Archive for the ‘depression’ Category

So as another year ends and a fresh one begins I got to thinking about this Blog and decided to start sharing some pictures from my time away to break up the writing side of things.

Afghanistan is a huge part of my life and has been for the best part of a decade now, I have spent so long over there and also in Iraq that I feel more at home in these places than I do in my birth country. Despite all of the bad bad things that have happened while away, the good memories vastly out weigh the bad ones. It is hard to explain Afghanistan to someone that has not been there and actually stood among its people and breathed in its culture: the country is so full of history, life and rich in colour that it’s easy to loose yourself for a time and forget that it is a harsh country, that has been plagued by War for so long now that a lot of Afghani’s can’t even remember a way of life before the one that is now filled with violence and uncertainty. The place is a mixture of landscapes; from the mountains in the North to the Deserts in the South, the rolling plains, fertile farming lands and wooded valleys. You can immerse yourself in the history of a country that was once known as the Orient of the West and was a regular stopping point on the ‘Hippy Trail’, I have stood in the remains of fortifications built by the Khan’s, walked in the footsteps of my forefathers from the British Army, been privileged to have visited the Kings Tomb and have literally walked in History. The people are a hard, versatile people that have lived through the harshest of times, who have a deep rooted pride in the country, their culture and their ties to their ancestors. During times of trouble they are the hardest and most resilient of Warriors who will fight against all of the odds to the last man to protect what is theirs and their way of life, while on the other hand they can be the most hospitable, humblest people that will give you their last bit of food and the shirt of their backs should you need it.

In short I think what I am trying to say is that Afghanistan is a stunning, beautiful looking country with a rich history and an amazing vibrant people and culture which I am hoping that I will be able to portray to you in some photographs that have been taken over the years. Enjoy.

A ‘Tut-Tut’ on the outskirts of Kabul in 2003, a common vehicle to see as they are cheap and easy to maintain.

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Musaqala, Helmand Provence. The location of some of the fiercest fighting in the most recent conflict but also a place of stunning
scenery and the home to a huge bustling bazaar.

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This was taken in Helmand Provence where the Education system is almost non-existent and children are largely left to their own devices during the day while the fathers work and the mothers cook.

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A father protectively hold onto his child while listening to a local Governance speech about health care and Education.

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A British patrol being over taken by a local boy racer back in 2003. In the background you can see the remains of a British Fort that used to overlook the city of Kabul.

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A young lad taking a cheeky peak over the wall to see what goes on inside of a Forward Operating Base and also hoping to scrounge some chocolates from us on the inside.

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So that’s all for now but I will add more photo’s as time goes on and may even throw some shots of Iraq in as well. Enjoy everyone and Happy New Year.

I’m not sure what happened, or maybe I am but I’m not sure how it got to that point. Too many things going on in my head, too many things happening all at once, a total feeling of helplessness and of being lost mixed with a whole load of beer, the best part of a bottle of Rum and a whole load of self loathing at what has happened and what I perceive myself to have become. That’s probably what happened and how I got to that stage, that’s probably how I reached the point where I hit rock bottom and found myself sat at my newly bought kitchen table during the early hours of the morning with an almost finished bottle of wine sat in front of me, an ash tray full of dog-ends and a knife from my Jamie Oliver kitchen knife set placed beside the glass tumbler staring up at me with a promise to an end to all that has been plaguing me for so long now. One small movement, one moment of pain and then maybe I could find the peace that I fucking crave so much.

As it happens it turns out that I am a total failure when it comes to committing suicide and after some attempts to cut into myself, which have led to some telling scars on my wrist, I found myself sat at the table in a total state of confusion with a blood stained knife laying in front of me and a series of bloody cuts on my arm. It was somewhere during them moments of total shame, between the spates of anger and the tears, that I realised that I couldn’t deal with this anymore on my own. I think that I already knew this, which is the reason that I have slowly but surly been letting a few people that I know and trust see what lies behind my game face. The thing is that even though more people know about my problems I have still maintained that this is something I can manage and deal with myself, it took this event, this moment of madness and me stepping over the mark and hitting an all time low to realise that I’m not as strong as I’d like to make out and that perhaps I do need someones shoulders to lean on when things get too much and to help me find my way through this darkness.

So now I find myself back at work, my wrist is healing well and easy enough to hide from my colleagues and despite the normal frustrations of this job I find myself more relaxed and more together than I ever am back in the ‘real world’. Everything here makes sense to me and I have a sense of purpose, this work defines me and who I am. I find it hard to comprehend the two different ‘me’s’ and wish that the person that I am here could be the person that I am at home. As I have said before, I am not stupid, I know that I am messed up and have lost my way somewhere along the line and that the end game for me is not where I take my own life but where I find my life again and I can take control of my problems and not have them control me. That’s the end game and I am determined to get there no matter what the cost, it just seems so fucking hard and at times it seems like I am fighting a loosing battle but I am sure that with the love and support of those around me that this is something that I will beat eventually or at the very least I am going to go down fighting.

A couple of things that we are taught in the Armed Forces are; no plan, no matter how good, survives first contact and that no battle is ever straight forward or easy. I guess that now, more than ever, I need to take note of them two bits of wisdom that I have heard said countless times over the years.