23yo From Scotland, Still Serving.

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james7119

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Hi troops, found this from the sister site. Already feel a bit relieved to find this place. I've done 3 tours of Afghan, been suffering various symptoms since 2008/2009 (my fiance has suffered from me as well) but things really went downhill quickly in 2010 after a bad tour. Finally went to my Sgt Major for help a few months ago and was diagnosed with Chronic Adjustment Disorder and depression.

My marriage councillor who is a psychiatrist thinks I may have been misdiagnosed because I didnt disclose my flashbacks at the time and keeps referring to my dramas as PTSD but this is not my diagnosis. I wouldnt say they are flashbacks personally I just go over certain things a lot in my head, particularly at night. Due to start EMDR next week, am on Quitiapine and Citalopram just now as well which I feel just takes the edge off the rages and racing thoughts,I will get about 6 hours sleep at least 5 days a week and I no longer get anxiety issues in public and can just about hold a five minute conversation with other people. Downgraded at work (I'm an FSG gunner in an Infantry battalion) so I can't deploy and am basically a spare part at the moment. I've recently got back into martial arts full time, and started reading and it seems to fill the time when I'm not any use at work and also makes me feel better. I write a lot of poetry/random ramblings about Afghan events, a bit obsessively at night, but won't allow my fiance or anyone else to read any of it and so I've got 3 shoeboxes full of bits of paper, and I've also burned a lot of it when I've had a bad day which freaks my Mrs out. I dont know if thats normal?

I got a book called "heroes" which is a collection of modern poems written by British troops for xmas, but I can't read it, some random words just set me off and I get a bit sweaty and or teary. All my collegues know I'm seeing DCMH as I've been open about it with everyone, and I know a few other lads who are going there, but I don't have anyone to discuss anything with apart from the CPN, so I hope am in the right place, particularly because the past few days have been a proper effort to even look at my fiance and my 2 year old daughter without losing my temper, I just want to be left alone an not have to speak to anyone or listen to anyone, but I know it's selfish and that I have to make the effort to get into a routine with them. I also miss Afghan a lot and would much rather be there than here. So it completely contradicts the problems I'm having which stem from my 2nd tour.

Thought as you lot are all strangers I'd just add tonights ramblings as I wont be getting any sleep tonight anyway lol.

