Being well informed, spotting the signs, and seeking help will get you through anything because sh*t could be worse. Tiffany Moore talks about her experience in the military and becoming a disabled medically retired veteran. She delves into some of the pitfalls of accessing benefits while in the military and after discharge. Tiffany talks about her experience with dealing with PTSD, grief, and injuries she sustained during her time in the military.
Join Tiffany more as she tackles some of the stigmas of being a veteran.
“Words are life, once they leave your mouth you are speaking them into fruition… grief happens to all of us, life happens to all of us and we all have some type of PTSD.” – Tiffany Moore
Greg Washington: 0:13
Hey, everybody, this is Greg Washington, And welcome to guard down. Today we have Tiffany more from Jackson, Mississippi, who will be interviewing with us and sharing her story hated me. How are you?
Tiffany Moore: 0:26
Hello. Hello. Had low. I was born in Jackson, raised in Atlanta. Unless that was
Greg Washington: 0:33
if you give us a brief background of the military history and we can kind of go into, you know, jump in the leg. Wiberg here.
Tiffany Moore: 0:42
All right. It was a wall arm. Sunny, hot land today. Well, I joined the military, like, right, at the high school this summer of 2001. Read in high school. And, uh, I left for basic a week before 9 11 So september 5th, 2000 and one when I entered the map station and headed off to relax. And Jackson, um, I signed up as an ammunition specialist. Originally 55 Bravo eight. And I'm Robin now. I don't have no clue what it is now. You know, having Dima West is a few years and, um, idea of John regular army. I did. My first duty station was in Germany. Bill said Germany and I got I joined the reserves and I was with a bunch of reserve units from South Carolina to Atlanta, from Fort Benen to Fort Stewart. And ultimately, I'm medically retired out of Fort Jordan as a staff sergeant and, um, are medically retired in 2012. Um, have a slight injury in Air John Kuwait Man. Another females picking up a palette of 40 Mike Mike small ammunition missiles For those who may not know, a small accident happened and I hurt my neck. And three years later, I stopped walking. No, it was more than three years later. 2000 and I injured my neck. And 04 2000 and 11 is when I stopped walking. And, um, I had complained for years about my arm's hurting. I used to wake up and be paralyzed from the neck down in the Army. Doctors told me I was crazy. I was making everything up. There's nothing wrong with me. Ultimately, my Steve for five pushed through my spinal cord, cut off my spinal fluid flow stand. Huh? I stopped walking, so here I am, X amount of years later, and I'm a medically retired. It's a little bit and a lot of money.
Greg Washington: 2:49
I understand that That is a good bit to go through. So first I want to say thank you for your service. And next. I am glad you are recovering and, you know, able to walk. Um, I see your background in the back. Can you see? What What was that about?
Tiffany Moore: 3:11
Shit could be worse. I have t shirts in my Amazon store on Amazon Search Excel. Excellent. If mo c i f f m o but chicken be worse. We all go through shit. Everyday life shows up and beat us up every single day. And you have to maneuver through it because you don't want to be stuck in stagnant in that sandbox of If so, I have to remember always. You gotta cry, but screen whatever you gotta do to get through the hard parts. But at the end of the day, shit could always be worse. If you're going home, you're over your head. You have food on the table. You have a family that loves you. It could always be worse because there's a lot of us out there that don't have that. A lot of humans, a lot of veterans, we don't have family. We don't have support in so doing of the day. Always think about what could be worse and be happy that you're not walking in that path living in that path. And that's not part of your reality.
Greg Washington: 4:11
Indeed. So I like that I left that model because, you know, a lot of books tend to always do the oneness and think about, you know, like how bad it is. But you don't realize that, you know, it could have been worse than what it is. So that's a great model to have understand by. And I love the Timo. That is awesome. So what I want to talk about is just kind of get into it, you know, tell us some of the struggles that you have been through and how you overcame. I know, with the injuries in the military, um, what was the hardest part about? About the road to recovery, both physical and mental?
