I got no help from the army. So I turned to heroin.

My problems first started whilst on a tour of Afghan I was shot in the head in a huge battle to take back a besieged town in the deep south of Helmand Province. Unaware at the time that this was the point that was to spiral my mind into deep PTSD bandit country.

On my return home from a 14 month stint of war with no decompression training, I was in great spirits as you can imagine, especially after surviving close shave after close shave I knew I had done my job well and I was happy about it. I had earned myself an extended period of leave as I had completed an unusually long tour, I had plenty of cash in the bank, some good friends to share it with a great girl friend to boot, on top of this I had just been informed that I had been recommended for national recognition due to my good solid soldiering whilst away, I had been accepted back into special forces after spending a year or so away for discipline issues and I had basically earned myself a £6000 pay rise over night I should have been on top of the world. But for some reason I wasn’t.

April 2009 was when my issues first started, at first I found myself unable to switch of which was stopping me from sleeping, I would find myself awake for 4 days straight then sleeping for 2 then awake again, after this started to come the nightmares and flash back from all the combat I had endured over the years whilst on leave from April 2009 to my first day back at work in August I endured the most horrible side effects of war you could possibly imagine I had PTSD i just didn’t realise it at the time.

My first day back where I belong back with the best of the best again I should have been so happy but instead I was still continuously haunted by what the night especially or any time of the day could trigger instantly in my mind it was so horrible and I couldn’t see any light. I put on a brave face but come September that year it had got so bad that I had to seek help. I went to the med centre explained my symptoms and was told I had a post traumatic stress reaction which was explained to be a small part of PTSD oh and I had a touch of swine flu so I was sent home for a week to recuperate. From that moment things got progressively worse for me and the help the military were being seen to provide for was minimal top say the least, Christmas that year I started to take drugs to allow me to sleep peacefully at night but the problem was it wasn’t just any drug, it was the worst of them all Heroine and come January the following year I was hooked.

Still receiving no real help from the military I now had severe PTSD and drug addiction to boot, lets face it I was screwed my fitness appearance that i had always prided myself on rapidly deteriorated I was still trying to seek help but seemed to be blocked at every turn until eventually I was caught on a drugs test positive for heroine. I t was all over at last I might actually get some help.

I then spent a gruelling six months being mistreated time after time until finally a doctor stepped up to the plate and prescribed me with PTSD. At that point I was discharged from the Army sent back to the home town which I first became involved in drugs in the first place, where it was more than obvious that I would spiral out of control and so I did tenfold.

My PTSD was now worse than ever and so was my drug habit. I was on the road to death and I couldn’t see any way out I was totally lost, that was until someone told me about talking to minds.

After 2 months of deliberating with myself I finally made the call, I was instantly met with the most friendly voice I had heard in years. They understood everything in fact my whole journey didn’t even phase them as it had so many doctors before. That was it i was on a four day change course. After day 2 I was actually asleep it was strange i had no nightmares  no sign of the PTSD had it finally been cured, it can’t have done this is too good to be true day 4 the course had finished and still no flashbacks, I didn’t dare to believe it was the light finally here.

Well I am pleased to tell you that that was the last time I suffered PTSD it has been over since the second day of the change course and has never come back. I have now managed to quite the drugs and fully intend on guided others through what I had to endure for no reason. Still to this day I am miffed as to why the army didn’t just send me on a four day course and I would still be on there from line now. Talking 2 Minds saved my life they did more for me in four days than the Army did in 2 years, I can never thank them enough thank god they were there when no one else was.

News of the World report

DEEP in drug-ravaged Andy Wilson’s haunted, sunken eyes lies a devastating war story of horror, tragedy… and betrayal. It is hard to believe that this gaunt wreck of a man sat before me was once a proud SAS hero. One of the finest. A warrior who took a bullet to the head and carried on fighting in one of the bloodiest battles of the Afghanistan conflict. A valiant soldier commended after uncovering a Taliban ambush tactic that could have killed countless comrades. But in the end Cpl Wilson – a Kosovo and Iraq veteran – was abandoned by the Army who should have protected him as he lost a battle that destroys so many of our front line boys. The one inside his head.

Plagued by Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and flashbacks to a gruesome atrocity and the heartrending sight of seven dead close friends, Andy pleaded for help from army doctors time and time again. He saw six psychiatrists who ALL failed to diagnose his condition and summarily sent him away. By the time a seventh DID get it right Andy was almost beyond help – deep in a dependency on heroin to escape his demons. Gaunt… Andy has been ravaged by drugs “I have gone from the elite to the scum of the earth,” says 6ft 2in tall Andy, 33, now a painfully thin 12 stone. “It was the greatest honour to serve with the SAS. And then there I was, hooked on heroin.

