From Struggles with PTSD to Stepping into Buckingham Palace
From struggles with PTSD to Stepping into Buckingham Palace was an epic experience. As a veteran, there are certain memories and experiences that shape our lives and leave an indelible mark on our hearts. For me, one such momentous occasion occurred recently when I had the privilege of being a guest at Buckingham Palace, representing the Royal Egineers. This unique opportunity allowed me to reflect on my personal journey, particularly the challenges I faced with PTSD after leaving the military in 2003. While this subject has been something I have kept private and rarely discussed, I am proud to have served and grateful for the chance to share this experience with fellow veterans and service personnel. It has been two decades since I last appeared in public wearing any military attire, making this occasion truly extraordinary and a significant step in addressing some of my inner demons.
The Struggles of PTSD:
Leaving the military after my service was a bittersweet moment. On one hand, I felt a sense of relief and freedom, but on the other, I carried the heavy burden of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). The transition to civilian life was far from smooth, as the haunting memories and emotional scars from my time in service followed me relentlessly. The symptoms of PTSD affected every aspect of my life, making it challenging to form and maintain relationships, find stable employment, and even engage in simple day-to-day activities. For years, I battled with these inner demons, struggling to regain control of my life.
Walking Away from my Military Background:
To cope with my PTSD, I made a conscious decision to distance myself from my military background. It seemed like the logical step at the time, as I believed that burying my military experiences deep within would help me heal. I avoided conversations about my service and closed the subject off from the public eye, keeping my struggles hidden from view. While this self-imposed isolation shielded me from potential triggers, it also prevented me from fully embracing and addressing my past.
A Proud Return:
Fast forward to the present, and my recent invitation to Buckingham Palace allowed me to confront the very subject I had long avoided. Stepping foot inside such a prestigious and historic place, surrounded by fellow veterans and service personnel, was an awe-inspiring experience that stirred a mix of emotions within me. Amidst the grandeur and elegance, I found solace in the camaraderie and shared understanding among those present. It was a moment that provided me with a newfound perspective on my military service and the courage to confront my inner gremlins.
The Power of Pride:
While I am not yet fully prepared to engage in public conversations about my military background, this occasion at Buckingham Palace has reminded me of the pride I hold for my service. It has shown me that acknowledging and embracing our past does not diminish our strength but rather enhances it. Pride can be a powerful tool in our healing process, helping us reclaim our identity and find strength in our experiences.
My journey from the struggles of PTSD to the grandeur of Buckingham Palace has been a profound and transformative one. While I may not be ready to fully open up about my military background in public conversations, I am proud to have served and grateful for the opportunity to represent the Royal Engineers. This extraordinary experience has rekindled a sense of pride in me, empowering me to address my inner demons and take steps towards more complete healing. May we all find the courage to confront our past, embrace our experiences, and take pride in the journey that has shaped us into who we are today. I have achieved so much over the years with Everest, becoming a Motivational Speaker and sharing my story with so many others to help them on their journey this blog in my honesty shows that even with my willingness to be open I am still dealing with inner gremlins and I am still in need of the support and friendship of others who help me to Get Back Up!