I now know I have PTSD and it is Liberating

I am not quite sure when I first encountered the ‘Black Dog’ but he has pretty much been on the premises for the last ten years. The crash as I like to call it came on 9th October 2009 when the pressures of a full-time job and caring finally took their toll. I remember waking at 3 am, not normal for the heavy sleeper that I always was back then. A trip to the GP surgery, anti-depressants and eventually counselling followed. On Christmas Eve 2010 my employment situation was finally resolved with a redundancy package and with the caring position fairly stable I began the process of coming off the tablets.

In the next five years my sister died aged forty, Daphne’s health worsened resulting in a move to full-time residential care and the senior officer at my old job gave me the run around after I suggested a return in a part-time role. Pretty hard to take from an organisation I gave my life to for more than twenty years. 2015 brought a return to the medication and when Daphne died in 2017 eventually some more counselling. With everything that had happened to me, the professionals had difficulty in identifying my condition so in the circumstances the focus became my recent bereavement.

It was only in the winter of 2018 when I accessed the Time To Talk service again that PTSD was mentioned and everything fell into place. The trauma caused by my work situation was still haunting me particularly through nightmares, whilst the pain of bereavement was easing. Bingo, this new diagnosis was uniquely liberating. On the downside, I waited months for the specialist counselling. The fact that someone has put the finger on what was causing my illness was strangely uplifting.

Looking back I view these ten years as a part of my life when I have learnt a lot about the inadequacies of the NHS and Adult Social Care system in this country. I found a new political philosophy Liberalism, have been as active as I can be in the Lib Dems, the highlights being a couple of unsuccessful runs for the council and attendance at Federal Conference. I have also made some great new friends along the way. The way ahead looks a bit clearer now I understand why I have been unwell for so long.

Thank you to everyone in the Liberal family that I have met along the way, you have really helped without even realising it.

* David is a member of Horsham and Crawley Liberal Democrats

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6 Comments

  • nigel hunter 18th Sep '19 - 3:07pm

    Health and well- being will be better for EVERYBODY if more effort was made to identify and prevent/identify problems BEFORE they get to admission to hospital or heavy prescription use. More people in prevention techniques are required. It can be a job growth area.

  • Unfortunately modern life is very stressful but I am glad you have found friends with the Liberals. We have to look out for one another.

  • chris moore 18th Sep '19 - 6:43pm

    Great article, David.

  • David Warren 18th Sep '19 - 6:51pm

    Thanks Chris.

  • Sue Sutherland 19th Sep '19 - 12:39pm

    I’m glad you’ve found a home with us David and you’ve highlighted a huge problem in the lack of provision of therapy. There are an awful lot of people who do not have a mental health problem but who have been stretched to breaking point in their childhood or adult life. Without therapy or counselling they will be condemned to a life on drugs to help them in their very natural reaction to a high level of stress, or a life beset by anxiety and fear. Work place situations can easily become a re- run of damaging familial experiences when management is based on extracting as much as possible from the workforce and using negative messaging to enforce this.
    I think the party does want to improve the situation of lack of provision of therapeutic care but I’m not sure if it’s gone as far as deciding to invest in these services as part of our policy on the NHS and Social Care.

  • Very good to read your candid account. Your experience to some extent mirrors my own. I had a top job leading a team treating and researching bipolar disorder and felt the loss deeply when I retired.
    https://www.bmj.com/content/355/bmj.i6260/rr-13
    Then when I lost my mother to dementia after years looking after her, it was hard but I found salvation to some extent with the Lib Dems and also, in my own case, with joining a campaign group against Brexit.
    Very often it’s the multiple blows in succession which can wear down even the toughest of us, but we find new things to sustain us.

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