Why Hope to survive with Mental illness?
1. Army and VA experience
WhyHope.com -by Michael Lake

Avoidant Personality Disorder may be an issue the army and Jaycees gave me?

Does the VA care about harm caused by the army?
a. VA ignored their own compensation doctor who saw my real problems.
b. The VA is ignoring my requests for accessibility under the ADA
c. I can not get the VA to deal with the Stigma of Mental Illness or the 15 years of my FEAR.

My army experience, diagnosed with Mental illness and punished for it.
0. A hidden childhood foundation of fear and stigma.
1. Distinguished Graduate - I started as a success in the army.
2. Diagnosed with BiPolar Disorder, a Mental illness
3. Failing as a soldier with Mental illness
4. Ordered to "rehabilitate yourself"
5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (previously "labeled a dangerous person")
6. Compassion and the Army:  Who do you blame?
7. Who was helping me with these issues?

(Also on another page - Physically Paralyzed - The final result of military service and mental illness.)

I joined the army to "Be all I can be".  The real army seems to forget that compassion is necessary at times.

Does the VA care about harm caused by the army?

My "service connected" mental illness is connected with poor health and social problems. (See the main page)  The US Department of Veterans Affairs has failed to provide the support that I request for these issues.  Why are they ignoring me?

a. VA ignored their own compensation doctor who saw my real problems

See this pdf copy of the VA 2003 compensation decision:

Their own compensation doctor noticed the problems relating to stigma that my regular doctors continued to ignore.  When I mentioned these issues to my most recent psychiatrist, he said "If your problems were that bad then you should have gone to the hospital".  Is it necessary to give up on life before I can get real help?

For more see VA drugs are not enough! Mike's story.

b. The VA is ignoring my requests for accessibility under the ADA

Due to my mental illness I have trouble acting as my own advocate.  The VA could help me turn my life around, but they have been ignoring the seriousness of the issues.  Are they trying to kill me with neglect?

The ADA - the Americans with Disabilities Act - requires that the VA help me show them what help that I need.  Instead, they have been adversarial.  They will not even tell me if my actions are appropriate or not!  Government agents have a legal obligation to follow the ADA and take positive action.  The ADA even suggests that they modify their methods to help the handicapped!

My latest VA problem is that I am unable to work and the VA will not admit that it is service connected.  They don't even admit that I made the claim!  It is policy to provide compensation for medical problems made worse by the army, or that result form service connected medical issues.  My "service connected" mental illness has made physical health problems worse and continues to do so.  I am also tired all the time due to necessary medications.

c. I can not get the VA to deal with the Stigma of Mental Illness

Learning how to deal with the stigma learned in the army will help my health, ability to be my own advocate, and ability to work.  Instead the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs has only given me drugs to help with the symptoms of mental illness and stigma.  Drugs do not help me to live in society!  Drugs do not erase the painful memories and FEAR of being attacked for having mental illness!

You might think that the veterans administration would give me a 100% disability for the mental heath problems alone.  A cache-22 is that they expect someone with mental illness to be their own advocate in asking for more help.  The worst that your are, the less likely you can effectively ask for help!  Technically, it seems that if you deserve 100 percent mental health disability by the VA standards, then you are either dangerous or should be in a hospital or other care anyway!

The VA will buy a service injured veteran a wheelchair, 
but not help a mentally ill veteran deal with society?
By VA standards, you can not afford to live with mental illness and stigma.  It is another reason that I have thought about killing myself. 

Here is the VA website:

(Also on another page - Physically Paralyzed - The final result of military service and mental illness.)


My Army experience:

I was first diagnosed with mental illness in the army.  Though medical people convinced me that I could still be a soldier, I was like a lobster being boiled alive.  I did not fully connect that mental illness was causing me problems, like living in FEAR.  I was threatened with UCMJ punishment (like criminal law) for the more significant problems.

Though I did not know it at the time, the army is when I developed the Stigma and Fear for having mental illness.  The Stigma and Fear was a destructive influence on my life for the next 15 years!


