By Anthony Lock
Opening my eyes for the first time after waking from a coma, I had to face an uncomfortable truth. After over twelve years of service, my military career was over and it was all within a single blink of an eye. The reality of returning to normal when you leave the Armed Forces can be a huge burden to most of us. In my story, I had no support and without that, it’s very hard to live a ‘normal’ life.
Everything in my life changed when I was left with life-altering injuries after surviving not one but two IED explosions within six weeks of each other. I broke my neck unknowingly after the first yet I continued to lead by example. During my career I lost nine good friends and carried two of their coffins. Being left without the support network I needed forced my Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) to eat away at me. My life was becoming a walking nightmare and most mornings when I woke up, I would be gutted to still be breathing.
However, the truth is, I didn’t want to die. I began to write down my horrors and nightmares to aid my own help, like a form of self-treatment, I guess. It helped me massively to overcome some of my issues.
This past year has seen a huge rise in suicides within the Ex-Forces Community and I could so easily have been another. I was sat on top of Pen-y-fan last July and seriously thought about closing my eyes and falling forwards off the edge. At the time I was so depressed with life and broken by war, whilst the PTSD was still eating away at me.
I decided that I would place all the horrors that I had been writing down continuously over the years since the day I was injured into a book. My aim was to raise awareness and help the hundreds, if not thousands of others that are now in my shoes and suffering with their own mental health issues alone, whilst being let down by those who should’ve had a duty of care for them.
Hidden wounds are no laughing matter and should be freely spoken about if we are to break down the stigmas around PTSD within the armed forces and beyond. This is the best way we can help others reach out.
My book is a true story written from the heart, will take you on a journey through the eyes of a soldier broken by war and help you understand PTSD more clearly. Greater awareness can help us change a broken system of care and prevent more needless deaths.
I am Anthony Lock, I suffer with PTSD and I am the Author of the book ‘Broken By War’.
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