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Horrors of war made me want to take my own life says ex-soldier

Horrors of war made me want to take my own life says ex-soldier

HAUNTED by reminiscences of preventing and an explosion that nearly killed a colleague, Colin McCurdy was stricken by nightmares and flashbacks.

The dad-of-four, from Belfast, had all the time tried so exhausting to reside up to his popularity as a “rough, tough” soldier however struggled with life after his military profession ended – a narrative that has chilling echoes with that of PC David Budd within the BBC’s compelling drama Bodyguard.

 Colin McCurdy spent 18 years in the army serving in Northern Ireland - he went on to develop PTSD and his mental health deteriorated so much he attempted suicide

Colin McCurdy spent 18 years within the military serving in Northern Eire – he went on to develop PTSD and his psychological well being deteriorated a lot he tried suicide

Affected by melancholy and extreme submit traumatic stress after preventing in Northern Eire – the place his commander was virtually killed in an explosion entrance of him – one chilly December night in 2015, Colin felt he had no different choice.

He was going to take his own life at residence.

Talking to The Solar as half of our You are Not Alone suicide prevention marketing campaign that’s calling on readers to know the indicators to search for in themselves and others, Colin says: “I simply needed to finish it.

“I used to be going to kill myself. I knew how and the place I used to be going to do it, and I started to filter out my pockets.”

 Colin found it difficult to re-adjust to civilian life after nearly two decades in the army

Colin McCurdy

Colin discovered it troublesome to re-adjust to civilian life after almost 20 years within the military


EVERY 90 minutes within the UK a life is misplaced – to suicide.

It does not discriminate, touching the lives of individuals in each nook of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and docs, actuality stars and footballers.

It is the most important killer of individuals beneath the age of 35, extra lethal than most cancers and automotive crashes. And males are 3 times extra possible to take their own life than ladies.

But, it is not often spoken of, a taboo that threatens to proceed its lethal rampage until all of us cease and take discover, now.

That’s the reason The Solar has launched the You are Not Alone marketing campaign. To remind anybody dealing with a troublesome time, grappling with psychological sickness or feeling like there’s nowhere left to flip, that there’s hope.

To mark World Suicide Prevention Day, over the course of this week, we’ll inform you the tales of courageous survivors, kinfolk left behind, heroic Good Samaritans – and share ideas from psychological well being specialists.

The purpose is that by sharing sensible recommendation, elevating consciousness and breaking down the obstacles individuals face when speaking about their psychological well being, we will all do our bit to assist save lives.

Let’s all vow to ask for assist once we want it, and pay attention out for others. 

You are Not Alone.

For an inventory of help providers out there, see the The place To Get Assist field decrease down within the article.

However thumbing via his pockets truly proved to be his salvation – Colin says it was discovering the Fight Stress card and helpline quantity that saved his life.

“I said to myself ‘this is my last chance’. And before I did anything silly, I phoned the helpline.”

He says he informed the decision handler “everything”.

“I advised them I wanted assist and that I used to be going to take my own life by suicide.

“They told me they were here for me, and they could help me. I put my faith in them and they assessed me and arranged a psychiatrist appointment.”

Giving his recommendation to anybody in turmoil, Colin stresses the significance of asking for assist – to not be embarrassed to inform somebody the ache you are in as a result of in doing so your life can change for the higher.

 Colin, pictured here with daughter Laura, 24, says his PTSD affected his family life and made him a hard person to live with

Colin McCurdy

Colin, pictured right here with daughter Laura, 24, says his PTSD affected his household life and made him a tough individual to reside with

Tragically, 46-year-old Colin’s expertise isn’t an remoted case. 

Yearly, armed service psychological well being charity Fight Stress receives greater than 12,000 calls and a couple of,000 referrals from former servicemen and ladies fighting psychological well being points. 

And prior to now ten years demand has doubled, with publish traumatic stress dysfunction the most typical well being situation they deal with, as troopers typically wrestle to discover the best help they want.

In accordance to analysis by the College of Manchester, suicide danger is biggest within the first two years following discharge.

The psychological well being of armed forces veterans is a matter explored within the explosive BBC drama Bodyguard – the company’s most watched drama in ten years – with Recreation of Thrones’ star Richard Madden’s character David Budd struggling PTSD after serving in Iraq and Afghanistan.

David struggles to adapt to life outdoors the military, struggling temper swings and the breakdown of his marriage, earlier than trying suicide following the demise of Residence Secretary lover Julia Montague.

‘What you see on display is actual life for me’ 

 BBC drama Bodyguard character David Budd struggles with mental health issues once leaving the army

BBC drama Bodyguard character David Budd struggles with psychological well being points as soon as leaving the military

 David Budd attempted suicide following the death of Julia Montague, played by Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes

WARNING: Use of this picture is topic to the phrases of use of BBC Footage’ Digital Image

David Budd tried suicide following the dying of Julia Montague, performed by Richard Madden and Keeley Hawes

For troopers like Colin, the expertise of coping with PTSD and challenges of becoming again into civilian and household life depicted on display could be very a lot a actuality.

In March 1997, aged 25 he was concerned in an explosion whereas on foot patrol in Brief Strand, Belfast only a couple of miles from the place he grew up, he narrowly prevented damage and helped save his Platoon Commander’s life – a traumatic expertise that would go away an enduring impression.

