Do I need help??

Discussion in 'Charities and Welfare' started by MoonDude, Dec 1, 2009.

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  1. First of all please accept my apologies if this is not the correct part of Arrse to post this

    I am a TA Soldier serving in an Infantry unit. 4 years ago I was deployed on Op Telic and spent 6 hot months in Basrah and as a Junior NCO I was a team commander in a Rifle Platoon.

    Whilst my tour was nothing extra-ordinary I was involved in several quiet dangerous situations mainly dealing with the aftermath of IED attacks and small arms attacks on coalition forces. Whilst I never fired my weapon in anger on that tour, unlike others in my platoon, I came very close several times. As a team commander as many other posters on here will no doubt know I was under constant pressure.

    When I returned I found I was more emotional than I was before I went away. Little things would set me off such as bin bags splitting and I was very tearful on occasions. I increasingly found it harder to deal with people that were close to me and as a result some 9 months after my return my long term relationship broke up leaving me as a single father with occasional contact with my daughter. Since then I have had numerous short term relationships but all of which I ended as soon as I felt that they were getting too close to me.

    However it is not until this year that I first noticed any major problems. Things that I initially wrote off such as getting tearful and emotional at certain songs, a feeling of shock and melancholy when an innocent civilian or “good guy” gets shot in films or TV programmes were starting to bug me more and more. I also noticed that I had become very socially withdrawn. Now I’m not trying to big myself up massively here but before my tour I always had a busy and active social life. But now I’m noticing that I don’t feel comfortable at all connecting with people and have turned into a real social hermit only venturing out for work, TA or to see my daughter. Nor do I socialise with people outside of work or the TA.
    But most of all certain traumatic images from my tour keep resurfacing such as the picking up of body parts after an IED strike , leading a casevac under fire, driving through an IED. They normally happen at unexpected times such as when I’m at work, driving my car, playing with my daughter or just sat at home. They don’t seem to be traditional flashbacks in that that all my senses shut down and all I can think of, see and smell is those incidents but they are certainly very vivid. I find myself remembering the smallest details of each one. All of which is strange as I’d be hard pressed to remember what I had for dinner 2 or 3 nights ago.

    Additionally my work is now starting to suffer. I work in law enforcement as an operational officer and often have to work by myself investigating offences or as part of a small team conducting operations. More and more I have noticed my patience and tolerance threshold start to drop with suspects. I find myself taking more and more physical risks and being less personally open with my colleagues.

    On the TA side of things I find myself on more and more arduous courses out of personal choice. This not out of some personal desire but to keep myself busy and to have enough of a challenge to keep my mind focused. But the best thing I find is that I am on a course with people I know I’m not really going to see again so in my eyes people are going to be less likely to try and strike up a meaningful friendship. One of my worst TA nightmares is going on exercise for a couple of days or weeks with people from my company. As being in a close environment with people I personally know very well is very uncomfortable at the moment.

    As I interact less socially with people I am throwing myself more into my work. Until a few years ago I would always be doing something every night with people but now I have found myself deliberately not choosing to keep in touch with people I used to be close to. I speak to my immediate family only occasionally and to be honest only see them when I have my daughter and that is mainly so they can maintain contact with her and not out of any great desire of me to see them.

    I have also noticed that I am more tired than normal and am spending most nights just sitting by myself instead of doing something constructive such as phys.

    But more than anything I have an over riding sense of guilt. After all it was only 1 tour and it was 4 years ago. I didn’t kill anyone directly. I didn’t see such massively horrific scenes as for example Falklands Veterans who witnessed the attack on Sir Galahad for example. And I am a TA Junior NCO not a regular soldier. So why am I feeling like this.

    The long and short of is I am at the end of my tether. Chances are if it weren’t for my daughter I don’t know if I would still be here. I feel weak and wished I could just “man up” and crack on. Lately I have caught myself collapsing into tears at the mere thought of things.

    No-one else as far as I know knows how I am feeling and this is the first time I have opened up to anyone and have found writing this surprisingly hard.

