Paul Ramson

I served our country not for any special treatment or recognition, but because I wanted to. While I do not expect much in return for that, now I am not even acknowledged as a veteran. After serving in the 80s and then going overseas from 2007-2010, my service is under question. Because they are rejecting my status as a veteran, I do not receive any VA benefits.

This is an issue because I am still waiting for social security, and until that comes, I receive nothing. I was so close to getting approved for social security, but I missed my court date in order to be with my daughter during a complicated pregnancy. Now, I am in the waiting period again. I cannot work because of my current health issues, so waiting is my only option.

Not having coverage was not an issue before I left for service because I was healthy then. Your coverage isn’t as much of a concern when you don’t have ridiculous medical costs to pay. Things are different now. Physically, my work as a stone mason has left me with chronic back pain. I also have high blood pressure and diabetes. Mentally, that is another obstacle. I suffer from PTSD, which with VA benefits I would be able to get the therapy covered. I also carry anxiety and depression with me every day. At one point, this burden was far too much.

When my mother died, I reached my lowest point. She was my everything, my best friend. When I lost her, I just continued losing, until I was completely alone. I got to such a low point, I just wanted the pain to end. I lost sight of the future, and attempted to take my own life. I feel different now. I am focused on the present and making myself better and better. I take comfort in the people who have been supportive and helpful in my life at my low points

Places like Serenity and Christian Community Center have been there. I have come across people like Dr. Brown, who ran blood tests and helped diagnose me, when I didn’t have coverage to afford this. This gives me hope that I am not alone.

I feel like this is my chance to start over. To be better on my own. These are some of the struggles I had to go through because that is my life and part of the journey, but I feel this is a new beginning. I want to be able to treat my physical illnesses and gain more stability. I want to do this, so I can work again and be the person I know I can be. If I were able to get the therapy and medications I need to be my healthiest self, I know I could do that.