Your Life: I Feared I'd Never See Carl Smile Again. THE HIDDEN FACE OF WAR EXCLUSIVE: Signaller Carl White, 38, from York, Gave 12 Years of His Life to the Army. but When He Developed Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, It Was His Wife Sue's Turn to Fight

The Mirror (London, England), May 6, 2008 | Go to article overview

Your Life: I Feared I'd Never See Carl Smile Again. THE HIDDEN FACE OF WAR EXCLUSIVE: Signaller Carl White, 38, from York, Gave 12 Years of His Life to the Army. but When He Developed Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, It Was His Wife Sue's Turn to Fight


Byline: JUSTINE SMITH

Sue's story: Choking back the sobs, I watched my husband sleep. Where had my big, strong soldier gone? And who was this frightened little man in my bed?

I had just picked him up from a psychiatric hospital where he had been for 23 days.

I could still hear his screams and see the fear in his eyes as he was dragged off by armed police.

After years of strange behaviour and wild mood swings Carl and I had needed a break from each other so he'd gone to Greece in the summer of 2006 to try to set up a home for us - it had always been our dream.

But he suffered total meltdown after yobs beat him up when he tried to stop them picking on a tramp.

He went missing, reappearing days later in flip-flops and shorts, burned to a crisp with his feet covered in hideous blisters. We got him back to England but he was beyond my help. So he was sectioned, released, and now here I was, lying next to my broken husband.

Just a few years earlier, he had been the perfect partner and father to our son Luke.

He had all the qualities the Army needed: patriotic, cool in a crisis, loyal, brave, tough.

We'd managed our finances carefully so we could retire to a small-holding in Greece at 40.

Instead he'd been left unable to work, a paranoid wreck.

Like many ex-soldiers, he'd started drinking to suppress the memories. Then he'd scream the place down.

He would call me a fat, lazy cow when I had been working 10-hour days to pay the mortgage then come home to look after him.

At the end of my tether, I considered divorce, but I couldn't.

I work in mental health care and knew his behaviour was the result of his service in the Army.

Carl's first tour was to the Gulf in 1991 when he was 22. He returned six months later with his face etched with deep lines.

Two years later we were posted to Northern Ireland. Then Carl was sent to Bosnia before another year in Northern Ireland. He finally left the Army in 1999.

We all felt huge relief but our problems were only beginning.

He had seen terrible things and was showing symptoms of posttraumatic stress syndrome (PTSS) - a variation of the more well known post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

It should have been picked up and it should have made him a priority in the NHS. But doctors failed to diagnose or treat him.

Initially, he was turned down for a War Pension, meaning he didn't get the preferential medical treatment the government promised.

I'd hoped the new start in Greece would help but instead it tipped Carl over the edge and, three days after he was allowed home from hospital he started stabbing the sofa with a knife.

I had never felt scared of him before. I panicked, fled and called 999 for an ambulance. Instead, police cars screeched up and the house was under armed siege for three hours.

Carl was sectioned again. He spent six weeks in a high-security psychiatric ward before a solicitor got him out.

He was on such strong medication he was a drooling zombie. I was horrified. Nobody was trying to help him, just keep him quiet.

I felt most sorry for Luke who was in the middle of his GCSEs.

No kid should have to watch this happen to their dad.

I was devastated. My friend told me I had to let the old Carl go and mourn for him. I feared the old Carl was never coming back, that I'd never see him smile again and I had to learn to love the new Carl the way he was.

But now, at last, we have turned a corner.

Carl got private counselling, which has helped. And his condition has been recognised by the authorities. Just being believed helped - so much of his anger came from being effectively called a liar. …

The rest of this article is only available to active members of Questia

Already a member? Log in now.

Notes for this article

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
One moment ...
Default project is now your active project.
Project items

Items saved from this article

This article has been saved
Highlights (0)
Some of your highlights are legacy items.

Highlights saved before July 30, 2012 will not be displayed on their respective source pages.

You can easily re-create the highlights by opening the book page or article, selecting the text, and clicking “Highlight.”

Citations (0)
Some of your citations are legacy items.

Any citation created before July 30, 2012 will labeled as a “Cited page.” New citations will be saved as cited passages, pages or articles.

We also added the ability to view new citations from your projects or the book or article where you created them.

Notes (0)
Bookmarks (0)

You have no saved items from this article

Project items include:
  • Saved book/article
  • Highlights
  • Quotes/citations
  • Notes
  • Bookmarks
Notes
Cite this article

Cited article

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

(Einhorn, 1992, p. 25)

(Einhorn 25)

1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

Cited article

Your Life: I Feared I'd Never See Carl Smile Again. THE HIDDEN FACE OF WAR EXCLUSIVE: Signaller Carl White, 38, from York, Gave 12 Years of His Life to the Army. but When He Developed Post-Traumatic Stress Syndrome, It Was His Wife Sue's Turn to Fight
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger Reset View mode
Search within

Search within this article

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

Help
Full screen

matching results for page

    Questia reader help

    How to highlight and cite specific passages

    1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
    2. Click or tap the last word you want to select, and you’ll see everything in between get selected.
    3. You’ll then get a menu of options like creating a highlight or a citation from that passage of text.

    OK, got it!

    Cited passage

    Style
    Citations are available only to our active members.
    Buy instant access to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn, 1992, p. 25).

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences." (Einhorn 25)

    "Portraying himself as an honest, ordinary person helped Lincoln identify with his audiences."1

    1. Lois J. Einhorn, Abraham Lincoln, the Orator: Penetrating the Lincoln Legend (Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1992), 25, http://www.questia.com/read/27419298.

    Cited passage

    Thanks for trying Questia!

    Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

    Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

    Buy instant access to save your work.

    Already a member? Log in now.

    Author Advanced search

    Oops!

    An unknown error has occurred. Please click the button below to reload the page. If the problem persists, please try again in a little while.