Feeling Semi Content

It’s been a few weeks since I last blogged.  I have managed to change the name of the blog now but I am still having issues with changing the site name.

Its been a bit up and down since being back, the difference is with this, is that I deal with it a lot better than I did before.  I ride the waves of the highs and lows so to speak and do not give my self a hard time, I speak to myself (not mad….admit it we all do 😉 ) and rationalise how I am feeling , use reasoning and evidence to back up the thoughts or realise they are just thoughts that my mind has just made up itself.  It takes a lot of hard work but if you put the work in you will see the improvements in your life…..again they are not fast over night improvements but gradual over time.

It is under a month now until the 16 January 2019…..my last official day in the Army…..everything is in place for the move into civilian life….but for some reason my sub conscious has been subtly playing up in the background the last few weeks.  My sleep has been disrupted and motivation has been eluding me…..however, where before the motivation issue would see me doing nothing at all, I have just rode the wave and got on with the boring stuff like cleaning and tidying but that has kept me just on enough of an even keel to keep me dropping below that line of dropping back down to the ‘dark side’ as I call it.

I believe its the excitement, nervousness and apprehension all rolled into one that is bubbling away under surface for the change in life that is becoming more of a reality the closer I get to that date!  A positive future lies ahead of me am sure of it, this is because I am slowly changing little things in my life which will improve and give me a better outlook.

I was dreading Christmas when the build up started……back in October ;-), thats when it started wasn’t it lol.  I decided to not even think about it or plan anything, people didn’t get cards or presents.  This decision was taken due to finical reasoning (my last pay cheque coming in next month) and also I am still focussing on myself, this isn’t selfish, I need to be at the best I can be whilst going through this transition, adding extra worries and stress at this time I decided would not be a good idea….as although I am in a better place than I was 18 months ago…..piling on stress and worry on top of other things wouldn’t be good.  My self awareness makes it easier for me to understand this now, so my guilt trips have been pretty none excitant, which is another break through in my recovery.

Its also been good to interact with fellow serving and veterans throughout this period, helping each other and supporting each other, as we all get each other and understand where we are all coming from.  Last Christmas didn’t feel like Christmas, I enjoyed it though as I was helping at Crisis For Christmas in London, spending time and speaking to fellow human beings who generally don’t get treated like human beings, for most of the year.  Hearing their stories and seeing them smile and feeling like someone cares and they actually mean something to someone was great.  This year a little bit of what the Christmas spirit actually means to me, has surfaced again, I just want you all to know if you are suffering and not in a good place, there is light at the end of the tunnel….its hard work but achievable!

I hope you have all had a great Christmas day and are enjoying the left overs today….I will blog again soon, until then look after yourself!

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20 Year Military Career – Making that transition from the Green Machine to Civilian Street

So, the Mission Himalaya 2018 is now over, the team have been back in the UK for a couple of weeks now. I have been thinking a lot about what I was going to do with the blog…..keep it or close it. Having thought about it, I am going to keep the blog going but rename it. I just need to work out how to rename it without losing the expedition blog. I came to this decision because, writing this blog has helped me in my recovery and I believe that keeping it going, whilst I am going through the transition from military to civilian life, can not only help me in this process but also, I hope, can reach out to those in a similar situation an show that there is support out there.

Having been back now for a couple of weeks and finally seeing an improvement from the dreaded High Altitude cough and cold, I have had time to take stock of the significance of the journey that I have been on during my time in Nepal. The overwhelming change that I have found that has changed within myself, is that I have found some inner calm/peace. This was one of my over arching things that I have been looking for throughout my recovery and wanted to find whilst on the expedition journey.

With inner calm/peace, it is enables me to think a bit clearer. Having to fight against my own mind on a daily basis as well as dealing with day to day life….can be very draining. I know I am not the only one who has this battle and that helps me.

Being able to think a little clearer from the mush that is my mind, helps me to utilise my coping mechanisms to better effect. It keeps me calmer when dealing with day to day life and what it throws at me…for me that is a break through in my recovery which is a great positive!

