Battle Scars is written by Jason “Foxy” Fox, who was formally in the UK’s Elite Special Forces SBS Branch. He had an impressive career in the Armed forces in which he started his career in the Royal Marines. We will know Foxy through the media as he did SAS Who Dares Wins and most recently Meet The Drug Lords: Inside the Real Narcos. Jason is well known for charity work as well such as the Bourne and also Rock2Recovery (which he is an ambassador for). When Jason’s book was announced for release I made the decision to pre-order. So in this post I will be giving my own opinion regarding the book after i have took the time and read it 3 times to try and get a thorough understanding.
Battles Scars was by far the most emotional book that I have had the privilege to read. When I sat and read the first page, I felt physically drawn to the book. The book made such an impact on the first page I had to read more. As I read more of the book I could feel so many emotions being portrayed. I felt sorrow, anguish and worry, there was even a time that I felt as though my heart was going to break and leading to tears (not giving any spoilers i’m afraid). Reading and feeling such raw emotions made me wonder how hard it must be for someone to go through the anguish of PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder) and I even was frightened to know what was going to happen next.
As i got further and further into the book it became apparent that the fight with the condition for Foxy wasn’t easy. I am truly delighted that he was able to share his story and hopefully this will encourage people to speak out. I’m not talking about just PTSD but with mental health in general, as the stigma around it needs to be erased.
The book for me was a true eye opener as I heard of the condition but never really understood it completely. I personally think for Foxy to be able to open up about the ordeal he went through was truly courageous and humbling. Hopefully now the world will have a clear understanding of the battle that someone has been through. For those that have not read the book I would recommend that you read the book as you wont be left disappointed. All I will say is be prepared for an emotional journey that Foxy has had to face. This book is truly inspirational on many levels and the more people are going to read or listen (available on audible) then awareness may hopefully erase the stigma for mental health.
So last night at 21:00 hours on Channel 4 Jason Fox latest programmed was aired for the first time. I had seen the trailer previously a few nights before and it look intense and I was looking forward to watching this with a clear mind.
We are all familiar with Jason through the eyes of the media for SAS Who Dares wins, Meet the Drug lords and also with his book Battle Scars. Battle Scars was released 1st November 2018 and he spoke in the book about his time in Afghanistan and the impact it had on him. So for Jason to go back after 10 years couldn’t have been easy.
Firstly, for Jason to go back to Afghanistan was highly courageous but also you could see the depths of anxiety within him. Knowing this he decided to put fear in its place and tackle the situation head on after all this is where his journey with PTSD began. I often wondered what the thoughts was that went through his mind at times because it seems that Afghanistan still is highly dangerous. You could tell that from the attention they was receiving after all he was in armoured transport.
When he got to the hotel which was the most luxurious in the area I could sense a form of edginess and very uneasy. Then when he went out of the back of the hotel to the river you could hear what was gunshots in the Taliban territory firing away. My heart was racing just knowing that its still going on, yet Afghanistan seems a beautiful place even though its full of chaos and war.
So the whole war began After 9/11 in which 2 commercial planes was hijacked and plunged into the World Trade Centers (I still remember that day very clearly seeing the events unfold). 3000 people lost their lives that day. In Afghanistan before the war broke out there was a lot of protocol. Men wasn’t allowed to shave until after the 2nd command. Women was often locked in the house and if they had to go out then they was having to wear Burkhas. People would listen into homes and if they hear films or music they would get broken into everything smashed up and people would be arrested.
So with the chaos after 9/11 it made Afghanistan want to have some control and the war began. The British Military was then deployed into Afghanistan and that’s where Foxy journey began. Jason was 26 Years old when he was first deployed to Afghanistan and he found being out there exhilarating, an adrenaline rush and was an escape from everyday life. He enjoyed the Special Forces but over a period of time PTSD was creeping in and Jason realised something wasn’t right. A form of fear was slowly manifesting and he wanted to be a 10 year old and back at home with his mum. Jason’s military journey came to an end 5th April 2012 after serving 10 years within the Special Forces and he felt emotionally crushed. This then left him in a bad way as he lost his identity and debating whether he was to end his life stood at the edge of a cliff.
Helmand Province at one time had 10,000 Soldiers deployed and in the bloodiest year we lost 108 soldiers. The Taliban and Al-Qaeda was intelligent they would monitor the troops and replicate techniques. The hardest thing for Jason was the effects of war especially with the children. Jason spoke about a boy in his book battle scars when he was on an operation, he didn’t have time to consul him or even drag him to safety. Jason says he has seen that boy a 1000 times. To me the children are strong and resilient and that showed when they visited the hospital. The hospital had a varied age of children from 3-14 years caught in the mess of war. They met a boy who lost his leg 5 months ago to a rocket attack. He had an artificial leg and he was walking around smiling even though he was in a lot of discomfort and pain.
Jason also had the opportunity to meet what he called a high profile target and that was intense just knowing Jason would have had him I suppose on a hit list to be arrested and detained. But it was ironic how he asked a simple question about having respect for the British soldiers and he had to disappear as it was prayer time. But also for Jason to be able to catch up with a close friend and to be able to explain why he left.
Then he met with one of the Afghanistan High Ranking officers who he trained while in the Special Forces. He was amazed to see how far he came since he trained him and the lengths he goes to do the job he does. Jason was also able to have the opportunity to go on a night patrol around the location that was a very high risk. I did wonder if there was a heightened sense of fear or worry that they could get attacked as he would only be able to run for cover.
There is now a sense of calmness forming in Afghanistan. The women have some freedom and Jason was able to have the opportunity to go into the mountains with females. This was never allowed before and even them having an education. There are also peace talks happening but it is down to the Afghanistan nation to sort this out. The British was taken out of Afghanistan in 2014, however there are troops still out there but more on peace keeping.
