'You go out there and you risk your life…but when the worst happens it doesn't mean a thing… If you die, you die a hero but what does that matter? Cause you're dead aren't you? But you know what's worse? Not dying. Because…then you're not a hero, you're just an ex-soldier, a victim. And what I have realised is no one cares, not really. They feel sorry for you, but that’s all…’
My name is Sergeant John McIntyre, proud ex-soldier of the British Army. You will probably have heard of me, as just two months ago I was all over the news and sparked a massive political debate after I tried to chuck myself off the Tyne Bridge.
On November 28th 2014 I was shot while on active service in Iraq. The bullet lodged in my skull, where it remains to this day, causing me pain and irritation like I can’t describe. The army made me, and it broke me. It has defined me for twenty years, and it gave me a sense of belonging and personal fulfilment. But it also cost me my marriage, my son, my physical health and my sanity. The human cost of war is far more than those that don’t make it back. Sometimes I think they got the better end of the deal. To die a hero has to be a better prospect than to survive a shadow of the person you were.
The pain in my head can be managed, the pain in my heart, the damage there…not so much. But I’m trying, God knows I’m trying. If only I could get the voices in my head to stop screaming in the dark long enough to see the light at the end of the tunnel.
My name is Sergeant John McIntyre, and this is my story.
‘All’s fair’ is a very personal account of one man’s story of what it means to be a soldier, and the impact the army has not just on the battlefield but beyond that, when the dust settles and the career is over.
Published: 26 May 2016
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