Tim's solo cycle from Lands End to John O'Groats for PTSD UK
Tim Smith from Walthamstow, London is cycling solo and unsupported from Land’s End to John O’ Groats this weekend to help raise awareness of Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and fundraise for PTSD UK.
37-year-old Tim, who is Head of Thought Leadership and Analysis at the Royal Institution of Chartered Surveyors, was diagnosed with Complex PTSD (C-PTSD) 5 years ago, after his childhood was dominated by physical, mental and sexual abuse by his alcoholic parents.
Complex PTSD is a condition which some people develop after experiencing multiple, sustained or repeated traumas such as physical health issues, events experienced in employment where you repeatedly encounter distressing scenes, military service, childhood abuse, domestic abuse and caring for a loved one with a complex medical condition.
It’s estimated that in any given week in the UK, 4 in 100 people have Post Traumatic Stress Disorder which equates to over 2,612,000 people in the UK, yet it’s still an incredibly misunderstood, and still relatively unknown condition.
Tim explains why he decided to do this challenge and support PTSD UK, “I feel there is a real lack of support and understanding of both PTSD and C-PTSD. I want raise awareness of just how prevalent it is and despite the negative connotations that are associated with it that we are people who live normal lives, and like everyone else can do extraordinary things.
It is vital that we raise awareness of PTSD and C-PTSD. 50% of people will experience trauma at some point in their life, and Covid-19 will have undoubtedly caused many people to experience it for the first time or will have exacerbated those that already suffer with the condition. But it is a hidden, complex and misunderstood condition. It is scary for the individual and it is also scary for their families and friends, so ensuring that people are aware of the causes, the symptoms and how to manage it is so so important. I wish I had known about my condition earlier in my life and had been better able to manage and live with it. When I tell people that I have C-PTSD they are shocked and say “wow, I would never have known” and that is the point, we try and hide it through our normal lives, but suffer in silence – that needs to end.
Since I was a child I have always cycled. Cycling has always helped me manage my condition. About 5 years ago I decided that I would like to do Land’s End to John O’Groats. For me it will symbolise my journey with trauma – long, beautiful, hard and unknown.”
Tim’s journey starts on Saturday 27 August at Land’s End and sees him traverse the entire length of Britain without any support crew, up to John O’Groats where he plans to arrive on Thursday 1 September.
Jacqui Suttie, Founder and CEO of PTSD UK added “We’re in awe of all of our supporters and their dedication to the challenges they set themselves – but Tim’s challenge is extraordinary inspiring. Not only does his fundraising help support our mission to support everyone affected by PTSD and C-PTSD, it also lets others with the condition see what is possible, inspire them, and see that there is hope and maybe even set themselves a similar challenge too!”
If you’d like to support Tim to get to his goal of fundraising £5000, you can do so here: https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/tims-lejog-2022-for-cptsd
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Treatments for PTSD
It is possible for PTSD to be successfully treated many years after the traumatic event occurred, which means it is never too late to seek help. For some, the first step may be watchful waiting, then exploring therapeutic options such as individual or group therapy – but the main treatment options in the UK are psychological treatments such as Eye Movement Desensitisation Reprogramming (EMDR) and Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
Traumatic events can be very difficult to come to terms with, but confronting and understanding your feelings and seeking professional help is often the only way of effectively treating PTSD. You can find out more in the links below, or here.