January – December 2008
Date: 4 January 2008
Hi Andy, thank you for this site. It has provided me with more info than anything else I have looked at tonight. Today I was diagnosed with PTSD.
I’m 24, I have a fantastic husband and a gorgeous one year old. I’m in teacher training. I have so much to lose, I am scared about having this thing. But I think I am very lucky – I don’t suffer with the depression that so many people have mentioned here. My symptoms seem to only happen at night – flashbacks, horrific images in my mind, thoughts that my little boy will go next……. I’m starting with 2 weeks on temazepam to kick the insomnia, then a referral to psychiatric counselling. Wish me luck…….
Date: 6 January 2008
Thank you for this website, you may have saved my marriage, and potentially my partners life.
I served in the Falklands war as a Stoker on a Type 42 Destroyer and narrowly escaped being sent to the bottom of the South Atlantic by a pure fluke.
Like many people on here, I have struggled through life thinking I was either a bit mad or over-reacting to minor incidents.
The hyper-alertness, use of drink, inability to communicate, refusal to acknowledge there may be a problem and most of all – the mask of normality to other people that must be kept in place at all times. To let it slip is weakness and civvies don’t have a clue if you try to relate your experiences anyway.
Things have come to a head now, I am either working flat out and the life and soul of the party or crushed, uncommunicative and explode into an ice-cold fury for no or very little reason. On New Years day I attacked my wife – who I have been with since 1981 – and it is only by the grace of God that she wasn’t seriously hurt or even killed.
I am on my last chance in life and I intend to use it.
Your site has made me realise that I am not alone, that there ARE people who understand and that there can be a way out of this evil cycle. I’m going to contact Combat Stress this week.
Cheers for this site Andy, keep up the cause and I’ll keep you posted.
Hi Ben, if you want to talk to me direct in confidence the email me through my direct email address of Andy@ptsd.org.uk
Date: 9 January 2008
Thanks for the website Andy, I’ve just this week contacted Combat Stress, after suffering for 25 years. So hopefully I’ll lock these demons away once and for all,
All the best,
Ex leading seaman (m)
Date: 15 January 2008
Thank you so much for creating this website. I have a friend who has PTSD and although I can relate to a certain level due to my own depression, I never truly understood. Your site has opened my eyes and given me a new understanding. THANK YOU!!!
Date: 15 January 2008
I’ve been with my lovely partner for over 18 months now. I knew from the onset of our relationship that he was Ex Forces and I loved him regardless. We shared a similar upbringing in the North of England and shared many similar interests and a love of life.
I myself had been in mental health nursing for over 12 years, and thought that I would be able to support my future husband through anything. How wrong was I!!!
As I had never been in a relationship with an ex soldier before, I didn’t quite know what to expect. I did get an idea when he used to visit me before he moved in. At the time when I met him, he had been out of the forces for 5 years. I love him and I will stay with him unconditionally.
I love this man dearly and would do anything to help him. I know there is someone else out there who is also experiencing and knows what’s happening and how I can continue to support him. He recognises that he suffers from PTSD, as I have found out, he deals with it in his own ways.
He also acknowledges that he needs to ‘talk’ to someone, but someone who knows what he is going through.
The nights are the worst, the dreams and constant nightmares can be horrendous. He does like a drink at the weekend, this tends to be the time that he divulges more of what really affects him on a daily basis, and he states that the nightmares/sweats are less frequent and severe when he’s had a drink. He also says that expressing his feelings was a thing that wasn’t the done thing when he was serving, but should have received some type of counselling whilst in.
Events happened to him & his friends in the tours of Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Iraq etc that he says he will never be able to talk about. He was severely injured a few times, but thankfully, he manages, broken and old before his time, he thinks himself extremely lucky to be here, although at times I think he would sooner not be.
I know that I am never going to be able to fully understand how he feels, but I would like to know if there are other people who suffer with this and from family members who live with this daily. Even though he’s not serving now, he will always be a soldier, and this he lives with every day of his life
With love & respect to all xx M
Date: 22 January 2008
I applaud your site. Unfortunately it didn’t exist or I didn’t come across it when I needed it. I had to work through the panic attacks and self doubt mostly on my own for 2 years. All I was offered were anti-depressants which I knew would have no effect on anxiety.
