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  • Neil

My Journey to Forces in The Community

25 years in the Corps of Royal Engineers made me confident, gobby, independent. The soldier in me loved my time in the army, it came to end and I moved on; or so I thought.

I was successful in employment. I became a lecturer in Further Education and finished up as a Head of School. But in the 12 years of doing that I moved from post to post about every three or four years, unsettled and not fitting in. I'd apply to work elsewhere when unsettled, pack my bags and move on, deliberately avoiding long-term commitment. My marriage went the same way, I argued a lot and we got divorced. My son doesn't speak to me now, pushed away and ignored.

It took awhile to realise that it was me. It was during those long days of Covid Lockdown after I'd sabotaged my 5th job in 16 years that I finally accepted there was a common thread to this grief. Me.

I searched for help and and came across Forces in the Community. I talked, they listened. They've been listening now for over three years. It wasn't an instant fix, I still need a top-up every now and then when (I feel a song coming on) this whole world starts getting me down.

It has been a long journey and it has cost me some. But now I'm here I am so glad I came. Talking to someone who has worn the same uniform as me, who has similar (or same) experiences as me, and who talks my language helps me. I don't feel judged, even when I talk about the many mistakes I've made. I can talk about the things I did and how I now feel about those things without worrying about being labelled as mad, bad or sad. It makes the world a more comfortable place, one in which I'm doing more than surviving.

The hardest part of the journey was recognising the need for help, it was a bumpy road leading downhill. I am so glad that I recognised the need for help.

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