    If you have managed to get this far then thank you. My questions are as follows:

    Do I need help? Or is this something that will naturally pass with time?

    If I do need help who are the best people to approach? Would it be a charity such as Combat Stress, my unit or my local GP?

    Many thanks for bearing with such a long post
  2. Honest opinion is you need to talk to someone who is qualified to deal with this, as I am not I would not try and suggest what you are describing sounds like PTSD (but it does) get in touch with your GP and approach Combat stress like you think you should, keeping it bottled up won't do you or anyone around you any favours.
    Manning up is matcho bullshit from people who don't know what you are going through.
  3. I think One Pip covered it neatly. I'm going to email Charlie Bubbles with a link to this thread. He is a PTSD sufferer and an agitator for forces mental health so he will have the experience and the contacts to help you.
    Please, don't feel you're less of a man for this, not all wounds are physical but they are inflicted by the enemy.

    Is a newly formed group of Veterans supporting Veterans and their families when you feel under pressure as a result of Combat and the mental health problems. These are a normal reaction to the abnormal.

    Chillwell is where the TAVR have services in place for the TA soldier on their return if they want to seek help with stress after combat.

    The mental health problems can hit you within months, even years after the deployment and although the Mod would like to believe that the services they provide "Fits All"! With the TA soldier, they are in my opion at greater risk, as they don't have the regimental family around you on your return to the UK. So you are even more alone and detatched from the welfare and support the regular lads and lasses do on their return.

    PM me and I will send my contact number, or email me on

  5. It sounds to me like you have identified the symptoms, now need to confirm the cause. Again, Im no expert but there are those on this site who either are or who have been treated for PTSD.

    The brain, as with any other part of the body, has its moments and may need a bit of attention from a suitable expert. Whatever you do, do not think of this as weakness or any of that nonsense. Noone will think any the less of you for going to speak to someone and no doubt you will have plenty of support on this site, at the least there will be who can help you out in some way.

    Good luck. Lots of people here rooting for you.
  6. I came back from TELIC XIII in May. Now we all had mandatory briefings with Padre when we got back to work after POL, and he pointed out the stress symptoms for everyone to look out for in themsleves and others. And many of yours seem to match so quite simply would see a doc and quick - I'm sure if you feel a civvy doctor wouldn't necessarily be familiar/sympathetic/know where the support agencies are I would get yourself an appointment with a military doc through your unit.

    ALL veterans can be seen down at St Thomas's Hospital in London by a Prof Ian Palmer, he's an ex military shrink who will then then report back to your GP and if needed refer you to Combat Stress.

    Although being TA, you will have to go through Chillwell.

    Regular soldiers have a new avenue of care and support after the Priory Clinic had the contact taken off them. The in service mental health is not through the North Staffs and Shropshire Mental Health Trusts.

    Perhaps, as I said before, it is your way of coping with an abnormal situation. However, please go and have a chat with your GP, if for no other reason, to put your mind at rest, as this in the back of your mind can make it seem a whoole lot worse . . . . .
  8. It doesn't go away. Although the sooner you get professional help the better as this will reduce the problem to some extent over the long term. If you're one of the luckier ones the help will enable to you to find a balance which helps you cope better.

    Do phone CS for advice. They will point you in the right direction to start getting the much needed help.
  9. According to the feedback coming from Talking2Minds run by an ex special forces lad one Bob Paxman, the therapies they use DO work.

    The problem with the NHS, they are tied to what NICE say they have to use to treat PTSD. Much like Combat Stress, they too make to comply with NICE, even when NICE don't understand the military mind and when broken, how to fix it!

    Check out their website and see what they say, the have on offer and that fact, Talking2Minds are ALL Ex Military themselves, so already you have the trust of knowing that they understand what you have been through.
  10. Bob has been working very hard to get T2M of the ground. I know Bob well, we went to school together, and we have been talking lately about how he wants to help other that suffer from PTSD. The website is good and easy to use. Good post CB...