Veterans' Stories

The Harsh Reality of PTSD: A Veteran’s Story of Struggle and Survival

January 04 2024

Amber Guymer-Hosking was an Army Medic for 11 years, serving in Afghanistan, Kenya, Malaysia, and Brunei. She was medically discharged in 2016 when her mental health started to deteriorate. This led to flashbacks, nightmares and eventually suicide attempts.

During an interview, Amber shared her haunting experiences of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). Her journey mirrors the battle that many veterans face after the battlefield.

Amber on tour in Kenya with local children

She remembered the trust and familial bond with her comrades that often made the horrors of war bearable. Despite the traumatic memories, Amber admits to missing her deployment and feeling a sense of guilt.

“There’s a craving to deploy again. And I can’t explain that craving. Maybe it’s guilt. I feel like I haven’t done enough. I feel like I need to do more.”

What experiences most contributed to Amber's PTSD?

One of the most mortifying experiences for Amber was the aftermath of a patrol in Gresh. She was left shocked by the sight of a badly injured soldier and recalled the heart-breaking moments of dealing with severely burned comrades.

“I’ll never forget that smell, that touching his body and crisping and when you touch it, it was like ash.”

**If you're a veteran suffering with PTSD and require support - please click here to find some resources that may help.**

Her PTSD diagnosis came after a posting in Malaysia, where she saw a rapid decline in her mental health. She experienced severe sleep paralysis and nightmarish flashbacks which led to her return to the UK for mental health support.

“When I was diagnosed with PTSD, I was thinking, ‘thank God I’m not crazy and there’s a name to it’. But at the same time, what does this mean?”

Living with PTSD is a continuous battle with high anxiety, Amber explained, feeling as though someone is constantly sitting on her chest. Once a bubbly and sociable person, she started to find social interactions overwhelming. The weight of Amber’s experiences soon became too much and tragically led her to multiple suicide attempts, despite the presence of her son in the same military house.

Amber with her son

“I so wanted the pain and the stress to stop that I was very selfish. I’ve got to be stronger than that.”

A PTSD survivor's housing struggles

When Amber returned to the UK, she found herself homeless after running out of money to pay for hotel rooms, so she reached out and found support through Help 4 Homeless Veterans, a charity in which the Veterans’ Foundation proudly supports. She credits them for not only providing her and her son with housing but also for changing their lives.

If you want to help veterans like Amber, and charities like Help 4 Homeless Veterans, please play the Veterans’ Lottery.

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Amber holding up a Veterans' Lottery card

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