My story of PTSD and depression is filled with loads of physical traumas through a long career in a macho driven sport, as a jump jockey. It was not one accident or one incident that culminated in me going to the most extreme measure of trying to shut out the thunderous noise in my head, but the total amount. My ADHD fuelled all the traumas, and made a perfect storm.
I grew up poor but happy, with a loving family. Bullying at school was a big problem, being extra small of stature and with a red mop for hair, freckles and ragged second hand clothes in a school that was smack in the middle of the richest neighborhood in the country. Bullying stopped after a while, they didn’t see the fun in a victim that always fought back and never gave up, always going for the biggest one of them. I’m not gonna lie, these were horrible days and I resent bullies and the wickedness they bring.
I have an extensive trauma timeline, but a racehorse accident in 1997 was the start of the nightmare that has lasted till today. It left my body and head shattered in a chemically induced coma for 5 days, and another 4 days in a hallucination frenzy of extreme violence and pain inflicted on family, friends and myself. Waking up from the hallucinations resulted in me severely damaging 4 nurses and a doctor before I could be subdued. I know it’s not my fault, I know the hallucinations were nightmares, but my mind and body are still telling me it was real, all the suffering I Inflicted on others, killing myself repeatedly and the bodily pain it created. The thoughts and flashback from the hallucinations have been on my retina and mind every second of every day since that day.
Bouncing back was my trademark, so I bounced back. I kept on pushing myself in everything I did, be it sports, work or partying. What people don’t know was I averaged 1-2 hours sleep per night, and I’ve had this pattern of sleep until 2019. Drinking to sleep became a huge alcoholic problem, even so, I functioned well at work and in social life. Work all day, party all night on repeat.
I had no psychological aftermath after 14 years, or so I thought.
One death in the family in 2011 triggered all the underlying traumas, years of insomnia and nightmares, my descent into madness had begun. Suicidal thoughts and depression riddled me constantly, but I was a master at hiding it.
Sleepless nights turned into online gambling and drunken frenzies. I had a gambling problem for years and alcoholism wasn’t doing it’s job so I started mixing drugs into the sessions to numb my mind in all my stupidity.
When all my addictions stopped doing what it does best, distract me, all the lies and all the pain culminated in me taking an extreme amount of morphine pills and vodka, more than enough to kill me, or so I thought. Waking up, with not as much as a headache, just resulted in disappointment and spiralling into even deeper depressions.
I finally ended up telling my wife all my dark secrets four years ago, and instantly started treatment at a mental health institute. I was diagnosed with PTSD and severe clinical depression. After having to tell my story and the shame it brought to 5 different psychiatrists just to get diagnosed, I quickly fell out of treatment by not showing up and just kept on working as normal. I got my gambling addiction under control during this period, but alcohol was still my best friend and drugs was his visiting pal. The spiral continued, my addictions, ADHD and all the lying fuelled my PTSD, and I ended up losing my wife ,my house and my job.
Last year, I was sat in total darkness in a chair, in a new apartment filled with boxes from a broken life. The nightmarish downfall was complete, and ended in me choking at the end of a belt screwed into one of the rafters. No plans, I just wanted to stop the noise and pain in my head. As I was losing consciousness, my body started to trash and ripped the whole rafter down. Falling to the floor I got so angry I repeatedly hit myself in the face, resulting in hairline fractures in my jaw and chin bone, before I apathetically fell asleep on the floor.
This sounds like my life was just filled with pain and anguish 24/7, but I had a fantastic life with a great job, an amazing wife and a great social life. The PTSD came sneaking slowly through the years, therefore I could never pinpoint where it all went wrong.
The last episode ended in me being put in a closed mental institution for four days, and a follow up in an open institution for nearly 2 weeks. The amazing follow up and treatment I got from all health personnel and doctors in the aftermath ended up in an extensive EMDR therapy program. For me, it was the only solution, or I’d do it as so many times before, bail! The EMDR therapy did something I still can’t believe, make some sense of all the broken and fragmented parts in my brain, and gave it all some meaning, a profound experience, a life altering event.
Writing down the series of events that affected me, a chronological timeline of traumas and all the hallucinations and the madness behind it, was my way to healing, and keep healing. To share my story, with the hope that someone might take a glimmer of hope away from it, that they are not alone, fuelled my desire to live. So far I’ve read so many amazing stories and gotten incredible feedback on my own, and I now know I, WE, are not alone.There is so much healing behind sharing, I know it’s a hard step to take, but the reward is so incredibly fulfilling.