Jason was able to meet some of the British out here and speak to them and their time out in Afghanistan. He gave them some sound advice which was “be careful what you wish for, but at the same time you can’t keep looking back. You have got to look to the future.” I think with any given time that Afghanistan will have complete and eternal peace, that all this blood shed will mean that a vital lesson is learnt.
This was a very intense insight and the footage which was shown was beyond words. My heart was racing and I felt edgy to a degree. I couldn’t have imagined what it was truly like for Jason to go back to the uncertainty and above all unarmed and in a way defenseless. But I also was able to learn a huge amount and the statistics in which was presented was harrowing and it makes you realise the harsh reality of war I suppose and the sacrifices they have made.
I am also humbled for Jason to overcome the fear of going back and he says it feels as through he never left. Afghanistan will always have an important part within his life and hopefully this would have put any unease at the back of his mind to rest. Overcoming complex PTSD and going back to where it began was a very brave and humbling.
Previously I had mentioned in a previous blog about dealing with my battle with anorexia. I have taken the time to sit and reflect and for me it is about time that I opened that box fully and share the ordeal. So lets go back upon a journey to where it all started which was 16 years ago.
To the very start
For me I was a typical girl who would listen to the spice girls and carry one of those bags that you could blow up. I spent most of my time outdoors playing with Barbie dolls or Polly pockets. I was always up to something outdoors but I wasn’t your average girly girl I loved getting muddy and playing sports. So I saw myself more as a tomboy. I loved my life and I also loved food (to a degree I still do) and my appetite was always good. Even though my childhood was tough it was about to become hell and it nearly cost me my life.
So it was time to go back to school and I was looking forward to it as I love to do some form of physical activity or have my head in a book reading and learning. I was a short chunky girl with glasses and it never bothered me, I suppose I was in my own little bubble. But that was about to change that year. So it was a new term and there was a new girl in my class and she seemed nice but I kept my distance as I often liked to be alone I guess I was just self cautious. The new girl got on with everyone in the class but she was always keeping watch at me even through the corner of her eye. I didn’t understand after all I was only 7 I guess that’s naiveite at its finest. One day she came up to me and introduced herself as Amber (names changed for personal reasons). I thought she was nice and we got on at first but that took a fateful turn within days of us talking.
It was a normal day and I walked up to Amber to talk to her about the party she went to the night before as it was a big family thing for her. Soon as I approached her she said ” go away Jade you four eye freak”. Talk about harsh but I just made my way to the classroom a little stunned. As I was walking away I could hear the laughter that came from Amber. She was the popular kid in the class I suppose she got to big for her boots. It looks like I was going to be the target for her. Her calling me a four eyed freak was just the start and I didn’t realise I honestly didn’t. The school loved celebrating birthdays and if you was in school that day you was given a slice of chocolate cake and that was a highlight to every kids birthday if they was in and I was for my 8th birthday. I was sat in the canteen eating my cake and Amber saw me and she came over. “Happy birthday Jade, enjoy your cake its only going to make you fatter after all your a pig.” That comment hurt a lot and I remember breaking down safe to say I wasn’t hungry after that comment throwing away what was left of the slice of cake. I was very quiet for the rest of the day even staying inside at breaktime reading my favourite book at the time. I spoke to the teacher as she came over to ask if everything was okay. I told her everything and she reassured me that everything was going to be dealt with. It became apparent that that was a big mistake.
The next level
So the teacher spoke to Amber and this fueled her even more and it was a side I was going to see with full force. It would start with the snide comments in the playground about my glasses or because I was eating even if it was a piece of fruit I was made to feel guilty. The comments came from all over the place as she had a group of the class with her all the time. They would often join in and then once I ran away they would always laugh and that honestly haunted me for a long time.
Before long the bullying became both verbal and physical, it wasn’t just the odd punch here and there every day I had to endure some form of torture. I could happily be walking down the corridor I’d be pushed against the wall or had my feet taken from under me. Half the time Amber would have someone hurt me and they wouldn’t back down until either a teacher was seen coming or I was crying my eyes out. I can remember being black and blue with bruises up and down my legs and arms. I would often be asked where the bruises would come form and I would say “I fell over” because I knew if I spoke out it would get worse. There was times I would go to the bathroom and Amber would follow me that’s when I was taken into the cubical pushed till I fell. My glasses was often taken from me and they broke them several times. To them it was just a game but to me it scarred me and I became frightened I didn’t know how to fight let alone defend myself. Maybe that’s why I became a victim because I was weak and the perfect target……..
I always found a way to deal with it and sometimes I threw it into my swimming as I was learning and building up to a good standard that my classes became more and more advanced. I loved swimming it was my escape and I was getting good at something. I went into the school the next day after a very successful swimming lesson as I moved up 2 classes And Amber took the chair from behind me and I came crashing to the floor. She kicked me hard in the back as I tried to scramble to my feet. I ran out of that class like a bolt of lightening in tears and hid until someone found me an hour later. As I ran out crying I could hear nothing but laughter and Amber calling me fat and many other names. I had enough all I wanted to do was run away and never come back.
