Advertisement

  1. ITV Report

'PTSD turned me into a wreck'

Kerryanne Wilde served in Bosnia at the height of the civil war Photo: Kerryanne Wilde

A former soldier from Shap says that post traumatic stress disorder left her "feeling like a wreck and totally withdrawn".

Kerryanne Wilde, who runs the Eden Flood Volunteers, served in the British Army from 1990 to 2000 before leaving for family reasons. She says that PTSD is a hidden illness that can affect anyone, not just soldiers.

Kerryanne is one of thousands of people who have taken part in the '22 push-up challenge' aimed at promoting awareness of PTSD. The social media campaign is asking people to do 22 push-ups - the amount of American army veterans that were reported to have taken their own lives in 2013.

"When I was serving in Bosnia in 1994 I saw piles of dead bodies", says Kerryanne, who also served in the Falklands, Germany, Cyprus and Gibraltar. "It was like watching one of those documentaries about World War Two. I saw mounds of bodies and mass graves. Some whole villages were killed. It was ethnic cleansing on a massive scale."

While Kerryanne enjoyed her ten years in the Army she says there was no emotional support for soldiers, during and after their tour of duty.

"When I was on duty there were no counsellors to help you deal with what you had experienced", says Kerryanne. "When I left the army there was no after-care support. You were just expected to get on with it".

Kerryanne left the army in 2000 but didn't feel any ill affects of PTSD until 2007. "It came totally out of the blue", says Kerryanne. "Someone spoke to me in the work place in a certain way and I went to pieces".

Kerryanne says that, while she had other issues going on, the main cause of her breakdown was flash-backs to her time in Bosnia. "It was things like cooking pork. I couldn't face it because it reminded me of the smell of people dying in Bosnia. I was a total wreck, devoid of confidence and like a completely different person".

After 18 months of therapy and a treatment of anti-depressants Kerryanne recovered but believes more needs to be done to support people with PTSD.

Anyone can suffer from PTSD. People affected by the Cumbria floods have suffered from it. But it's a hidden illness. There needs to be more awareness and support for people who might be struggling.

– Kerryanne Wilde, former British soldier