Like so many of us, I feel very strongly about checking in on our brothers and sisters who may be struggling with anxiety or depression. As the founder of the Final RV group, I feel a deep sense of responsibility to do whatever I can to help raise awareness about the devastating effects that PTSD has on troops and their families.
The Sad Loss of One of Our Memeber/Brothers
It's a sad fact that too many of us are falling prey to the demons of our minds and a failing support system. This became even more pravalent recently when one of our members and fellow brothers from my regiment lost his way through the dark.
Carl Arthur served with the Worcestershire and Sherwood Foresters Regiment and spent most of his career in D FSP Milan Platoon seeing operations in South Armagh in 1994 and Bosnia in 1996 and 1998/99.
He was such great guy, completely selfless and always up for a bit of banter with the lads. Car was extremely proud of his service and had just been accepted into the Fire Service. I remember that he would always volunteer to give us lifts from Tidworth to Andover for a night out on the lash. He was also a skilled Warrior driver giving some of the best drivers of armoured vehicles a run for their money.
Carl's funeral will be held at Polesworth Abbey on Friday 25th October. His family have mentioned that anyone who served with Carl is welcome to attend.
A Go Fund me page has been set up to help raise money for the Authur family so please Donate Here if you can. Every little helps his family with costs incured after his sudden passing. Whilst it won't alleviate any of the grief and suffering, it will go some way to making life a little easier for Carls Family as he left two sons, two step children and a wife behind.
One thing I am sure of, Carl Arthur will never be forgotten and I'm honoured to have served with him.
1. Talking Really Helps
The problem is that those who have PTSD or any other form of mental illness, are often too ashamed to broach the subject with anyone. They normally need to be approached before they will open up and talk.
At the end of the day, we're all human and we all have a breaking point. Some struggle with showing emotions as they wrongly believe it shows weakness. The truth of the matter is that opening up and talking about our demons is what shows real strength of character.
2. Beast PTSD
The second thing I remain convinced about is that keeping yourself physically fit has a huge positive impact on our state of mind. When you think about it, so many of us leave the forces where keeping fit was part of our everday life but drop keeping fit as soon as we get out. WELL DON'T!
There's a standard joke that we used to be the fittest alcholics in the world. There's an element of truth to this but the the problem is, when troops leave the forces, the drinking continues but the fitness part of our routine stops. This is bound to have negative physcological effects.
By the way, I am not for one minute suggesting that not doing physical activity causes PTSD. I am simply suggesting that it is possibly a factor to consider when it comes to mental health. There really is no doubt in my mind that some form regular exercise helps to keep not only our body's in check but our minds also.
I know many of us carry injuries which prevent certain forms of exercise. I often hear troops complaining about long-term injuries that prevent them from taking part in some physical activities.
For example, many can no longer run due to knee or back related injuries but they don't stop you swimming or cycling do they? There is always a work around so IMPROVISE, ADAPT and OVERCOME!
When I see fellow mucker, Brian Chapman who is a below the knee amputee, out running every week and completing challenges such as Pen Y Fan, it makes me realise that there really are no excuses.
It's so important to keep an eye out for each other troops. It costs absolutely nothing to drop someone you know a text or a quick phone call. Failing that, go and knock on their door and invite them round for beer or a brew.
Make today (Mental Health Awareness Day) that day where you actually reach out to a couple of your mates and ask if they're really ok. Just remember that people with depression nearly always say they're fine whether they are or not. Delve deeper!
For any of our members who are struggling right now, please remember that if something is broken, it can be fixed. No matter how dark things may seem, the sun will shine again. Please don't be afraid to speak out. There is no shame in it and it is ok to not be ok.
For your information:
Please, please remember that we are all stronger together. You can reach out to anyone in Final RV if you need to talk to someone immediately. We will always respond night or day and do our best to support you.
Also, you can gain professional assistance from Rock to Recovery or Combat Stress.