Humans of Scotland

Michael’s story – living with complex PTSD

"Those four to five months were my darkest days"

Man sitting in Clutha Bar Glasgow
This story is about: Mental HealthSupport group

“It was lonely and extremely painful. The loneliness was caused because no one could understand my pain. All you want to do is escape from the pain. You have something you believe no one can relate to.

I went off the rails and sabotaged everything around me. Those four to five months were my darkest days.

I clung on to life an hour at a time and that’s what I’ve done ever since. I’ve got a 2 ½ year old son. As bad as the pain was, I wanted to forge ahead.

The first time I went to a support group I was in tears the whole time. I don’t even know if people could understand what I was saying but in some way it was cathartic.

When I found out I had complex PTSD I was relieved. I was denying I was ill for a long, long time. It was a freedom to own it. It’s me and that’s it.  It’s taken me 49 years to get to this point.

I write poetry, I go to support groups, they are absolutely my medicine. I volunteer for Brothers in Arms Scotland and run a support group and I help out with Stigma Free Lanarkshire.

I need some alone time. I need to do a bit of meditation, a bit of writing, it’s blocking the outside world out cos sometimes I’m noise sensitive, I’m light sensitive. I have to find a balance.

I love waking up my son in the morning. It’s the most beautiful moment of the day, just lifting him up and giving him a kiss. He’s a beautiful boy.

I look forward to making a difference to people in the future, even just by telling my story, if they think “if that guy can do it, I’ll go and talk to somebody”.