“Policing in the RAF was pretty much exactly the same as any other police force. I would do foot patrols and community policing; road traffic and crossing control for primary school children on the base; I was investigating crimes and arresting people – everything!
“When I was in the Middle East, there was an incident involving an aircraft which I had to investigate, and it was from this that I would develop Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). The effects of trauma don’t always show straight away – sometimes it takes a while for something to be the straw that breaks the camel’s back, which is what happened to me a few months later. That breaking turned hospital visits, sedation, lots of time off work and the RAF mental health team intervening. I carried on for another three years until my health, both physically and mentally, got to a point where I was medically discharged.
“The day after I was discharged, there was the phone call from the RAF medical team. Whilst it wasn’t an order as I wasn’t in the military anymore, it was a “go to the doctor, now” conversation – so that’s what I did. I went to my GP but the support I needed wasn’t available on the NHS. My GP suggested the a veteran’s charity, so I spent some time with them, but once again I didn’t fit into their treatment programme because of the complex trauma, so they also discharged me.
“My family was struggling financially, I wasn’t attending lodge meetings, and I was ignoring phone calls and emails. I don’t think anybody really likes to go cap-in-hand asking for anything, but when you get as low as I did, I had to do something. I reached out to my almoner and he put me in touch with the MCF.
“Thanks to the MCF, I’ve now been having the treatment I need every week for over a year, with an incredible therapist who specialises in eye movement desensiitisation and reprocessing therapy (EMDR). The EMDR is helping with the traumatic images; it’s not a quick process as there are so many, but I really do feel now that we are starting to make progress and i’m finding daily life easier. I can honestly say that treatment that I should have got years ago, is working. I don’t know how, but it is working.”