Despite my problem stemming from the 2004 Tsunami in which family and friends were badly injured or lost altogether, PTSD wasn’t even considered until last year. With that diagnosis and a fantastic person-centred counsellor, I started a rapid and enlightening recovery discovering many of your self-help techniques by personal trial.
For the past 2-3 months, and for the first time in 3 years, I actually have myself back. But it is a stronger, grown-up, (dare I say) wiser me than I left behind. I also ‘know’ myself and I’m happy with who that person is.
At the time of my probs, I was desperate to find the thing inside me that was wrong. I simply believed no-one else suffered such irrationality and this made me more reluctant to express my anxiety as trips to the docs were usually received with
Date: 30 January 2008
I was in the Royal Air Force from 1961-1970 serving as a RAF Police Dog Handler. I was posted to Aden in 1966-67 and was volunteered by my Command Provost Marshall to provide a tracker dog team for the Army. The RAF are not noted for sending their ground support men into fighting battles, preferring to send their Officers to do that. I was suddenly involved in battles without proper training and had to resort to my weapons, firstly my dog, then my pistol to save my own life. Some of the incidents were horrific and bloody. The result of this is that I suffer from PTSD now with flash backs and extremely bad dreams and panic attacks. This complaint is no joke. The Government has caused the problem and now it is the charities like Combat Stress that pick up the pieces. I have just spent a week at one of their centres and have been helped a lot. It shouldn’t be like this, the services should have a duty to their ex-servicemen and women for care and assessment before they are discharged
Date: 5 February 2008
I would just like to say Iv found your web site very helpful. I have had my first visit from Combat Stress today. Your site made me realise I needed to get help so thank you for that.
Date: 22 February 2008
It doesn’t matter what you did for your country, the average member of the public two hoots. They think that suffering with PTSD is same as them having a bad day. They have no idea of the internal turmoil that is going on with PTSD. Try telling someone in a job application that you suffer with PTSD!! Then you become something out of a mental hospital. Don’t know why I bothered putting my neck on the line.
Date: 12 March 2008
Hi, I have just come across your web site and found it very interesting, I am an ex member of 1 Cheshire, after serving in Bosnia, I was a changed person, my wife and my family said I had changed, I just thought they were stupid.
I finally left the regiment in 1998 for 5 years I had been suffering nightmares and been told they would go away.
Not long after leaving I came home from work and my wife was watching a program called warriors on BBC, within five minutes of sitting down and started watching it I ended up in tears, being reminded of what went on over there.
from then on I got progressively worse to the point of where I think I had a break down, I went to see my GP who just put it down to stress of leaving the army and put me on a course of beater blockers.
As you can imagine I quickly gave up on the NHS.
Some days are worse than most daily life is a big struggle, if it wasn’t for my wife who has stuck by me throughout I would of ended up in the gutter.
I finally managed to face up to facts after people who knew told me about the documentary that Panorama did on PTSD, it took about a year to go
and see my GP and then I didn’t admit to what was wrong finally 18 months ago he diagnosed me with PTSD, I have since been to combat stress and made some really good friends, as all my friends I grew up with don’t have anything to do with me, I lost contact with my friends in my regiment because I just distanced myself from everything and everyone.
I take every day as a challenge and don’t plan anything or raise my hopes up.
Combat stress have been really good, it has given me hope, which I didn’t have before, its a shame that more help isn’t readily available.
hopefully from now on as it is becoming more known about and the symptoms are more known everyone can get help, its a shame you have to wait so long.
Date: 24 March 2008
Hi I am a 24 year old female soldier serving in the army. I have been in the army six years and in June 2007 last year I was hit in a mortar attack I was initially diagnosed with ptsd but have now been discharged from my cpn. I don’t know if I was ready for that and now I feel very lost I often feel very lonely and isolated I am still undergoing treatment for my injuries and have not returned to work yet. I don’t know if I have ptsd or maybe I’m just being miserable and not helping myself I would just like to feel like someone understood me for once. I try to keep busy with my daughter and husband but as soon as I stop and have time on my hands I find myself dwelling on all the things I remember from the incident and I worry about my future a lot. is this ptsd or just me. I’m confused as the cpn says I’m better. anyone with any suggestions please help.
