of features.Tests of this early version have been positive, Rizzo said. A study funded by the Office of Naval Research used a standard exposure-therapy approach, and involved 20 military members (19 men and 1 woman) who had spent an average of eight years in active service. Over the course of the study, 16 participants showed improvement in their PTSD symptoms, while four participants did not.

In a video testimonial, one soldier said that reliving his traumatic experiences in a virtual environment meant he didn't have to think about them when he was at home with his family.
The researchers used functional magnetic resonance imaging (fMRI) to track changes in the brain following the virtual-reality treatment, and found that participants showed less activation in the amygdala, a brain region involved in emotional reactions, and more activation in frontal lobe areas involved in emotional control, Rizzo said.

The researchers also developed a virtual patient project in which clinicians can practice working with a simulated trauma victim before they work with a real person.
Now, the group is looking into using the virtual-reality system as a preventative therapy before soldiers are deployed, by putting them in a provocative environment to prepare them for the stresses they will face.

The group has also launched a military sexual trauma project for service members who have experienced sexual assault. "We're not creating digital rapes," Rizzo said. Rather, the researchers are simulating contexts that recreate the feeling of being trapped or losing control, he said. Interestingly, however, "most of the military sexual trauma occurs stateside," Rizzo said.

What I expected from the military

I expected the military to provide safe environment, structure, discipline, a challenge and stability. I thought my daily military life would of one where I followed orders and was released to live a life of my own after I did what was expected of me. I thought I would have freedom of choice to do whatever I wanted after I was released from duty. I felt I would experience life as I dreamed to travel, earn an education and experience life I always dreamed of.