The Telegraph – PTSD: ‘I am the girl who didn’t die’

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Post Traumatic Stress Disorder

8th December 2013 – Telegraph – PTSD: ‘I am the girl who didn’t die’

I was on holiday in Thailand when the coach I was in hit a tree and veered off the motorway. I found out later that five people had been killed in the crash: one of the victims was aged 23, a year older than me. She had been sitting across the aisle. When I woke up concussed, she was lying beneath me, not moving.

I can still remember William, her boyfriend, repeatedly screaming out her name: Delphine. For weeks after the accident, his voice haunted me in my sleep and I would wake up sweating from the flashbacks. Every time I looked in the mirror, I didn’t see myself; I just saw the girl who didn’t die.

I was advised to take time off work, since my job as a trainee reporter meant I was exposed to events that could trigger my flashbacks. I also agreed to start weekly sessions of cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) at Nightingale Hospital, a private hospital in London.

At first I avoided discussing my feelings. Whenever my therapist asked me to tell him my version of the accident, I just reeled off a list of facts: when it happened, where, and what injuries my friends had suffered. I didn’t want to “make a fuss” while my friends were still in intensive care.

But the therapist said the only way for me to move on was to talk about my feelings and learn to accept that some were irrational. I realised that I was harbouring huge amounts of guilt about the accident, which was contributing to my anxiety and depression.

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