Please email at Andy@ptsd.org.uk and we can talk in confidence and try help you understand what you are going through and try to look at ways we can get you through the coming weeks and months.
Date: 1 April 2008
Many thanks Andy for taking the time to address a subject that many find difficult to even acknowledge. I’ve been suffering from PTSD for over 10 years now which eventually led to nervous breakdown. I’m on the tough journey of trying to rebuild my life and my career. Unlike the majority of guests to your site, I’m not in the forces, although, my parents were, I am in fact a serving police officer. However, my experiences are more than similar and share others in the despair of this condition not being recognised and funding not being available for the correct treatment.
I beg anyone who holds the purse strings for the medical welfare of personnel to take this matter seriously. In most cases PTSD was a result of someone helping or protecting another human being.
Just because you can’t see our injuries it doesn’t mean we don’t suffer.
Wishing all your readers courage in their recovery – your not alone.
Dear friends, someone has tried on three occasions to leave a message via the guestbook but unfortunately only part of the message is getting through for some reason and unfortunately I cannot put half a sentence that has not context onto the Guest book.
If you are having difficulties please email direct and explain this and tell me you would like the comment placed on the Guest Book and I will help. It is important that you finish your message before you hit the submit comment button.
I would like to thank the many thousands of people who have contacted me and the hundreds who have felt they wanted to leave a message for others to enjoy.
Date: 21 April 2008
an excellent website as a gulf vet from 90/91 I know only too well what our condition is like ,people say they understand ,but they don’t have a Scooby , combat stress helped me I owe them a lot ,I have not been there now for nearly 4 yrs ,my life has turned around for the better , I manage too keep a part time job down and I am in a long term relationship like many others I lost my home ,marriage and family the nights are still long and times I have a relapse it never fully goes away ,but with effort help and guidance it can be a different world, so I say to all fellow suffers no matter how bad things get hang on in there because you too can find light at the end of the tunnel.
Date: 4 May 2008
Having returned from Iraq a couple of months ago after my third time our there I am finding it very hard too cope back home. During my time out there we had some very close calls apart from one resulting in my friend being killed. On returning too the UK I had a top homecoming but after the initial happiness I have never felt lower in my life. I have a girlfriend of 1 year who I constantly push away, cant explain just don’t want her too get close in case I lose her. I didn’t really drink before I went away but now I drink every night till hopefully I get pissed then I might fall asleep straight away. Really finding it hard too sleep prob get a max of about 3 hours a night and feel so drained. Cant really say any of this too the work lads cause I don’t wanna feel weak but feel that I do need help.
“If you email me direct at Andy@ptsd.org.uk we can talk in confidence and I will give you more detailed help where I can. You are not alone with the way in which you are feeling and these are classic PTSD symptoms and one which many of us have been through. I look forward to hearing from soon.”
Date: 8 May 2008
A good helpful sight I am ex army with five tours of NI under my belt a stubborn obstinate individual who thought he could cope with the rat race when he left three months in I was chewing at the bit trying to get back in the army unfortunately at that time it was the era of maggies millions so it was a no go. I joined the TA and served that way coping with civvy street just. Then a few years ago events took over hated not being able to deal with problems at work like we could in the military (book the boxing ring etc) got ridiculed because I was climbing the walls trying to get out to the gulf got offered Cyprus (not good enough the gulf would have been the way out as I wanted it) anyway it ends the other crap don’t suppress anger and stress so much that I end up with psoriasis so no good even for the TA now. So I am an outsider in a world I don’t understand and cant cope with.
After a bit of group CBT I am diagnosed with PTSD I don’t understand at first because its nothing to do with my time served (I don’t think so anyway still got to explore that end). Anyway get to see a CPN who finally tries to fully understand me and her help has brought me on so much so that I am at the final stages of studying counselling at level three when I pass this I will be going for the diploma. The areas my CPN thinks I should work are either abused kids or PTSD or something with the military.
