“When Simon left the Army he was in a dark place and so was I. It was taking all my strength to keep the family together.”
When Tracey’s husband Simon was diagnosed with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder she felt the effects too, particularly as he found it hard to talk about what he was going through. But with support, they’re finding the strength to work through it together.
“When Simon left his job in the Army he was in a dark place and so was I. It was so hard to watch him suffering and I’d worry that it was somehow my fault.
Simon found it hard to open up and I felt helpless and as if was walking on eggshells a lot of the time. “It was taking all my strength to keep the family together. “Simon had some counselling, but it just wasn’t working. Eventually, he had a complete breakdown, and that’s when we turned to Help for Heroes. “Almost as soon as he started receiving support from the team, things got better.
He was surrounded by people who understood what he was going through – not just experts that could help him but other veterans too. “When he discovered a love of photography after attending some of the art therapy sessions organised by the charity, the difference in Simon was huge. Having something new to focus on helped so much with the symptoms of his PTSD – it took the focus away from his anxiety and the panic attacks. Help for Heroes even gave him a camera which he was thrilled with. “When the coronavirus pandemic hit, it felt a bit like we were back at square one again at first.
Simon’s PTSD symptoms really flared up– he was constantly worried, panicking and the sleepless nights he’d suffered before having any treatment returned. “But with the charity’s help, we got through it. Simon had regular phone calls with his counsellor and because he’s a member of the Help for Heroes’ Band of Brothers Fellowship, he was able to join their regular virtual get-togethers and stay connected to his support network.
“I know there is a long and rocky road still ahead of us, but because the help is there we both feel so much more at ease. Simon has people he can talk to and he’s able to be more open with me too. I can’t pretend to understand it all and that can be frustrating, but we definitely talk more about what’s going on for him, and that’s helped us both a lot. “Because of the support he’s received we’re stronger, together.”
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