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Friday 12 January 2018

Blue Monday 2018 | Julie's Story

Posted by: Help For Heroes | Categories: Band Of Sisters , Band Of Brothers , Mental Health

Psychological Wellbeing support has helped a military wife gain the confidence to land her dream job and help support her family.

Julie Cassidy’s life was turned upside down when her husband Glyn’s military career was cut short after he was diagnosed with Triple Vessel disease and had to undergo an emergency quadruple heart bypass.  

Glyn served in the military for 22 years and undertook operational tours in Bosnia and Northern Ireland. During a paragliding competition in June 2015, Glyn had chest pains and initially believing it to only be indigestion, nothing could’ve prepared him for the subsequent diagnosis: “My world just collapsed. All I could think about were my wife and kids, leaving them behind.”

Despite a successful emergency quadruple heart bypass, Glyn didn’t know how he would be able to live anything close to a normal life. Being on regular medication to keep his heart rate down had made him feel like a shadow of the soldier he had been for so long: “I’m always going to be limited because of my heart and that’s hard knowing I’m never going to be able to go out and fully push myself to the limit again.”

Julie found herself picking up the pieces and said she had to remain strong for her husband and children, but it took its toll on her own mental health.

“I became angry, I couldn’t help but think – why him, why us, why me? Glyn was always the pillar of strength in our family, but he was now physically limited – it got him down. I had to be strong for not only my husband but also for my children.”

Julie knew Glyn’s recovery period would be long and she contacted military charity Help for Heroes so Glyn could get support, and it was at this stage she found out she also could get help.

Whilst Glyn began getting involved with the charity's various recovery activities, Julie found that the charity's Mental Health and Wellbeing support helped her restore confidence and learn to be stronger.

It was there for me it was for me to unleash what I was feeling inside and not have to put that on my husband or on my children. Being able to break down in tears and not have to worry about not crying too much because I’ve got to be strong for everybody else.”“

Julie was also given the opportunity to study Horticulture with the charity and completed a City & Guilds Level 2 course, which made her hopeful for her future once more and released potential to look for a job in the gardening world.

“If it wasn’t for Help for Heroes I wouldn’t have had to confidence to apply for a job I’ve always wanted. I put in an application and I was lucky enough to be given the opportunity and I start on Monday, I’m really looking forward to it.”

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