“It takes a second for something to enter your head but a lifetime for it to leave. Having served in multiple areas of operations, there isn’t just one thing that haunts me.”
Former Intelligence Corps Operator, Rich spent many years working in conflict zones across the world, eventually leaving retiring from active service in 2004.
At first, life on civvy street went well but in 2007, things took a downward turn after a chance encounter at a work event.
“I’d managed to contain all of the nasty elements of my service and compartmentalise them in my head and then one day, unexpectedly, one of the containers opened at the most unlikely of times. I was caught off guard and once one container opened, the rest cascaded. Things deteriorated quickly to the point where I was willing to take my own life. It was only the thought of my three girls that stopped me from going through with it.
“I went to see my GP but didn’t get the help I needed. My marriage broke down and I was ousted by fellow directors from a business I’d help found. I went back to live with my mum and dad for 18 months and was virtually nocturnal – I’d lie in bed all day, not wanting to talk to anyone. The only thing I did was see my children at the weekend.
“It was the worst time in my life and again, I thought again taking my own life as I felt a burden to those around me.”
After seeing information about Combat Stress on Facebook, Rich made contact with the charity and started to get the help he so needed.
Combat Stress brought me back to life – I genuinely believe I owe them my life. Today I know that PTSD is an illness and, just like a physical injury, you need help with it. I used to think it was me being a wimp but I know that’s not the case now.
“I still have good day and bad days but the difference is now I’m able to function and perform. I’m working again and have a new partner. It feels like life is starting to get back in balance.
“At my darkest time, the little light at the end of tunnel was Combat Stress – all I had to do was work my way towards the light.
“I worry that so many of my brothers in arms need help but have nowhere to turn and just want to say to them that there is an answer.
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