A former army rifleman from Banbury who was left blinded by roadside bombs in Afghanistan has produced a powerful video about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).
Gary Green joined the army when he was 18 in 2007, and was part of the 4th Battalion when he was sent to the wartorn country on June 9 2009. But his life was to change forever only two months after his arrival, when on August 21 he was hit by two roadside bombs that had been concealed in a canopy wall.
He was left blinded in his right eye and had fragmentation wounds down his face, neck and the left side of his body.
As a result of his injuries Mr Green was medically discharged from the army in 2010 and slipped into a life involving drink and drugs. But since then he has got his life back on track and discovered writing – he has included a poem in his video on YouTube.
Mr Green, now 26, who lives on Bretch Hill, said: “I really struggled to leave a career I wanted to do my whole life and was angry with myself. I went into drink and drugs and spent £20,000 from my army payout in three months. I was diagnosed with PTSD in August 2011 and that continued until late 2012 when I woke up one morning and was in the mindset that I was going to kill myself.
“But then I started writing. My first piece I wrote took me ten minutes so I wrote my story and posted the first 500 words on Facebook, and the reaction I got from people across the world was tremendous. It gave me a boost of self-confidence”
Mr Green has come a long way since his accident six years ago. The new video he has posted, which has been viewed more than 2,000 times, is two minutes long and shows Mr Green in his home as someone dealing with PTSD and highlights the tragic end some people with the condition take.
He hopes to bring some light to the issue and help educate more people about PTSD so that no-one has to suffer in silence when they leave the army.
He said: “I’ve been free from drugs for a year now and I’m in a long-term relationship. I am happy and grounded and for people who do not understand PTSD I hope it takes away most of the stigma. There are people out there who are not injured and unscathed physically but mentally they will be suffering. They will have been used to running around with their brothers and fighting and now they are left alone.
“I am also writing a book about the condition called Bombs for Breakfast and how the army changed my mindset and character and made me the person I am today.”
To view the video visit www.youtube.com/watch?v=wAkmmNX6ylc&feature=youtu.be