Military Veterans : Ed’s Story

July 24, 2015

Ed started work for Active Plus in June 2013, his first job after being medically discharged from the RAF in May 2011. The intervening years proved very difficult for him.

“Leaving the military left me quite depressed. I was Medically Discharged with a nerve related injury which meant I suffered debilitating pain and I had just lost the only career I ever wanted. Furthermore, the pain was so bad I thought I would never work again. My life had been turned upside down with no way to know what to do to fix it. I applied for a lot of jobs, only to be rebuffed due to too much experience, not enough experience, the wrong type of experience; this further added to my depression. I felt useless, a burden to society. Because I had a small medical pension, I could not claim any benefit support to help with returning to work. I attended university; hoping to change my life and start a new career. I lasted a month before the level of pain became too great and stopped me working.

I moved to Cornwall for a fresh start. My wife was accepted to study a course at Plymouth University, and we jumped at the chance to change our lives. Although I initially could not get a job, I started to explore a variety of options, and one of those options led to a job with Active Plus. It changed my life. Suddenly, I had an organisation who believed I had something to offer, who were not afraid to take me on. Initially I had some confidence barriers to overcome: would I be able to stay working, or will the pain prove to be a barrier: am I good enough after 2 years unemployment, barriers that meant I initially struggled. But over time I steadily improved and achieved a great many goals, such as: working full time hours, working flexibly, commuting long distances, working long hours; elements I thought I would never be able to do again. But more importantly, through working with the community, Active Plus showed me that it is normal to have a medical problem and still be able to work. There have been so many inspirational people I’ve met who overcome barriers to employment on a daily basis, and these people are not just Active Plus instructors, but also other members of society that we have come into contact with.