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Acute Stress Reaction

  • Paul Twitchell
  • Interview by: Jess Boydon


A coupla days into actually going across the border,

unfortunately we lost two of our royal engineer friends.

A group of them were

contacted whilst carrying out a job,

and two of them managed to get back to us

and two of 'em unfortunately didn't.

Had a bit of an effect on me.

I started to realize, this is real.

And I started to become quite ill.

But we were in a situation that was very, very different.

And sometimes medical facilities were not at hand.

So we

I went for about four nights without any real sleep.

I'd never done that before,

and it had a dramatic effect on my concentration,

on my physical health.

I was very, very tired, I was drained.

I was very emotional.

And I began to start hyperventilating.

And eventually, a couple of times, I passed out,

and this was once during the nighttime when I was on stag,

and then a couple of times during the daytime.

I mentioned this to a friend who was there,

and he was telling me he was gonna get me sorted,

but very soon after that we had some guys in some trucks

that were locals, potential enemy,

that were watching us and they started circling us

where we were.

And we all stood to.

So we stood to, meaning that we all got

into our firing positions to defend our camp.

Or our base.

I started hyperventilating.

I became very, very confused.

I didn't know what was going on with me.

And I started getting very hot and eventually

the blackness around my eyes went into the center

and I passed out and I was in front of the rest of the guys.

The next thing I know I woke up quite a,

a few miles away in a medical facility, in a tent,

with an RAF doctor leaning over me.

And he said, and I didn't know where my weapons were,

everything had been taken off me, my bag,

and everything had gone.

And I was very, very confused.

The doctor said to me, we've gotta get you back,

we gotta get you out of here to at least assess you.

So I was flown out of the country,

flown out to Q8 and then all the way back to Brize Norton

and then onto Catterick,

where I was assessed over a few days,

and it was deemed that I had had an acute stress reaction

and I just needed some time away from the theater

for my brain to reset and my body to re,

become stronger again.

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