Nick Martin understands the lasting
impact of a mental health issue left
untreated. For more than 30 years, the
former Royal Navy stores accountant
struggled to cope after sustaining
injuries on the Atlantic Conveyor ship,
which was hit by two missiles during
the Falklands War. Nick was rescued
by a colleague who never made
Whilst his physical wounds, which
included a fractured skull, would
heal in time, the damage done to his
mental health lasts to this day.
Nick left the Navy four years later.
When he returned to civilian life, he
struggled to adapt.
“I started to feel guilty about those
that hadn’t returned from the
Falklands and started punishing
myself. I’d go for a run until my
trainers squelched with blood. I took
dead end jobs because I didn’t want
to have to handle responsibility for
anything, not even my own life.”
Unbeknown to Nick, he was suffering
with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder
(PTSD). The following years passed by
in a blur.
Then, five years ago, he suffered a
heart attack. The realisation that he’d
come close to losing his life jolted
Nick into taking action. He spoke to
a counsellor, his diagnosis was made
and his recovery journey began.
“Talking to that counsellor was
difficult. There’s a notion that those
who have served must be pretty tough,
but we’re not, we’re just trained.”
As part of his treatment plan, Nick
was referred to Help for
Heroes and invited to join the
Band of Brothers Fellowship.
Immediately, he felt the
benefits of being around other
Veterans who had suffered
injury or illness.
Having avoided socialising for
many years, Nick initially found
being around others daunting.
But with support, he became a
member of the Invictus Games
Choir and took up sports and art
classes. Steadily, his confidence grew.
Now that Nick is receiving ongoing
support to manage his PTSD, life is
looking much more positive.
“PTSD is a nasty condition that eats
away at you without you knowing it. It
took me 34 years to even know that’s
what I had and see that it was ruining
my life. My recovery isn’t complete,
there are still things I need and have
to do but I’m in the right place now to
get on and do them.”
“The change to my life
has been phenomenal.”