19 november 2009
"Oh J it’s a girl", how excited she sounds. On the phone I’m just speechless, as my eyes dig the ground. I should be there with her, holding her hand on this day, but instead I’m in Afghan, with a big op on the way. Send me some eblueys, I want to see those big eyes, I have to go now M, it’s work, please don’t cry.
In my heart I know that I’m in the wrong place, this isnt the right time to be out here, I should be at home with my new baby girl, and with my M who waits in fear.
My lads need me here on the gun, we can’t afford one less bloke on the ground. And I wouldn’t want to miss out on our first firefight, I’d never live that down. I have RnR soon anyway. Nothing will happen to me, it’s fine, I’ll double check the guns oiled to f*ck just now, then get my head down until it’s time.
The morning goes smoothly, the villagers ask us to hide, they fear the visitors they’ll have that night. The dickers are on the hill, threatening us on the radio, I watch them with bloodlust through my sight.
Another influence op finished, no contact yet for us, lets just get back to the PB. I’ve just put the kettle on, an preped Boss’ mug, I’ll look in a minute what he’s having for Tea.
This doesn’t feel right, these fields are empty, are those our tracks from yesterday? That’s a stream ahead , this aint right, I feel something strange, maybe I should say.
f*ck it, it’s fine, those dickers are quiet, and I can’t be arsed getting wet in this shite. Across the stream we go, clenching my eyes, my whole body tenses up tight.
Relief, we made it, no damage done, I was proper flapping back there. FLASH,BOOM,BUZZ,DUST, I’m thrown over my gun as a jackal wheel flies past my head in the air. Shit we’ve hit an IED, can you hear me? Please answer, LADS don’t drive here we’re hit. The dust starts to settle, just silence around us, our wagon is fine, oh no,shit.
I look behind us and see the shadow of S, stood back looking at me shacking in shock, his machine gun now laying at his feet in bits. Then the screaming from W as he cries out to us “I’m f*cked lads, please help me, it hurts, my legs, f*ck, I’m hit” Silence from P as he just lays there, eyes open, “I just saw the sky” he says over again. I look down at Si, “lets go”, “I’m fine mate, your fine, lets do this” the young lad says, and together slowly we climb out.
It feels like hours as we search a path upto the wrecked jackal in fear. My pistols in one hand, waiting for anyone, fighter or civvy to show his face here. We move through the stream, now running with blood, bits of metal are everywhere. I give up the checking and just walk straight to S, the scene like my worst nightmare. He is so calm, the shock has a firm hold, but he cracks on, the team medic writing out all his stats. I crack on with triage, the training kicks in, I stem W’s bleeding quite fast. He has both his legs, his feet both have large holes now stuffed with gauze, and one leg is the wrong way round, do I turn it back or just leave it? f*ck knows they didn’t show me this on the course, so I just light up a Ciggy and put it to my mates lips, and he smiles at me, in pure morphine bliss. The Infantry lads turn up, and take over the SOP’s, while we concentrate on our best friends. Words of comfort, the piss up, the compo, it all seems so hollow in the end. The Heli lands safely, we take the casualties aboard, and it’s then that the adrenaline subsides. I go back to my wagon, pour oil on the gun and get ready for a long sleepless night. We overwatch the downed wagon, unable to move incase we set off another device. The EOD’s en route, we hand out the brews and prepare for the most haunting night of our lives.
A few hours later, the enemy get brave, and RPG’s land on us from our right. I traverse my machine gun, Si does the spotting for me and I open up on a bloke who’s off on a red motorbike. The rider throws his launcher, and tries to flee but my bullets are heavy and my aim is sound. First he falls off the bike his right arm and shoulder gone, then he gets up again and runs,I hold down my trigger one last time, and a red burst of colour fills the air as his body is thrown to the ground..
My first kill of this tour, it feels so bittersweet to this day when I start thinking it over. I knew that IED was there, if I had only raised my voice, that day could have ended different for my brothers. My best mate wouldn’t have lost both of his legs, the other wouldn’t have been in a wheelchair. I wouldn’t carry around this guilt, and I wouldn’t look in the mirror with despair.
I’ve been back to Afghan since, a lot more blood on my hands, though thankfully not that of my friends. I’ve come to accept that you must trust yourself more, and admit when you were wrong in the end. I’m still fighting a battle in my head and my heart, like so many warriors have for centuries past. I’m not the first soldier to struggle with the past, and I certainly won’t be the last.
For whatever reason, our wagon didn’t hit it, to this day I’m grateful to both Simon and God. It was the 19th November in 2009 and it was the day after my daughter was born.

Anyway glad to be here guys/lassies, I hope you had a good Christmas.
J
 

Jimmy1

MyPTSD Pro
Mate, I hope we can help you adjust back into life, and welcome to the forum.

When I was misdiagnosed in 02 after East Timor, they put it down to a possible thyroid disorder and family problems, then I was diagnosed officially in 07 after Iraq. My psychiatrist at the time said (well I am not quite sure of the wording in the DSM IV) that all the symptoms have to still be appearing at least 30 days after returning.
There is all types of other shit that goes along with it. i.e. Acute if the symptoms last less than 3 months, Chronic if they last longer than 3 months, and 'With Delayed Onset' if the symptoms don't appear for six months after the trauma.

I did not even know there was a thing called Acute Adjustment Disorder. Don't we all suffer from that.
They condition our body and mind to endure emotional and physical stress for prolonged periods then expect us to just maintain a normal life after seeing the horrors and worst of mankind.

You sound like you are taking the bull by the horns mate. The good thing is that your young and still functioning even though they have downgraded you. You do know that people have been diagnosed with PTSD and have managed to get back in the saddle and continue to serve in a normal operational environment. Its up to you and what you can convince the psych. It is imperative that you get a proper diagnosis though.
I made that mistake in 06 when I returned from Iraq. I did not tell my therapist everything about the flashbacks and trauma's that I had suffered. I had the mentality that it was in my head and I was imagining it. This was until my Sergeant Major from my East Timor sent a statutory declaration, then my memories started flooding back.

Congrats on your daughter mate. Children are our future and what we fight for.

