Life on the line: Mental health in the Army - Pt. 10

After getting in contact with a veteran, I received a 17-page document that detailed his extensive career and prolonged issues with mental health.

This is his story.

Life on the line: Mental health in the Army - Pt. 10

When we arrived in Suffolk I started my new job. It was a fairly isolated place, made worse by my domestic situation. I had to become a carer for my son when possible, and look after my 'sick wife'. I was rarely allowed out by myself, just in case she needed help. I was constantly talked out of going to social events - such as occasionally works outings - until I eventually stopped bringing up the subject. When I went on exercise that included a weekend away she would disappear for the weekend back home and be out enjoying herself with her family and friends.

I know even as I type this how ridiculous it all sounds, but I loved her and chose to believe what I was told. to acknowledge the reality meant I had really fucked up with my life choices. All the time I was being manipulated, and kept close. I was feeling low because I believed my wife was sick, because as sole earner everything was now my responsibility, and because it was a constant worry all the time. I became very withdrawn from everything. I was being manipulated and hadn't seen it coming. I grew to resent my own life.

A couple of Afghanistan tours came up and I volunteered for them to get away from my crappy life at home. How bad must things get to volunteer to go to a war zone to get away from your home life! And still the penny wasn't dropping that this wasn't right. I'd come home feeling worse each time. Depressions simply became a way of life.

Occasionally my laptop or phone would disappear from their usual places and reappear with things changed, folders opened, documents with more recent save dates as would only happen when something was opened and closed improperly. My phone would have texts or emails opened and read that I'd never seen and extra stuff was turning up in my deleted items. Internet histories would be in the wrong order compared to what I knew I had used. I'd ask her but she would deny all knowledge of anything to do with the discrepancies.

Then in late 2011 my world fell to pieces. I'd come back from another Afghanistan tour in a totally non-engaging state, feeling low and not really leaving my chair in front of the TV. I was suffering with quite severe depression by now. I'd lost myself, I was barely functioning beyond getting up and doing my job. After an argument with my wife - that she initiated - she asked me to leave.

Everything I had put my life into had just been destroyed in an instant.


Tom Inniss

Tom Inniss Voice Team

Tom is the Editor of Voice. He is a politics graduate and holds a masters in journalism, with particular interest in youth political engagement and technology. He is also a mentor to our Voice Contributors, and champions our festivals programme, including the reporter team at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe.

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