Next month I become a veteran after 20 years in the military, before the expedition, I was getting quite worked up and stressed about it. Now I am back and calmer, I know longer feel how I did before about it. What will be will be, I know I will be ok in whatever happens, why do I know this? The expedition proved to me that I am hard working and as some called me ‘a tough cooky’ and somewhere deep in side of me is a determination that will not see me give up.

If you met me last year at my lowest point and for months after and before that, I wouldn’t have said the above. Not knowing your own worth can be very debilitating and hold you back with so many things. At the time of my break down, my whole world had caved in and world turned upside down and in the process…..my career that I was so close to finishing was to be cut short…..as you can imagine this presented its own mixed feelings/emotions! Its taken me a long time to come to terms with the fact that I wouldn’t be finishing my 22 years colour service. However, now, I see it as a positive and I have new positive directions to go in life. It is a scary thought but I know whatever happens I will be ok…..and anyone else going through this……YOU WILL BE OK!

I have been fortunate to be on both sides of the Wounded Injured and Sick (WIS) process. I have been the Visiting Officer where I have had to manage and care for WIS personnel within the Unit I served in and also now having been on the other side of WIS as a WIS soldier, I feel this gives me a better understanding of the process and how people deal/feel about things. I have also been fortunate to have had and continue to have the support I have had, I hope every one who has been with me, supporting and being there for me through this process know who they are and know how much I appreciate you! Your unwavering support has inspired me and having now been through this process and seen that some service personnel and veterans may not have had the support I have had, I feel very strongly about the support and care of serving personnel and veterans both with their WIS recovery and Mental Health. Where I can I will help those going through the process and I hope to become a mentor either with SSAFA or just putting myself out there. Thats why I feel its important that I keep this blog going. For me speaking to someone who understands me without judgement is a better person to speak to and if I can be that person for fellow WIS and Veterans out there, all the better.

End of the Expedition

The expedition is over now, I apologise that it hasn’t been updated since the summit weekend. I wasn’t in great body and mind…it took it out of me….I however did enjoy the rest of the trekking back to Lukla and back to Kathmandu!

We are all back in the UK now, back home with loved ones and our own environment. Something has changed in me, being back I thought I would be in the same old routine, that’s not the case. I definitely feel my mindset has changed during this experience.

My last day in the Army is getting ever closer, however, I feel an overwhelming sense of calm within me when I think about it….which I didn’t have before. This expedition I believe has given me the inner strength, peace and belief that life will be just fine outside the green skin!

Reaching a great altitude of 5800metres, something I never dreamt I would ever do, has shown me how strong a person I am….some would say stubborn….but hey whatever way I look at it. With my actions and the reinforcement of the support we received from the leadership team, something has finally clicked in my head that whatever happens in life, I am strong enough to deal with it and adapt to any changes.

I know everyone on the expedition including the leadership team have come away from this journey a different person. It’s a journey I won’t be forgetting in a hurry. I really have enjoyed the journey and experience. If any of you ever get a chance to do this kind of trek…take it up and enjoy it! Thank you to the Royal British Legion for giving me the opportunity to be part of this and to Leeds Beckett University/CGO for the coaching staff who’s support and experience enabled a safe and enjoyable expedition.

I know I have already thanked you a lot already Laura but being my coach and having your unwavering support before and throughout the expedition has helped and assisted me in achieving more than I thought I could, with just that little change of how to look at things in a different way. Thanks again!

11th Day of The Trek

We left Tangnag camp yesterday to head up to Khare Camp. The altitude was a little higher than we have been to before, you could feel the difference by your breathing, it was a little more laboured but we coped with it and arrived safely at camp. Straight into the tea house for a well needed brew and some food.

We are properly in the mountains at this camp, literally surrounded by them! We are not far from the Mera Glacier which looks spectacular, we will be having to cross this to get to High Camp.

