I started Veterans Club (VC) in part, to help me with my own struggles with PTSD and to deny my Demons a free mind within which to play!
After having been diagnosed with Complex PTSD by Combat Stress and receiving some “coaching" in Coping Strategies, I went onto treatment by Veterans NHS Wales. After suffering a “nightmare" of a Crisis Point, several suicide attempts, alcohol abuse and Violence I needed to change!!
Opening Pandora's Box, not only facing my Demons but fighting them was probably the hardest thing I’ve ever done! Strangely after years of Therapy and relapses, I look back at those times and find it so hard to understand why I just didn’t open up and talk to someone, anyone, about what I was feeling. Instead, the Tsunami of PTSD signs and symptoms rolled over me, consumed me until there was very little of “me" left.
In its place was a version of me that I can no longer relate to. I have been extremely fortunate, firstly for still being alive but as importantly I have met extraordinary people through VC! PTSD sufferers, those who have been fortunate to have Served and have left unscathed by their experiences and a growing group of “Civilians" and Armed Forces Supporters who work tirelessly for the “cause" of increasing awareness and understanding of what PTSD actually is and the affect it has both on the sufferer and wider family/friends.
VC continues to expand, from 2 drop-ins a week to between 10 /12 now. VC has been a “vehicle" that has brought together Comrades from ALL Branches of the Armed Forces. We Socialise together, we help one another, and we support one another!
VC has become my Family!
Veterans Club was recommended to me by Veterans NHS Wales due to my recent diagnosis of PTSD and depression.
I was very apprehensive at first, but once I met Sandy and his team, I made a connection straight away. This has only continued to grow to make me feel part of a family again. This is something I missed from serving within the Military.
The members are a varied bunch, to say the least, lol, but we all have great banter just like the good old days. I would thoroughly recommend joining this club which is continuing to grow in numbers every day. We are all there to offload on each other which is something we all need now and again, especially if you are living on your own.
I'm at present a retired nursing sister with 34 yrs experience.
Unfortunately, I had to leave my post five years ago due to mental health problems, as I suffer from bi-polar and General anxiety disorder.
My contact with VC is coincidental as my friend's son is a Veteran. I attended a meeting with him. However, I'm so pleased I did. Immediately I felt a sense of belonging and saw a glimpse of the camaraderie that must be felt when serving in the Armed Forces.
Indeed, it reminded me of being a frontline nurse and the bonds of friendship I'd had during my nursing years and in my training.
Having a diagnosis of mental health often leaves you isolated and excluded. In the VC meetings, I was encouraged to join in with all aspects of the club, from social, fundraising, hikes up mountains and even camping. I have now been asked to join a team of ladies in providing welfare advice and care to new members of the club.
My potential has been recognised and not my illness. VC has empowered me and encouraged me and others who aren't Veterans but are fighting their own mental health demons.
In fact, I've often wondered why being usually so bubbly should suffer with depression, mood swings and anxiety. Well, maybe I've found the answer. It takes one to know one. If I can be a listener, support and show empathy to any member, it'll be my privilege and honour to do so. Returning the favour VC has bestowed on me.
Hi my name is Ceri I am suffering from PTSD for a number of years. In August 2018 I tried to take my life, I was in a very dark place and could not see the light at the end of the tunnel. If it wasn't for Sandy coming to see me at crisis point to have a face to face chat with me and telling me his story I would not be here right now.
I owe my life to Sandy and his team. Veterans Club makes me feel part of a brotherhood again and the support they have given me is incredible, I am so grateful for everything that they do.
On 29th August 2018 my world turned upside down by a phone call at 6.30 am. On the other end of the phone was my son, a serving soldier, crying the rain, he had tried to take his life.
My son had been living with PTSD for some time, nobody helped, so I brought him ‘home’ back to Wales. Even after many doctors’ appointments, he still faced daily struggles.
One night, when on his suicide watch, I called a very dear friend who put me in touch with Veterans Club, I didn’t know who to turn to for help. This is when we had the help my son really needed. Sandy was amazing, and the tremendous support from his team and fellow members.
My son is still learning to live life with PTSD, we used to live day by day but now, June 2019, he has booked two holidays and is looking forward to his future. I’d like to thank Veterans Club from the bottom of my heart, you have given our family HOPE!