Getting dangerous very dangerous indeed
I felt physically sick to my tummy after the chair being taken away an kicked I didnt want to have my lunch that day. I decided to miss lunch and read instead where I felt safe and secure. It didn’t bother me that I hadn’t eaten and it was nice just to escape for a short while. But the next lunchtime I ate and Amber was watching like a hawk and making the comments and laughing. Enough was enough I thought I wont eat my lunch. So every lunchtime I made the consciencous decision to throw my lunch away without being spotted. It worked for a while until they had more staff in the canteen as they was growing concerned about something or other. so I had to sit in the canteen and I made out I ate sometimes I actually did but it was very little. Then throw the food into the bin, who was always watching the bully. I was able to do this for a while and I got into a routine and I always learnt when the best opportunity was to discard any evidence of what I was doing. This went on for 6 weeks and I was losing weight and I actually didn’t realise because I still looked fat. But one day I was caught and I was asked why I was so quick, the teacher checked my lunch box as I didn’t make it to the bin in time. I then had to explain myself and fast with my response being ” I wasn’t hungry.” I used to get tummy ache an awful lot and I used to hid a penguin bar, KitKat or satsuma to take the pain away in my school bag.
Well the teacher never accepted that and I was another thing for the bully to use against me with her crew of cronies. The first day the teacher made a comment on my pink lunchbox with all my stickers making conversation I guess to put me as ease. I spoke as it was polite and I ate the whole of my lunch. When they was happy I left the canteen and I remember feeling the need to be sick. I ran to be sick and safe to say it was the new routine eat and be sick, if wasn’t natural id make myself sick. It even began to affect me at home and I was doing the same at home. When I was swimming I would become very fatigued very easily but I still was doing well. The routine became intense and after every meal I would be sick as my stomach could cope and in a way it was instinct. Before long I was losing vast amounts of weight and it wasn’t healthy. I always drunk more water than I did eat as that settled the tummy enough for a short time.
It became vital for me or more like a ritual that I had to be sick it was necessary for everyday. I didn’t like the feeling of food within my tummy and I would feel guilty when I wasn’t sick. My mind had become very dark and I became very hostile and unbearable to deal with. Lets put it this way I was extremely moody and very snappy. The only calmness I had for me was after I was being sick, sounds bad but it was the only thing that would relieve me. I thought I had total control but I was wrong when in fact it was the total opposite. This routine had consumed me and I didn’t know who I was anymore or what I had become. It became an obsession which took me at a very young age.
It was sports day at school my favourite running and it was a class race and I was overtaking my class mates even passing Amber. She made some snide comment and everything went black, pitch black as I collapsed. I was drifting in and out of consciousness not being able to hold my head up. I felt weak and exhausted I was rushed to the hospital and placed on a drip. The hospital ran a lot of tests and I mean a lot. But what was alarming my bloods flagged my electrolytes was dangerously low and many of the nutrition markers. I was badly malnourished and I was transferred to Great Ormand Street Hospital London.
It sounds horrible but some days I would have to make myself sick and I had many ways. It would consist of wrenching my stomach, drinking huge amounts of water and I used to be sick that way or even fingers down the throat. I’m not proud but I had a lot of guilt and I couldn’t or didn’t know how to deal with it any other way. I was so alone and frightened beyond compare.
My mum had to sign a form giving consent for any treatment that would be needed till she got there. I was transferred soon as that form was signed, being closely monitored. I had became distressed during the transfer and I was sedated. I remember feeling a burning sensation in my chest when I got to the hospital and the doctor said my heart went into arrest and they brought me back. It had to be dreaming surely .
I was lying in bed to weak to lift myself up and I was sedated from the travel which left me drowsy. I heard parts of the conversation and that made me realise how serious it was. The consultant said “Don’t expect her to live till the end of the week, Her vital organs are shutting down and her heart is struggling.” I had never seen such fear in my mums eyes till that day and I then realised that I needed help to get better. I broke into tears as I didn’t want to die. The specialist diagnosed me with anorexia and he explained the treatment to mum.
Start of the treatment
The treatment for me was very hard as you have to be able to ignore what tour mind was telling you. I had to start with a feeding tube going up through my nose down my throat into my stomach. I wont lie I tried to rip It out as it was annoying and very uncomfortable and knowing it was pumping 1500 calories into my system per bag and I was on 4 of those a day. They put me on bed rest and often sedated me as I would try and stop it getting into my system, even though deep down I knew its what my body needed. After several weeks I began to feel a lot stronger and the tube came out.
That’s then when the true fight had to begin because they stopped giving me the medication that made me drowsy and the anti-sickness. I had to start with a soup consistency meal and it was horrible. There was serval days in which I would push it away and I slowly began to spiral out of control again. When I ate I would be sick and I was told to fight the urge. That was easier said than done, if you fight the urge you would get a burning sensation in your throat. When they was satisfied to let me go I would be sick and I was going to need a lot of help. I was frightened as I didn’t want to die or want that feeding tube back. The feeding tube was used as a threat sometimes but I know I had to try a lot harder and I really did want to get better. I spoke to a nurse called Ella and she explained that if I ever needed to be sick close my eyes and deep breathe. She went through the process and the next meal she sat with me and it actually worked. Every meal time she was on shift she would sit with me and filling in the relevant paperwork recording my progress.
Before long the meals became a lot better and solid full meals which is the biggest challenge. That came into view after the first few meals I took a fall as I set my self high and came crashing down. Anorexia was trying to have hold making me sick again after meals. I would hear all the snide comments and laughter that haunted me. Ella held me back one time after a meal to stop me from being sick but I was strong enough to break free. After that I was always escorted to the bathroom on the grounds that I would make myself sick or collapse. After a meal I walked back to my bed as I was exhausted for some reason and there was someone opposite me I was happy as I wasn’t alone.
The rooms was nothing special you had a bed and some had four to a room or section, when I first came I was on my own but Mi-Mi soon joined me which was nice as it got a little lonely. It was a few days later before I spoke to her as she was very drowsy and I didn’t have the confidence in me. Part of me was frightened she would be like Amber, but that soon turned out to be wrong. Mi-Mi was a lovely girl and she had a really out going personality, we soon became very close thick as thieves. We both spoke about our troubles and why we are in this place and we both was bullied and as a result we both had anorexia.
