CASE STUDY - DENISE
Denise initially joined the Army in the WRAC in 1989, serving for over 10 years, which included 2 tours of Bosnia. In 1999 Denise decided to leave the Army and then became a reservist in 2001 to go back to Bosnia on a 6 month tour, then joining the Regulars again in 2001.
Denise was posted in Cyprus and Germany as well as completing 1 tour of the Falklands and 2 tours of Afghanistan. In her final months in the Army Denise sadly lost a number of family members and was put on medical leave as the military believed they were the cause of her mental health issues. In 2014 Denise was medically discharged with mental health issues but it wasn’t until 2015 that she was officially diagnosed with PTSD.
‘By the time I left army I had become almost a recluse and isolating myself from family and friends. It wasn't until 2016 I finally accepted invitation to engage with Sarah Lattaway at Forward Assist. We met for coffee and chatted about my condition and lack of interacting other than with veterans.
This seemed a good step forward first time engaging with others in my civilian life. I then participated in a number of the female veteran’s activities including coffee and cake meet up and the Christmas meal. I have also engaged with the equine therapy study which I have enjoyed so far.
Forward Assist have also been there on phone or in person helping me to gain the confidence to turn my hobby into my own business. I struggle a lot with self-confidence but with support and encouragement I'm fighting through it and believing I can do this for future.
Sarah has always been there to calm me in my negative thought process and put another objective spin on things which I need to continue on my recovery and deal with my daily struggles.
The more I have engaged with the group the more I'm beginning to see parts of my personality that I thought was lost and I'm feigning to enjoy interacting and trying new things. I’m also delighted that I have been given opportunity to go for relaxation week in France which I'm so grateful.
It is a step forward as I struggle to accept help and the fact that the activities and holiday is free of charge at first I struggled as felt like a failure. Now I fully engage and I'm beginning to accept what has been said - I served my country for 22 1/2 years and been through a lot of trauma, I deserve the charity’ help. Thank you so much for all you at Forward assist do for us female veterans I have been given back my zest for life and the group support is so valuable to me. Thank you!’