“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 developed 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 point turned into 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, I got a phone call from the RAF medical team. It wasn’t an order as I wasn’t in the military anymore, but 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 a veteran’s charity, so I spent some time with them. 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, you have 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 with an incredible therapist who specialises in eye movement desensitisation 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 much easier.
“I can honestly say the treatment that I should have got years ago, is working. I don’t know how, but it is.”
My advice to my past self
I know you’re… struggling, but you will get through it.
Focus on… yourself instead of your other worries, like money – it’s just a tool, it’s not something that should control your life.
It’s okay to… cry.
Contacting the MCF is… easy!
The support received will… be nothing but positive.
You will feel… like a completely different person.
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