Cheers

Jimmy/James
 

Lee C

MyPTSD Pro
Hi J,
Im still serving UK and come under DCMH, CPN's and Head Docs once a week and got diagnosed with PTSD and mixed Bi-Polar. I was an (Arty)FST 2 i/c and got shot in 2007 with an RPG whilst attached to the BRF. I have been on all kinds of drugs, some work, some dont( trial and error) and i am having a bad time at the mo. For example i went to fill my car up and within 2 mins of queing up to pay i just wanted to smash some dozy pillocks head agaisnt the counter cos they were mumbling bollox and holding me up !!
I got P0'd and now come under the PRU system whilst they make there mind up if i can carry on service( i have 2 years extension left, done 23 years already) or get MD'd.

Chat soon mate,
Lee
 

Sarg

MyPTSD Pro
Jimmy, I was just reading about you getting diagnosed correctly and got to thinking about what I thought had happened to me, both during the latter part of my hitch and right after I got home. I though that I had been exposed to some sort of bad chemical that had lunched my nervous system. We always had some sort of chemical getting splashed all over the airplane, and we loosened the vent bungs on 55 gal. drums to keep the pressure even, so we breathed that crap the whole way.

So I thought I had a physiological illness, not psycological one! I remember being pissed when they changed it. "Wha-da-ya mean it's all in my head?". Thought they were trying to weasel out on me.

Sorry, J, didn't mean to walk all over your thread. Welcome and you'll find no better place than this for help. Just jump right in and say what's on your mind.

Sarg
 

james7119

New Here
Thanks for the warm welcome guys. Jimmy, thanks for sharin your experience there. I have a mate called Titch from Auckland NZ who is now in my unit and he served in East Timor with SF. I agree that everyone goes through some sort of adjustment disorder at some point in their life, especially warriors. I suppose it only becomes a problem when your mates all switch back off and go back to their normal civvy world routine after a few weeks, and you are still very much switched on 24/7. I've only recently been able to go shopping again without it ending in me storming out or getting paranoid. Going back to work properly is the long term goal, I'm very lucky that my CoC has been extremely supportive of me and have told me that if I get through the worst of it, it won't affect my career/promotion in the future however long it takes and I still got promoted recently despite being downgraded as I'd passed the cadre before my referral. My Company Sgt Major has even been round to my home when I had a really bad day and didnt turn up for work, to persuade me to join him for a run....which was very weird. My daughter is my world right enough!

Its cool Sarge, it sounds as if misdiagnosis isnt unusual. I was talking to a mate in the USMC who told me it used to be very common in the US due to the way their compensation works, and a lot of troops were diagnosed with Chronic Adjustment Disorder like myself, as the two are quite similar. I myself had no idea I had any sort of illness to be honest, the only reason I spoke to my Sgt Major was because my Mrs threatened to leave if I didnt get help.

Sorry to hear about the RPG Lee, I was BRF on Herrick 11 and dodged a few of them myself on occasion but had to deal with the aftermath of an accurate one as well. It must be doubly difficult to deal with your mental injuries when you have had physical trauma as well. I worked with a FST from 7RHA on my last tour as well they were gleamin lads every one of them. My best mate from training was diagnosed Bi-polar in 2010 and was sectioned unfortunately and then MD'd but I have to admit, being in the Army helped him get treatment a lot sooner. He had some really bad days, but is now living in China for a few months teaching English believe it or not, and he's only 21, so it goes to show you can go on to have a normal life. Your medical routine is the same as mine at the moment I'm also attending DCMH at Leuchars once a week with the CPN, then Psychiatrist every 3 weeks, unless I've had problems with the Meds or something, then I see the Psychiatrist a bit more, which has been happening lately as I'm struggling with the side effects from the Seroquel, and it's not even a very big dose yet. Plus I had a bit of a breakdown a few weeks ago and he put me on Citalopram (I had dellusions that I was going to join the french foreign legion after my Mrs threatened to take my daughter back to England with her). It's weird how you look back on things and think "did I really think about doing that then". I can relate to your petrol station incident mate totally. I've been exactly like that for about just over a year now. Even on the meds, after taking them for about 3 weeks, I go back to being a social hand grenade. I no longer have civvy mates outside of my Martial Arts clubs, as none of them want to go out with me anymore in case I end up in the cells. I was on a charge for criminal damage and assaulting a bus driver, after he closed his doors on me and laughed at Edinburgh Bus Station the day I returned from decompression. The police who viewed the CCTV were great as was the whole system and eventually the charges were dropped but I'm now banned from Edinburgh Bus Station as well as Stagecoach. I hope they let you see out your 2 years mate, it would be petty if they didn't as your treatment could take that long anyway, and I've heard bad things about the system under NHS and that Combat Stress has a huge workload, so I know myself how lucky I am to be with DCMH. I look forward to chattin more with you mate.