I found this site because I was looking for Combat Stress and am glad I did as it has given me more of an insight into what it is and how familiar some of the symptoms are to me.
Date: 12 May 2008
I found your web site very interesting and informative. I am the wife of an R.A.F. (ex) man diagnosed with p.t.s.d. I just want to say not only has my husbands life changed but so has mine and our children’s. The man who went to Bosnia never came back he was lost out there and is still there, our lives will never be the same I am sad to say.
Date: 13 May 2008
I am a train driver and have just killed my second suicide under my train.
I know it’s not the same as killing in combat and all the destruction and terror that you see but no one seems to understand what’s happened to me.
I have tried talking to my family but they seem unable to accept what’s happened. There are few jobs left now that put you in the position of killing someone ( with exception of the armed forces obviously ). I lay awake at night rather than have nightmares and when I do manage a bit of sleep I keep getting up to check on my children. I am a single mother with all the responsibilities that involves and I feel I can’t let them down but I also feel I am going mad. I know that there are people on here who have seen terrible things and I feel ashamed to complain but the truth is I still killed 2 people through no fault of my own.
You need to go to your GP and talk to him or her about how you are feeling and the effect it is having on your life. They will refer to you your local Community Mental Health Team (no that does not mean you are mad), they are a group of professionals specially trained to help you. There is good help and support out there and people who can help you get through this. If you need any other help or advice please email direct and I will support you where I can.
Date: 26 May 2008
I am Ex Falklands diagnosed with PTSD just before Xmas, 25 years on.
The question I get asked, and see in peoples faces, is why when they got by after WW1 & 2.
The answer I have worked out is when they came home everyone had been through it.
Nowadays Veterans are a unique group who come home to bunting and proud friends and relatives. Most of whom have never served or been in a situation similar for an extended period.
WW1 & WW2 Vets could mostly go down the legion and laugh off there situations.
We come home, welcome their appreciation, but nothing stops the thoughts, reliving the tour, isolation we feel and many more depending on the person.
We sit on it and let it get worse until something breaks or nearly breaks if your lucky!
To all if on seeing this site and it jingles a bell, GET HELP.
It wont be easy, if you have a good doctor (I did) there will be a queue of people willing to help in my case. First contact to the help coming could be about 3 months so don’t get disheartened, it goes in phases help, wait a few months, help etc.
All of you out their Take Care!
Date: 8 June 2008
This site is very helpful. I am dealing with my partners combat PTSD and I don’t know how to help him. He left the Army 2 years ago and went through awful experiences on several tours. It helps to know other people are dealing with similar symptoms.
Is it normal for him to turn on me when something
Date: 12 June 2008
Been there and got the ‘T’ Shirt too.
Thanks for helping
Spent too long on drink’n'drugs with no help from the system I help preserve. Even after 25 years out I still have ‘Night Terrors’ and Flashbacks – now they are fewer and less distressing.
Wish there had been something like this when I needed it.
IF ANYONE READING THIS HAS ANY OF THE SYMPTOMS ON THE LIST GET HELP – NOW
God Bless, keep the Faith.
Shotgun 02 Clear
Date: 18 June 2008
I’m sat here in tears after looking at this website. I just recognise so many of the things on it as I’ve been living these symptoms for the last 8 years after witnessing the death of my in-laws and nearly losing my daughter in an explosion. I cannot believe that all the things I’ve felt are so typical it would seem of ptsd even though I knew that that is what I was being treated for. I’m just not the person I used to be, I feel pathetic, so worried all the time just waiting for something to happen, tired , wobbly and I just don’t feel like a normal person anymore-I feel stuck somewhere else in a place I don’t want to be. its the first time I’ve looked on the net regarding ptsd .cant take it all in at the moment but will try to look again when I feel less emotional.
Date: 23 June 2008
what about the wives of sufferers? What can we do to try to support our husbands – having to live with a jekyll & hyde character. I have tried to understand and support but it is so difficult. What can I do?
