Mum, wife, veteran and social entrepreneur
The Army was more than a job for me – it was more like an extended family for a long time. I signed up at the age of 17 and never knew any other life until health problems brought my military career to a sudden stop. Disabled by swelling and pain in her legs, the senior NCO was diagnosed with compartment syndrome, a disorder that causes pressure to build up in the muscles. Despite rehab, I was unable to walk without crutches and severe pain.
In 2014 I was medically discharged. This triggered a mental breakdown. When I heard the words, “Sgt Gardner, thank you very much. You are now Mrs Gardner…” she felt like her whole identity has been taken away and she couldn’t cope.
It is through my experience and expertiseI fight to put a stop to despair and anxiety amongst ex-service personnel and their families. Those men and women have led teams of hundreds of people. Whom have been trained to put their fellow soldiers and the safety of civilians before themselves. The reality is that they often end up with no job prospects and nowhere to live.
I started on my own road to recovery by researching alternative therapies. After 18 months, I have not only dramatically improved my own health, but now I provide an international online directory of wellness practitioners and advice. Direct Transitioning Help Foundation (non profit) provides access to support for service leavers.
My simple and direct approach hopefully shows I understands the issues. I stand shoulder to shoulder with ex-service personnel worldwide.
Inspirational & Motivational speaker (@Womenspeakers)
1. Success and adversity What doesn't kill you makes you stronger! Gemma Gardner gives inspirational tips on how to overcome the black dog of depression.
2. Vulnerability and Visibility Gemma's life fell apart when her uniform was stripped away from her. She talks about her journey and how to regain strength from within.