• %name war

The war inside my head – as a soldier.

So I’ve been debating doing this for quite some time, I feel my views on mental health as a man were very obscured by the job I am currently in.

I’m currently serving in the military but I’m not going to say which branch as I wish to remain anonymous under the fear of what the repercussions of my story could have on myself and my family if any of the chain of command were to find out I was writing this and exposing the corruption behind the job itself.

I’ve been serving for the best part of 12 years; I have been away to some pretty awful places but they are not the reason for my mental health issues, in fact it is not combat stress-related at all.

It all started roughly 3 years ago when I was bullied out a job role I loved by a corrupt chain of command due to being injured playing sport for my unit.

I was then placed into a different job role which was on the logistical side of what we did and something I never really took a great interest in. I was forced to work in a job that because of the manning cuts had reduced the team in this specific area from 7 personnel to 3 adding a wide range of stress onto myself and my subordinate, however to make matters worse my so called “boss” never actually did his job or passed on relevant information to me and my subordinate in order for us to do our jobs correctly.

Therefore putting me unofficially at the top of our very small sub-chain of command, I was doing the job of 4-5 people including my bosses work which I’d have to go over as he never really cared about what happened behind the scenes, as long as he looked good to the higher chain of command with his “brown-nosing” techniques.

He used to use me as his fall guy and if anything ever went wrong I was the direction that he’d point his finger, which in turn put alot of misdirected anger from certain officers on my shoulders, I was threatened to have my rank taken from me on many occasions and also threatened with military prison, for again one of my bosses mistakes.

My boss was told to take care of my job for a few weeks so I could go away and represent my unit in a sport I was very passionate about and I did not disappoint.

I gave it my all like I did with everything and came out victorious.

I felt good!

Then to return back to my job to realise there was a lot of things that didn’t get done that should have been done, important paperwork missing that could have landed me in a hell of a lot of trouble.

The annual inspections were due the day after I got back so I literally spent 14/15 hours trying to rectify that mistake and was playing catch up the entire month working 13/14 hour days, bearing in mind this was last November and I have three small children who were nonetheless very excited about Christmas.

My partner was stressing because I was never home to help out, putting a lot of strain on our relationship.

Christmas came and we had a brilliant time – it was lovely to get away from everything and just be a family but I found it very hard to switch off, putting my home life in turmoil as I began to drink excessively. I went back to work in January and literally hit the ground running long days and nights.

I asked to book a long weekend for my birthday at the end of March and was told by the chain of command that was fine, I never asked for time off so it felt pretty good to be given some.

I went away to visit family for that weekend with my wife and children, I received a phonecall on the Sunday night it was my boss telling me I had to get to camp and get a spare key for somebody’s room. I explained to him that I was 3 hours away staying with family until the Monday, as mentioned previously I’d booked it off through the right system but apparently that wasn’t good enough for him he began to raise his voice and started hurling abuse at me, so I lost my temper and went crazy at him.

He did live on camp after all, why couldn’t he do it?

Common sense was literally lost on this man.

It came to the Tuesday and I was supposed to go back to work, instead I reported sick to the medical centre on camp and spoke with the Doctor, he gave me some tablets and 2 weeks off, yet I was still receiving the abuse which hurled me into the darkness, a place that I am still struggling to escape from, they put me off work for a little longer and it got to a point where it was dawning on me that I had to go back, as long as I was alive they had a handle on me.

I was sat drinking one night when my wife came in from work and she went up to bed, I went to the medicine cabinet and took out 2 boxes of painkillers insistent on the fact I was going to swallow every single one of them.

Luckily my partner had forgotten something and she came back downstairs and caught me before I could act on my plan.

I am now off work full time and I am awaiting a date to be medically discharged, but still I am frustrated, I’m worried what happens when I leave? What do I do for work? Where do me and my family live?

There are support systems in place within the military and they do a sterling job; I have a counsellor, psychiatrist and social worker assigned to me and they have helped me a great deal.

I beg of you whoever reads this, never put your job before your health or your family, I did it for far too long and now I’m buried in the sand, slowly digging myself out.

There is no shame in being mentally ill.

MAN STRESS is a real thing and it fucking hurts like hell (excuse my language) but no matter where you look there are a lot of support networks now, I am very grateful for the team at Man Stress for starting this great forum, for those of us affected to come together and be a community.

By | 2017-12-24T10:24:49+00:00 December 14th, 2017|Main Feature, Post of the Month, Your Voice|3 Comments

3 Comments

  1. Stuart Walton 14th December 2017 at 3:59 pm - Reply

    This a very brave and moving anonymous submission – many thanks for sending this in. If you could email us your address please at info@manstress.co.uk we will send a token of our gratitude to you. Have a restful Christmas, Stuart.

  2. Richard Russell 14th December 2017 at 8:38 pm - Reply

    Being a Health and Safety Professional I feel that this a very poignant article and undue stress from work pressures are majorly overlooked in the public eye. Work related stress can cause a different array of problems including a downward spiral in health and mental well-being.

    Along with the stigma and struggle associated with mental health it is good to see that people have the courage to share their stories and raise the profile around men’s mental health in particular.

    I commend the soldier responsible for coming forward in this article and I wish him all the best in his future endeavours and may he one day overcome the dark days he has so courageously spoken about.

  3. Richard Crisp 15th December 2017 at 8:31 pm - Reply

    thank you…thank you…thank you for your amazing contribution…15 years ago I gave up a safe job with all the trimmings, but with shit management, to set up my own business, which didn’t go as well as planned – a partner took us for £147,000 in the first year and I was facing bankruptcy…I was severely stressed as the demons from my past just completely screwed my head…during my darkest times a friend called me; he was desperately looking for a couple of carpenters to fit a cut roof on a house in Epping…some 90 miles from my home base…I called another friend and asked him whether he had ever constructed a cut roof and he confirmed he had 10 years earlier..for my part I didn’t even know what a cut roof was, but nonetheless I accepted the CASH job…and from that day on-wards me and my friend Colin, found work building timber-frame houses in locations throughout the UK…so at 49 I was forced into a completely new job arena through sheer desperation which would ultimately helped stave off bankruptcy and regained some confidences.

    What I learned during this tough period is if you set your mind to something and are prepared to work hard then you can succeed.

    I know nothing about you except you are capable of much more than you may currently believe so please do not fear your future but use your current experiences as an education to map out the life you want for yourself and your family.

    You might find the pieces I wrote about ‘The Wiz’ and ‘My big bastard bully’ interesting to revisit.. I am aware that Richard ‘The Wiz’ Wilkins has successfully worked with military personnel and have contacted him to see if he can let me have their contact details for you.

    I was delighted to learn that you are receiving help from the military and sincerely hope that through the stories shared by others on our MANSTRESS site that you will find the help that you so richly deserve.
    .
    Stay safe.

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