A military veteran who suffered PTSD and became homeless after a tour in Afghanistan has written a song to help other ex-servicemen going through difficult times.
Alex Askew, a keen guitarist from Heath Road in Crayford, struggled to cope when he left the armed forces three years ago.
The 34-year-old said: “I did six months in Afghanistan and when I came back I was so frustrated.
“I suffered a bit of depression.”
Alex struggled to find work when he returned to south-east London and became homeless.
He ended up living in his car with his wife Lisa who he met online when he was in the RAF in Afghanistan.
Together they spent three years living with friends, family and at B&Bs as they couldn’t afford anywhere else.
It was during this time he penned the song Just Another Week which he has since recorded with his band Shadey Scandals.
Alex said: “The way I was feeling at the time I felt like time was going by and nothing was being achieved.”
Now Alex has a full-time job as a sign-maker, a house in Heath Road and a 20-month-old baby daughter with Lisa.
He attributes much of his recovery to playing music and would encourage others to do the same.
He said: “I’m a completely different person now compared to when I came out of the forces.
“I’m so much more upbeat.
“I’ve used music as therapy. I’m a big thinker anyway and music gives me something to focus on.
“I’d recommend it to anyone going through a hard time.”
Alex hopes his song will encourage army men and women to talk about their feelings more.
He said: “At the end of the day servicemen are proud people who don’t like to ask for help.
“But it is there when you need it.”
Alex’s song, which is released on April 23, will raise money for SSAFA the Armed Forces charity.
The charity helped him get back on his feet and defeat his demons.
He said: “I think a lot of people who go to SSAFA will be able to relate to the song – the feeling of living week to week and having no one to turn to.
“SSAFA helped me and my wife a lot and since then we’ve become fundraisers.
“We really love promoting the charity.”
Photos by Lisa Askew
Alex is the lead singer of Shadey Scandals and is joined by bandmates Tony Amato, Martin Tiedman, Pete Ravenscroft, Brian Brockie and Rick Lewis.
He said: “Despite the song’s subject it’s still upbeat and rocky and catchy. I think it will appeal to a lot of people.”
He added that his daughter Katie-Juliet is their biggest fan.
“She’s the light of my life and I’m so proud of her,” he said.
“She likes to sing and pretends to play the guitar. She comes from a musical family because her mum likes to sing as well.”
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The song will cost 99p and be available on music sites such as iTunes and Amazon.
Alex said: “The song is to raise awareness and funds for SSAFA and I’m very excited about it coming out.”