How I ended up in tears on Twitter twice.
I’m not sure if it’s a sign of weakness or strength admitting this, but to be honest I don’t really give a fuck either way because it’s the truth.
The first was “a couple of months ago” which, in a way, was almost expected.
When I consider the numerous conversations about PTSD I have had with police inspectors over the years, they all gave almost the identical illogical responses/excuses, then struggled or outright refused to answer my questions.
While engaging in an epic Twitter conversation (argument) I encountered adversity in the form of a commenter.
I’m not sure if it was sheer arrogance, selective memory, or an absence of empathy, but some of their remarks were genuinely horrific considering the sensitive mental health context of what we were discussing. However, I was engaging with a commenter who was supporting the poor police mentality about the handling of PTSD sufferers in custody.
My trauma started triggering … what happened at Fulham police station … being genuinely suicidal after 14 hours without any appropriate medical care. The physical injury I sustained while in Fulham Police custody was re-triggered. I actually ended up in hospital days later in need of steroid injections in my back so I could walk and sleep without excruciating pain.
I couldn’t believe the Twitter conversation was the trigger, but after explaining that I hadn’t strained my back or aggravated it in any way physically, then going over what had happened with the specialists with regards to fear and the intensity of trauma flashbacks while at Fulham Police Station. The result was unremitting suicidal thoughts afterwards. The intensity of the trauma memories, and the epic length of the heated trauma triggering Twitter conversation, could have re-triggered the same physical reactions and not just the emotional responses to what had happened at Fulham Police Station.
I was warned not to engage with that person again, however it’s something I can’t morally and ethically do.
What it really comes down to is how the police do their best to compartmentalize the responsibility for the care of mentally vulnerable people in order to absolve the police of later blame with regards to self-harm, suicides, or the credibility of a fair trial and investigation.
Although I feel a responsibility towards highlighting the logical flaws in Mental Health police procedures especially considering the extent of recorded evidence I have, I really need to look after my own well-being before trying to help others. Self-care is the only way I’ll have the strength to fight to see this all the way through, so others don’t go through the same pain as I did. If I can save just one life, it will be worth whatever personal cost to me. After the responses I have received from the police mentality, I honestly think I genuinely feel more guilty than they do when reading headlines about prison suicides or suicides in or after police custody.
However, this post was meant to be about something more uplifting.
As I mentioned earlier, for the second time I was brought to tears using Twitter. Although this time it came completely out the blue and really threw me off kilter to the point I had to take a time out, so I could leave my hotel and go for a walk to clear my head and reset myself. Although it triggered pain, at the same time it empowered me and gave me strength to keep moving forward.
I guess there were two main reasons why the series of Twitter messages hit me harder than normal. The first was completing the interview recording with Dr. Jennifer Wild while I was in Pai last week. Obviously, I enjoyed chatting with Jennifer, I doubt I’d be alive if it wasn’t for her intervention and the subsequent treatment I received at CADAT/ NHS Maudsley, Denmark Hill, and Oxford University. But the interview wasn’t a social catch up.
We were focused on the trauma I encountered, what happened in the aftermath, how the treatment helped me move forward in terms of trauma and survivors’ guilt. We also talked about the difference in me prior to treatment compared to where I am now. Like the BBC interview and the Chimerica Media documentary pitch, my memories of the actual filming were a complete and utter blur, it brought back a lot. There were several times while mid-flow of trying to answer Jennifer’s question, I completely forgot what she had asked.
I think the second reason for my tearful Twitter reaction was returning to Bangkok.
Although I was caught in the tsunami on Koh Phi Phi, I think the psychological trauma hit me hardest while in freaking out/fighting for Kathryn to be airlifted to Bangkok from Krabi, then visiting her daily until she pulled through and made it out of intensive care in Bangkok.
Fuck, my eyes are welling up just thinking about how hard it was to see her in such pain and so helpless. I have such brutal memories of Krabi Hospital, of being in the intensive care unit in Bangkok willing her to pull through. The last time I ever asked anything from God was while breaking down while sitting next to her bed after she had come out of surgery from her first major operation.
Unlike previous visits to Bangkok since the tsunami, I didn’t avoid anything, I faced up to what had happened, I had to do it. I even stayed in the same hotel as I did after the tsunami. I faced the pain head on and believe me it was far from easy. So many memories that I had tried to avoid came flooding back. The hardest part was leaving Kathryn in the intensive care unit on the second night and basically breaking down in my hotel room and crying myself to sleep. I felt so guilty about her and everything that I had seen and experienced on the island.
At the time, the surgeons weren’t confident if she would make it through the night. However, through the grace of medical science and support of her loving family who traveled over from Wales, Kathryn eventually pulled through and came off life support. After which, I finally left Thailand. I remember feeling so guilty that I survived while thousands had died. I’ll never forget that flight – I was so consumed with guilt I remember promising myself that I’d never return to Thailand – a promise which I couldn’t keep.
Which brings me to a couple of days ago when I received a series of heartfelt empowering messages from four lovely individuals. I guess I was more emotional because of the reason I’ve just attempted to explain.
“I don’t get many compliments but I am confident.
I used to have a complex about getting too complex.
But you’ve got me willing to try..” — Mos Def & Talib Kweli
… to fight to see this all the way through,
much love to all those who’ve shown love.