Tiffany Moore: 4:57
Mm. Who says I'm still not recovering cause this is a battle of the mind every single day, As I'm sure everyone else has their own battles. But I'm in pain every single day. My arms hurt in all good stuff. And so the hard part was wondering because I'm a single mother. I have a sunny 60 now, but, um, how to still parent and be a mother and provide from my child with my medical issues? And that was my driving force. Like, if I don't do it, who else is going to do it? And it was difficult, Especially once the doctors are telling me I was crazy. I was making everything up. There's nothing wrong with me, Les, um I was engaged when it initially started happening, and he was that he would have to pick me up and carry me to the bathroom so I can use the restroom. Is it literally wake up and be paralyzed from the neck down. And so to go from that Teoh constantly the doctors telling me there's nothing wrong with you like it was a battle of the mind every day. Like I know I'm not crazy because the Parral ization only happened on the weekends and and it only happens at night. And so one day I woke up to get ready for Formacion and I could not move. So just beating the battle in your mind every day. Waas a struggle, but I had to overcome it. Because who else is gonna provide for me? My son?
Greg Washington: 6:30
Correct. Um, so temporary paralysis. And I think the hardest mental part was folks not believing you. How did you How did you deal with that? What was the response to?
Tiffany Moore: 6:45
And then the signal messed up. He said, How do I deal with what
Greg Washington: 6:48
with the doctors, and I don't know if your leadership of not believing you know the diagnosis are that, you know, you would be temporary paralyzed. How did you do with that?
Tiffany Moore: 7:01
I kept researching. I knew that I could not be the only one out there with these issues I can't researching. So I prepared my mind mentally for what may happen if they don't treat me. If they kick me out and tell me to go to the V A. Like the doctor, it's what Gordon did. She was like, Oh, staff Sergeant war. You'll be okay. We're gonna put you out, go to be a and I'm just thinking to myself like, No, this is something really wrong with me. You're not just gonna Yeah, And it was difficult. I was down and met hold at that time at Fort Gordon when I'm medically retired, and
Greg Washington: 7:38
I was gonna say you bring up a very great point. And this is for all of those that are on active duty. If you are hurting, are in pain. Um, don't let the army kick you out without getting treatment first. Because if you go out, of course, you know you have the be a another third party doctors and providers to deal with your going to get the best treatment while you're still on active duty. So remember that
Tiffany Moore: 8:07
Greg Washington: 8:07
did mean. But I just wanted to share that part.
Tiffany Moore: 8:10
But you're right. That was a good point. Mind my last position in the military. I did it for three years, and that was the honor Reserve started a program. General Schultz, chief of the Army Reserve at that time, started a program him and his wife called the Army Reserve Warrior Family Assistance Center, a r W f a c. The Wolfpack is what we called it a use art, which is the reserve comps. And I was a very first our soldier Hyatt. For that position, we had to go to three interviews and basically it will spawn because a lot of reservists and National Guard soldiers were coming back and they were not getting treatment that they needed for their medical injuries. Like the military has incapacitation pay, which is like a civilian Mishcon. A lot of people don't know about that, especially if you're reservists and get hurt on drill weekend 80 on orders of whatever sort. If you get hurt and injured, there is something called incapacitation pay that will pay you a Stipe ID and you get a medical coverage for you and your family while you're going through incapacitation pay. And during that time they decide whether you're physically fit our UNP it for duty. And so you have options and they don't tell you that we knew reservists and guard. They don't tell you about these things. People just think that because you're reservists and you get hurt, you get out. You go to be a That's it. No, if you're on active orders, Title 10 orders. As a reservist or National Guardsmen, you have recourse. You have help to get the medical your medical issues taken care of with financial stability, responsibility from the military so That is one thing that I always pushed on my soldiers. And so when it came time for me to need it myself, I was well informed. And I was like, I'm not going down without a fight. So
Greg Washington: 10:01
I appreciate you sharing that information out there and will definitely put a leak, uh, inside of the podcast, um, posting for, you know, soldiers and people to you, uh, to go and check out the program. Uh, another question that I wanted to get into. So with Pts being conflicts, brief of the stigma is should we talk about it? Right? I know that. You know the motto. Our mantra, I guess. In the military, uh, is around, you know, if you go to ST Call, you're weak, right? But, I mean, if you hurt, you hurt. You gotta go. So the question that I have is do you think it's OK to talk about your PTSD or you agree for the talk about your issues? Or do you think you know, ripping the band aid off causes you no more more pain, right? Oh,
Tiffany Moore: 11:11
