Military Veterans : Pete’s Story
When Pete Botheras was medically discharged from the RAF in 2010 with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder he was devastated, “I felt like I had been thrown on the scrapheap. I thought my life was over. I felt worthless and useless. I couldn’t see any way forward”.
Pete tried a few jobs after finishing his military service, including working as a teaching assistant, but struggled to find a purpose in life and drifted into isolation. “I was a manic depressive, hiding away from the world and feeling lost. I spent 21 years serving my country in Northern Ireland, Kosovo, Sierra Leone, Iraq and Afghanistan; yet now I was hiding away at home with my curtains drawn, feeling angry and resentful”.
“Then I was introduced to Tim Cocks at Active Plus and my life changed. I went along to observe some of their development courses for unemployed people, met some other injured veterans who were working as instructors and realised that here was something worth getting out of bed for”.
Pete first started work with Active Plus as a volunteer, helping to deliver problem solving, team work and communication exercises but quickly progressed to become a full-time paid employee. He said “I feel better about myself. A lot of unemployed people think their world has come to an end, and I can empathise with that, but we show them that they still have a lot to offer and rebuild their self-esteem. We feed off each other really”.
“It gives me a real sense of achievement when I see people improve. I know I am making a difference to someone’s life every single day and it makes me feel good. I have to keep going, I don’t want to let anyone down and I know there are a lot of other people out there who need our help”.