Walking Back To Life
Hi, my name is Adam and I thought today was a specially relevant day to write about me, where I am and how I got here, especially what with the extra media focus and the stories of people such as Andrew Flintoff and Alistair Campbell who have both battled ill mental health.
Getting here? In short, It's hazy at best. I do know it happened over a long period of time from somewhere in between my mid teens and now. I did serve with the Green Howards Infantry Regiment, but was discharged on medical grounds in 1997.
After that, I battled lots of demons, from homelessness and depression to serving time in prison for drink-driving, taking a vehicle without consent and using threatening words to a police officer. Not my finest moments by a long shot.
Looking back, I now recognise that my discharge contributed to so many bad things, including seeing everything through the bottom of a pint glass which for me at the time 'I thought' was my salvation, my hiding place.
Marriage and family breakups, loss of jobs, trips to hospital, the list of problems it caused is endless. The turning point for me was that I was given the chance to meet Prince Harry at a mental health event for ex-forces personnel.
It was only at this point that I learned that I would be interviewed by the press but the truth was I didn't want people to know my story. On the day, I had a change of heart and I decided that this was actually the right thing to do. I haven't looked back since.
Releasing this story into the world made me feel so free, relieved in fact. I wasn't hiding what, in my mind, was a dirty secret; something to be shameful of anymore and I also thought that if just 1 person can relate to it, and it helps them it's all been worth it.
More so, the reaction I got from so many people couldn't have been more the opposite to the one I'd feared, there was so much love and support. From then, and again thanks to armed forces charity Walking With the Wounded’s Project Nova - which supports veterans after life in the forces - I got back on my feet.
I've now got a great job with a local marketing firm and I'm also an ambassador for Walking With The Wounded, supporting other ex-servicemen in the area. The biggest problem is you’ve got with ex-servicemen is that they are very proud, and they don’t always know where to start looking for help. Something I'm passionate about changing.
Despite our 'issues', whatever they are, we are still functioning human beings. I want to try to get the message out there to say ‘here we are’.
Bottom line is... talk to someone, you're not alone. It's changed my life, but this is just the start of my journey, I hope it's the start of yours too!
Proof, if proof were needed, that however bad life gets, there is always hope for recovery. Adam has personified that and we're so proud that he can share his story with us. He's an absolute credit to us blokes. Has Adam's story rung any bells with you? Are you an ex-servicemen who's been through the mill back on Civvy Street? Let us know in the comments below.
You can keep up-to-date with Adam on Twitter, where he's @PetsonAdam