The other day I was discussing my own complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) with some mental health nurses. One commented: “You have PTSD? But you always look so well and keep so busy”. “It wasn’t always that way and still it’s never easy”, was my reply.
The reality is I was diagnosed with severe, chronic and complex PTSD. I’ve had secondary depression and battled psychosis, including making three attempts to take my own life. Thankfully with the help of Dr Kingerlee (a clinical psychologist with a keen interest in complex trauma) and a lot of hard work, life’s a lot better but it’s not perfect. By training in new coping strategies and educating myself about PTSD and mental health, I now control my PTSD, it doesn’t control me.
Now I control my PTSD, it doesn’t control me.
Take yesterday for example: I woke with very low mood. I didn’t want to get out of bed. So, I took my time getting ready, cancelling a few things that were not so important. Went into the office, paced myself and did what I had to do. Went home had a soak in the bath, a cheeky takeaway and an early night.
Today I woke — and anger does not come close, to the rage I was feeling. Pure rage pulsing through my body. Recognising Hulk Mode, but not kicking against it, I welcomed my old friend. As I looked in the bathroom mirror I said “Hello old friend, I’ve got a job for you”. I headed straight to the gym and took it for a workout. I smashed it; channeling all that aggression and rage into my workout. It worked for me! I set a new PB and I am now sat with very tired arms and legs but with feel-good endorphins firing off in my head.
I am smiling eating my porridge feeling very chilled out. You can’t stop the symptoms, but you can choose how you deal with them. #BeSmartGetHelp
Luke Woodley is founder, CEO and motivational speaker at Walnut Tree Health and Wellbeing C.I.C headquartered in Norfolk, UK. You can read Luke’s story here. He is passionate about changing the way we treat those with complex mental health conditions and believes a better way of life is possible.