you know, if you don't, how are you ever gonna keep talk about your issues? in your problems. We tend to bottle of all our pain in our pain earns The anger are pain and anger turns into depression are pain, anger and depression turns into a mental insufficiency deficiency mental deficiency in your brain and your So if you do not talk about your issues your PTSD, your grief How are you going to How are you going to hell first you have to a polish it There is a problem. Um, for me, I deployed when my son was six months old. When I returned, he was a year and 1/2. That was PTSD and grief within itself. Because my child did not know me. He ran for me for six years. We had a brother sister relationship as opposed to a mom, son, because he did not know who I was. And he did not want to be around me. Even though I called him off in here in my voice, all that pictures were sent. It doesn't give me okay. And so when you're a new mom in your separated from your child for deployment, you already gonna have that. That's, um What is it? The baby baby blues or postpartum depression. So you talking that on them with being in the Middle East, serving and protecting your country in dealing with the issues out there? Um, as when I was that air junk await, women were not around not allowed to go to the restrooms on the trains at night by themselves because there was a bounty on our heads. So you're taking all of these things that are happening in your personal life. And now you're a military life and you're trying. Your brain is trying to fit in process everything that's going on so you could be safe first off and get back home and make sure your soldiers air safe in your your teammates, your comrades. And so it's just like life in military boom him. You all it once and then you have this injury and they tell you there's nothing wrong. They tell you that you're weak if you gotta stick calling. You're scared to go to sit call because you don't want to look weak, especially as a woman in a mostly male dominated field. Ammunition. So it was hail. It was hail. I remember. I did Army one source. I don't know if they still do. Army. One source offers six or 12 rounds of, Ah, mental health therapy of your choosing, So I don't know if Army wants services around. I've been out since 2012 so I don't know. But I know I utilize them for myself to get treatment. And I don't even realize until maybe like two months ago, that the doctor, the therapist I went to go see she was military herself because she's in this women's Georgia veterans or so That was amazing to see that, and I hadn't seen her since, like 2000 and eight. So there are options out there for your mental health. We talk about it. I I say repeatedly that time is like sand in the hourglass, and you know how the sand gets stuck in an hourglass that's your life gets stuck and stagnant endure. In that time, it's for you to seek help. Talk to someone professionally, communicate with whoever you need to start the healing of your minds, because if you get stuck in stagnant is going to prevent you from your purpose in life is going to prevent you from from doing what you want to dio. Happiness is always around the corner. But if you stay stuck and stagnant and you don't communicate, you're complex grief issues your PTSD, e PTSD issues, your mental health issues. You're not gonna progress in your world is going to get dark and no one wants a dark. I even lost my brother from sickle cell. So all of this and my medical issues are just tackling on one after each other and got really dark. Yeah. And I had to pull myself out of it if I wanted to fulfill my purpose in this world and be happy
Greg Washington: 15:30
mending. And so that is that is enough for one person to go three Teoh lose a brother too. The deployed when you have, you know Ah, brand new big has come into this world. Them to get hurt. Uh, so you said you went to count Swing right? Which, you know, I knew. We both agree that, you know, life Coach, our counselor is a good thing. Toe have right? There's nothing wrong with going out there and seeking help or anything like that. With guards down and iron shoppers on project that I'm doing of one of the things that I want to push is culturally sensitive Bayer Beam, right? And so you brought up a very great point with your therapist that you held. So Coach was into the therapy. Is your clinician or your therapist? If they look like you or if they've been through some of the things you've been through, they can relate with you on a much deeper level. And the treatment will be more effective. Uh, and the dropout rate, of course. You know well, with decrease And you know the time in which you know the effectiveness of the treatment will also, you know, increases. Well, So, um, I want you to speak on the different the air piss and how they were well received. So, like, for, you know, the purpose that you spoke on, Um, when you knew that she, you know, been through some of the things you've been through. Um how did that make you feel that did that? Was the treatment more effective? Versus you know, anything goes
Tiffany Moore: 17:16
well. I didn't know she was in the military until that was last month. I did not know. I saw her in some 1008. So anything happened after my brother passed on around that time. Like I have totally blackout. Like, I don't remember much of anything. Um, I did take a grief counseling and PTSD class while I was at Fort Board. It was every Wednesday. The counselors. We had, two of them. Melody. They were not related to the military in the mail. Counselor was more compassionate about the people in the group in there in our issues. But the female was it, Um, I remember we had a session and, um, she straight up eggs me. She said, Why are you still grieving? And I looked around. I said, I know you're not talking to me and she said, Yes, I'm talking to you Sergeant Moore said, What do you mean? Why am I still grieving? She said, Your brother is dead. He's gone. Why are you still grieving? I said he's only gone six months. How dare you eggs me? That and I was like and I looked at the mail counts, I said, Who certified her being this glass? She was just rude and embrace it to each and every one of us, and she had no place and no business being in that position. Um, so, yeah, I think is very important for the counselors and the therapist that you seek to be able to relate to what you have going on because or how are they ever gonna be able to be empathetic towards you?
