Hayling Island army veteran overcomes PTSD to win business award

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A SELF-EMPLOYED army veteran has overcome mental barriers to win praise for his business.

Former captain John Geden, 36, suffers from Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), but applied his beekeeping hobby to his business, Sinah Common Honey, on Hayling Island.

Now he’s been named winner of Business Start-Up Of The Year at this year’s Nationwide Resettlement Awards.

John, who spent 10 years in the army, said that some experiences left him with ‘unpleasant memories and mental scars’.

He said: ‘I was in a dead zone about living with PTSD and deciding what to do. Working with other people had its limitations for me.

‘I needed to do something that would give me a sense of worth and achievement, but that did not put me under too much pressure by placing huge demands on me.’

John was diagnosed with PTSD in 2014 after suffering a severe nervous breakdown – something which he said ‘shattered my whole self-belief’.

He said: ‘My own mental health has been a constant burden. I have had a few re-lapses and this crucifies my motivation and confidence.

‘I still suffer from nightmares three times a week and they can be really graphic. It has a massive impact on my ability to hold down a normal 9-to-5 job. However, I have strong support from my family and friends.’

The start-up of Sinah Common Honey was funded by a £3,500 grant from Help For Heroes, who nominated John for the award.

Debbie Boundy, national career recovery manager for the forces charity, said John was a ‘shining example’ of what can be achieved through Help For Heroes’ recovery scheme.

She said: ‘Life outside of the armed forces can be a successful one.’