When you are part of a military family, additional factors can add to the general worries and stresses carried by others. Sometimes, our ability to cope and mental wellbeing can be pushed to the brink – as was the case for one army spouse, who warns Army&You readers of the dangers of not stopping stresses from overflowing…

I can’t pinpoint what caused my mental health to deteriorate to such an extent that when I travelled by rail I would have to hold on to something at the back of the platform because I’d developed a fascination with jumping under a train.

I never took those thoughts further but perhaps only because we were posted and I no longer used the train.

My mental health issues continued for years. I have an incredible family but not even my husband knew the true extent of my problems.

How could I tell him ‘I keep thinking about jumping under a train’ when he was thousands of miles away?

But with great therapy, a better diet and more exercise I’m finally in recovery. I wish I’d taken steps earlier.

I kept telling myself to get over it when I should have sought some of the great help available.

Too much to deal with

In therapy I learned how the brain works. How we have a ‘bucket’ that can overflow. If we have too many difficult things and not enough time to process them, stress, depression and anxiety can follow.

In my bucket were many things I’d stoically collected: house moves, operational tours, stressful work, sick parents, desperately homesick children, lengthy separation periods, loneliness, poor sleep and diet and a real hatred of my next posting. And that was before I accompanied my husband overseas to an indescribably difficult environment. There was a long list of perfect ingredients that contributed to my deterioration.

One size doesn’t fit all

There is no standard ‘depressed person’. Overseas I worked long days in a toxic organisation, attended official functions and kept pressing on, all the time adding to my bucket.

Posted back to the UK, moving to a new house where I knew no one, starting a new job and trying to find my place among friends brought a new low. I could barely function. I did enough for work but nothing more. My husband did everything in the house and I put on more weight as I comfort ate.

But then, miraculously, I found solution-focused hypnotherapy. In eight weeks of one-hour sessions I reclaimed my mental health from a start point of being a broken and sceptical individual. Through an audio file that helped me sleep, wonderfully relaxing hypnotherapy sessions and talking therapy, I recovered.

Back on track

Now, I’m hopeful, focused and enjoying life properly after years of being an observer. I’m eating better, exercising more and it’s working. So if any of the above sounds familiar, don’t wait as long as I did. Seek help through your GP or a trained therapist. My recovery has been truly transformative.

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Main photo credit: Amritanshu Sikdar on Unsplash

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