Greg Washington: 19:00
Well, im sorry you had to go through that with the counselor. I know that there is a need for more training. Someone agree, sir? Set. I done has shown that there is an increase in, uh, therapists that are coming into the workforce on that the age of the therapists are getting younger. So for them to be able to affectively treat veterans on experience better that that is definitely a talent. So there there is some, uh, something that, you know people have to learn to be sensitive to when given therapy or, you know, providing care. Um, can you speak a little more on your transition out the military, right? When dealing with this and maybe share some tips, tools that, you know, that could help someone else? That is, you know, possibly transitioning out.
Tiffany Moore: 20:03
Document. Make sure you have all of your documents in order before you leave the military. Make sure you're going to the doctor getting copy us up your mouth. Words like if you're reservists and National Guardsmen keeping copies of all your orders, all of that. You need all of that to help you transition out the military. Because our stuff you want to make sure you have all your orders. So when it comes time, if you're getting a medically retirement, which I suggest everyone try to do as opposed to a severance pay, um, they'll take on all that time and add it to your retirement pay as far as active duty orders, that was the first thing. Because, of course, you know, the longer you're in the military, the more money get more money you get, the more benefits you get when it's time for your medical retired faras your pay goes so that's of utmost important. Um, get you copies of your medical record. What if you come 10 years down the line and their son I'm with you. Um, and you have no proof you're gonna need that to prove to the V A. That Hey, this is I saw this issue back then. They things happened. They may not always keep your medical records, so it's always good to have a copy of your own. When I was on the way out and I was the medical hold over and my job was to basically go to Doctor's appointments every 30 days, I went and got a copy of my medical records and I would comb through them but a fine tooth comb to see what the doctors there say about my medical issues so I can have a better understanding off who I'm speaking to or who speaking to me when I go see them. Um, what else? I think that's about it. Yeah, Dr. Inclusion Medical, the girl room. And don't. If you have the biggest seven, take the severest thing. But if you take a separate, you know that you have to pay all that money back before the V. A. Will issue your first check. That's what they don't tell
Greg Washington: 22:05
Tiffany Moore: 22:08
you have to do your own research, huh?
Greg Washington: 22:13
Well, we have probably about five more minutes or less in, you know, this session, um, with everything that we said with guards, down with PTSD and complex grief. Oh, what does it take away that you want to give You know, someone on the way out
Tiffany Moore: 22:35
words of life or it's our life Once they leave your mouth, you're speaking that into prude. So be careful what you said in what you think I know. It can be tough. I know it can be hard, but you have to beat the battle in your mind. Grief happens to all of us. Life happens to all of us. And we all have some type of PTSD. Everyone's reality is not this. So have a little bit compassion in a little bit of empathy towards the next person. And life can be a whole lot better if you let it. If you want it
Greg Washington: 23:13
in the well, Thank you, Tiffany, for coming onto the podcast and sharing with us your story. And you know some of your tools and take away, um, with this for all your guards down listeners out there, I hope you enjoy. You know, our first show and I hope you come back and listen to us. Listen, two more. This has been an amazing So I appreciate you divide the whole energy, but this I love it. So thank you for for Shannon. and I really appreciate you, um, being in the military, you made you meet some very incredible people, and we call them battle buddies. And you just don't know that those battle buddies turn into, like, long lasting friendships. And and I mean, it is just amazing. So, checking about a buddy whenever you can, um, it's okay to go out there and talk about, um, your grease in your pain and it's OK, the sea kelp. Um, and that's the biggest thing that, you know, I want this move or awareness to be about. So keep your heads up, stay focused and stay engaged out there. Thank you, guys.