Pre-existing “maladaptive pattern
of behavior of long duration”
Code words for “soldier, the US had decided to screw you over,” a diagnosis shared by more than 22,500 service men and women. It means that, according to the military, they had a personality disorder before they entered the army, so the PTSD everybody else thinks they have is not going to be treated by the military and the disability pension you so rightly deserve as a military hero is just not in the cards.
Nah, that rocket shell that exploded two feet above your head, that bomb that went off under your buddy’s vehicle, that bullet that put a crease in your helment – nothing to do with your symptoms at all. You had all that before you went into the army son.
No matter that you were able to work before you went in, no matter that no one at your old school and old job, nor in the recruitment office, nor during your extensive medical and mental exam noticed. No matter that now you can’t function in your family, can’t hold a job, can’t even make conversation, can’t sleep, and can’t stand loud noises. You had this before, buddy. Our two hour exit exam where we spent half of it calming you down after that book fell off the table, is proof that you had this maladaptive pattern before you came into the service. PTSD? Not for you. Disability? Not for you. Treatment? Not for you. Scram, we are done with you, hero or not.
“Chapter 5-13” — “separation because of personality disorder.” is a diagnosis that means the soldier will be discharged due to a pre-existing “maladaptive pattern of behavior of long duration” that interferes with the soldier’s ability to perform his duties. No military pension and no treatment is deserved for this hero or any of the other 22,500 heroes similarly classified.
It is a convienient way for the military to get rid of a service man or woman that is disruptive or perhaps non-responsive or otherwise not suitable for service in the military’s eyes, or just a way to get them out sooner, or just “cause I don’t like the SOB”. However, it is a bit too convienient when applied to injuries suffered in combat and not brought with them from off the streets.
Service men and women go through rigorous mental and physical testing before they come in. Either it was not present or the military chose to ignore it just to get another warm body. Either way, it should become the military’s responsibility then to cope with it or to treat it and if a discharge is warranted, to continue to treat it.
Donald Louis Schmidt of Chillicothe, Ill., was being treated for posttraumatic stress disorder after his second combat tour in Iraq. His commanders at Fort Carson later decided he was no longer mentally fit and discharged him with personality disorder.
“They just slapped me with that label to get me out quicker,” Schmidt said. He said superiors told him “‘Everything will be great. Peachy keen.’ Well, it’s not.”
The discharge left Schmidt ineligible for disability pay and benefits. He was also required to return more than $10,000 of his $15,000 reenlistment bonus, but he said no one explained that to him until it was too late.
“If I didn’t have family, I’d be living on the sidewalk,” Schmidt said.
We have too many Heroes on the sidewalk now!