Jason talks about his experience of 18 years living with PTSD brought about by his profession, and how a journey to recovery is possible.
I’ve had nearly 18 years of trauma through my profession. It’s been devastating. I had a total disconnect with myself and had become so withdrawn from my family, friends and local community because I couldn’t handle being with these people. I had massive periods of depression and anxiety. I felt like I was on a wild pendulum of emotions. I felt lost and empty inside.
Last year, I was hospitalised for a minor procedure but ended up with a life-threatening illness. It was a big line in the sand for me. I said to myself,
“I can’t do this anymore”.
That was the point where I said,
“I have to do something about this”.
I did something a lot of men probably don’t do – I asked for help. I went to my doctor who was very kind and referred me to a psychologist. She quickly identified that I had post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). She also said that if I hadn’t done something about it, I could have killed myself.
Physically, I was always quite fit. Mentally and emotionally though, I was a bit of a train-wreck. When my body started to let me down, that was the last straw.
WHAT GAVE ME HOPE
I attended a Moving Beyond Trauma program at Quest. But first, I read Petrea’s book, Your Life Matters. It was as if the book was written for me! Something on just about every page resonated with me.
The book gave me a lot of hope. It was like being given a key to a new car. Then coming to the program was like the new car. The program just flowed on from everything that I’d read in Your Life Matters.
The book taught me a lot about spirituality, which is something I’d been quite ignorant about for most of my life. The concept of living in the present, while such a simple concept, is something I’d never grasped before.
It challenged me to feel more committed to living, in control, happier, excited and connected. This was all new ground to me.
THE POWER TO HEAL
On the program, I learned that the power and energy from within yourself is actually the power that can heal you. We don’t really understand this until we know how to access that power.
On day 1 of the program, we’re given the guidelines that it’s a safe and confidential environment with no judgement – how good is that!
I’m very grateful for what I’ve taken out of the program, especially meditation. I thought it was something I’d never be capable of doing and that you need to be a special kind of person to practice it. Now, I don’t go a day without it. It’s started to change the way I think and respond to the challenges in life. It’s very calming.
I refuse to be defined by the things that happened to me.
Jason shares his story as part of Quest’s Christmas Appeal 2019.