I served for 17yrs in the British Army and spent almost 5yrs in Iraq working Private Security contracts. ‘I had noted small changes in myself for about 10yrs or so but always blocked them out, suppressed them. Then about 18 months ago things really started to spiral out of control, I was heading for rock bottom and my wife was urging me to get help.

I resisted her too, I could think of nothing worse than sitting in front of someone I didn’t know, didn’t trust and most likely had never been to where I had been and therefore could not understand. The thought of reliving all of my past in this way filled me with horror.

My days now seemed destined to be filled with sleeplessness, anger, guilt, paranoia and nightmares. I was trapped in a world of negativity, mental lethargy and had no vision for the future. My drinking was increasing at an alarming rate, usually just to get a few hours sleep. I was destroying my life and the lives of those around me. I was watching my marriage crumble around me and didn’t seem able to lift a finger to stop it. I was in a dark place and the only light came from what felt like a self destruct button in front of my face. I was nearing rock bottom.

A chance meeting with Bob Paxman from Talkin2Minds changed all of that. ‘While chatting with Bob he explained that Talking2Minds was set up and run by Veterans for Veterans and that it was content clean, meaning I didn’t have to relive those incidents all over again.

I attended the Talking2Minds event in Nov 09 and as I started day 1, still nervous, I got the feeling that I had made a right decision. ‘Veterans helping Veterans, such a simple concept but it helped build something big and powerful, Trust. Without this trust I could not have moved forward. Feeling more confident and in a safe environment and with an open mind I started the process with a Talkin2Minds practitioner. At the end of day 1 I looked around the room and people were smiling, laughing, walking with heads up, what a transformation from this was from 9am. I felt good inside, calm and relaxed. I had my first full night’s sleep in a long time.

The remaining 3 days carried on much like this. It wasn’t always easy, there were still times when I wanted to run, times when I would sit in a corner cry but there was always someone from Talking2Minds there, watching, helping me at my pace. Trust and safety. ‘At the end of each day I was noticing changes. By the end of the 4 days I had a feeling of calmness, clarity and positivity. I had not felt this way in 10 yrs. I left the change programme with this feeling and it has not diminished. I also have a new network of friends that I know I can call on in any time of difficulty.

My family have seen a change in my behaviour and attitude. ‘My wife has said I seem calmer, nicer and more positive. She said that in the past she always loved me but didn’t always like me, that has all changed! My 11 yr old daughter has noticed too, she says “Dad you’ve changed since you went to that old man’s home”……..I had to laugh, Veterans I told her, but, what the hell, she can call it what she likes, all she knows is that life is better.

Life is better. I now look forward to the future in a way I did not think I could. Talking2Minds has helped me get my life back in order and on track. Not just for me but also for my family. ‘I feel that positive about Talking2Minds and their change programme that if there is anything I can do, however small, to help a Veteran achieve the peace of mind that I have through the programme I will gladly help.