I loved being able to have someone to talk to and it gave me a sense of belonging and knowing that I wasn’t alone. We both decided to make a promise that together we was going to get better and keep in touch. Wee shook on it and that’s it as it was set in stone. Having Mi-Mi made the condition more bearable as we had each other to help us get through. We both would often talk about our dreams and all the fun we would get up to once we was out of hospital. We had some really bad days and they were the ones in which we would have each others backs. If one of us had the bad tummy aches the other would go and cuddle up or say something funny to try and take your mind off of it. On the good days we would go and cause chaos in moderation as we are always being watched. When we was better and strong enough we had to eat with a lot of others around a table. Me and Mi-Mi would sit and swap things like fruit and juice but we made sure that our plates are clear at all times. We became inseparable and even Mi-Mi mum noticed that and she was happy to have someone helping her out. We both was able to tackle the eating and not being sick as we kept distracted or saying ” I am not going to be sick”. We both had tough times and somehow we managed to pull through it together.
What was Mi-Mi like ? Well she was an incredible person and she had such a bubbly personality. She was bullied because of the way she looked and because of her abilities, Mi-Mi you could have such a laugh with her and in a way in a way she was my best friend til the day she passed away. She was always cracking a laugh even at 2 am in a morning when we was going through the tough days . We laughed together and cried together, even to this day I haven’t forgotten our promise even though she’s no longer with us. She maybe the reason some of the reason I have such a fighter spirit as she had my back and I had hers.
I had to be tough !!!
With my recovery it was a struggle in the sense that I had to deal with a lot personally and accepting the help was the first big step. Then I had to accept and understand that food does do you good and you need it to survive. I had various tough treatments and counselling was the toughest. Having to open up everything about what was happening and to me that was torture all over again. There was even sessions in which I had to stand in front of a mirror and tell them what I saw. Those sessions was the hardest because emotionally they take you back to your most vulnerable. The amount of times I just hid myself away crying my heart out and getting myself into such a state that they would have to calm me down. On other occasions I was able to tell them what I saw in the mirror and my response was “short fat four eyed freak, I was nothing and i’m better off not being alive.” I had tears rolling down my little cheeks and my heart was slowly crumbling into a million pieces. In those sessions I was alone and dint have anyone to have my back, it was like being back at school it made me feel so uneasy. There was also the dreaded scales, yeah I hated that with a passion that’s for sure. I used to stand on them backwards because I never wanted to know my weight just to ease some of the stress of my recovery I suppose. Even to this day I don’t like getting on the scales as its still an uncomfortable affair.
over time my perspective came about myself a lot better and stronger I saw a better person not this girl that was labelled so harshly. I had to come to the reality and the understanding of what anorexia does to the mind. It warps your vision in the sense of I was looking dangerously slim size zero and in the mirror I saw a fat person. With the right help and guidance I was bale to escape the clutches of anorexia. By the time I was 12 years old I had gained a healthy amount of weight and it was stabilised and has been ever since. I was in a good place which I hadn’t been for a very long time. By that time we had moved to a new county to make a fresh start and to leave the past behind. with the move I was in two frames of mind a fresh start was good. But also because I lost my best friend Mi-Mi, she died of a cardiac arrest during her operation. That was a bitter pill to swallow but I have never forgotten her laugh or smile. Every time I hear Bright Eyes by Art Garfunkel (played at her funeral) it reminds me of her.
10 years later…
so 10 years later I noticed that things wasn’t sitting right with me and I didn’t understand why that was. I would become very restless at night often having nightmares and flashbacks. I would wake up struggling to breath like I had the feeding tube down my throat even tasting the plastic. I felt a burning sensation down my arm from where I had some saline in my canula. Even having the horrors of being bullied would also be in my sleep often like I was replaying the moment perfectly, I could hear myself saying don’t do it you nearly kill yourself but you cant be heard. I became edgy and very panicky, so I had to go and see the doctor. They stuck me on some anti anxiety drugs as I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic attack disorder. I can say the tablets didn’t help so I decided to speak to a therapist. She couldn’t understand why it was coming back into light after so long, but we realised maybe because it was I was young when I had to fight with anorexia. Maybe a trigger was set off but I explained I refuse to take the medication because it made me more edgy. Anxiety took time to get used to and when to acknowledge the symptoms and signs. Over a period of 2 years I was able to deal with my anxiety effectively. Now and again it will flare up but I deal with it my way and it soon blows over.
My life now
My life now in 2019 I couldn’t be happier for many reasons, some will unfold with time but being kept close for the moment. I have been able to have the privilege of having a son who is the most kindest little boy I could ask for. I have been doing an incredible fitness programme by Break-Point which has truly unlocked more of a positive mindset and nutritionally I am eating very well. I have my first ever half marathon this year which I am raising money for Rock2recovery.
I got extremely lucky as no permanent damaged was caused which was a huge relief. I can honestly look back and see the positives. I like to think that learning and recovering from this ordeal has made me the determined person I am today. I’m never afraid to talk about this as its a mental health condition which can have catastrophic physical effects. It wasn’t an easy recovery as I could have gone backwards but I didn’t. That is why I am able to hold my head up high and say “I SURVIVED AND STANDING STRONG”. Unfortunately eating disorders go on though and is an everyday occurrence and some never make it to the other side of recovery. I would like to say if anyone is reading this please you are able to get better. You are all strong and worth it in this world. Being recovered is a blessing and you will be stronger and better for doing so. Your not alone and never will be, hold your head up and you’ve got this. I’ve learnt to love myself and I’m learning what i truly am capable of mentally and physically. Some days I may be a little insecure but I am happy with the way I look.
