Mark Ishwerwood was Medically Discharged from the Royal Engineers in August 2012, after being diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Mark had served a tour of Afghanistan in the summer of 2010 as a member of the Counter IED Task force. The nature of the job often involved being exposed to many distressing incidents, in particular the death of a friend and colleague early on in the tour.
The symptoms of Mark’s PTSD vary day to day but often involve reoccurring thoughts and images of the event as well as nightmares and a generally low mood. Before he was diagnosed Mark found it hard to manage day to day, but diagnosis meant he could get the care and support needed to begin to rebuild his life.
Mark was introduced to the Help for Heroes Band of Brothers network through hisWIS officer and since being in contact with the Help for Heroes team things have started to move forward. “It is great to know that there are a team of dedicated individuals who are happy to help others in need. Meeting up with other injured soldiers also helped me to realise that I was not alone and I always leave the Help for Heroes Recovery Centres feeling inspired by what I have seen and the people I meet there. My wife has also found that being with the Help for Heroes Band of Sisters has helped her come to terms with the fact that things are different. She has found that she has always been offered support and that the Help for Heroes Band of Sisters staff are always more than happy to help.”
Since his Discharge Mark has been fortunate to train with SkillForce. Financial support from Help for Heroes has allowed Mark to train as a Mentor and he has now worked with Skillforce for almost two years. Gaining employment after the Army was hugely important for Mark as he wanted to feel like there was still a change of a fulfilling second career.“I now do something I really enjoy. I have also found that being involved with various voluntary organisations has allowed me to feel a ‘purpose’ once again and has allowed me to turn what was once a negative in to something positive and I feel that being diagnosed with PTSD has been a driving force for me to get more from life. The support from Help for Heroes has been a big contributor in my ongoing recovery process, and in the future I hope to do more for the charity in order to help other soldiers who find themselves in a position I once was.”