Former soldier Brian Rollinson has spoken of how the Help for Heroes Pathfinder Experience has made him confident of a fulfilling future as a civilian.
Brian, a PTSD-sufferer, served in the British Army Green Jackets in the 1980s, and after completing tours of Northern Ireland, said he never felt quite the same: “The tours were horrendous, I had physical injuries to my lower back after a mortar attack and my left leg was shot.”
However, it wasn’t the physical injuries that limited Brian’s life. He was diagnosed with chronic PTSD and would often had flashbacks that could leave him bed-bound for days at a time.
After leaving the army, Brian tried to lead a normal civilian life and took up a job working in the engineering industry. But in 2013, he went through a further rough patch after the breakdown of a relationship and ended up temporarily living in his car. “They were my darkest days, and unfortunately memories that I had been repressing for years came to light.”
Brian was given information about Help for Heroes and after taking part in sports recovery events, he was determined to find a new fulfilling future for himself and was referred onto the H4H Pathfinder Experience, a course which gives wounded, injured and sick veterans and service personnel tools, support and advice to successfully transition into their new life as a civilian.
He explained: “PTSD bogged me down and really blinded me to the future I could still carve for myself. H4H Pathfinder cleared all those barriers and alerted me to the opportunities that still exist in the civilian world for a wounded veteran.
“They helped me put the jigsaw puzzle that represented my life back together and put me in the right frame of mind. Whatever future you want for yourself, the course gives you very logical steps towards achieving it to ensure you stay on your right path.
“It has definitely made me more pro-active and confident to make the most of opportunities.”
The H4H Pathfinder Experiences helps wounded, injured and sick learn more about themselves in terms of strengths, skills, likes, dislikes, as well as identify opportunities that exist for the future, whether that be in fulfilling paid work, voluntary work or finding enjoyable hobbies.
Brian added: “Pathfinder massively re-motivated me to kick-start my life outside of the military. It made me realise what transferable skills I had and that had a massively positive impact on my confidence and self-esteem. It made me realise that I am still employable and have a lot to offer.”
Throughout the course Pathfinders develop an awareness of what they can do rather than what they can’t, and are armed with a number of tools and techniques to help them take personal responsibility and plan for a more fulfilling future.
Brian is now working closely with a Career Advisor at Tedworth House Recovery Centre to help further carve out his future career plan.