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Dave McGough served as a medic in Gulf War 2 (Iraq). His story is typical of many we hear; the NGVFA is here to help and support people suffering like Dave as a result of their service in recent desert conflicts.
Five years ago when I was 21, I was a medic in Iraq treating casualties with horrific injuries, they’d scream out for loved ones, knowing they weren’t going to make it was hell for me. What affected me the most though was a little girl aged 9, Rohan, who we gave water and chocolate to, she was hung by a crowd because of this, we had no choice but to stand by, it was a really hard call and the guilt will never leave me, never.
When I came home I was a mess, physically and mentally, depression kicked in and I was so angry, having flashbacks, screaming, I was terrified and would hide under the bed. I scrubbed myself with a scourer in a bath of bleach until I bled because I still saw blood on me from Iraq. My whole life was affected, I was so messed up I even tried to kill myself.
At my lowest point I heard about the NGVFA, I went to their annual respite break and met others from Gulf conflicts who were suffering just like me; for the first time I felt believed and hopeful. I got the help that I needed. I saw a counsellor with experience of military PTSD, got help with war pensions and benefits, and advice from Doctors. That was four years ago now and since then I have used many of the vital services the NGVFA provide, my life has improved dramatically.
Things will never be normal for me again, what I saw in Iraq left me physically and mentally scarred, but without the NGVFA behind me, things would have been a lot worse, they’ve made a big difference to me and my family, without them I may not have been here, I certainly wouldn’t have my wonderful partner or my two wonderful children they’re 5 and 2 now. Life is still hard but I know the NGVFA are there to support us, they are just on the other end of a phone 24hrs a day, and they were a lifeline when I needed it most.