For me I look to the future I have learnt valuable lessons that have made me partly who I am. I am in control of my life and its going beautifully and I just want it to stay that way.
Today I had this beauty of a book delivered and I had to pre order. I became aware of who Ollie was through SAS Who Dares Wins and I thoroughly enjoyed the show. I also read the SAS Leadership book which got me more and more intregued. Then one day I came across a training programme called Break-Point and it was ran by Ollie. After watching a live feed I signed up and I don’t look back. when it was announced that Ollie had wrote a book I had to order as Ollie was our Alpha Wolf and I wanted to understand his story.. this is my thoughts on what I read today.
Reading Ollies story was truly humbling and I was hooked straight after I read the prologue. I had to keep reading as I wanted to know more and more. Within the book I couldn’t believe some of what he had to face and endure. I won’t give anything away as it’s a book I’m highly recommending.
There was a few times I was laughing especially as he talks about some of the things he was getting up to as a child. Let’s say he was a loose cannon that had to test life a little. When he talked about the event as a child that was horrific my heart was racing and I couldn’t imagine what that was like having to make the split decision that saves his life. The impact that must have had on Ollie growing up couldn’t have been easy (personally it would have frightened me).
As I read more Ollie came across as a trouble maker but very ambitious. His mental drive never stopped him from joining the marines, SBS and finally creating Break-point. Despite him being put down or laughed it drove him to be more determined.
I thoroughly enjoyed reading about Ollie journey and how his perception upon his journey went. For me the hardest chapter was False Dawn due to the nature of what the topic was. Maybe this is because I’m a parent and those children should be protected. Yet Ollie change the lives if many and yet it got the wrong publicity and it caused alot of controversy (won’t give much away).
Ollie truly looks up to those that have stood by him. The way he talks about his mum is truly humbling. How Ollie talks about Laura is amazing and she truly has impacted Ollie for the better. How they became t-total and creating Break-point..
Also the way he talks about foxy and how they became close friends also resulting in Break-point. How a close friendship that’s formed will endure the greatest of adventures with both being on SAS Who Dares Wins.
Ollie I wanted to say a personal thank you for sharing your story with us. Thank you for creating Break-Point as it’s changed my life and many others. The work your doing is phenomenal in many aspects. Those that want to have a taste of the special forces please into a Break-point course. The training programme is also incredible you won’t be disappointed. This wolf enjoyed the book and having an insight into our leaders journey.
Double Crossed by Brian Wood was a truly gripping book. As I read the book it became apparent the stress and anguish of being betrayed. The accusations was indescribable and especially of the nature in which they was. I’m truly gald that he was found non guilty. The stress that must have caused especially after so long and having to open the box as it was to remember the events and get them to unveil all over again.
Reading the book my heart was in my throat especially when talking about battle Danny Boy. I couldn’t imagine the stress of the horrific events that’s occurred. The impact on which it had on Brian and his team. Not only that the stress that occurred for the family.
Brian thank you for sharing this with us all. I can’t imagine that it was easy to write especially as it had such an impact and I remember the inquest through the media. It’s a book in which I would read again for sure.
Today I’m going to share a mental battle with you which has been a real test in a way. This is the darkest my mind has ever been and at its most vulnerable. In a way it’s made me realise that I am stronger than I originally thought. Sharing this might be able to reach out to those that are having simular experiences. My mental battle was contemplating suicide.
13th November 2018 was when my mind turned really dark. I had been feeling a little uneasy as that was sometime normal but I could often flip the feeling and turn it into a positive. But for some reason my mind was at its teather thinking I’m failing at everything and failing everyone. So I wrote a letter apologising to those very close to me. My special friend, my son and my mum. I left each one a message that was so heartfelt and I hid it hoping for it to never be found. I felt better and the feeling disappeared, may be that did the trick or so I thought.
Later that evening an argument had sparked within the household. You know how arguments often go things get said that shouldn’t be said. Safe to say i was in pieces I sorted my son’s dinner out and said to my mum “going for a jog won’t be long”. Deep down my mind was driven to end it in the river Thames. No one would care or even notice that I’m gone !! Maybe it’s better off that way.
Darkness was setting in fast the sky was clear and had beautiful stars. I did my route backwards going into the woodlands first. Maybe this would change my mind. I sat on the steps and tried to clear my head putting my favourite song on. Looking at my phone I took the plunge and thought I’d message my friend who is special and close. I opened up the app and sent the message. Within minutes to my relief he sensed something was wrong and I let it all out. I told him everything and he reassured me it will all be okay in time.
I was majorly relieved that I was able to talk to him. My mind eased and I could see the river in the distance. I fought the urge to jump and go with the current to be found downstream somewhere.. I made the trip home to find my phone was nearly out of battery and I said I’ll speak later on. I made the trip home feeling exhausted mentally. My pride shattered and torn how could I have slipped so dark. Having the mental resilience to never think like that is extremely hard but having enhanced my positive mindset I can honestly say I’m in a good place.
Later that evening I spoke to my friend and safe to say he was relieved I was okay. I slept with some ease knowing I could open up about what had happened. I’m glad I never went through with it. Looking at it now I’m mentally stronger than I thought. This has made me value life alot more and knowing I have someone to talk to. I’ve never thought about suicide again and I never want to.
