Ex-soldier suffering PTSD opens up about mental health battle
PUBLISHED: 05:30 02 April 2019 | UPDATED: 11:07 02 April 2019
Copyright: Archant 2019
A former army veteran whose life went into a downward spiral after suffering from PTSD said getting involved in sport has helped him get his life back on track.
Alan Broome, 54, who joined the army aged just 16, struggled with physical and mental health issues for years having served in some of the most dangerous warzones in the world, as well as serving in Northern Ireland at the height of the troubles.
Life has been an uphill struggle for Mr Broome since he left the military in 1992, having been injured while serving in Jordan. “I was having really bad dreams, and one day jumped out of bed and put my fist through the window and jumped out,” he said.
“My mind was all over the place.
“People really don’t understand the complications with mental health, as you cannot see what is going on in the inside rather than seeing someone who has more visible wounds.
“It has a massive impact on everyone.
“I find it hard to mix with other people, I get angry and depression sets in. I have dreams all the time and my work situation has not been good over the last few years.
“I was homeless, jumping from place to place. “I got sacked from work on two occasions and lost everything in life.”
Last year Mr Broome, who recently moved from Ipswich to Framlingham, took part in the Pent-Up modern pentathlon event at the Royal Military Academy at Sandhurst along with members of the GB Olympic modern pentathlon team.
He has recently become a keen cyclist and now has his sights set on the 300km Dulux London Revolution cycle-ride on May 11 and 12 as well as the Etap Loch Ness cycle ride in April and the Newcastle Cyclone race in July.
Mr Broome said sport had helped him combat his mental health issues and live a more active life.
“It is really important for me to get involved with sport as I find this is the way forward,” he said.
“All I’ve ever wanted is for people to hear me out and support me, and I understand that wellbeing through sport is the way forward for me and other like me.
“I am so grateful of this opportunity as I now want to express myself with others and support other veterans like myself who have been through so much.
“Mental health affects everyone regardless of their shape or size.”