"I was standing on a precipice. I felt completely lost"
Former SAC Mike Goody is no stranger to adversity having pieced his life back together after he received life-changing injuries in an IED blast in Afghanistan in 2009. Despite that, when he needed support 11 years later, asking for that support proved to be the hardest thing. This Mental Health Awareness Week he shares his experiences.
When you struggle with your mental health you learn to manage it, it is not something that goes away. It is very tough to deal with it and not let it rule your life. When my Dad died in July 2019 I was not able to psychologically control that and manage my own feelings.
His loss had a huge impact on my mental health and then I took on all the responsibility as my mum was dealing with her grief. I had to step up and make sure she was doing OK; the bills were paid and she had food in the house.
I had to put my own grief aside and putting things like that to the back of your mind is not a good place, it does not go away. So when things started to calm down a bit the cracks started showing. I found myself not wanting to do anything.
I would lie in bed all day, until 1pm and then I would get up and drink. I was not enjoying the things I normally would – that was a warning bell.
I had to make sure Mum was alright I was noticing that she was not alright so I spent a lot of time making sure she was OK. My priority was not me, I was telling myself I could get through this but the time it took to get mum sorted by that point I was not able to function. I was really irritable, I would just snap. Taking up smoking again and things like that all my bad behaviours and traits that I had left behind came back. I was not able to use the tricks I had learned to sort things out.
I contacted the NHS and was told there was a six to nine-month waiting list. When I was suffering with poor mental health the first time, one of the hardest things was to realise I had a problem and to ask for help. But the second time it was still just as difficult. I had plucked up the courage to say I am struggling, here I am standing on this precipice and this is going to go one of two ways, either I am going to step back or I am going to fall forward. I felt completely lost. And this is where the Fund stepped in and got me the support I needed, almost instantly.
The Fund's counselling helped massively. It gave me the ability to vent my feelings and frustrations to someone else, and also helped me to come up with techniques to cope. It was just nice to have access to someone who knows all these different things to try. I do not want to think about what would have happened if I had not had the counselling. I dread to think.
The Fund is the friend that is always there but should not have to be there. The military and the government should be looking after its own. I am just glad that the Fund is there to plug all the holes. People suffer in silence and just crack on. But it is OK to not be OK and ask for help – that is the hardest step.