One thing I have found is that the hardest part is asking for help lol Since then I have had a lot of people being supportive in my CoC and even amongst the Jocks in my Company. Theres a bit of banter obviously but they listen patiently to my waffling and often join in lol. Even my local community copper visits my house when he passes (he's ex Coldstream Guards) after he was called when I had the breakdown and went off the radar for 2 days, my poor Mrs thought I'd went off the Forth Bridge. I reckon in the bigger picture there will be a lot of guys coming out with mental health problems in the coming years.
 

Jimmy1

MyPTSD Pro
I made that mistake in 06 when I returned from Iraq. I did not tell my therapist everything about the flashbacks and trauma's that I had suffered. I had the mentality that it was in my head and I was imagining it. This was until my Sergeant Major from my East Timor sent a statutory declaration, then my memories started flooding back.

Sorry James for hijacking your thread.

@ Sarg, Is the underlined part what your referring to??

If so, I will explain.

I have experienced quite a bit of trauma on my deployments. During East Timor we were part of the training team and were unarmed. I had a .45 cal six shooter put to my forehead because I could not speak the language. I had both friendly and rebel rounds whizzing around my head (friendly because they had poor weapon discipline), I ran over someone during a protection convoy and am disturbed by the sound of crunching bones still today and that is just some of the first deployment and that was not even meant to be a bad war zone. In Iraq I had mortars raining down all around me, had several rounds miss me by cm's, witnessed first hand what a 155mm howitzer can do to a body when set up as an IED, and that's just the start.

But the one thing I thought and was convinced about was that to be affected by a trauma you had to be in a firefight person to person and actually shooting people. So therefor, everything else did not happen and if it did I was being a big sook about it. The actual pistol in the head I had suppressed with a couple of other incidents.

So I then developed the mentality that it was all in my head and that things were not as bad as they sounded.
It was that statutory declaration and my therapist who probed me with questions that finally led to my diagnosis.

Once again, sorry James, but this just happens sometimes when a subject arises.
 

Sarg

MyPTSD Pro
No, I was talking about the thyroid part. I would never question your, or any of the others here of their traumas.

Sarg
 

Jimmy1

MyPTSD Pro
I did not think you did. The thyroid thing, well apparently an over active thyroid can spur on anger issues and typical military wanted to prove it was something else first. The anger never went away, instead they bombarded me with promotion courses and then posted me to a unit which was high on the readiness list, then it was one exercise after the other until deployment in 05. By that stage the wife and I had split up and got back together numerous times, but it did not last.
 

james7119

New Here
It's cool guys it's all more information to share at the end of the day. It seems a lot of problem with diagnosis has either been a reluctance to recognise PTSD maybe due to the compensation issue and just not enough knowledge about it. Funny you mention being sent on all the courses, that's what happened to me as well when I returned from Afghan in April, I was on a 4 week exercise a month later and my frame of mind wasn't in the right place to say the least, then 2 weeks leave and straight on a promotion cadre. My mrs was very close to leaving me several times, but since going to the relationship councilling things are improving and we're slowly getting back to liking each other again lol. I'd never be able to tell her I didnt like her mind you without major fallout.

Jimmy, it sounds like your first tour was completely different from what you had been expecting if you were unarmed and you could no doubt write a long list of the incidents which have affected you. I have a drama with this EMDR coming up next week because there is quite a list of incidents over my 3 tours which I still play over in my mind every night and I dont know where to start to be honest. I'm also worried that bringing it all out in detail will set me back and bring back the rage issues. I trust my CPN and am very comfortable with him which I've read on here is important, I just worry that I've made a bit of progress by getting back into a routine and I don't want to go back to the days of struggling to speak to people. Do you have any advice about the EMDR? It's the first therapy I've had as well if you don't count reading Bushido 13 times lol.
 

