We have been married over 27yrs now, and this is my true story.

I shall begin at the start. ‘I met Danny many years ago; he was newly out of the Army, but only by a few months.

We started courting and all was running smoothly, nothing wrong with the relationship in any way or form. We married and were blessed with 3 sons.
But during this time, I had noticed that Danny had twitching legs and jerking hands, whilst he was asleep, I just thought this was just him having dreams about being back in the Army and he was marching away with the lads. As he had considered going back into the Army, but by this time the re-joining age was at a higher level, and he was unable to go back in.

Then the flaying of his arms and legs would lash out in the night, sometimes, catching me a right good one, where I would end up with the odd black eye, sometimes small ones, one or two real shiner, and his legs were giving me good bruises, Danny would wake up then. He was very apologetic, and sorry to the point of being and feeling guilty. And I knew in my heart that Danny did not really mean for this to happen. ‘But the nightime nightmares continued for him and for me.

Danny like some men, had always liked a drink of beer, usually on a Friday after work with the lads in town and out together on a Saturday night, also his usual Sunday lunch drink at the local with his mates. But I had noticed that instead of having his usual pints, he seemed to be increasing the amount of pints, he was drinking, but I was not worried at this, just thought because he going out with the lads he was used to drinking a bit more.

The boys and I knew he was not the same, but at the same time unable to place a finger on what was wrong during the daytime.

Then one night, I awoke with such a start, Danny was actually trying to strangle me, he was shouting incoherently, and I was lucky enough to be able to knee him where it hurt him most, he jumped off the bed, not knowing what was happening, when I told him, he was trying to strangle me, he thought I was pulling his leg, until he saw the red marks and bruising around my neck. Then it really hit him. The boys and I knew he was not the same, but at the same time unable to place a finger on what was wrong during the daytime.

We talked and I tried to get him to go and see a Dr, but all he could say was, they do not know what it is, and nothing can be done, and anyway I do not want to be labelled a psycho, and most of all, what happens in the Army stays in the Army. So we continued, living the life in the daytime, but dreading the night time sleep Then suddenly all the flaying of arms and legs began to get less, never stopping, but not being bad at all.

But what I did not know, was that Danny was secretly drinking, more and more and more, never drinking or drunk whilst at work, but then as soon as he at home or the weekends, he would have a couple of cans of beer, nothing wrong in that I hear you say, but that was just to mask the smell of beer, that he would have whilst taking the dog on a good walk. I do not know at this stage as to how much he was drinking at night and at weekends, as the more they drink, they become very good at covering their tracks, as I was to find out..

As time went on, and I was helping Danny in the best way I thought, trying to be a shoulder for him to lean on and becoming the stronger one in the family, as I had to, for the sake of our son. But Danny still only letting me in to his Army life in very small segments, only the bits he wanted me to know. Some about his mates and some about his tours of Ireland, during when it was at its height. But we still did not know what, Danny had been through, and he thought his drinking was hiding all his nightime terrors, which it was not.

And through all this time Danny would never admit to how much he was drinking, and because of our love being strong, I did not want to admit as to how much he may have been drinking. I wanted to believe in what he was telling me.

But during this time, I had an accident, which left me with a walking disability, and I was trying to cope with myself and the children and Danny on top it was becoming unbearable for me. Luckily the children were all teenagers by now, but this was not the point.

This still continued for years.

Danny then started to have health problems, but always went to the Drs and hospital by himself, saying they had found something wrong with his blood, and were putting it down to him being tattooed many yrs ago and the possibility that a dirty needle had been used, ( not HIV). ‘But in reality it was his liver.

Then, suddenly, I knew in my heart, he was a alcoholic, but still could not admit to myself that he was, maybe I had got to the stage where I was giving in also on him.

Also, during the time going by, two of our three sons have joined the Army, we were so proud of all three of them.

Then one of the lads had three tours of Iraq to do, this really tipped the scales, where Danny was concerned, Beer was on the menu, but also vodka, and cider now, and he was getting worse, at times I felt as much as I loved him, I also felt ashamed of him

Then one of our sons had a second child a beautiful granddaughter, to go with our grandson, he adored her enormously to the point that if they were coming up, he would not drink until she had gone, even if we had her during the daytime, he still would not have a drink but he made up for it when they had gone.

I finally could take no more, and told Danny to either get some help, if not for my sake then for our grandchildren, or move out…

Danny went to see the GP, who referred him to a alcoholic counsellor, and his way back began. Until he was off work due to having an operation and problems at work with people he worked with.

