In September 2006 I deployed to Helmand province Afghanistan serving as a Captain with 45 Commando Royal Marines. ‘During my operational tour I served amongst some very courageous and highly professional individuals who were committed to their roles in that country. ‘For me it was an honour and a privilege to be working alongside these men in very stressful and humbling environments.

Unfortunately my tour of duty had some dark moments where I had an experience of identifying a marines body that had been killed in action. ‘This incident alone gave me some immense emotional trauma to deal with as well as psychological issues of seeing the face of the dead marine in other people which was very upsetting. ‘I had friends and colleagues who were blown up in convoys and we helped them on there return to Camp Bastion to clean the blood of the vehicles and equipment. ‘During various points during my tour I visited injured colleagues within Camp Bastion hospital and was haunted by the wounds I had seen on them as well as local civilian children who had limbs missing as a result of the destructive effects of munitions.

On my return to the UK after I had finished my operational tour I found it immensely difficult to adjust back to normality. ‘I found I was very emotional and wanted to cry when people asked me about Afghanistan. ‘So I just didnt talk about it and bottled everything up, I had the mentality that I am a Royal Marines Officer and I should be able to cope and not show any emotion as that would make me less of a man. ‘During a Christmas leave period I went skiing with some Royal Marine colleagues in Austria and it was very much a boozy ski holiday drinking to excess most nights. ‘One of the nights after drinking too much I became very angry towards a local and wanted to launch into him and inflict some damage, luckily my friends held me back and later on that night I broke down in front of them crying after talking to them about some of my experiences in Afghanistan.

I was drafted to the Commando Training Centre Lympstone in April of 2007 where I was to instruct and train recruits. ‘Unfortunately while I was there I had a breakdown and couldnt cope with the job. ‘I went AWOL after not getting any help from the medical department and eventually I had to get the support of my family GP. ‘The medical department of the military eventually started to give me some assistance in the form of a military psychiatrist. ‘After 6 months I was medically discharged with Post Traumatic Stress and Adjustment Disorder from the Royal Marines.

Following my discharge I worked with World Challenge briefly as an expedition leader in July 2008. ‘During a trip overseas I had flashbacks to Afghanistan and I was unable to continue my role as an expedition leader and was hospitalized and medicated. ‘The medication made my condition worse and I essentially felt like a caged animal and very degraded.

Since then I have had other jobs where I have struggled with severe depression and mood swings as well as sleep disorders and anxiety. ‘Luckily for me I came across Talking2Minds in May 2009 and I was asked if I would like to attend a healing retreat in the French Pyrenees. The week I spent in the Pyrenees was an amazing transformation for me. I felt as though I had truly come home and I really connected with the coaches and the other guests on the retreat. I had fundamental healings take place within me that had not been achieved by psychiatrists or medication. ‘For me the treatment I received in the Pyrenees through Talking2Minds was life changing. ‘The Talking2Minds Synergy Programme and Reiki were an amazing combination that helped me highlight and heal my wounds at root cause.

Since coming back from the retreat people who I have worked with have noted the positive changes within me, and I am aware of the transformation that has taken place within me and that it is on going. ‘I am eternally grateful to all the coaches on the retreat who were working with Talking2Minds and to Bob who came up and saw me back in May, it was like I was floating around on a raft in the middle of the ocean at the mercy of my own emotional and psychological traumas and Bob handed me a MK1 RIB with a self guiding GPS back to shore for some much needed RnR and healing.