I came across the suicide note yesterday and I felt frightened. How I could have thought like that. Leaving my son without a mum would be so hard on him and the family. My friend that saved me will always be my hero. I’m glad they never had to read the messages as it would have left a huge amount of guilt and unanswered questions. I’m so relieved as my special friend never had to receive his as it was so heartfelt and open I think it would have broken him completely.
Mental health is something that needs to be closely looked at as many people do go through with the act of suicide. I’m lucky I understand that, but I know the help is out there and the stigma needs to be erased. It’s okay to not be okay. It hasn’t made me weak by speaking about it. In fact that I have spoken about it makes me stronger and sharing with you makes it more courageous. Never be afraud to speak out even if it’s to a friend. It’s saved my life it may well save yours .
Hi everyone so in this blog its going to be about the amazing charity that ill be raising money for and the start of my half marathon training. Let me start by introducing myself to all of you. I’m Jade a 27 year old with big ambitions and dreams. I am a single mum to a 3 year old son who is my absolute world. I used to do physical training till I was 21 and I gave up as for 2 reasons. Firstly I gave up college due to mental health reasons and my course required me to do physical training (Public Services) a fair amount of the time. On the Public services course we had to do various training from basic fitness testing and the most intense training would be from the Royal Marines. The RM fitness was tough and they allowed the women to join in and I would manage till the end okay I struggled at times but I was at my peak then and always finished and the only female left at the end. Secondly I allowed my full time work to take over and I just gave up the positive rush and sometimes the thrill of a good workout. I became bored as the same fitness routine at the gym. By the age of 22 I never went to the gym again looking at it now I wish I kept training as I lost my peak fitness and trying to get back is tough. Last year I made the decision it was time to get back into the training routine and I came across an amazing training programme called Prime Evolution by Break-Point. Looked into the training company and I was instantly drawn. So I paid the joining fee and its been the best decision I have made. While I was training I came across an event called Virtual Ultra 100 mile marathon, and I could do this at my own pace and you could run it on 4 or 8 weeks. So I signed up and gave myself 8 weeks to complete this as I was unsure.
1st August 2018 came and I started the day strong tackling just under 9 miles. I loved feeling of euphoria after the run/jog it was like the a new spark had reignited the fire which needed to be set alight. I found a new love for something I used to do. Everyday during August I would go for a jog sometimes taking my little one out in the pushchair even in the scorching heat. The miles soon added up, and within 23 days I had finished the challenge and clocking up 106 miles. That’s when I realised I can achieve one if my dreams and that would be able to eventually run the London marathon. I came across a half marathon which is very local and I signed up 29th September 2019 I will be running in the Windsor Half Marathon. I decided to do this as a fundraiser and I came across an amazing charity called Rock2Recovery.
Rock2Recovery is an amazing charity which is Co-Founded by 2 incredible and inspirational people who are Jason “foxy” fox and Jamie Sanderson. They both served in the Royal Marines. Both of them had a very good military careers, here is a little bit about Jamie. Jamie was a Royal Marine commando Sniper. He returned from tour in 2007 and he then broke down. his mind was in pieces after all the stress and war. After spending 6 moths in rehab, Jamie went on a royal marines promotion course and the pressure was intense. His memory went blank the general military work became a blur but he could have done it in his sleep previously. Jamie was then diagnosed with PTSD, he was medically discharged.
Jason who had spent 20 years in the Armed forces who was also a Royal Marine then later on going the Elite Special Forces SBS Branch. He was on tour and Jason became overwhelmed with emotions and stressed. Before long he was thinking of those he loved at home his daughter and mum but he could previously compartmentalise them and focus at the job at hand. Jason then was diagnosed with PTSD and Chronic Burnout. Jason didn’t take the diagnosis lightly as he was a non believer at first. With the right help he was able to over come the condition but it wasn’t an easy battle. He had to endure and overcome the thoughts of suicide from jumping off a cliff to hanging himself.
Jason and Jamie both had their own personal battle with PTSD and they both decided to create a mutual support network. The both of them was there for each other when they needed the assistance. Before long they was able to establish clinics under Rock2Recovery. As the charity grew they was able to get scientists from Oxford University to discuss their theories on the brain and the recovery process. Before they knew it Rock2Recovery became established and its a well known charity which does incredible work for all those that need the help.
Rock2recoverys mission is to save and change the lives of those in our Armed Forces, our Veteran community and their families who are affected by stress. Our approach is to inspire, coach and motivate towards a more positive future. Personally I thought this is an incredible charity and especially to help the Armed Forces community. As I looked into the charity more it gave me the inspiration and I then got in touch with the people that deal with the fundraising and I am now a proud member of Team Fortitude (ill post my link at the bottom of the blog for anyone who would love to sponsor the event).
Half Marathon Training.
When I signed up for the half marathon I started training and ensuring I have the proper running trainers. with that in mind I set my goals and started smashing them, I was jogging every other day and using my break point workouts along side. Each time I was running I had sheer determination to build up the 13.1 miles I would need to run for the half marathon.
I would mix my distances up and I made it into a game if it was and I would make it a personal goal to beat the previous times and I did exactly that. so a 5 mile run used to take 1hr 30 (slow I know right) I then got it down to 59 mins. Not going to lie I felt on top of the world and just knocking over 30 mins off was a massive achievement and fuelled the determination even more. Every run was planned from which route I would take and best ways in increase the di and 5 miles then became 7 miles. My first run at 7 miles was tough but I loved the feeling after despite feeling the muscles burn. My first 7 miles had a reasonable time of 1hr 59mins, I have to take into consideration the terrain and the weather as I’m lucky to be close to National Trust Land. I was pushing my body to far and one run my knee gave in taking me down at the 3.5 mile mark. I wasn’t accepting that at all, so I got up laughed, stretched and carried on without any trouble. Maybe it was slip on the mud who knows. When I got back home I checked and I took 10 mins off the previous time. Happy with the progress I used the euphoria feeling to smash my 80min prime evolution assessment without thinking what happened to me on the run.
