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Mental Health Awareness Week: PTSD is one of the hardest things to talk about

Jojo Fraser is a mental health ambassador and author of the popular blog mummyjojo.com
Jojo Fraser is a mental health ambassador and author of the popular blog mummyjojo.com

We are all fighting our own battles so we should always be kind. We never know what is going on in a persons head. We never know what they have been through in the past or what they are going through right now.

Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) can occur after a traumatic experience. Everyone handles things differently and PTSD frequently occurs after an event where you think your life or others’ lives may be in danger. You may feel afraid or think that you have no control over what is happening.

About 60% of men and 50% of women experience at least one trauma in their lives. Women are more likely to experience sexual assault and child sexual abuse. Men are more likely to experience accidents, physical assault, combat, disaster, or to witness death or injury.

I am working with so many incredible people who have suffered or are suffering from PTSD.  Our war heroes have a lot to carry on their shoulders. For many, some things are just too bad and horrible to be able to erase from the mind. Many need professional help to be able to deal with these feelings.

What about our Doctors and nurses who care for people day in and out? Those carers working in wards with people who suffer terminal illnesses. This takes extreme emotional strength.

Jojo was in a bad car accident on holiday
Jojo was in a bad car accident on holiday and can now struggle on the roads

Many I speak to tell me they try to “put the bad experience away in a box”. Sometimes this comes back to haunt them. This is certainly not uncommon in those who were abused as children.

After they have their own children, the reality hits them all over again.  It shows them just how wrong it was for them to have suffered. It reminds them of how innocent and fragile their minds were. It terrifies them that their children may have to go through that.

I suffer anxiety on the road after being in a bad car accident on holiday. An elderly lady was driving over the limit and she came out at great speed at a give way sign without stopping as we were driving along the main road.

I still remember the cries from my one year old daughter. Each time I drive along a main road and pass a give way sign, my stomach flips; I feel physically sick. I also get close to tears on the motorway some days – especially if I feel that my husband is driving too fast. I hate being overcome by this fear. My husband tells me to just snap out of it.

PTSD and depression are some of the hardest things we ever have to talk about – mainly because so many don’t understand and think they are things you can just ‘snap out’ of.

JoJo Fraser is running in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival to raise awareness
JoJo is running in the Edinburgh Marathon Festival to raise awareness for the Mental Health Foundation

It is Mental Health Awareness Week and we must open up our hearts and minds to people that suffer. You many not know that someone is suffering – many of my friends don’t know I have a fear of other drivers.

If someone appears anxious it is our job as friends, family or work colleagues to ensure that they are okay. Not everyone has the strength to be open and honest. Often in life, fear can hold us back.  Let’s encourage people to talk.

Let’s nurture relationships. Let’s be less judgemental and let’s embrace those that we love. With the death of so many legends lately ( Prince springs to mind) it gets me thinking about why we have to wait until people die to really celebrate them.

Let’s embrace the moment we are in and celebrate those we love. Let’s work together to make sure nobody feels alone or undervalued.  Let’s make it easier for people to talk about their problems and share their anxieties.

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