Understanding what PTSD is and how it affect us and then trying to support them is one way of helping. GP’s now have to refer your husband to a community mental health professional so that he can be assessed and specialist treatment start (without the usual put them on drugs routine), Also the NHS has now been told to give priority treatment to us (although this has been in place since 1971). This is not a lot of direct help for you but also Combat Stress are also now holding a forum to support wives and carers as well so they may also be able to help and support you a little too?
I hope this helps a little, email me if you need more advice? Andy
Date: 29 June 2008
Just to add to the differences between WW1 & WW2 and modern day VETS after a long discussion on this with a civilian on Friday.
Older (recycled teenagers if you met them) vets come home with and were around people who had been through the same.
We come home with the press and Hollywood (rewriting history as usual) flooding us with the sounds and images of our engagements.
Interesting to a lot of the public, they just don’t realise it has been sanitized for there viewing!!!!!!
Probably why there is an increase in earlier vets (pre filmed conflicts) now surfacing with PTSD.
I know my first flashback (and a big one) was triggered by TV, and yes I chose to watch it.
But how many who avoid conflict television and films get it thrown in their faces watching the news.
Yes I love Sink the Bismarck, Cockleshell heroes, Great Escape etc but I chose to watch them!
Does the news really have to put people on the front line with the sounds and images that Vets of all ages would rather be left on the Battlefield???
Perhaps the news should return to being factual rather than sensationalist!!!!
A large majority of those enjoying it would NOT be prepared to carry out what they enjoy watching.
Just some thoughts.
Date: 27 July 2008
Put this in guestbook rather than personal email as I thought it might be relevant to others.
Just come back from 2nd visit to Combat Stress and whilst there it was pointed out PTSD is a pre existing condition regarding insurance.
Do you or anyone know what you have to declare when travelling, life insurance etc.
Yes unfortunately you do need to declare it, however it should not affect travel insurance but certainly will any life, or medical insurance (BUPA for example). Also do not even think of getting any payment protection against a mortgage or loan as they will not payout if you become ill at all, even though the brokers may tell you otherwise or try to convince you it is in your best interest to get this!!
Just advice but please be careful
Date: 31 July 2008
I have found this website over a year ago and I am so glad I did. It has been a life saver for my partner and a guidance for myself. My partner served in the Para’s and retired last year. A year or so into the relationship I new there was something wrong and wasn’t quite sure what.
So I did an internet search and found this website. Had a look through and realised my partner was showing all the symptoms of ptsd. So I emailed combat stress also to try to get some help for him. Which has resulted in a weeks with combat stress. And a return visit shortly. It has been hard and stressful at times but I love him and wanted to make sure that he got the help he needed. He is improving slowly and I know we have a long journey ahead but I will be with him all the way. Thank you for a site like yours it has really helped. It kept me going when things were bad.
Date: 18 Aug 2008
I have written a song for the service personnel and their families, it is being produced at the moment, where would be the best place to show the song and video?
Hi Sarah-Elizabeth, probably U-Tube to start with and if you send me a link and it is good I will link it to this message for others to see and hear too.
Date: 7 Sept 2008
I just want to applaud your website, and I can see that this is making the difference to many from your earlier posts. Unfortunately, it is too late for me and my daughter and my husband took his own life a couple of years ago.
We didn’t know that he had PTSD and he was merely diagnosed as depressed, he was seen by doctors/ counsellors etc. but no one ever mentioned PTSD. It wasn’t until a week before he did the deed that he finally told me about the things he had seen and done while in the Army. His symptoms were just as this site states and I truly wish that we had seen this years ago.
I’m kind of hoping that by posting this for you, it will push readers who think that they may be suffering to get help as soon as possible. It could save a lot of heartache in the future, I’m very sure that if my husband had, he would still be here and my 10 year old daughter would have her Dad.
I’m sure your website has already saved many lives, so my heartfelt warm wishes go to you, we need more people like you in this world.
I’ve now rebuilt my life, I’m a single career mum and my daughter is a well adjusted, happy girl, but I’d be more than happy to talk to anyone that has suffered the same and is struggling to deal with the fallout.
