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‘I just can’t thank WWTW enough - you’ve changed my life and my family’s life. My role as a partner and father is now far better than I could have ever imagined.’
Shaun was 19 when he joined the Grenadier Guards in 2008. He was twice deployed to Afghanistan and during both tours he experienced significant, traumatic events. .
The physical demands of military life also took their toll – he had a knee replacement and started to suffer pain in his ankle which over time became chronic. Shaun was placed in a rehabilitation platoon and was permanently separated from his unit and his usual duties. As a dedicated soldier with an exemplary record, he found this situation hard to endure and became disillusioned – eventually he handed in his resignation papers.
‘When I first left the army I felt lost and alone, I had no support network, friends or colleagues and I became totally isolated. After starting my own business and becoming a father in 2016, I really went downhill.’
Shaun returned to civilian life and started to work very long hours. He began to suffer continuous disturbed sleep which was soul destroying and drained every little bit of energy he and his family had. He would wake up 10 to 15 times a night having nightmares, hearing children screaming, and he would stand disorientated in the room. Shaun found if incredibly difficult to deal with his daughter’s crying when she was a baby - it brought on panic attacks and he was unable to sleep until he knew she was safe and asleep.
One incident in particular, revealed his mental state - Shaun took his young daughter to the local park and experienced extreme and irrational anxiety for the welfare of his child. He was convinced that she was going to die and he froze. After that he couldn’t go to the park again, in fact, Shaun found it impossible to leave the house.
‘I totally relied on my fiancée which put so much pressure on her but if it wasn’t for her intervention and WWTW none of these life changing events would have ever happened and I don’t think I’d still be around.’
Tracy, Shaun’s fiancée, took matters into her own hands and contacted a military charity without his knowledge. Along with close family and friends they had noticed dramatic changes in his behaviour and personality and Tracy saw that Shaun was really struggling in his home and work life.
Shaun was referred to Walking With The Wounded’s mental health programme and began seeing his therapist, Anna, in January 2018.
In their very first session, Anna recognised that Shaun was suffering from exhaustion caused by his excessive work commitments and that this was having a huge impact on his wellbeing. This revelation proved to be a ‘penny drop’ moment for Shaun and gave him immediate relief. Over the next nine months he completed 14 sessions of therapy that included EMDR (Eye Movement, Desensitization & Reprocessing) and he came out the other side a very different man.
‘After my first session with my WWTW Therapist, I could not believe what happened, I felt as if a huge weight had been lifted. Over time, things gradually improved and the nightmares and the sound of children screaming stopped.’
Shaun has run his own business since 2016 and is the Director of Chamber Health and Wellbeing. Half the week he runs a gym and the other half he spends life coaching clients. He has learnt a lot from his own negative emotions from the past and has channelled these to develop his skills as a Life Coach. He now advises those who may also need help.
As a direct result of therapy, Shaun now feels like a normal Dad. He can play with his children and this year he took his daughter back to the park for the first time.
‘You have to believe and trust in the process, the therapy I received from WWTW was outstanding. I now understand myself better and know how to deal and cope with difficult situations. I still struggle with some areas but I know they are a work in progress – it will come in time.’
Veterans like Shaun have served their country – now we need to stand beside them when they need us most.