A former Corporal who lives with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) has found a new passion for photography, which is helping him to regain his purpose after the military.
Kevin Pearson, from Basingstoke, joined the British Army in 1980 and said he was ‘born into the military’ after his grandad, dad, brother and sister all served their country.
He served in the Scots Guards for 16 years and deployed to Hong Kong, Germany, Scotland and Northern Ireland. “I left school with no qualifications, but by the time I was 17 I was working in Hong Kong and travelling the world with the military.”
Unfortunately, the good times didn’t last forever. Kevin was posted to Northern Ireland to work with the Army Dog Unit. The work was hard but rewarding and he says he had changed by the time he returned. “It was a tough time and after I came back I had trouble sleeping and wasn’t as social as I previously had been.”
Kevin was diagnosed with PTSD and says that he shut down into basic survival mode. “It scared people. I’ve lost friends and pushed my family away because others can’t continue to be strong for me. It’s been one of the hardest things to battle with and I’m sorry to say but it sometimes wins.”
Kevin was introduced to Help for Heroes and said: “Help for Heroes has helped me so much. They have helped push my boundaries. I’ve turned ‘I can’t’ into ‘I can’ with the work of a great team of people.”
He'd always had a keen interest in photography and was completely self-taught but, after seeing a Photography Course offered through Tedworth House Recovery Centre, decided to apply to learn more from a professional.
“It was a great way to learn and completely exceeded my expectations. Photography gets me out of the house, and it gets me going to places that I wouldn’t usually due to my PTSD.”
“I am proud of what I’ve done – I’ve stood at palaces and castles around the world and represented my regiment and the Army. My illness has affected my life but it’s led me down a new path and opened different doors for me.”
Kevin said he will continue with his photography; he hopes to take his passion further afield and visit Africa on a Safari trip to take photos of animals in the wild.
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