He says: “Engaged on the bottom, you by no means knew what was going to occur subsequent.

“I saw sights no young lad would want to see.”

 Colin McCurdy served for 18 years, and suffered flashbacks after witnessing explosions and shootings

Colin McCurdy

Colin McCurdy served for 18 years, and suffered flashbacks after witnessing explosions and shootings

MOD palms out first ever suicide prevention booklet to troopers

  • The primary ever troopers’ suicide prevention booklet, produced by the Ministry of Defence and Samaritans, has been launched to all 200,000 members of the armed forces, figuring out indicators that somebody could also be having difficulties and contemplating suicide and suggests assist and help info
  • It learn: “Being in the armed forces means you are exposed to a higher degree of risk and pressure than you might expect in other jobs”
  • The information emphasises the significance of “looking after your mates”
  • Troopers are informed to ignore rank and report their superiors in the event that they show indicators of sufferign with psychological well being points
  • The Ministry of Defence is now spending £220 million over the subsequent decade to enhance psychological well being providers for serving personnel.

“On the time, you don’t want to admit you might have an issue as a result of there’s a stigma – it’s seen as an indication of weak spot so I bottled every little thing up and did not permit myself to course of what had occurred. 

“There’s a saying within the military to simply ‘soldier on’ and get on with it.”

KNOW THE SIGNS From consuming an excessive amount of to a scarcity of sleep…10 indicators your beloved might be in danger of suicide

He says: “I used to be good at sporting a masks at work. Nevertheless, I took it out on my household – I should have been the toughest individual to reside with. 

“I never opened up. I was a rough, tough soldier – I didn’t feel like I should feel like that, so I just cracked on.”

‘I felt remoted and lonely’

Why it is up to all of us to scale back deaths by suicide

When Colin left the military in 2007, he additionally struggled to adapt to civilian life.

He says: “It was the hardest thing ever. You lose all the comradeship, and the daily routine and pattern. I felt isolated and lonely and I while I got work in security, as a handyman and as a driver, I couldn’t keep a job any longer than two months.”

A yr later, Colin took an overdose.

He says: “In that dark state, I just wanted to end everything. I was admitted to hospital and referred for therapy but while I attended a few sessions, I thought I’d just deal with it myself.”


When you, or anybody you realize, wants assist coping with psychological well being issues, the next organisations present help:

  • Fight Stress,, 0800 138 1619 (veterans)/0800 323 444 (serving personnel)
  • Heads Collectively,
  • Thoughts,, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus,, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans,, 116 123
  • Veterans’ Gateway,, 0808 802 1212

Over the subsequent seven years, Colin acquired on with every day life – solely doing simply sufficient to survive.

In 2014, he cut up together with his spouse of 22 years.

Then, after shattering his knee cap in accident at work, Colin was left bed-bound for 4 months – in that point he started to realise he hadn’t handled critical underlying points from his previous.

He says: “With a lot time on my arms, that’s when every thing began to hit me.

We spoke to suicide survivors and that is what they want you to know

“The person who was answerable for the explosion I’d been in, was shot in Belfast.

“That was a set off for me. I began to get flashbacks and nightmares, and suffered nervousness.”

After virtually making a second try on his life in December 2015, Colin referred to as Fight Stress in July 2016 Colin lastly received the assistance he wanted. 

He says: “Once I received my first appointment I informed my greatest good friend and that’s when the journey started.

“I went by means of a six week intensive remedy programme.”

Colin now works as a peer help coordinator for the charity, serving to different veterans obtain help.

He says: “Now, my relationship with my youngsters – now aged 27, 23, 22 and 15 – is sensible. Having been recognized with PTSD, they perceive what I used to be going by way of.

“I still don’t open up fully to my family, but I speak to close friends from the army who can also understand. There is definitely light at the end of the tunnel.”

‘I saved a soldier who was about to take his own life’

Kath Carter is an adviser for Veterans’ Gateway, the primary level of contact for veterans looking for help.

Simply final week Kath saved a former serviceman who was going take his own life.

She says: “He stated he’d screwed his life up and did not know what to do. His relationship had damaged down, cash wasn’t excellent and his life was a multitude.

“He was very upset and distressed. He advised me he was going to take an overdose.

“My important thought was discovering out the place he was and the way to was going to take his life so I might get assist to him earlier than he did try it. I stored him speaking by asking questions, getting him to take into consideration what was happening and the way I might get him assist and help in what was troubling him.

“I did not want to be the final individual he spoke to. I knew I might get him assist and help and was doing the whole lot I might to persuade him. I used to be comforted the subsequent day to uncover that the veteran had not taken his life and actually had stated that I had saved his life by way of social media.”

Helplines like Veterans’ Gateway (0808 802 1212) can supply help and assist if you assume nobody understands.”

‘Don’t wrestle in silence’

Sue Freeth, Chief Government of veterans’ psychological well being charity Fight Stress says: “In our expertise, on common veterans take 13 years to come ahead for assist. Service personnel particularly can discover it onerous to speak about their psychological well being, as it may be seen as a weak spot.

“Alongside their psychological well being issues, the veterans we deal with will typically have points with substance misuse, bodily well being wants, monetary hardship, and relationship issues.

“Despite the work we do at our treatment centres and through our community teams, we understand how difficult it can be to seek help. Our message is don’t struggle in silence.”

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