Despite growing up with a father in the Army, 36-year-old Nick Steele never had plans to join the military. However, he loved the years he spent alongside the nation’s Armed Forces as a civilian presenter for BFBS radio (British Forces Broadcasting Services).
Nick, from Arbroath, now living in Catterick, toured alongside the British Army, spending time in Kosovo, Bosnia, Northern Ireland, the Falklands, and Iraq.
While he was on tour, Nick would often go out on patrol to collect dedications for his radio show. These messages from the soldiers to families back home boosted morale for the troops, and Nick made many friends over the years.
Coming back from an interview one day, Nick and his patrol were caught up in an ambush.
He said: “We were driving back to the base and had to take a diversion. Then, all hell broke loose. I had nothing to protect myself, I was only out there with a microphone.”
Once he was back at home, Nick struggled to cope. He found himself in a very dark place and began to question everything.
“I started doubting my ability to be a good father, a good role model. I couldn’t leave the house to do what I would consider 'normal' activities - like shopping, or taking my daughter to the park.”
It took two years after Op Telic 5 for Nick to get diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). After trying to get help from civilian charities, he found that he was eligible for support from Help for Heroes.
“The support I've received from Help for Heroes has helped me learn to live again. As a civilian, I've made an effort on every activity or session I've been offered. The charity has invested in me. I now understand more about my PTSD, and why I behave like I do.”
“I sometimes still feel worthless, guilty, and a burden. But thanks to Help for Heroes, the better days are outweighing the bad days.
Nick has accessed a range of support at the charity’s recovery centres, including the rolling recovery programme, and mental health support.
“For the first time in a long time, I can imagine how my life will be in a few years’ time - instead of thinking 'if I live to 40' to 'When I turn 40, 50, or 60'. I now feel I have a sense of purpose, I feel I have a future.”
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