I wish you well
Nicki in Lancashire
Date: 10 Sept 2008
Hi Andy great site I too like you have had the nice wake up calls of Bosnia the shells at stupid o clock and the like wise its now 2008 and I’m still woken up by the same old stuff, or no sleep at all and all ptsd crap that goes with it just ask the wife at 2 am. Anyway I read your bit about Combat Stress, the first time they offered me a place I turned it down the 2nd time I went. It was the hardest thing to but in the end the best choice I think anyone like us should at least give it a go its a hard road but we took it once and we were all strong.
Date: 16 Sept 2008
I am a ‘secret drinker’. I can control it when I am with other people and lay off – most off the time. Late at night I can drink half a bottle of whiskey, vodka, wine whatever there is, and believe me I have stashes!
I am a veteran of war in the form of a child from Northern Ireland who was violently beaten by my family, my own so called people and the so called enemy not to mention the security forces.
At the same time I made short friendships with the best of all of those categories.
I am a successful person outwardly and extremely demanding in terms of caliber from other people and from myself. Until I drink and that is always hidden from others.
I feel like I am still a kid and I have three children in a Scandinavian country where I live. People here make such stupid comments that I could destroy them, but I don’t.
I thought I was a freak until I read how you all feel.
Former squaddies and whatever. I feel for you all. I threw a few bricks at you but at the same time we used to watch riots and called our favourite squaddies over to the alleyways and hid them behind us offering them beer and cigs while they took a break from us. So insane it was. We all had a roll to play and it was never decided by us to begin with. It was just a fkd up world created by the money makers and still is.
Me and by brother eventually joined the forces too but it wasn’t really for me. I was deteriorating about that time. He is still in. I love my brother and only recently saw him again after 20 years and now I feel like I’m deteriorating again.
Drinking now and hiding it well. What a joke I am. Truly!
I need help again. I’m going to get it… tomorrow. Recognise that?
God bless you my brothers.
Date: 5 Oct 2008
Hi Andy and everybody else. Not been on here for a while due to not being to well. Started back in March when I cut my wrist. Don’t even remember doing it. I was told back in 2000 that I had PTSD and that I would have it for the rest of my life. so tried to get on with it. My life has totally changed due to this illness not only mine but everybody who is close to me which is not a lot of people.
Just want to say that you can get on with life even though you don’t think you will. I am now on tablets and also been awarded a war pension for life. So anybody out there make sure you see the doctor before it is to late and also speak to the war pensions department, they can help in many ways. Also combat stress is a great help just waiting to go in for treatment and I know that will be hard but I have to do it not just for me but for the people it has affected in my life as well.
So keep strong and try not to let it beat you. You just need to talk. Stay strong all of you Mac.
Date: 12 Nov 2008
I would just like to say hi to all who visit this site and to say that both myself and daughter are mental health nurse students due to graduate.
As my ex husband and son both served with the Army and my sisters and brother with the RAF we are familiar with the forces. I would just like to say that we are both very interested in PTSD within the military as we believe more needs to be done for you all. We both work with SSAFA and have just been informed that there are at present 6 specialist units for PTSD for forces personnel set up around the country.
These units are on a trial basis to enable them to research the best course of interventions for PTSD. I am at present trying to find out more information about the unit near where we live and when I do I will post what information I have.
Love to you all
I look forward to hearing more about these centres and what they can offer. If you email me direct I will create a page on my website to provide as much information as we can to veterans. Long time waiting
Date: 13 Nov 2008
I am a mental health professional and have learned quite a bit from your site. In many ways your information and advice for people suffering from PTSD has more influence than perhaps coming from a
Your message seems to have been cut short but thank you so much for your kind words. I word hard to keep the website as up-to-date and relevant as I can.
Date: 19 Nov 2008
A first class site, you people do a wonderful job, your a credit to our country. Outstanding
A. Gordon. N.Ireland
Date: 22 Dec 2008
Andy Thank you, this is a good site and extremely informative. I have just started the ball rolling to get help. I served 70-94 (Army) and in that time clocked up a little over 8 years active service. I came home, my mind never has.