 

“The Army should have recognised I was suffering from PTSD and had me treated and diagnosed from the outset. If they had, I would still be serving in Afghanistan. Instead, they tried to prove I didn’t have PTSD. I feel they betrayed me by failing to give me the best possible care.” Only now, six months after leaving the Army, is Andy getting the help he so desperately needs – from a charity that cares for psychologically wounded soldiers also cast aside by the MoD. Only now can he talk about the nightmares. Andy had completed five tours of Iraq and was already a seasoned member of 264 SAS Signals Squadron in 2008 when he took a bullet to the head in Helmand, Afghanistan. His brush with death took place during a mission to relieve the besieged town of Nad-e Ali where British servicemen were surrounded by thousands of Taliban.

Andy was part of a hand-picked small SAS team in a force of 200 soldiers sent to the rescue. Courage… the medals Andy was awarded for heroism “We had a nickname for it – Operation Certain Death – as we were vastly outnumbered,” says Andy at his flat in Swindon, Wilts. “During the fighting I was lying on a roof shooting at insurgents. The bullets were coming in at us thick and fast. Suddenly there was a massive bang on the side of my head. I was blown sideways and I realised I’d been hit. Blood was streaking down my face. I put my hand to my head, felt it was still intact and carried on firing like crazy.” It was only afterwards he realised he’d had a miraculous escape. Taking off his helmet, he found a huge sniper’s bullet lodged in the side. It had hit the screw which fixes the chinstrap to the helmet,” says Andy. “I was the luckiest man in the world.”

He rode that luck to save the lives of comrades in another chilling confrontation with the Taliban. During a firefight by a maize field he suddenly spotted a Taliban fighter just feet away in the crop aiming his AK47 at him. “I managed to shoot him before he shot me. It was close,” says Andy. “Then I searched him.” His dead foe was dressed as an Afghan policeman – but Andy noticed he had a piece of cloth attached to his gun. It dawned on him that this was a secret signal to show comrades he was really Taliban. And after he reported his discovery it emerged thousands of insurgents were doing the same.

The revelation saved countless soldiers from death at the hands of imposters. And Andy was given a certificate of commendation for distinguished service. But the horrors he witnessed were already beginning to prey on his mind. Like the day his unit, including Afghan soldiers, came across four Taliban lying in wait for them. “We took out two of them, but the others escaped,” says Andy. “Two of the Afghan soldiers picked up one of the Taliban by each leg and dragged him back so we could search him. “His mouth was wide open and so were his eyes. But he was breathing. “I tried to give him first aid. But before I could do anything, three Afghan soldiers just pounded his head into a pulp with their rifle butts before my eyes. I was struck dumb.” But the most chilling sights of all were those of his dead comrades. In all he lost seven friends in battle. “I saw them laid out in their coffins ready for repatriation,” he says. For most of 2009, tormented Andy was back in the UK. “I kept having flashbacks. The bullet hitting my head. The Afghan getting his skull smashed in.

My friends dying. I couldn’t sleep at night,” he says. “I tried speaking to the army doctors, but even though they knew what I’d been through, they wouldn’t diagnose PTSD.” He first complained about his condition in September 2009 – but didn’t see his first psychiatrist until February 2010, by which time he was firmly hooked on drugs. “I’d started to self-medicate in the worst possible way. I began taking heroin and crack cocaine in December 2009 after being offered it at a friend’s house. “It was an easy option. In a second, I was calm and could deal with the flashbacks. I could cope. But using the drugs made me feel worthless.” Hell… Andy was driven to heroin after Army abandoned him In March 2010 his drug problem was picked up in an Army test. “They were suspicious of my appearance, I had lost weight and had black circles under my eyes,” says Andy. “I argued the drugs were a result of them failing to help me through the PTSD. They just sent me home on leave. So things just got worse.”

Last autumn he was given an administrative discharge and a paltry £9,800 compensation for his condition after the seventh psychiatrist he saw diagnosed PTSD. “If they’d given me a medical discharge, I’d have got my pension – but they just let me hang in the wind,” says Andy. “Now I’ll have to wait until I’m 60.” Help for his problem finally came from charity Talking2minds, which specialises in treating soldiers with PTSD. Since going into therapy with them, he has been off hard drugs for four months and his PTSD is slowly being fixed. He now wants to work for them.

Charity founder Rob Paxman, himself a former SAS veteran, said: “Since forming three years ago we have treated more than 300 soldiers. Andy is a credit to the army and to his country. And we are giving him all the help he needs.” An MoD Spokesman told us: “The mental health of our Armed Forces and veterans is a top priority and we are constantly looking to improve the care they receive.” But Andy adds: “I received more beneficial help from Talking2minds in four days than I did in an entire year from the Army.” Elite… Andy was commended for his service