Lee C

MyPTSD Pro
It doesnt work for everyone just go into it with an open mind mate. I couldnt do with it TBH.
Congrats on promotion mate, you done Jnr or Snr Brecon now then?
 

Jimmy1

MyPTSD Pro
James,

You see mate, PTSD can survive unchecked in the military for quite a while. Think about it. We are taught to use aggression as a tool and taught to swallow our other emotions. Show no fear or sorrow or you are weak.
It was fine for me on courses, although I did have some problems with clear thinking at times, but it was good.
It was also fine while I was with the troops as a SGT and even as a senior SGT when I was given roles as acting CSM.

My problem was when I returned from Iraq as a WO2. They gave me a new position in an Army Reserve Unit as the Operations WO. Half the time I was there by myself. Too much time with my thoughts and no time with the troops to keep me busy.

As for the first deployment, well we all did not expect it. We were deployed to the East Timorese Training Camp.
There were training teams from South Korea, Portugal, New Zealand and us Aussies. They all had weapons, we were told it was safe. On the other side of the island and during the election and independence celebrations, the other Aussies were in full kevlar and armed to the teeth, but not us. Not that it meant anything to me, but originally we were presented with a standard service medal for the tour. That of late has been upgraded due to all the problems we had to an Active Service Medal, I still have not changed my clasp.

Got side tracked there.

James, with EMDR don't be worried or it will not work. You don't have to go through all your trauma's or if you feel your not ready, the worst of your traumas. Just pick one or two that still bug you and see how it works.
They get up close and personal, they have to. Basically they just wave their finger up close to your face and get your eyes to track it to simulate REM sleep. The theory behind it, is that when we are in combat (we all know you don't sleep well there), we don't get the required REM sleep necessary to do all our mental filing.
Imagine your head as a small bedroom with no windows, just plain walls, and a set of filing cabinets on the back wall. When a normal person sleeps, the events of the day are laying on the floor. When they enter REM sleep the files are put away where they need to be and can be recalled as memories.
When we suffer a trauma, its like the files are left on the floor and one after another of these trauma's happen along with day to day events and they end up piling up. Then someone turns the ceiling fan on. lmao.
After numerous tours and events its one big cluster f*ck.

EMDR hopes to de-sensitize some of these thoughts by pretending to do this filing manually.

Hope that makes sense in my unqualified mumbo jumbo.

the whole idea of therapy in general is to eventually put all these files away so they don't trouble us, and the really bad ones are locked up in that cabinet, not just laying around where they can be stumbled upon randomly when something reminds us or triggers us.

Its off to the gym.

Catcha
 

james7119

New Here
It doesnt work for everyone just go into it with an open mind mate. I couldnt do with it TBH.
Congrats on promotion mate, you done Jnr or Snr Brecon now then?

I am trying to stay open minded bud, to be honest I'm open to anything at the moment. I was definately heading in the right direction and we had a great xmas, until about a week ago then the racing thoughts all came back and I started smashing the Youtube videos and getting weepy again with the Irish whiskey lol. Think they need to up my meds....zombie time.

Nah I just did an NCO cadre mate for my 2ic, I was a LCpl in HCR but got bust after a month lol, transfered to 2 Scots, went straight on Herrick 13 a week later, came back and was selected for OPTAG with Surveillence Recce Wing in Lyd, got local Lcpl for that, came off it and went on the NCO cadre, (for that 6 weeks I resembled the old me again) I loved gettin back to the soldiering but struggled to take the exercise phase seriously and got very carried away on the section attack range, I think I gave the RSO a heartattack at one stage, but the CO was on a visit and was well impressed haha. But now I'm downgraded it's all a bit for nothing. Hopefully when I'm right again I'll get on my FSG commanders in Warminster. I want to do the full 22 as I live in Glasgow, commute to work in Edinburgh each day and have a pretty normal lifestyle with the benefit that I love my job and work with great people. Maybe a personal question but how do you feel about the future when you are out? Does it not seem a bit daunting going back to Civvy strasse with people who don't really get it?
 
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