• Michelle Partington

Reaching the finish line.

Sat on my bed at the moment watching TV but not really paying attention to it. I’m relaxing after a really nice chill – out day mainly consisting of jacuzzi, steam rooms and massage – awesome!!!! To top it all off the sun has been shining down on us.

I am currently in Jersey on a holiday arranged by ‘Holidays for Hero’s’. They provide holidays for injured members of the military (physically or mentally). This is the best thing I have done in such a long time. I’m here with a friend of mine who also battles through PTSD and lots of other people going through the same. There are around 20-30 of us and some have physical as well as mental scars. At the beginning of the week we were getting to know each other in small groups. We all got on a coach on Monday and were given a lovely sight seeing trip around Jersey. This afforded us the opportunity to get to know each other a little better.

As stated, most of us had received a diagnosis of PTSD. The group had a mix of experience and seen trauma from Northern Ireland, Falklands, Bosnia, Iraq and Afghanistan and there is a massive age range between us all. It was lovely to see that those who had brought partners and kids were also being looked after. I am feeling extremely humbled and blessed by the kindness and generosity of the people of Jersey. Nothing is too much trouble and everything is laid on for you. If you have been injured in combat (sounds like a compensation advert), then you can apply for a place on one of these holidays. I have included a link at the bottom of this blog.

So it has become very evident to all that the mind can hurt just as much as the body but it just cannot be observed as easily. As the week passes you can see those who are not really firing on all cylinders shall we say. There are those who cannot sleep, in raging pain or just not too great in lots of company. The strain is showing on some faces but people are settled enough to talk to each other or just sit in silence. If someone wants to talk we know the real talent is the listening without saying “I know how you feel”. We may all have received a diagnosis of PTSD but each person has their own unique experience. Everyone sits at the start line, some with their engines on and others switched off, not too keen on setting off knowing what was ahead for them. However, we all eventually set off because we want to somehow get to the end of this horrific journey. Until we set off there will never be a time when everything is alright. The effects of one trigger ripples out much like dropping a stone in a pool of water. It isn’t just the initial trigger, it’s what happens as a consequence of that. At some point, to get beyond this you have to lay yourself bare. It is much better that this happens with those who truly do “know how you feel”.

Some of the chaps here have opened up to the group which is great. I have never been a great advocate of opening up in places such as self help groups because in my personal opinion they can be unhealthy. I would never knock it though because some people need these groups, it’s just not for me. However, if someone wanted to talk then I would of course listen which to be fair is all they really need.

It’s been great getting to know everyone and I will make some lifelong friends from this trip. I do have to say that after listening to some of these guys, it has spurred me on even more to raise as much awareness as possible. I’m on the better side of my journey now, and whilst I still have dreams and reactions to various triggers that take me by surprise, I am no longer anxious about going out. I have been in crowds, busy bars, shopping areas and the war tunnels. I have the opportunity to really enjoy things again and this week has been the most relaxed I’ve been in such a long time. I’m on the lowest dose of meds now and hopefully I will be off them shortly. Things are getting there for sure. I have a few days left of my holiday and I’m really going to enjoy it 😉



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