0. A hidden childhood foundation of fear and stigma.

At the end of 2004 I had written most of the information in points 1 to 7 on this page.  The army is indeed guilty of causing damage with fear and stigma relating to my mental illness of Bipolar Disorder.  However, I realized starting in 2007 that the foundation of my fear and stigma started at home as a child.

Growing up with my father in the army, he drank alcohol to ‘’feel better" like many people.  Also like most drunks he would get nastier.  Both my mother and myself would be harassed, called worthless, etc.  The few times that I tried to fight back he would mention how he was trained to kill and otherwise "put me in my place".  My escape for dealing with this stigma and fear was imagination, ideas, and working on things.

Because my fathers stigma was based on lies, it seemed easier to grow out of .  However it did cause me to have a weakness that could be attacked later.  That is what happened in the army.  But the army did something worse, it was attacking me for something real (mental illness) which I had no control over.

You could honestly say that harassment of my army diagnosed mental illness turned me from a soldier back into a weak child.  Consider that as you read the rest of my army experience.


1. Distinguished Graduate - I started as a Success

I was successful during my first year in the army.  After the challenge of Basic Training, I spent almost a year in electronics school.  I did so well that I graduated the top of my class as a "Distinguished Graduate".  With high hopes I expected to make a positive impression as a soldier.

*** Click on the following links and images to see the entire .pdf documents. ***

- The commander shaking my hand at graduation. (I am on the right.)

Distinguished Graduate - army-89-0525-award


2. Diagnosed with BiPolar Disorder, a Mental illness

After being at Ft. Bragg a few months I had problems with my energy and emotions.  Seeking help, I was diagnosed with BiPolar Mood Disorder (aka "Manic Depression"), a mental illness.  This came as a shock, and I told my supervisors about it.

a. army-89-0829: They rated me better at this time, though they considered the mental illness issues a "personal problem."  Many of the issues cited were the first signs of how I was dealing with mental illness.  Should someone have realized that symptoms of  mental illness would be a problem for the army, and that medicine was not enough?  It was left up to me to take care of these medical issues and still be a soldier.


3. Failing as a soldier with Mental illness

I was like a lobster being boiled alive, being confronted about issues involving mental illness.  The army both orders you what to do, and expects you to do it.  Dealing with mental illness and being a soldier were not compatible goals.  The problems that developed would start to define me.

Bringing up these issues must have been considered excuses for my behavior or ignored.  Only after failing and being punished multiple times did I start to feel as a failure.  Once I started to believe it, the only way was down.

a. army-90-0323:  I had missed taking my medicine and had problems focusing, forgetting to do what was necessary.

Recommendation of UCMJ

myself:At the desinated time I was withdrawing from Lithium

b. army-90-0406:  This should have been an indication that side effects of my medication and/or the mental illness were interfering with my work.  Being attacked over these issues without any constructive support were the start of a nightmare.  It seemed that nothing that I did would make them happy.

Straighten your act and be a soldier or leave my Army.

myself: ...I could not believe it (see page 3)

c. army-90-0419:  Just like the mental illness, other medical issues seem to have been considered "personal problems."  The fact that the chain of command did not trust me had become obvious.

... found to be milingering that UCMJ action can occur ...

myself: I feel ... my chain of command ... let medical problems worsen ...

d. army-90-0621:  Sleep had become an issue.  Threat of punishment was the answer, no consideration being given for the medical issues.

,,, recommendation of UCMJ action for missing ...

myself: ... could have a toxic reaction and possibly die.

e. army-90-0705:  The copy was poor.  It explains my lack of proper hygiene and being messy.  My punishment was to be shown how to take care of myself as if I no longer knew how to do it.  The reality was that I was having problems with my mental illness, bi-polar mood disorder.  Being treated as a child did not help the deep depression that had taken me over.  Apparently I did "nonconcur" and said I could not write a statement under duress.


