Valerie ColquhounWhen Valerie's husband George served as a reservist with the Intelligence Corps in Iraq and Kuwait, it was the not knowing that was the hardest part. Since returning to the UK, George's battles have continued, and his PTSD has led to problems with alcohol which have affected the whole family. Watch Valerie describe her struggle to raise her children, and fight for treatment for her husband.
Valerie Colquhoun – Film 1Valerie grew up in York with no links to military life. She met George at university and soon after he joined the Intelligence Corps Reserves. Watch as Valerie explains how she never really saw herself as a military wife, but when George was called up in 2003 to go to Iraq, they quickly got married.
Valerie Colquhoun – Film 2Valerie and George decided to get married quickly before he is deployed to Iraq. Later, when George goes to Kuwait, she heads to Germany to be with him mum for support. Valerie explains her disbelief that people could carry on as normal as if nothing was going on in the world whilst her partner was out in Iraq being fired upon.
Valerie Colquhoun – Film 3Valerie's husband George served in Iraq as a reservist with the Intelligence Corps. Not knowing how he was or what was going on was very difficult. Apart from losing a lot of weight George didn’t seemed outwardly different in his personality or his moods when he came back from Iraq, but whilst in Greece, some loud bangs made George drop to the floor. This was the first sign that something might be wrong, and when he started to drink more Valerie insisted he seek help. Watch as Valerie describes how it took 7 months after Iraq for someone to see him up in Catterick Garrison, where fortunately Valerie was also offered some support.
Valerie Colquhoun – Film 4After Iraq, Valerie's husband George's mental health started to deteriorate and his drinking increased. He was diagnosed with PTSD and told he needed several sessions of therapy but getting from Newcastle to Catterick just caused him more stress. Hear Valerie describe how plans for George progressed as they felt he was in a better place. With the benefit of hindsight he wasn’t quite as good as they thought.
Valerie Colquhoun – Film 5Valerie's husband George suffered from PTSD but, unlike many others there was no anger or aggression. He lacked emotion and was unable to cope with crowds of people. Things improved in 2005 when they moved into their new house and subsequently had two children. Hear Valerie explain how George left the TA in 2006 because he was worried about being deployed far away from his daughter, but then rejoined in 2009.
Valerie Colquhoun – Film 6Valerie's husband George left the Territorial Army in 2006, but rejoined three years later. After breaking his arm badly and with the stress of work, George starting drinking again. He also started to have nightmares. George has had many periods over the years where he has had to take time off with work related stress, and at the time, doctors didn’t think it was related to his PTSD. Listen as Valerie recalls how he trained for a 90k race in South Africa which limited his drinking, and how he deteriorated rapidly after the race, becoming withdrawn and needing medication.
Valerie Colquhoun – Film 7After accepting voluntary redundancy from his employer, Valerie's husband George took on more work with the Territorial Army. He accepted referrals to talking therapies and had 12 sessions of treatment where he talked about everything that he had held in for 12 years. He also got in touch with the charities Combat Stress and PTSD Resolution. Listen to Valerie explain how George turned to alcohol once more, taking the dog out for a walk to drink secretly.
Valerie Colquhoun – Film 8Valerie's husband George turned to drink to cope with his feelings, causing stress and anguish for his wife. Having fought hard to get the treatment that was needed but living for 16 years with little or no treatment, and was then passed on to the NHS. Watch Valerie explain the difficulties in getting seen by the NHS Veterans Metal Health Complex Treatment Service. During the long delay there were periods where George contemplated suicide.
Valerie Colquhoun – Film 9Valerie's husband George's problem with alcohol got worse, causing a great deal of stress to Valerie and their children. Hear Valerie recall George's decision to leave the Territorial Army and deal with the persistent mental health issues that have plagued his life.
Valerie Colquhoun – Film 10Valerie and her husband George start a new fight with the army over sick pay. After much dedication and paperwork George was awarded £14k. Hear Valerie reveal the text from George which made her fear he had harmed himself, and her call to the ICARUS Trust to help her find him.
Valerie Colquhoun – Film 11Valerie and George’s children have suffered as a result of his drinking and have had counselling to be able to deal with the family situation. Watch as Valerie describes their present situation. George is stable at the moment, but because of the previous ups and downs she has learnt not to plan too far ahead.
When Valerie’s husband George served as a reservist with the Intelligence Corps in Iraq and Kuwait, it was the not knowing that was the hardest part. Since returning to the UK, George’s battles have continued, and his PTSD has led to problems with alcohol which have affected the whole family.
Watch Valerie describe her struggle to raise her children, and fight for treatment for her husband.