Was interested in the topic posted by Alex regarding PTSD

Papillon

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#1
I was interested in the views around PTSD in the closed thread! As just taking retirement from the NHS working in Mental Health and mostly with poly drug users it is very apparent at this time in the UK we have the following
1- AT present the highest number of ex service men in prison
2- THe highest number of homeless ex service people
3- The highest number of ex service poly drug users
4- THe highest number of ex service unemployed
5- the highest number of dual diagnoses ex servicemen
(All these are evidence based facts)
These are worrying figures but so often guys drop out of society and self medicate, as the support networks just don't have enough ex services guys working to help to engage into treatment as unfortunately the Los barrier of "You don't understand you ain't been to war" so we are going to have a real problem not only sending young guys to war but on return due to issues their lives are being ruined as a lack of support for them to engage to access support when they return or their time is up and get lost in city street!
 

Sarajevo1992

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#3
Unfortunately with all the cutbacks in the military number 1 to 4 Will increase. Other problem is that PTSD can appear Many years after deployment and people then fail to make the connection to their former military life and deployment so they wont get THE right treatment
 

jonny

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#4
I was interested in the views around PTSD in the closed thread! As just taking retirement from the NHS working in Mental Health and mostly with poly drug users it is very apparent at this time in the UK we have the following
1- AT present the highest number of ex service men in prison
2- THe highest number of homeless ex service people
3- The highest number of ex service poly drug users
4- THe highest number of ex service unemployed
5- the highest number of dual diagnoses ex servicemen
(All these are evidence based facts)
These are worrying figures but so often guys drop out of society and self medicate, as the support networks just don't have enough ex services guys working to help to engage into treatment as unfortunately the Los barrier of "You don't understand you ain't been to war" so we are going to have a real problem not only sending young guys to war but on return due to issues their lives are being ruined as a lack of support for them to engage to access support when they return or their time is up and get lost in city street!

Hi, I have been away from this forum for a while so I missed Alex's original post too.
My personal experience of PTSD is that I grew up with a schizophrenic father which I was only able to escape from when I was old enough to get a ship out of Norway in 1955, when I was 15 years old.

Then followed some serious experimentations with self-medication, mainly with beer, but also with Rum in the Caribbean and whatever else came cheaply. And in the mid 50's things were cheap indeed.

That worked fine for a while, until I hit the wall in Dakar, jumped ship and joined the legion. I was still only 16 then, but this was long before modern IT technology so I managed to bluff my way in.

Then something strange happened, I had finally found a place where everything made perfectly sense. I was in battle within 3 months of arriving in Algeria and while still only 17 I was a paratrooper in 2eme REP and fighting in the 'battle of the frontiers' on the Tunisian border. Any trace of my former brush with madness had now completely disappeared, and never returned.

To me the legion, with its customary hardship, the battles, the comradeship and the pride in my uniform and status as a French Foreign Legion Paratrooper completely wiped out any damage I had suffered during a hellish childhood.

After 5 years in the legion I had gained a great deal of confidence in myself, which also saw me successfully through university and a long career as an engineer, and as a university lecturer towards the end of my working life.

In other words, what I am trying to point out with my story is that battle experience, death at close quarters, being ripped apart by mortar grenades, watching cars being blown sky high by bombs, and whatever else I experienced in Algeria doesn't necessarily equates to PTSD. It can actually turn you into a much more resilient and sane person than you could ever have been without this experience.
 
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#5
Jonny,
Fascinating story. I am 74 and have always been interested in the FFL. This stems from RM cdos co-operating at Suez with the Legion. Also I have several former colleagues who are former Legionnaires and of course there is this forum.
When I joined at 17 I was mere skin and beardless.(RMV202910- 20/06/1956).
Also vertically challenged at 5'6" and hardly ruffty/tuffty commando material.
At 15, I was unable to join the the Merchant Navy. Also to join the RMs' I needed parental consent. Surely that must have been required of you ? Likewise the FFL always added on a few years to the very young who joined. Did that happen to you, or did you lie about your age or even simply look older ? I remain curious since we are of the same age and you appear to have been a young para and I became a wearer of our coveted green beret.
E-mail me if you wish to.
 

jonny

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#6
hi chas, I tried to reply but didnt get through. I did not bring a passport with me when I walked ashore in Africa, so I added 4 years to my age and told them I was 20.
 

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