In 2019 I was in a deep depression, suffering severely with paranoia, anxiety and other symptoms associated with PTSD. I tried to fight the feelings for a long time but, the more I fought, the worse it became. It seemed as if soldiers and veterans were killing themselves on a weekly basis. An old friend I had served with hung himself, followed shortly by another friend and serving soldier who hung himself right outside my room door. At the time, I was in the worse place I have ever been mentally. Things were not looking bright. But with a lot of hard work, digging deep and soul-searching both by myself and with some amazing individuals in the military, I am now in a place where life has light, promise and prosperity.
I have served for nearly 18 years in the British Army, completing several frontline tours in Afghanistan and Iraq. I have been blown up by RPGs (Rocket-Propelled Grenades) and with an IED (Improvised Explosive Device), experiencing hundreds of firefights and seeing my comrades, my friends, blown up on numerous occasions.
I have always been acutely aware that this is the life and sacrifice that us military personnel sign up for – to serve and protect. However, no matter how hard I tried – and I did try for years – I could not control my emotions when in a military environment.
The date for my formal medical discharge is 27th November 2020, and it scares me!
On the following day, the first of my adult life as a civilian, I will take my first steps of a run that will circumnavigate the entire UK and Northern Ireland with the help of the military family across the country.