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 in life.
Kevin Pearson, of 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.
Pearson served in the Scots Guards for 16 years and deployed to Hong Kong, Germany, Scotland and Northern Ireland and cited: “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 I 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.”
Kevin had always had a keen interest in photography and was completely self-taught, but after seeing a Photography Course offered through Help for Heroes Recovery Centre Tedworth House in Wiltshire decided to apply to learn more from a professional.
“I was able to learn so much more. It was a great way to learn and completely exceeded my expectations. Photography gets me out of the house, and it gets me going places that I wouldn’t usually go 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 my down a new path and opened different doors for me.”
Kevin said he will continue with his photography and hopes to take his passion further afield and visit Africa on a Safari trip to take photos of animals in the wild.
To find out more about Help for Heroes visit www.helpforheroes.org.uk