I have been an Authorised Firearms Officer for the past four years, I spent five years as a Response Officer prior to that and Fifteen years as a Firefighter prior to joining the Police. It would be fair to say I have seen my fair share of traumatic incidents throughout my career.
I always thought I dealt witrh stress well, blood and gore never really had an affect on me I found it surreal if truth be known. It wasnt until I joined the Police and began dealing with the grief of families following incidents, attending sudden deaths, Road Traffic Collisions and delivering death messages that I believe I started my journey towards suffering from PTSD.
I was well aware what PTSD was and probably like most believed it was something only the military suffered with. How wrong I was! Approximately twelve months ago I began having night terrors, I would wake up in the middle of the night soaked through with sweat absolutely petrified but did not know what of. There was no specific nightmare I would just be really scared and would take a couple of hours to calm down and eventually fall back to sleep. I found myself drinking alcohol more regularly and in greater quantities. I was irritable and would lose my temper with the kids quite often, I began to feel detached from my team at work and felt like an outsider, I was also arguing with my wife over trivial matters and just would not let matters go.
My crewmates noticed a change and would often ask if I was ok to which I always replied that I was fine. I was far from fine and was in denial. I was showing the classic signs of PTSD. Matters came to a head at home in January of this year after my heart went into Atrial Fibrilation whilst out running, tests showed the heart was fine, I was off work so was anxious about being offline and away from the team, this lead to me drinking more and arguing with the wife almost always for no reason. This eventually led to me having a nervous breakdown and after several discussions with my GP I was diagnosed with PTSD and the heart issue was my body telling me it could take no more stress.
I was now in a very dark place and informed my supervisor who started getting me the help I needed. The night terrors were now happening almost every night where I would find myself cowering in the corner of my own bedroom. A veteran friend of mine suggested I make contact with a charity in Norwich called “Stand Easy” which is run by Naji Malak an acupuncturist who has discovered that he can help sufferers of PTSD by using acupunture to remove the trauma.
I was already in contact with the PFOA and they suggested and supported my trip to Norwich to receive some treatment. I made contact with Naji and as this was going to be a 700 mile round trip for me he suggested three days of treatment. I have never had acupuncture before and if I was completely honest had always been a bit sceptical of alternative medicine.
I arrived at the clinic on day one and was met by Naji who was a very welcoming and genuine man.
He led me into into his treatment room and simply asked “What can I do to help you?” He explained that I didnt have to tell him anything if I didnt want to. I gave him a very brief history of what had happened and explained that the night terrors were leaving me exhausted and afraid to go to sleep.
He then asked me to strip to my boxers and lay on his couch, he took the pulse in both of my wrists and immediately said that I had recently been suffering with palpatations, I had not mentioned my heart issue at all. He the took some measurements and placed several needles in my legs and stomach, he left the room and left me lying still for about half an hour. Naji then returned, removed the needles and asked me to stand up. I immediately felt like someone had just lifted a huge heavy rucksack off my back. Naji looked at me and said “Your trauma has gone!” I went back to my hotel room, it was now mid afternoon and I slept for three hours, I got myself something to eat went back to bed and had the best nights sleep I have had in years with no night terror. I went back to Naji for a session for the following two days which he described as consolidation sessions.
I returned home after the three deals a completely different person. I have not had one night terror since and had a completely different outlook on the future, I was so much more positive. The main thing the treatment did for me personally was by removing the trauma it gave me the will and the strength to speak about my issues without breaking down. This enabled me to identify the specific incidents which account for my PTSD for which I am now successfully receiving treatment for.
I cannot recommend Naji and the treatment highly enough for anyone who is suffering from PTSD and its associated side affects. - A Serving Officer