Days later I was intense pain and my knee swelled oopps…. emergency doctor appointment it was. The doctor took a look at my knee and said ” you’ve aggravated your knee and you have fluid on the knee”. Gutted didn’t even cover how I was feeling, walking out with a prescription for painkillers and a physio referral I was annoyed as I was banned from any form of training for 6 weeks. I know that was going to my head in and make me grumpy as I was at my happiest training and enjoying the outdoors. Days later I was rushed to hospital as my pain had increased significantly and swelling had increased, first thought that came into my head “crap I really have done some serious damage. Goodbye half marathon”.
I was given some extremely strong painkillers and I was on another planet I tell you now. I was physically hopping around on one leg laughing my head off. I was assessed and that was extremely painful and I got soft tissue damage along side fluid on the knee. I was told to rest and given extremely strong meds and crutches. I was relieved as I was informed that my half marathon was in sight but the painkillers was horrible. All they did was make me drowsy I couldn’t function properly, and when moving on crutched I felt drunk. I made a conscientious decision I needed to try and maintain my fitness despite the training ban that loomed over me. I did gentle stretches and the interesting Abvent that break point created.
Before long Christmas and new year had come and gone and the training ban was over, YES!!!! my first run 1st January 2019 and it felt amazing to back running again it felt like forever. The time was slow but I was happy to be back outside and enjoying what lies ahead. jogging has become my escape and a source of determination. I went on a jog yesterday and it was the toughest one yet. Being outdoors yesterday was like walking into a winter wonderland seeing the hard frost it reminded me of a classic winter scene. I managed 1.11 miles without any issue and then boom I lost motivation my mind didn’t want go anymore. I stopped breathed, recalibrated and delivered. I pushed my negativity out of the way and carried on. Okay I didn’t jog I did the last 5 miles in intervals so I jogged and quick paced walked. I felt disappointed as it didn’t go to plan, but being positive minded its was acceptable to have bad days as they allow the body to adapt and repair for the next session.
My journey has only just begun to be fair and I am pushing hard to be physically and mentally prepares for this epic journey of my half marathon. I’m signed up for a 2hour 30 mins+ interval but I am determined to be prepared and beat that time. I would really appreciate the support on this incredible journey. If anyone would lobe to donate please click on the link below and I know it will truly be grateful and appreciated not only by myself and the incredible work that Rock2Recovery do.
My biggest battle was one that was the toughest I had to endure and in a way its made me the person I am today. My battle started when I was 8 1/2 years old who never had a care in the world. I was your typical 8 year old who loved to be outdoors and enjoying each day. That all changed and took me on a dangerous journey .
I never minded going to school I struggled but I loved doing PE and various other tasks which was hands on. My attitude soon changed when the bullying started. I was the small fat girl with glasses. I became a victim and I didn’t understand why. Every day I was tormented because of who I was. It firstly didn’t bother me but over time looking back it ground me down. The bullying got worse and it started to become physical. They would push me around like I was a ball, while doing this I would be slandered. Whenever I would say something it made it 100 times worse. They would often push me or deliberately trip me up. That wasn’t the worst, they locked me in the girls toilets and would often take my glasses away so i struggled to see. They broke them on several occasions so it meant having to get them repaired. Looking back i wondered if it could get any worse and it did.
The bullying made me feel so self-conscious at a young age and this was often because I had a good appetite and I still do at times. For me eating at school was an uncomfortable affair especially as the bullying intensified. I would sit at the table minding my own business with my pink lunchbox with my favorite stickers plastered on the box. The bully’s would always make sure that i’m in there sights I would never get a moments peace. They would make snide comments like “whats piggy got for lunch??” or “no wonder shes so fat!”.Hearing those comments would sit and play on my mind even when I went to sleep. There was days that they went in my lunch box and took the food. Not going to lie lunch time was now some thing i wanted to avoid, and that’s when I pretend to eat my lunch and throw the rest away or eat very little. I started doing it and I really didn’t care, the bully’s saw and they loved what i was doing. I was doing this for roughly 3 weeks and a teacher noticed that i was in and out of the canteen very fast and I was caught red handed. I had to explain why I was throwing my lunch away. My mind saying tell them about the bullying even though nothing was being done about it, but No i said “I wasn’t hungry”.
The teacher never accepted that so I was made to sit with the teachers every lunchtime, great more to add to the bullying. Being made to sit and eat with the teachers was sometimes a blessing, especially as one loved all my stickers (personally I think it was to make me more comfortable). I remember eating my lunch and I would have a feeling of being sick to my stomach and it actually happened being physically sick after eating. My stomach had shrunk over the time of me not eating and then being made to eat.
Me being sick after eating then became the new normal in my everyday life. The bullying was still really bad i would have bruises on my legs and arms, i used to say I fell over. I was terrified and I would protest in going to school, even making myself sick so I could stay at home and play with my Polly pocket or barbie dolls. I was made to go to school and have to endure the bullying. With me eating my lunch I was finally able to avoid the teachers table, but I would secretly go off an make myself sick. I then slipped into a dangerous routine and hole that could potentially kill me. I was even doing it at home without my mum knowing at first any way.
