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Gulf veteran’s mental anguish
SHE says her husband served his country in the first Gulf War - and paid the price through mental illness brought on by post traumatic stress disorder.
Sue White claims her husband Carl's condition was triggered after he left the army, and missed the people he had worked alongside for 14 years in the "most hostile situations imaginable".
He sparked a police siege of their home in Acomb, York, on one occasion after he started cutting up a sofa with a knife, and he was sectioned as a "dangerous madman" as his condition spiralled out of control, before eventually receiving the help he needed.
Now Sue, 38, wants to launch a support group in York for other veterans going through similar problems after leaving the military.
"There are at least seven or eight other people in the York area who are in the same position as me," said Sue, who has now told of her own extraordinary experiences in a new book, entitled Soldier On, which will be launched at Borders bookstore, in York, on Friday.
She says in the book: "What I wanted to do was tell the story of how some soldiers are left struggling to cope with life after the forces.
"Soldiers should never be forgotten, yet even in this day and age they still are. They join up to protect our country, they don't pick the fights, they just fight them. It's a disgrace."
She said her husband started to develop mental health problems around the turn of the millennium, when he developed depression, mood swings, anxiety, panic attacks, nightmares and problems with self-confidence and self-esteem.
"His world had been ripped apart on leaving the army the year before. He constantly told me he wasn't normal any more," she said.
"His mates were electricians, plumbers and worked in factories and shops; normal jobs. I think he didn't feel normal compared to them. The blokes he had worked with for 14 years before had been to war, thrown into the most hostile situations imaginable. Together they worked hard, then they drank hard. Together, they were all one big dysfunctional family. Once he'd left, he felt he was alone."
She said she looked after him through five years of depression, "sprinkled with manic highs when he couldn't control his emotions, crying and sobbing as much as screaming and shouting".
She said his condition had now been diagnosed as "complex post traumatic stress," and her husband viewed this as a breakthrough.
Sue said that some of the money from sales of her book would be used towards setting up a support group, including a website enabling other local families in the same situation to "link up".
* Anyone wanting to help Sue start up a York support group for veterans and their families should contact her by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Sue will be signing copies of her book at Borders, in Davygate, York, at 6pm until 8.45pm on Friday.