(York, UK - 10:20am Friday 7th August 2009) -- A Gulf War veteran who is still coping with Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) 18 years after returning from combat has thrown her weight behind The Press’s Debt of Honour campaign.
Marianna Proietti, 39, of Acomb, in York, said she has to fight a constant battle to receive the full war pension she is entitled to and has given up trying to receive psychiatric treatment for her problems.
The mother-of-four also suffers from Irritable Bowel Syndrome and has undergone several operations to her shoulders and knees after they were damaged in service.
She said she strongly believed her problems were caused by exposure to inoculations and radiation in the Gulf, as well as the trauma of being at war.
“I still have nightmares and flashbacks and suffer serious mood swings,” she said.
“Low-flying aircraft and any loud bangs and noises take me back to when I was in the Gulf and make me feel sick.
“I was sat with a guy for four hours while he was dying and there was nothing I could do; I was held up in an Iraqi prisoner-of-war hospital.”
She said she had also had to clear up a soldier’s remains after he was killed in combat.
“But I’ve got no-one to discuss these things with,” she said. “People have said to me surely Combat Stress can help, but when I asked for their help they wouldn’t help me because I was going through my local mental health service.
“I’ve given up because I’m fed up with trying to fight the system.”
Marianna, who joined the Territorial Army in 1987, was the first woman soldier below the rank of officer to be sent to the Gulf in 1991 as a member of the Royal Medical Army Corps.
“I believe ex-servicemen deserve to be treated much better than they are,” she said. “It’s just one fight after another and the system needs to change so we get the support we deserve.”
Marianna feels so strongly about the issue she has set up a petition on the social networking site Facebook calling on the Government to reopen military hospitals. “If you’re on a ward with lots of other squaddies who have lost limbs, it helps the healing process because you can all talk and relate to each other,” she said.
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