Play / pause Seeking Help

Seeking Help

  • Paul Twitchell
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


A couple of years ago my mental health took a huge dive.

My experiences in Iraq became a pretty constant,

intrusive memory or thought.

So just about everything I did during the daytime,

during the night time was linked in stringently to Iraq.

So I would be seeing this young man at the side of the road

as I was driving past, he'd be sat in the car with me,

I'd be sat in a meeting, he'd be sat in a chair opposite me

and I thought I was going mad, I honestly thought if I

tell anybody about this, they're gonna kick me out

for being mad.

Crowded places, if I went into any crowded places at all

then it would, I'd be apprehensive even going in there

and as soon as I was there I'd be looking for exits,

I'd be looking what I could potentially use as a weapon

if I needed to defend myself.

And I'm talking shopping centers or even in work.

There was a constant link to the feeling of being in danger.

So the alcohol intake was constant, every single day,

every night.

The nightmares were, I'd had broken sleep for years.

I'd kinda got used to having broken sleep and used

to waking up and shouting and sweating and crying

because of the images are in my head.

My wife knew about this, obviously she was laid next

to me every night and she was worried about me.

Eventually I couldn't take this day to day existence

any longer and I planned and attempted suicide.

Which luckily I failed in that, very luckily I

failed in that.

It made me realize what I had and what was actually

happening to me because I had no thoughts when planning

this about the impact it would have on family and friends

and what I would leave behind.

I had no thought of that, I was very, kind of selfish

but I couldn't find another way.

I opened up about this and my wife dragged me down

to the med center and straight away I was given

professional help and looked after very, very well

and the fear that I had of being kicked out of the

Air Force was very, very wrong.

I've been shown, the amount of support I've been shown

is second to none, you wouldn't get it outside

of the military.

And yeah, I'm getting a lot better.

I've been given medication, I've been given therapy

and life has changed hugely since then and as the therapy

goes on these intrusive thoughts and flashbacks become

memories, like a normal person would have.

  • Paul Twitchell

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