Ceri, from mid Wales, is a mum of two and a keen photographer who keeps some unusual pets. She’s also an NCMH Research Champion, helping to spread the word about our research. This is her story:
I’m Ceri. I’m married with two children and I live in Powys. I used to be a graphic designer, but I’m medically retired now with severe post-traumatic stress. I can’t travel far anymore, so I like to take photographs of my garden to help take my mind off things. I also keep tarantulas – some people find them a bit scary but they make excellent pets!
My life completely changed after an accident left me with PTSD.
The trouble with PTSD is that it’s invisible. Many people think that if someone looks okay they must be fine. But flashbacks and other symptoms can be completely debilitating.
How can you drive or cook for instance if you think you’re back in a traumatic accident?
People do try to help and say ‘tell me if you’re having one’ but they don’t always grasp that when you’re having a flashback, sometimes you don’t even know they are with you.
I heard about NCMH online, and I wanted to volunteer because I think we need to know more about PTSD. By learning more we can deal with it better, educate the public and find ways to help other people.
I was a bit worried before I did the research because I can’t travel, but a really friendly researcher came out to see me at home. They interviewed me and took a blood sample – we had a bit of a hiccup with this, so they had to come back with a smaller needle, but it was done very quickly, so there was no problem.
I definitely think more people should do it – we need to know more about mental health conditions so that we can help people recover and also stop the stigma which holds people back.