Over time I lost control of what I was doing and the sickness and routine became overwhelming. Next thing I knew I was at school then I collapsed to the floor. I was rushed to hospital and placed on a drip. It turns out my body was under nourished and the truth came out of what I was doing. The doctors didn’t have much knowledge at the time so I was referred to a specialist unit in Great Ormand Street Hospital in London. The specialist unit was called ABC (Anorexia and Bulimia Care) unit and in there that’s when I was diagnosed with Anorexia. My mum was given all the information of what the condition entailed and what the treatment would be. She was informed that if I didn’t change my ways and fast my body was on the verge of shutting down. My vital organs was struggling to cope with what i was doing, in which my heart would eventually go into cardiac arrest resulting in me dying . I had never seen my mum break like she did and looking at my weak body with all the fluids replacing all the nutrition my body craved for.
It was down to me to fight this personally and tell the voices in my head I wanted to be better. The getting better was the hardest part on 2 levels, firstly accepting I have a problem then eating. I made a promise to my mum to get better but it meant staying in hospital. I was on the drips for a little while and bed rest to ensure my body was slowly recovering and allowing the nutrition to get into my system. The toughest of the battle was about to start and that was eating and not being sick. It was so tough to not be sick and at first it was natural instinct to be sick. I soon learnt to resist the urge to be sick then anorexia made you feel tremendous amount of guilt as your trying to get better. Ill put my hands up and yes i did make myself sick as the guilt was a huge amount bare. But with the right help I learnt that the guilt would soon go away and it did.
During my time at GOSH I made a friend called Mi-mi as she loved to be called and it made the recovery a lot easier to bare. We became very close and we would laugh a lot and we were close very fast. Me and Mi-mi had a fair amount in common with how we got into the situation and that was bullying. At meals times we was monitored and we would sit together often swapping our juice or fruit, they didn’t like it but we always made sure we ate everything. So we made a promise with each other that we would both get better and stay in touch. When we had tough times in the recovery we was able to cheer up each other, this made anorexia a lot easier to deal with. One day Mi-mi disappeared and I wondered where she went. I was told she was able to go home, It made me more determined for me to go home and I maybe able to see her again. It turns out she passed away and I was told on my very last appointment, even to this day I have never forgotten her.
The treatment for the anorexia was so tough, especially when you have to resist the urge to be sick. You get horrific tummy cramps and I often cried. I remember trying to wriggle out of the nurse who held me back to make a break for it to be sick. When you went to the bathroom you was being watched to make sure you wasn’t doing something you shouldn’t. I remember walking into a room and in front of me was a tall mirror. I was asked to tell them what I see. I reluctantly walked to the mirror and I stared at my recovering body scared I said clearly ” a small fat four eyed freak” while saying that I heard the bully’s laughter very clearly. I could have burst into tears as the hole was a dark place for me to be in and it was sucking me in further. It turns out anorexia changes how your mind and your thoughts. This makes you see you at previous state and in fact your completely the opposite. Part of me didn’t want to get better but i fought hard. I didn’t want to die i wanted to live, this was battle was hell. Over time I gained weight and the psychiatrists helped me to learn to love who I was and how to channel the negative thoughts. I gained enough weight to be allowed home and I was excited. Being able to eat knowing it does your body good and not feeling guilty seemed strange at first but it was amazing to be back on track.
Going home was the best feeling with knowing I wasn’t going to have blood tests everyday or being constantly asked “how are you feeling today?”. But i was still being monitored with my eating but I was getting better, and slowly adapting to the new me. Before long I felt happy and eating like nothing changed. I was told your going back to school and I felt physically sick. My mum sat me down and explained i had to face up to the bully’s and go back to school. The first day was hard even though I never lost out on lessons as they taught you in the hospital it was knowing that was how it all started.
I was petrified but I walked into my classroom for the first time in months and the bully’s had gone, i felt relief but confusion. It turns out that they was kicked out as they beat up another child. I was watched for a while with my eating till I was trusted and it wasn’t long before I was free from being watched all the time. I was bullied though out my primary and secondary school but I was able to deal with it a lot better without going back into the hands of anorexia. I know if I was to ever go back to anorexia that I wouldn’t come out alive this time, but I have learnt a lot and im never going back down that dark hole.
Since my battle with the condition I believe I am a stronger person and have a better perception of life. I am one of those people that would talk about my time with the condition to hopefully inspire someone to get better. I have a heart that if I can help someone then I will. The doctors wasn’t sure of what my future would be as anorexia harms the body a lot. I have been lucky thankfully no serious damage was caused. I was lucky in 2015 to welcome my son Lucas into the world. My pregnancy went well but i was closely monitored even though i have been fully recovered for nearly 15 years.
The only downfall would be end of 2011 into 2012 I used to have flashbacks 10 years after being recovered. I would wake up feeling frightened and confused. The voices came back and the feeling of deja vu. I was on edge and very panicky, I struggled to breathe. So I made the decision to quite college and go to work full time. I was diagnosed with anxiety and panic attack disorder. They placed on medication which made me feel worse. So in the end refused to take them and deal with the situation at hand. I spoke to a specialist and she couldn’t believe that anorexia was tying to take hold again so long after recovery. But I kept to my word and I always ate. My weight has been stable and iv’e been pretty healthy.
I like to think that learning and recovering from this ordeal has made me the determined person I am today. I’m never afraid to talk about this as its a mental health condition which can have catastrophic physical effects. It wasn’t an easy recovery as I could have gone backwards but I didn’t. That is why I am able to hold my head up high and say “I SURVIVED AND STANDING STRONG”. Unfortunately eating disorders go on though and is an everyday occurrence and some never make it to the other side of recovery. I would like to say if anyone is reading this please you are able to get better. You are all strong and worth it in this world. Being recovered is a blessing and you will be stronger and better for doing so. Your not alone and never will be, hold your head up and you’ve got this. I’ve learnt to love myself and I’m learning what i truly am capable of mentally and physically.