Guest Post by Sidney Gould
Hello to one and all. My name is Sid Gould and I served in the British army as part of the Army War Graves Service during the first Gulf war. Due to the many horrific things I saw, had to deal with on a daily basis and things I had to do, I suffered severely from PTSD during, upon my return and until today.
The Military, at that time, did not offer very much help and because it was a relatively new thing for soldiers to admit to and be treated for this they, in my opinion, implemented the incorrect procedures. This then fell upon my friends and I to take in hand. My solace was reading but mostly alcohol so my friends would take me fishing, hiking or swimming. All of these things helped me to combat the daily discord raging in my mind.
Many occasions I was advised to write down my thoughts, fears, anger and struggles I was experiencing but I never did. I continued to serve in the Military for a long time afterwards and distinguished myself on many occasions earning numerous medals, commendations and awards. This I now believe wasn’t because I was an exceptional soldier it was because I didn’t care about putting myself in harm’s way and if I wasn’t being sent on a tour of duty I would volunteer.
One day I decided to try the advice I had been given years before and sat down to write my thoughts and struggles when a friend arrived, you know the sort of friend who just walks into the house and goes straight to the fridge first, he came into the room I was in and asked what I was doing. I gave him a quick brief on the advice I was given and the things I had done over the years to combat my PTSD so he asked if he could read what I had put down, cautious at first I let him read my ramblings, he stopped at the end, looked up at me and said ‘I am in awe’.
Even though I had spoken with friends and family over the years I didn’t divulge everything I had experienced and wish I had done so, even talking with my Granddad and other army mates I didn’t tell them all and I certainly didn’t tell my mother anything. At the time I believed that if I told them they would then be dragged into living my nightmare but this isn’t so and I implore anyone doing the same today to find someone you trust and tell them boots and all, it’s not the end of the process but a bloody good start.
That was the beginning of my book The Mind of War. I wrote about the war and the things I did and then the targets I set myself along with the things I did to help myself with my problem, the very day I pressed the button with the final full stop a great weight was lifted from my shoulders. Unfortunately we all know these types of problems will never go, I was very secluded in my friendship and didn’t make new friends easily, I couldn’t hold down a relationship and I was always in trouble at work, even when I left the army I moved from place to place and didn’t stay in the same job for long. I still have ups and downs and I know the things I have done will never leave me, but writing the book and sharing my feelings helped tremendously and proves you can manage PTSD.
Now I have my book published I am attempting to get the word out about this condition and I truly hope that my book helps people. I think that even if my book helps one person then I have done what I set out to do the day I decided to share my experiences … my book for the world to share … wow that’s still a scary thought. I also believe my book will give the younger generation a more informed view of things they can expect when joining the army, I don’t propose people do not join, I love our soldiers, sailors and airmen … but … if the youth of today read my book and still join good for them at least I hope I have given them better knowledge of what to expect, more so than I had.
If you still don’t believe me that there is a light at the end of the tunnel, talk to Michele because it can be overcome.
What I now intend doing is crossing the Australian outback on my own, just me and a backpack. I will be doing this for charity and intend to take a camera along with me to document the arduous journey. Afterwards I will distribute the money to PTSD organisations around the world and hopefully set something up myself for servicemen and women … even if it’s just me, a telephone and a sympathetic ear.
Thank you all for reading this, if you wish to join me go to the Facebook link below or if you would like a copy of the book it’s available on Kindle or paperback. Love to you all. For more information check out:
Sid’s bio: “I served with the British Army for ten years and then the New Zealand Army for another ten, had a dabble as a chef then went gold mining, explosives after that and now a cowboy in the aussie outback.
Also now an author, with holes in his undies. Signing into the Aussie Reserves as a Bomb Disposal Officer and writing some more stuff 😉 Lots of tours of duty to write about and maybe some other things but all with humour, reality, fear, pride, shock and any other emotion you may have.
I have my first book released on digital (Kindle) and will have the paperback out soon, as I have just spat on the wood, profusely stamped on it and threw a bucket of ink at it, as soon as the ink dries you big kids can have a copy but until then I don’t think your better half will be happy with you cleaning your hands on the curtains.”