Simon joined the Royal Signals in October 1989 and completed his training as a Telecommunications Operator (Radio Relay) at Catterick Garrison. He served in many countries around the world and completed 6 operational tours including the First Gulf War, Northern Ireland and Bosnia.
After returning from his second tour of duty in Bosnia in 1996, he started to suffer from flashbacks and many other severe symptoms. Simon was eventually medically discharged in 2001 after 12 years service with a diagnosis of Recurrent Depression. This diagnosis was later changed to Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD)
After struggling for many years with many strange symptoms that he did not understand, Simon visited a Consultant Psychiatrist in Leeds who diagnosed his with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder; the diagnosis was reconfirmed in 2006 by a Combat Stress Psychiatrist.
Because PTSD is a psychological illness, and because service people are often seen as very strong people, it is difficult for many to understand or see the effect of the condition and soldiers often refer to it as an “unseen illness”.
Simon suffers from around 14 symptoms at varying levels such as flashbacks, nightmares, hyper-vigilance, disturbed sleep, severe anxiety, memory problems, difficulty concentrating, avoidance issues and lack of emotions. The effect of the symptoms on Simon’s daily life mean that some of the most basic things like eating and sleeping become very hard; this also affects the people around Simon and the people he cares about and who care about him.
After being discharged from the Forces, Simon immediately secured a position with the world’s largest recruitment company in London. Despite having no prior sales training, he became quickly very successful and was soon headhunted by a Recruitment Consultancy in the City.
Although he was enjoying the role and the successes, he soon became too ill to carry on and left his position to return to his home city of Leeds at the end of 2004. He experienced increasingly very severe periods of illness relating to the PTSD, and unfortunately these symptoms have prevented him a return to work ever since.
In between long periods of illness and the struggle with symptoms, Simon has work very hard to keep active and motivated and has carried out volunteer work to raise awareness of PTSD and Mental Health issues and has been involved in fund raising for a veterans’ and mental health charities.