Living with Trauma.

by Veteran Knowsley

Living with Trauma

I am a veteran and suffer from PTSD. I will not to dwell long on the events that lead to my PTSD.

It was 38 years this month that I start my 18 month tour of N Ireland. My family came with me to Omagh for the tour.

Like many I lost friends in those 18 months. In the back of my mind during that tour was would today be my last.  When going out on patrol I would face the door after I had closed it and said a good bye just in case I did not come back.

It was on the 9th May 1974 my world turn upside down. A car bomb exploded outside the ACIO on the Derry Rd in Omagh. It was approx about 80 meters from my married qtr.  The night mares from that night still live with me.  Other events later added to problem. The Hyde Park Bombing of 1982 was to be another time I lost friends.

My married life was slow falling apart. I would walk away when problems rose to the surface.  My get-out card was you don't understand.

Those Nightmares were locked up inside. Then in 2003 I thought I was having a midlife crisis. I was getting bad temper for no reason. I started to with draw into myself. A friend told me that it looks like I had PTSD. I attend a C.B.T sessions at my local NHS. It did help me for a while. Then I started down the road of falling deeper into the darkness. My drinking increased.

The MOD told me I did not have PTSD. They kindly inform me that I had bipolar unspecified and nightmare disorder.  This was only after one meeting of less than one hour. A tentative diagnosis the Doctor had informed the MOD The Secretary of State stated in his reason Yes I was in N Ireland at the time of the bombing. A reasonable doubt has been raised under the circumstances described. I disagreed with the answer.  I fill in more forms. They return with the same answer. This year I placed another claim in for PTSD with the support of Combat Stress and my local C M H T and help from the Veterans Agency. I wait the return bout.

A wall was slowly building between my wife and me. I went for a second session of CBT. It was like a Chinese meal.  It was ok but was given no follow up or support. After awhile I slipped back into my locked world. This world was soon to be shaken in Feb 2009 my wife could not take any more and left me. Then I did not understand why. I felt hurt alone and confused

My Family had suffered due to my withdrawing I would not go with the wife on visits to see the grandchildren I would not go out. I had becoming a hermit

I worked even longer hours. I could not see any point going home. I started to stop going out all together. It was work and sleep. I could see no point in having a social life.

It was during this time I tried to take my life.  One night I walked around the dock looking for something heavy. I wanted to end it. I was cool calm and collected.  I was just as cool calm and collect when I could not find anything. I got back into the car and drove away.

By November2009 I felt so bad that I knew I had only two roads to face. I took the road to the A&E at my local Hospital.  I ask to see the duty Psychiatrist.

I was given help I had taken the 1st step. That was not the only thing going on. A friend had contacted Combat stress.  To be told you have PTSD was like a weight taken off my back. It was not to be plain sailing. I still had Xmas to face that was to be a dark time.

Again that dark shadow came over me at Christmas 2009. I try to close it out. I did not open Xmas cards I turn the TV off played D.V.D’s. I was walking back from the village. I stop by the railway bridge. I look at not as a train spotter but could I find a place to kill myself. I weighed up the pros and cons. The thought of someone finding me and them ending up just like me made me rethink and I walked away.

I was still having bad days more than good ones. I turn off the phone. Stay in bed eating very little.                                                                                                                                                

2010 was going to be a year that small changes were to take place that would help me. I meet the Consultant at C M H T he was the second person to tell me I had PTSD. I meet my Welfare visitor. My C P N I had meet just before Christmas. I also was told on my First visit to Combat Stress that I had PTSD. I return again in the September of 2010. I also attend my local Hospital to look at my problems this help.

I was now getting  the support.  I could see a way out of the darkness. I knew I had a long way to go. Then I had a panic attack at work and a flash back. I was put on the sick. I am now thinking do I want to return to full time working?

I changed my medication. This helped, I felt better, not 100% but one day at a time.  I went to a relaxation class for 4 weeks this has helped. I was also attending a drop in centre once a week. I have started to enjoy meeting people again.

Xmas I asked for no cards. I went to my sons on Boxing Day for a few hours. I still felt down. On New Year’s Eve I stopped drinking at first I noted no change but bad days became less.

I look how I could find something to take my mind off the darkness. I looked at a few ideas. The one I thought would help me would to form a local veterans group. I have met a number of people to lay the building blocks. I am getting involved with my NHS Trust. I am trying balance my life a little bit better

I said I did not understand why my wife left me. It has taken me 2 years to understand. The hell she had to put up, with. The times when I came in from work eat my dinner and go to bed. The home had become an ice box for her.

When you’re in the darkness you don’t see the problem. I am looking outwards. Only other people can see my mistakes as I’m back in some other time.

Your love ones think you don’t care about them anymore. You become a wall so you can keep the pain away. The only things you keep away are your love ones.

I felt like being in the sea surround by sharks you’re not sure if you will come out of it alive.

How do I see in the next few years as I said I am taking things day by day? Good days enjoy if have a bad one will don’t dwell on it. That for me is the hardest part. When things get bad I think of my eight grandchildren I am their only granddad.

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Comments

Go to www.ptsdresolution.org they helped me out of 14 years hell, and quick

I am getting help from my local Community Mental Health Team and Combat Stress.
Thank you for reading my Blog but most of all thank you for caring.
I know when back in 2003 I didn't have a clue so I was walking down many wrong roads. I was even told by a psychiatrist that I had Bipolar unspecific and sleeping disorder. So for many years I go to the Doctor asking for help and getting treated for something I did not have.
The psychiatrist spent less than one hour with me. It was for a claim for PTSD . Your right tick list I was plus one on how many PTSD case the Army is allow per year.
I am now re-fighting not a lone but with the help from My CMHT , Combat Stress and the Veterans Agency . I might have lost a battle but this time I going with a back team lets get ready to RUMBL.......E.

thank-you for your honesty and bravery it has inspired me to be more open with my family about things I'm feeling rather than kepping them in the dark

Well done take a pat on the back. You have taken a large step.

If you want to talk my email address is  knowsleyveterans@gmail.com.

It has taken me a long time to face my devils they still bite back .

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Thank you so much for sharing this, your bravery will help so many, I can tell you from our stats this page gets hit on very often, just proof of how you are speaking for so many who are voiceless.
Charlotte

I am just a former soldier who did his duty nothing more nothing less. I am like many of my age did a Tour of N Ireland and still walk the lanes and byways in my dreams.

I am a soldier stationed in Fort Bliss, Texas. Currently dealing with PTSD and have been writing about it as a way to deal with my issues and maybe help others that are going through the same. It would be a great priviledge and I was considering if I can use this post of your experience as part of my writing? you can contact me at ibelikeso@hotmail.com I would greatly appreciate your help.
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