Joyce’s Story

I have PTSD. My illness developed as a consequence and directly from a protracted situation whilst I was serving in the police. I was bullied – even now I’m scared to go into the details but it would be fair to say I felt my life was at risk due to the nature, depth and extent of the bullying. And that is absolutely no exaggeration.

The bullying resulted in me being medically retired. I was devastated. Back then I was diagnosed with having depression rather than PTSD. However as the years went by my undiagnosed symptoms worsened and deepened. I had depressive episodes but there were a whole load of other symptoms which I put down to anxiety, OCD, low self esteem, lack of confidence and even the menopause. Consequently over the last 20 or so years the way I have lived my life has been very limited due my symptoms of my mental illness. There have been so many situations on so many levels where I have been unable to function properly. I have lived with the thought that I was a failure for a very long time.

At the end of last year I hit a very low dark point – I had no idea why I felt so mentally unwell and was very scared of my behaviour and thoughts.

At the beginning of this year I received a mental health assessment and was diagnosed with PTSD, depressive disorder and OCD from the intrusive thoughts.

In many ways I was actually relieved! It was almost reassuring that even though I felt so ill I had a diagnosis to work with.

20 odd years of suffering and unprocessed trauma has manifested itself in a way that I feel I am unworthy, incapable and a failure, this in turn has taken a toll on my self confidence, self belief and self esteem. Ultimately I feel ashamed.

To put this feeling of shame into some kind of context, I have extremely self conscious, I tell myself how awful I look, I cannot get dressed on bad days, it’s just too painful to face the negative self talk. I would say it’s a type of body dysmorphia.

I joined IODPA for support and advice. The team have been so helpful. The group has been such a safe place to share some difficult stuff.

I started EMDR back in April and the therapy has helped me process the original trauma, however part of my healing is to try and get to a place when I can say ‘I’m OK and Im good enough “.

So I chose to train and run a 10k. This has challenged me on so many levels. My instructive thoughts, my self believe, my shame, my body image and my self esteem . I haven’t had to just work on getting fit, it has been so much deeper than distance training, it has been about putting on running gear and accepting how I look, it’s been about self belief and not to feel ashamed of who I am.

I also wanted to make my challenge more meaningful and pledge £100 to IODPA. I want the money to help support someone like myself.

I’m telling my story with a view it might help other injured officers. I’m not saying I am better but I can say that I am getting to a place where I can say “I’m okay and I’m enough” and that includes embracing my PTSD. It’s part of me.





3 thoughts on “Joyce

  • 2023-11-17 at 9:00 am

    Thanks for sharing your story, well done for challenging yourself mentally and physically and being proactive in your attempt to recover. its never an easy path.

  • 2023-11-16 at 10:02 pm

    You need extra help with your PTSD symptoms, have you applied for PIP. Personal Independence Payment (PIP) is extra money to help you with everyday life if you’ve an illness, disability or mental health condition? If you like i could give some advice. I recently applied and successfully claimed PIP and I would be willing to help a colleague. It isn’t taxed and is not means-tested..

  • 2023-11-16 at 9:51 pm

    Hi Joyce
    Thanks for your story. I have suffered CPSD and severe depression and psychosis since 2008. I to feel that I cannot function day to day and things have progressively got worse and worse. I see no way out and to be honest I have never believed I would get better.
    You are very brave and it’s fantastic that you have a goal and are able to make progress. Keep up the good work.

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