Whilst the London Bombings occurred 10 years ago this month, one only has to look at the cascade of news reports of traumatic events in the UK, and further afield, which affect people from all nations. For those who are affected by PTSD, or indeed by other mental health disorders related to traumatic exposure such as clinical depression, specific phobia or substance misuse, life after traumatic events can be very challenging.
We see every day that a starting point for recovery is contact with other veterans. This rarely quiet and often laughing band of brothers is the key to initial success. Later must come the move to a civilian identity, but the key is to find a civilian identity that is larger than, but includes, a veteran identity.
I have enormous respect for anyone that goes to therapy and extending that, anyone who walks into my office. To walk into a therapist's office (or in my case, a coach's office) admitting you need help and wanting to change is, in my eyes, admirable. In addition to that, to keep going to therapy is hard.
Four salient reasons to resist the rise of trigger warnings in higher education and general usage. For the sake of resisting censorship by stealth, for the sake of artistic integrity, for the sake of maintaining serious intellectual openness in higher education, and for the sake of those suffering from trauma themselves, I beg you - don't get too trigger-happy.
I've discovered that I don't have to let my past trauma define me - it still affects me a little bit from time to time, but I'm confident that those feelings will soon fade away. For any of you out there who have suffered, or are suffering, from PTSD - you are not alone. You can be helped. And it will get better.
PTSD is a silent disorder that might not surface on day one or even day one hundred of their leave. And for soldiers leaving the service, like I did, we should remember their homecoming will take on an extra significance... Finding a new identity on Civvy Street can in its own way be just as much of a challenge as being on tour.
As we sat in the middle of our mats, eyes closed, James asked us to picture our 7 year old selves sitting in front of us. And as we breathed our ujjayi breath (ocean breathing) with mouths open, each of us looked into the quizzical face of our 7 year old selves as they looked back and asked, 'How are we doing? How are we doing as an adult?'
I made a promise to myself while recovering from my injuries to always put family and friends needs before anything else. In the ensuing years I have managed to keep this promise. What I could not foresee was how this vow would be tested when I was torn between both family and a friend, at the same time, in the past two months.
"After all this time might I be Bi-Polar rather than still suffering from PTSD?" was the question I posed to Anton Kruger, my psychologist, in March of this year. The reasoning for my question was that it is coming up for 14 years since the train crash which is a significant amount of time. Surely I must be over it by now?
Like any human being, I watched the documentary Hunted with an open mouth and an increasing horror. I also watched it whilst trying to quieten the several fireworks going off in my head at once. The similarities between homosexuals' rights in Russia and sex workers' rights in the UK/Ireland are breath taking.
What if Valentine's Day, or relationships in general, were a stark reminder of the most painful and distressing events that you ever experienced? What if they triggered a trauma so terrifically challenging that it forever altered your approach to life? Welcome to Valentine's Day, and relationships, for adoptees.
There was an almighty thud which echoed about the surrounding Alps as the helicopter crashed and snapped in two. Hundreds of skiers stood and watched with wide-eyed horror during the dreadful and eerie silence that followed as though nature, without exception, always proffers its own mark of respect following sudden destruction and death.
My Grandfather tragically lost his friend on the battlefield and suffered from depression for the rest of his life, which rendered him unable to speak for the days surrounding 11 November. My Great Uncle was severely, severely shell shocked and as an additional complication, the PTSD triggered psychotic episodes during which there was an attempt to break into Buckingham Palace.