4. Ordered to "rehabilitate yourself"

If I could do amazing things, this was my chance.  Dealing with mental illness in the army was destroying my life.  Yet, I was expected to rehabilitate myself.  God knows that if I could, I would.  And as if my mind was not troubled enough, I was being threatened with serious consequences.

a. army-90-0821:  I mention in this medical report that I had "Depressive Mood Disorder" since the fall of 1989 and was being treated with lithium.  However, the army doctor recorded my condition as a non-medical "Personality Disorder".

b. army-90-0906:  My mental illness was being addressed as "Personal Problems" and not a medical issue. Rehabilitate myself?

... deficient ... rehabilitate yourself ... serious consequences ...


5. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
(Previously called "Labeled a Dangerous Person"

On 2-20-06 this website was updated to talk about "Posttraumatic Stress Disorder", or PTSD.  The following events are when the past harassment against me turned into PTSD.

The full discussion of PTSD is on the main webpage.

I was first called a dangerous person as the result of a confrontation being forced upon me.  I dealt with it by being very upset and escaping.  This ends up labeled as an "outburst" and I am defined as a dangerous person.  The incident was important enough to mention in an official document.  Why was it not important enough to properly investigate and document?

a. army-90-1001:  This is where I am first called a dangerous person.  Read the document and I will explain what happened below.

... he had an outburst ... could have injured another soldier ...

The truth is that I was depressed and half asleep, sitting in a chair in a common hallway, and my roommate with his friends wanted to come in but he forgot his key.  I was slow to let them in.  My roommate was upset because I was slow and they argued with me.  When I tried to leave, they pursued, and ultimately I ran for the protection of the company office with them behind me.  They apparently claimed that I went “crazy” and was threatening, etc.  The commander did not believe what I had to say, and believed my attackers story, despite the fact that they were chasing me!

After this incident it took me several days to get permission to move to another room.  In the mean time, I slept outside in an unused shed near work, because of the fear that I would be attacked again.  I was late to more formations by trying to hide from my roommate and got into more trouble.  I received an Article 15 punishment before I was finally discharged for a "non-medical" personality disorder.  So begins my life accused of being a dangerous person.

b. army-DD-214:  This currently is my only evidence of the Article 15.  Note that I was reduced one rank and the "Effective Date of Pay Grade" is 90-10-19, due to the Article 15.  Would someone suffering with cancer or some other illness have been punished like this?

(click here to see more details of my army experience)

6. Compassion and the Army:  Who do you blame?

You can not blame the soldiers involved because the army did not train for compassion.  As a soldier you are expected to kill when ordered to do so.  Too much compassion might make for bad soldiers.  The real issue is that there should have been policies about how to keep, or discharge, soldiers diagnosed with a mental illness.

A lack of communication between the people treating me for mental illness and my chain of command was another issue.  I was almost sent to Saudi Arabia without any concern for medical support.  When I asked how I would get treatment for my mental illness and they decided to hold me back.  I was also concerned about getting my medicine, lithium..


7. Who was helping me with these issues?

These army experiences are how I first learned to deal with mental illness.  I did not have any counseling for these experiences, I was only given lithium for the mental illness, bi-polar disorder.  Without anyone to talk to about the details, I have learned to understand and deal with it on my own.  This remains true in the events that follow with the civic group and the legal system.

I am still on my own today, with the drugs my doctor gives me as my only significant support for dealing with issues.

It is easy for people to claim that someone with mental illness needs help.  What happens when useful help is not found?

The best thing that happened was learning about mental illness Stigma in 2004.  Too bad that it took me 15 years before learning that I had Stigma!  Look at what I had to suffer from the Civic Group and the State next.  If I had killed myself to escape stigma, it would had been blamed on mental illness.  The first cause of my stigma for having mental illness was the U. S. Army.

On 1-4-2006, after failing to find help for the past year, a "veterans advocate" claims that the VA will not help because I am blaming stigma.  Does anyone care that stigma is only part of the story?  Fear and other issues are connected!  How can I figure it all out alone?  I still need help!

Avoidant Personality Disorder may be an issue the army and Jaycees gave me?

page 2:  Civic Group

main page

Evidence and experience:  1. Army 2. Civic Group 3. State breaking law 4. Failed help 10-22-04 5. You can help

© Copyright 2005 - by Michael John Lake +

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