The tents were all set up and we sorted our admin out and then just chilled until tea. It gets pretty cold here in the evenings. When you wake in the morning, you feel like you are in a snow globe as the frost on the inside of the tent slowly floats down onto you. Our nightly routine is to fill our nalgene flask with hot water, this warms our sleeping bags up nicely. I don’t seem to be able to stay on my inflated roll matt and like to nest in my little set of dry bags, once in a comfortable and warm position, until the bladders alarm clock goes off….I think we all know that feeling of being warm in bed and not wanting to move…..bad enough at home but trying to fumble around in the tent, putting warm kit on to get out the tent is just a proper challenge haha.

Not everyone had a great nights sleep last night, this is normal for a first night at a new altitude. However, everyone was in great spirits this morning. This mornings activity was sorting out our high altitude equipment, fitting our crampons to our boots and trying on all the high altitude clothing, no issues found and everyone’s kit is now sorted. The afternoon activity consisted of a 300metre summit of the hill next to camp. This increased our altitude even more!

Tomorrow we are heading out on to the Mera Glacier, this is to practice walking with the crampons and using the ice axe. We will be doing some rope work, as we will also be attached in groups of 5 people and one group of 6. Feeling nervous and excited all at the same time. We need to ensure our clothing admin is on the ball, as the cold will grip us within minutes if we don’t get our warm clothing right i.e gloves etc. We will be wearing our Cat 4 Sunglasses too as the sun shining on the snow/ice can damage our eyes if we don’t. We have all the right equipment so there isn’t anything to fear.

We will be heading up to High Camp on Saturday. It will be much more colder up there and there won’t be a tea house, so our mental strength will be ever drawn on to keep us going!

The Peak is getting closer and in our sights, this is what we have spent the last year working towards. I will try and update the blog before we head up to high camp. Watch this space!

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Ade

Device Name: Ade
Latitude: 27.74478
Longitude: 86.87701
GPS location Date/Time: 11/06/2018 23:41:39 PST

Message: All’s well and things going according to plan. Here is a link to the Mission Himalaya team location.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/11LUdK/27.74478N/86.87701E

If the above link does not work, try this link:

You have received this message because “Ade” has added you to its SPOT contact list and attempted to contact you.

FindMeSPOT.com

9th Day of The Trek To Mera

Today was a slow casual climb from 3600 metres to 4300 metres. The climb was that gradual that until we stopped for lunch, we hadn’t realised we had gone up 400 metres! Looking back on where we had just come from, you could see the dip from where we had ascended.

Unfortunately today, two team members remained at Kothe camp to get over some little bugs. They will join us in the next day or two. Everybody took it steady today, some of us have the sniffles and a cough but feel good in ourselves, so slow plod was the order of the day. The scenery we have had around us today, has been epic. We are in the mountains now and I have been overwhelmed with the size and shear awesomeness of the towering glaciers around us! It takes your breath away…..metaphorically and physically with the altitude 😉.

Our goal of Mera Summit is getting ever closer and is feeling more real now we are at Tangnag (see the upload pic). We head up to 5000 Metres tomorrow to a place called Khare Camp where we will base ourselves out of for 3 days. It’s exciting as we get to put our crampons on and practice with them and our ice axe. Having guides with us who have summited Everest is also awe inspiring. Hearing how much they carry up there, they are incredible people.

My fellow team members are all in incredible people, we all have our different injuries, illnesses and issues, but we are all finding ways to overcome these to finish each day on a high. Also supporting each other when not feeling great or having a low patch.

It truly is a great journey that we are on, the leaders are very supportive and ensure we are all ok and supported. Thank you to the Royal British Legion for allowing me a place on this life changing expedition.

Check-in/OK message from SPOT Ade

Device Name: Ade
Latitude: 27.73282
Longitude: 86.83418
GPS location Date/Time: 11/06/2018 00:51:39 PST

Message: All’s well and things going according to plan. Here is a link to the Mission Himalaya team location.

Click the link below to see where I am located.
http://fms.ws/11JGJP/27.73282N/86.83418E

If the above link does not work, try this link:

You have received this message because “Ade” has added you to its SPOT contact list and attempted to contact you.

FindMeSPOT.com