PTSD Survivors Speak: PTSD, what a nightmare
Wednesday, March 24th, 2010 • PTSD Guest Post: Survivors Speak •
A special series coming for this week’s ‘Survivors Speak’ and ‘Professional Perspective’. That is, the same survivor and professional writing for both features, sharing his experience on both sides of the aisle. Bob Paxman is the founder of talking2minds, a charity established to help people — especially vets — heal from PTSD.
PTSD, what a nightmare
My journey through PTSD began some years ago and with hindsight first became noticeable whilst I was serving in the military. I joined the army in my late twenties and rapidly became bored with the whole setup and decided to go for SAS selection. I managed to pass first time and spent several years working in high pressure hostile environments in 9 Troop B Squadron 22 SAS.
After a period of time and several injuries later I finally decided to move on and do something where I had more choice and freedom. Within several months I had left the military and was working as a Non Governmental Military Advisor in Africa. This is where my PTSD started to evolve into an uncontrollable beast.
My first marriage fell apart; I walked out of the relationship and disappeared into the African Bush for several years leaving loved ones thinking that I had been killed or worse.
Although my behaviour and mental state was deteriorating I found a partner who could see that there was a reason for my aggressive exterior and that there was a gentler human being underneath struggling to get out. After several years of managing my state my new partner managed to get me to realise that there was something quite wrong with my behaviours and that there may well be an underlying problem. By this time I was working in Iraq as a Security Adviser in a senior management role. In around 2004 I approached the NHS for help and was passed from pillar to post as there was little knowledge of existing treatments or providers. I met many likeminded sufferers along the way and eventually was taken into a well known UK charity that provides respite for former military sufferers of stress related disorders.
It quickly became apparent that there is little or no treatment that is designed for PTSD or severe stress related disorders. There are lots of very caring people and organisations offering help with the highest of intentions as well as the sharks who want to prey on the weak for their own personal gain.
I completely lost the proverbial ‘plot’ after spending 2 weeks in the care of a specialist stress charity in UK. When they told me I would have to ‘face up to facts and take the drugs’ I decided to change tack and carry out my own research to save my mind.
Along my journey I looked into many kinds of therapy and suggestions of how to manage my state. All well and good for someone to tell you what to do when they haven’t experienced the living hell and the pits of madness themselves.
After several months of research and admitting to friends that I wasn’t well I came across a friend of a friend who was a life coach and was also helping people with PTSD and stress related disorders. During all of this time I continued to work in Iraq where I was a Senior Security Adviser in the red zone.
The friend of a friend, Mick Stott, was also ex military. The release to be counselled by someone who spoke the same language was unimaginable! Regardless of the curative effect of his treatment I felt so much better for just being amongst ‘my own’. Desperate, and slightly doubting, I met with Mick. After the first session I lost my nightmares and flashbacks in one day. Two more sessions were enough to see me waving goodbye to my PTSD demons. Like George Foreman, I was so impressed by the results that I got trained up and together Mick and I now run Talking2Minds a charity with the sole aim of treating people with PTSD.
Mick had been a Senior Physical Training Instructor in the British Military Academy at Sandhurst. He had come up through the ranks to become a Captain in the PT Corps and had been tasked by the MOD to investigate civilian performance enhancing courses in order to increase pass rates within the military for various courses. During Mick’s years in the military he had studied many disciplines and philosophies and has picked the bones out of those that work and added them to some of the more modern approaches. Mick has his own school of personal development and therapy (www.quantumnlp.com) that is linked very closely with talking2minds (www.talking2minds.com) which conducts the training and validation of all those that work with talking2minds to ensure efficacy. Mick has been recognised in UK as being the leader in the field of therapeutic intervention.
Bob is the Founder of Talking2Minds and has spent that last 2 years studying and developing the Talking2Minds product and ethos in order to provide the correct help and support for those that need it. He is former Royal Engineers and B Sqn SAS who has served in many hostile environments worldwide, both as a serving member of the armed forces and as a private security management professional. He has spent over 20 years in hostile and high pressure environments. Bob is currently studying for the Synergy Trainers qualification in order to further the Talking2Minds intervention research and development programme.
For more information on NLP and veteran support groups:
Part 2 of this 3 part series will be posted on Friday, March 26 in the Professional Perspective feature.
The opinions in this post are solely those of the author. To contribute to ‘Survivors Speak” contact Michele.