My mental health issues started in 1989 after a server injury that led me to have a major abdominal operation which left me with massive negative emotions. I spent time in Woolwich hospital mental health ward. I was told by my Medical Officer to pull myself together or I would be discharged from service. This forced me to hide my mental health issues and keep the pain and suffering within.

To overcome the feelings of failure and negative emotions I trained physically to near exhaustion daily. I was on and off anti depressants from the date given above. I decided to push myself towards Military Intelligence career and went on a tri-service Special Forces course to occupy my mind. I withdrew myself after 7 weeks of the 9 week course as I found the trade training was making me very ill, I started to reverse the skills taught on myself for the rest of my military career and 3 years as a civilian. Total (13 years) ..

I am not permitted to go into detail about the trade training as I am bound under the official secrets act (OSA). Due to the OSA I was unable to discuss my thoughts or condition with anyone including Medical Officers / Psychiatrist or my chain of command, so I gave false reasons for my mental health issues. When I became a civilian and close to completely loosing the plot I was invited to Combat Stress. It was whilst I was there I decided to purge myself of all I had gone through on the Military Intelligence course. Dr Busuttil’s assessment indicated a diagnosis of emerging enduring personality change following exposure to catastrophe (ICD Code F62.0) and linked directly to my exposure / experience to military service. Though PTSD was not diagnosed per se at this time he did recognise that there were elements thereof and that treatment would follow the same lines as PTSD.

I left Combat Stress after my 5 day assessment feeling suicidal and my wife was so concerned she got me to contact Combat Stress to ask if I could get back in as soon as possible to address all these raw memories. I was told this was a normal reaction and it was due to having my memories probed in detail on the 5 day assessment. I was also told that due to space and appointment turn around I wouldn’t be able to return before a 6 months minimum. My GP put me on a higher dose of anti depressants and I got refereed for CBT at the local mental health hospital. After 20 plus sessions my condition became slightly reduced although I still had suicidal thoughts.

I went on a Talking2minds course in Wales and felt completely at peace by the end of the second day. I made a judgement call to continue to take my medication at this stage. However, I went on a further Talking2minds Programme in Cornwall 5 months later and whilst on that course I decided to come of my medication, I continue to be clean of all medication and feel myself getting stronger daily. I am happy to say I am now in complete control of my own life for the first time in over 21 years.