During most of 2015, I’ve been battling with the huge pain in the butt that is PTSD. My Post Traumatic Stress Disorder came as a result of being assaulted 2 years ago and left me with debilitating, exhausting, uncontrollable and crippling fear – stuck in the fight/flight/freeze adrenaline surge. Fear of everything, and unable to do almost anything (including just being me) without incredible effort even though the man who assaulted me will be in prison for the next 9 years.
At times I’ve been unable to move, breathe or speak from ridiculous fear just by going about my everyday life. I developed psoriasis under my eyes from crying so much, doctors wanted to put me on beta-blockers so I didn’t damage my heart from putting it under too much stress, I didn’t sleep for more than an hour at a time, my muscles and joints were in agony from being tense, I’d chip my fillings out from clenching my teeth so hard without knowing and I’ve made life difficult for everyone around me – I wasn’t me anymore, I became a highly sensitive faulty cctv system.
I couldn’t go out alone, but I couldn’t be alone in the house either… Being off work for 4 months was therefore helpful, painful and awful at the same time.
BUT the important part here is I’m talking in past tense!
Miraculous help came in the form of psychotherapy: eye movement desensitisation reprocessing and I finished this treatment recently after going private (due to long NHS waiting lists). Now I can be in an unlocked car alone, have a bath in an empty house, play music when I’m in an empty house, go out in my garden finally and even drive with the windows down! Small things yes, but massive changes for me. I as able to return to work and be normal me again! (You can read more about my experience with EMDR here)
I’m not after sympathy, I simply feel that it’s important to share this with the world: I know that there are people a lot worse off than I was but it’s important for the world to know what PTSD is, how EMDR therapy can help and that it’s not only people in the armed forces that can have PTSD (something I used to think). Not even my GP knew enough about it – and I’m not willing to accept a lack of knowledge for others in the same situation I was!
I had a normal reaction to an abnormal situation – PTSD is considered a psychological trauma, regardless of what incident caused it and can therefore affect anybody! However, there is no PTSD charity for non-veterans in the UK!
PTSD is a very misunderstood issue, which hasn’t helped things for me – but I want to be able to help others, so I set this charity up. The main aim for the charity will be to raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder in the UK – ultimately, I’d love to be able to help fund treatment options for sufferers and advice and help for friends and family of those affected.
Jacqui, Founder of PTSD UK