When I left the Royal Navy after twenty-four years of service, I stayed connected to what I knew and loved, working first as a Defence Training Manager and now as an Operational Assurance Specialist with Capita, auditing Navy training sites.
Starting this new role meant learning to manage my disability and PTSD, both caused by my time in service. But my colleagues’ support has been constant, and I’m now proudly supporting others as a Mental Health Ally.
Understanding my disabilities
My life in the Royal Navy was a wonderful experience, and I’d do it all again. But I can’t avoid the fact that my body has been impacted by those years – as well as by playing plenty of Rugby Union.
Both of my hips and knees have been replaced. I live with pain in all of my joints and because movement is now difficult, my work is impacted every day.
Finding accommodations at work
As an auditor I travel all around the UK, visiting Royal Naval and Royal Marines training schools, Naval air bases, and dockyards to conduct audits. Given this travel, my disabilities could make it very difficult to work full time.
But at Capita, my manager and colleagues have all been totally supportive of me. They’ve helped me develop a comfortable working set up in the office, sourced me a larger hire car, and given me flexible hours when I need them.
Speaking up about PTSD
Their support has also been invaluable since my PTSD diagnosis six years ago. Having lived with nightmares for decades, I thought they were totally normal. But once I accepted the toll that PTSD had taken not just on my life, but my family’s too, I could start hoping for a better future.
Opening up to my old mates and my work colleagues about PTSD was a daunting thought, but actually it couldn’t have been easier: they completely understood. Talking to professionals was another crucial step for me, as was Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing Therapy (EDMR).
Sharing my knowledge as a Mental Health Ally
I wanted to use my personal experience to help others break free from the shackles of PTSD, so I became a Mental Health Ally at Capita. I’ve received training, and I meet for regular chats with my fellow MHAs. This all means I can be there for my colleagues when they need a chat or some guidance in seeking professional help.
So, if you’re struggling, the MHAs are there for you – and if you’re thinking about joining Capita, I’d encourage you to go for it. This is a place that will always support you to do what you love.