Polly's story

PTSD made me very confused, and for years I wasn't clear about the extent of what I'd been through.

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Polly's experience of post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)

How she got her diagnosis

I was in contact with mental health services for a long time without a full diagnosis, but last year I really pushed for a re-diagnosis and was given a diagnosis of complex PTSD. I discovered I’ve struggled with the symptoms for 15-20 years, but I only recently got the label – and that actually made quite a lot of difference. It helped to know that all of my symptoms were actually down to trauma.

What helps her cope today

Some of the things I do to control my PTSD are to ground myself, remind myself where I am, how old I am and what’s happening. If I experience a trigger it really takes me back to that place when I was abused, and previously I’d have a physical feeling or memory and feel I was 12 again. I wouldn’t be able to put myself back in the here and now. Now I grab the sofa or an object and focus on noticing that for a while, so I don’t zoom back into the past. Or I just do something relaxing – like looking through photos of happy memories or spending time with someone who makes me feel better, like my husband or daughter or a friend. Mainly it’s just about being back in the moment rather than in the past.

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