Danny had not been off work for many yrs with any medical conditions, so, this was really hard for him to accept that he would be off for quite a time. Then he slowly crept back on the beer again, but this time with dire consequences, he was also depressed.

During this time his depression was getting worse, he was becoming lazy, could not be bothered with anything at all, and shied away from friends.

Then one morning I was watching GMTV, this must have been a sign as I do not usually watch programme. But on it was a man called Bob, who was talking about past, present and future service men and women, whom have suffered or will suffer from PTSD and how it affects not only them but their, wifes, children, girlfriends, parents, siblings within the family.

And I listened to what he had to say, they were ex service persons, whom knew where these men and women were coming from, and what they may have been trough, so I took the web address of Talking2Minds Some days later Danny had been back to the Gp, and was diagnosed on top of his medical condition with being manic depressive with suicidal tendencies, with this I could not leave him alone, just wondering what if anything he may do.

And I listened to what he had to say, they were ex service persons, whom knew where these men and women were coming from, and what they may have been trough, so I took the web address of Talking2Minds Some days later Danny had been back to the Gp, and was diagnosed on top of his medical condition with being manic depressive with suicidal tendencies, with this I could not leave him alone, just wondering what if anything he may do.

So I e-mailed to Talking2Minds, thought well it will not hurt, and Danny did not know what I was doing, and I conversed with Bob through e-mail for a few times, explaining what Danny had and was going through, then I took the courage to tell Danny what I had been doing, and explained what they were about and were ex service men and women, and would he give bob a ring on this number, and left it with him, as I could not force him to phone him. ‘Then one evening Danny just broke down crying, he finally could not cope, so there we both were, crying, but I was still unable to help him, so I asked if he would just phone to see what they had to say, said it would not hurt, and he agreed, but only if I was not there,( he did not want to appear weak, as he saw it in front of me). ‘And what was said between him and Bob stayed between him and Bob, but at the same time, he had someone whom understood where he was coming from and what he had been trough, and I was still e-mailing Bob with how I was finding Danny to be.

But during this time talking to Bob, Danny had gone back to the GP and counselling and was doing well on detoxing from the alcohol, even though it was still early days for him.

Then Bob said, they had a group going out for therapy and would Danny like to be on the list, First word from me yes, but I had to convince Danny to give it a try.

But we never told the lads, Dad was going on this course, they thought he was going away, to have a week with some old Army mates, as that the way Danny wanted it, again he did not want to appear weak in front of the family.

So Bob sent the itinerary to me, and Danny and I talked, he said yes, then came the, how do I get down there, firstly I will go by train, then that costing too much, if I go alone, maybe I will start drinking again, he said, so we travelled down in the car together, we arrived at the meeting point in the afternoon, with an overnight stay at the Inn as they were to leave at 4am the following morning, and Danny was, excited but apprehensive at the same time, the only way I could describe it was akin to sending your first child to school on its first day, he wanted to go, but didn’t also.

We did not have a clue who we were supposed to be looking for, at the Inn, so I took the chance and asked one of the women if they were with Bob’s group, and YES, ohh I was so relieved, but said Danny would not join the group, so Jackie nodded to Bob to come over, and they talked to Danny, with no pressure to join the others in the group. Then Danny and I then went to bed, with Bob and Jackie and all the others in the group saying good night. To us both I could see in Dannys face he was scared stiff, what he was letting himself in for.

Neither of us slept that night, and at about 3.30 am was down in the lobby, where there we a few of the group already, suppose they were in the same boat as Danny, not knowing what to expect from this course, but I could see Danny wanting to back away from them, sitting near them, but not close.

So the time came for them all to get there bags together ready for the mini-bus pick up, Danny decided then to do the Tom-Tom in my car, for my journey home, he knew I was not looking forward to the journey back on my own..

So I did no more, I took his bag out and made sure it got onto the mini-bus.
And Bob said to me, I promise you he will come back a new man.
Then I went to Danny told him I had put his bag on the bus, gave him a kiss and said how proud I was of him, for doing this, and got in the car. And the rest is history. Bob and all the team were true to their word and for this I will always be extremely thankful.

I do appreciate that Help for Heros is doing a brilliant job but they only deal with the physical injuries sustained, where as these two groups work with the side of the injuries that no none sees, but it does not mean it is not there, these are the forgotten injured. SO PLEASE do not forget these other two charitys that need your support especially, with the service men and women from all the conflicts of Ireland, Falklands, Iraq and Afghanistan.