David Teague was only 16 when he joined the Royal Engineers in 2005. Hoping to see the world and learn a trade, he spent five years abroad in Germany, did two tours of Afghanistan and was also deployed to Jordan and Austria: “My tours were what I joined up to do so I look back happily at them.”
A keen rugby player and skier while with the Army, David’s life was turned upside down when he was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). From being active and outgoing, he found himself feeling constantly on edge and suffering crippling anxiety: “I’m not very confident anymore and can’t really make decisions for myself. I’ve got massive social anxiety and it affects me a lot.”
In need of support, David spent time at Tedworth House, the Help for Heroes Recovery Centre, and has become a member of the Charity’s fellowship group, the Band of Brothers: “That’s been really good for me – being around others and doing things that get my mind off all the bad things. It’s nice to know I’ve got those people and definitely reassuring I’ve got the support there.”
David is now part of Heritage Heroes, a partnership between Canal & River Trust and Help for Heroes. It aims to train wounded, injured and sick Service Personnel, Veterans and their families for an accredited qualification as they restore forgotten canals across the country.
Being part of the project has been a huge benefit to David’s ongoing recovery: “For me personally, it’s the best thing because it gets me out of the house and back into a routine. It’s something to aim for and gets me mucking in again. It’s doing me the world of good being here. For any wounded thinking of getting involved, give it a go.”
David’s PTSD means every day can be challenge. But despite this, he hopes with the support of Help for Heroes, including his involvement with Heritage Heroes, he’ll be able to get back his life and what means the most to him: “I’m taking things slowly. My one aim at the moment is to be at a stage where I can support my family again. That’s all I want.”