Well, its nearly been 2 whole weeks since I left the Army and with regards to my health and general well being I am much improved.
During the last 18 months of my career I was desperately unhappy in my life and this was predominantly down to being in the Army, not because of the Organisation itself or the Regiment that I was with but just everything that comes with being in the Army. The not knowing from one day to the next what you’re going to be doing or where you’ll be, the loneliness of the block on a night and the separation from your Family, Friends and home comforts to name just a few…Over those last 18 month I was also medically downgraded so my ability to do fitness dropped, mix that in with low mood/anxiety and no support network and I ended up gaining nearly 2st in weight. In the 2 weeks since I’ve left I have dropped nearly 10lbs in weight just by having a routine, having proper kitchen facilities and doing fitness that I can do ie Swimming, bike riding, On the contrary to what I’ve been told for the last 13 years – There was no pain but there is some gain!!
In the block I never used to sleep very well at all, maybe it was to do with the baby elephant living above me who used to randomly Hoover and play soft rock at 3am or the drunken revellers trying your door on their return from a night out on the town or the super uncomfortable paper thin mattress….Who knows? But what I do know is that most nights I would wake up multiple times with the fear of god in me that I was late for something! Anyhow, I’m now sleeping all night without waking up which obviously leads to a happier, more productive me!
Another thing that I’ve noticed is that my stress levels have dropped significantly. Like I mentioned earlier I have suffered throughout my career with anxiety and towards the end it was so bad, panic attacks. I felt constantly on edge that the Forecast Of Events was going to change and I was going to be sent away for ‘X’ amount of weeks or that someone was going to go sick so I was going to have to pick up a weekend duty at short notice and cancel my plans. I’m actually frightened to tot up the amount of money I’ve lost on holidays and concerts and sports events because of some last minute dicking! These feelings have now more or less subsided, I feel 100% happier that I am now in control of me and if I don’t want to do something, I don’t have to do it!
Saying all of this above makes the Army sound terrible, please believe me when I say this….It’s not. It’s amazing, it’s given me 13 fantastic years for me to learn about me whilst experiencing some of the most scary, wonderful, unique experiences a person could want in life. The time just came for me to move on….
The Army literally saved me but now it’s time to save myself, time to take the leap of faith into the unknown and hopefully flourish in my new life as a Civilian surrounded by my beautiful family and fabulous friends.