"It takes a long time but never lose hope – and talk about it"

I have been thinking about other people and especially other people with mental health issues.

Thursday, 14th May 2020, 10:17 am
Updated Thursday, 14th May 2020, 10:17 am

Those issues can be great or small and for many differing reasons, also the distress they cause goes from the very mild to the extremely debilitating.

I can speak from personal experience. As a sufferer of PTSD I am very aware of its effects on my health, both mental and physical.

You never know when it is going to raise its head or for how long. Sometimes it’s a flash back that is only a part of the incident but sometimes it ‘plays the whole movie’ as I tell people.

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Alan Fletcher, Yorkshire Water.

Over the years I have learnt to stop looking for triggers, as things I see either in real life or on TV that I thought would trigger a flashback don’t always do so but what I do know is that it is very controlling and very distressing. The distressing part is two-fold as it not only effects the individual but also their close family members and friends as they may be exposed to seeing you during an episode. This can make them feel helpless and afraid too.

The one thing I have learnt to do more of over the years though is talk about it.

I no longer see it as my big secret, something not to be discussed.

You can talk about it in a clinical setting with trained people but you must also talk about it with your family and friends too. They are your immediate support and they need to know how it makes you feel and what helps you though it.

I have recently undergone EMDR treatment (Eye Movement Desensitisation and Reprocessing) which is now the leading treatment for PTSD and its changed things massively for me.

It has taken me a long time to get here which is something else to remember ... never give up looking for help and never lose hope.

You will find that people can be amazingly supportive.

Just talk.

- Today’s guest editor Alan Fletcher is Process Safety Engineer at Yorkshire Water. You can read more about Alan and his career on Page 2 of today’s education supplement. There are several stories in today’s Star which have been specially written at his request. That includes a special treat for Gloops’ fans on Page 22.