Every time we read our local press or watch the news we are surrounded by negativity with no resolution or end in sight. But of course, there is no negativity without positivity too, because as we all know, life is not black and white and nothing happens without an equal and opposite reaction.
This is why when we share our disasters and how we came out the other side, it helps people far more than presenting just one side. It is my personal belief that not every thing has to be nice. Terrible things happen every day, but if we only knew the goodwill stories, the human connections made in times of strife and the incredible strength and beauty of the human spirit throughout whatever life throws at us, we would be a lot less likely to feel depressed and apathetic when the media gives us one sided stories and viewpoints.
This is why I am hoping that by sharing my story, other people from both the military and civilian world will join me in my quest to try and spread some positivity and help change the lives and outlook of our veterans when they are struggling to navigate the new world they find themselves in on leaving the forces family.
Joining the British Army made me who I am today. The military world definitely wouldn't suit everybody, but as a confident, high energy 17 year old, I longed for a life fuelled with excitement and new opportunities.
As everyone who joins the armed forces knows, they break you to build you, and you have to be dedicated and determined to mentally and physically withstand the months of training in the wet and cold. The early part of the journey means learning to find the inner strength to cope with the early starts, the frustration of continually feeling a failure, and temporarily forgetting the family who brought you into this world because you need to stay focused. When you hear the expression "there's only one way up once you hit rock bottom," you realise there is never a truer word said. You have to be broken both physically and mentally in order to become a professionally trained soldier.
Interestingly enough, you put yourself through the same process that a trained athlete has to go through, or an actor going to months of auditions and taking all the rejection, hurt feelings and moments of crushing self-doubt on the way to finally getting the part that will make their career. It is also pretty similar to what you have to go through when you first start your own business - the days of late nights and early starts, running on empty and pushing through the blocks because you strive for greatness.
The job is no longer a job. It's your life, your identity. It becomes everything you stand for, built on your values and standards. But what happens when it comes to an end and you are lost, searching for a new identity formed on a new belief system?
It is at this point we can very easily give up, feel lost and surround ourselves with negativity. So what can we do? Although it may not seem simple at the time, it actually is incredibly simple - but when we are wallowing in feelings of failure and loss of identity, and especially if we don't have any role models around us of people who have transitioned from one successful career or life path to another, our life can seem completely pointless.
What we really need to do is take an inventory of our strengths from our past life and see how we can do even better with what we've learned. More importantly, it is essential to surround ourselves with positivity.
After attempting to take my own life after I was medically discharged in 2014, I began to gradually realise that this was yet another example of being broken in order to be rebuilt, only this time I had to do the rebuilding myself with the help of my husband and four beautiful kids.
Once I realised that this was my new mission, I understood that the drive, focus and self belief I had developed through my 14 year military career could be put to good use for my own sanity and helping others to start again.
Do you know anyone still serving our Armed forces? Did your parents or grandparents serve Queen and Country? If the answer is yes I'm wondering if you can help me raise awareness of my work to help prevent others having to go through the black tunnel I went through on the other side of the only career and life I had known from being 17.
Please help other veterans and serving soldiers know that help is on the way by sparing 4 minutes to watch, and share, this video of my pitch to Richard Branson in this year's VOOM by following this link: http://www.yourhelpmatters.co.uk/
The more votes I can get and the more people see our video the more I can raise awareness and hopefully help change the lives of our loved ones here in the UK. I cannot thank you enough for taking the time to read my story and support my work. Have you transitioned from one phase of your life to another and felt immense grief at having to do so? If so, what was it that helped you to see a brighter future in the end? Please comment below and help inspire others who may be struggling - I would love to hear your story.
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