On 18th January 2016 I was nearly killed in a road traffic accident on the motorway. I was travelling down the M5 in Gloucestershire when my car was hit side on by a 44tonne lorry trying to change lanes. His vehicle was left hand drive, he had no idea I was there and he didn’t feel the impact. My car spun until it was facing sideways across the motorway traffic, straight into the lorry’s path where it hit me again, pushing me sideways along the busy motorway for some distance, at first still unaware there was a car in front of him.
It sounds pretty shocking and I’ve become used to hearing it told like a story that happened to someone else, mainly because thats how I tell it.
Until recently there were a lot of details about the accident I could not remember so I couldn’t offer an insight into how it felt, only how it was. Being involved in an accident like that is life changing in more ways than I can describe here, not least because a short time later I was diagnosed with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder. It is a condition I had heard of before and I had a genuine empathy for sufferers, assuming almost all were ex-military. It always seemed logical to me, giving my experience with safeguarding vulnerable young children as part of my job that even as adults, if we witness or are involved in a traumatic event it can’t not have an impact on us psychologically. Turns out I was right, but my thoughts on the subject had only scratched the surface. I had no idea that PTSD would go on to effect me and just how severe an impact it would have on my life.
So how did I come about writing this blog 10 months into my recovery? One of the main symptoms of my PTSD has been an inability to think clearly or retain any information. Have a look at ‘What Is Post Traumatic Stress Disorder’ here for a bit of an insight. For the most part this is still true but 10 months on and my brain has started to heal enough so as to allow me to write about my experiences, and in a manner very unlike me, I’ve decided to share it with you.
This blog won’t read like some sort of nightmarish tragic diary. Facebook has far too much of that as it is (you know who you are). Also, my memory was awful even before I got hit by a lorry so recalling daily/weekly details is a non starter. Instead I will try and recount the last year of my life which, despite the near death experience, has been the best year of my life as well as the worst.
I will talk about what the symptoms of PTSD have meant for me in the real world.
Dr Google will give you lists of symptoms for all sorts of afflictions (headache? Get the family round; you don’t have long) but in real life their impact can be both devastating and at times even amusing. Trying to live with this psychological injury has stripped me bare and trying to build up again from what was quite a child like state has tested me and my relationships to the limit.
Tomorrow comes a day that I (and let’s be honest, my long suffering family) have been waiting for. I start a programme of trauma related psychotherapy that is designed to re-wire my brain back to how it was before, for better or worse. There’s a chance my nearest and dearest have had a strategy meeting with the therapist about a few adjustments. Following this I will start the gritty task of getting all this down in blog form for you to follow on tinterweb.
In the meantime, welcome to my blog site and feel free to share it with anyone who you think might be interested. Take a look at the about me pages in the menu and I hope you gain something from what’s to come. I’m hoping it’ll be a story of endurance, change and triumph