My name is Anthony Parsons, 44 years of age and I am the founder of MyPTSD. My wife’s name is Nicolette. We live in Melbourne, Australia. I have three sons, one teenager to my first wife and two to my second wife. My two little ones live with their mother over 3000 kilometres away, and my eldest I haven’t heard from in years as he got abusive to Nicolette when we were dating.
I am an electrician by trade and worked in electronics. This was before joining the Australian Army, in which I served for 10 years. Whilst in the military I developed myself into the world of web-design and marketing, or as some will know as Search Engine Optimisation (SEO). I developed my skills to a high level, then educated myself into the general niche of marketing, as online proved a strategic place only when tailored with offline marketing.
My military career allowed me to deploy many times to various countries for different operations. I have deployed for humanitarian reasons, peace keeping and declared war zone. I say fortunate because the life experience I gained from these deployments was invaluable. Yes, this is why I have PTSD, from what I have done and seen upon operations with the military. If I wasn’t ill with PTSD I would still be in the Army. Absolutely loved the job, the atmosphere, the comradely, and was happy to remain within it until I retired. Obviously that route just wasn’t meant to be, and I do not dwell upon it.
When I look back at my operations, I can pick the moment when my life changed. It was February 2000, two months after I came home from a declared war zone. My drinking was out of control after operations, as was my behaviour at times, though this one I flipped out pretty hard. I got home and within two days was on a plane to my next posting location as an instructor. I drunk my way through it, I did my job well as always, though my attitude was certainly changing and being noted.
I kicked my first wife out a month into the new location. I drunk myself stupid for six months after that, though still attending work daily. I did things definitely against military law during that time and against ethics of being within an instructional position. My boss knew it, though he protected me because he knew it was not my typical behaviour. Neither of us knew why, but he protected me nonetheless. This is what I admired most about the military, in that I was normally an outstanding soldier and excelled in everything I did, but some periods were just way out of my own character. That is team work, and I like it. That was what I now know, the beginning to PTSD.
Nearing the end of 2000 I got my life back together, started thinking about where I was and what I overcame to reduce alcohol and begin looking forward to life. Well, when I say I reduced alcohol, that was more like I simply stopped drinking a full bottle of spirited per day, instead only a couple a week maybe. I requested posting back to Townsville the end of that year as that is where my ex-wife had returned with my son. I wanted to see him, so that is where I ended.
I remained single for near two years, girlfriend here and there, sex out of control, pretty much just drank, worked and partied. I was at a point where I just didn’t know what was up anymore and thought that the type of woman I wanted was the wrong type, so I met the opposite type to me — enter second wife. This is simply the truth how I now feel it to be. I thought everything was just wrong because my relationships failed, so I must be wrong and require the opposite in order to succeed within a relationship. How wrong I was. The only good thing to come from that one was my two young ones, which I absolutely adore and love, though cannot see these days due to issues created by my ex-wife.
I was discharged from the military at the end of 2004 after being home from pretty much a year already on full pay. I was not allowed to work due to the severity of my symptoms at that stage and pending medical discharge. I would have killed someone; I knew it and so did they.
Whilst in Townsville I attended a PTSD course in 2005, Cohort 18. That course put me on the road to this forum. It was what I learnt about myself at that stage that had me thinking, “If others in the world feel what I feel with PTSD, then this type of learning can help them too.” And that was how the forum was born. The therapists and specialists who ran that course tried to talk me out of this forum, as they said it was not beneficial for sufferers. At the end of the day, I am a sufferer which means I have more an idea than they do of what is, and is not, good for what I felt. If I felt it, then others would, and so I proceeded.
End of 2005, we moved to Melbourne, as my ex had a posting here. I needed to leave Townsville, and one way or another, I was. This just helped the process along. So here I am in Melbourne and the relationship issues only worsened. Ex-wife ended up leaving for her mother’s in Dec ’06 with the kids, to only return to collect her goods. We separated sometime in January ’07 officially.
After this event I swore I was off women forever. I just didn’t believe the person existed who was right for me, so I had succumbed to simply going through life single and enjoying that lifestyle. Well, once again I was wrong. My son played cricket with the next door neighbour’s son, and at the end of February ’07 we happened to meet one another. All else was just history after that point in my life. I had successfully accomplished this forum’s foothold within the world to help PTSD and had finally taken a turn in the most positive direction of my life.
To sumate my current relationship; Nicolette is like the best bits of all my past relationships. Seriously, it is just uncanny how much we like the same things, approach life the same way, talk about issues and just want peace within a relationship, not control, dominance, betrayal and the rest of the issues. She’s a workaholic and I like time to myself. It works well for us both. Mutually beneficial, you could say. She doesn’t want a partner nagging her to not work so much, and I don’t want a partner nagging me period.
Nicolette and I have been together happily since meeting, happily married and enjoying each other as much as possible. We bicker daily, but we’re honest with each other and nothing is unsaid.
I still have my rough days at times, but for the most part, no medication and most days are good enough as my stressor intake is well managed. If things go vastly wrong, yes, I do still get quite ill, but I also recover within a day or two once I grasp the problem. I try to manage my overall stressor intake quite well though, which allows me to function to atleast participate in life more than I ever could when initially diagnosed. I am at the severe spectrum, but manage well most days to be in a relationship and do basic daily duties without consequence.
Hi, I’m Nicolette and I’m in my early 40’s at the time of writing this. I have a son to a first marriage and he recently turned 21 and is making his way in the world as a good young man. I am proud of the type of person he has become.
Since July 2000 I have run my own successful business which became a company in 2003 and it still keeps me busy today. I work hard and long hours in the hope of having a better financial future.
At the time I met Anthony I had just turned the corner and given up on men. I had my own home and I was happy looking after my son, catching up with friends and working with no immediate interest in having any relationships.
Wow did I get to learn about PTSD, especially when Anthony’s ex-wife made things like seeing his children difficult and it was a rough ride at times. The way Anthony and I just clicked, having so much in common and wanting similar things held me through some times I would rather forget. I learned a lot and became more assertive in order to deal with the illness; compassion and empathy alone were not enough – I had to be strong. They say life doesn’t give you more than you can handle and with hindsight I agree despite not thinking so at the time.
There is more to my story as I suffered an abusive childhood and some abusive adult relationships. I just wanted someone to treat me right and love me. I spent hours reading, learning, talking and trying to come to terms with what became obvious as dysfunctional thinking in terms of men. I was raised to please and obey no matter what the personal cost. I think I have finally freed myself from those chains.
What I have seen and experienced in life has left me wanting to help others and this forum offered such a platform for me. Over the years it has also provided me with support and a place to discuss PTSD with those who understand. I have made friends and we have laughed, cried and been frustrated together in our role as supporters.
As for Anthony and I, it’s 6 years on and we are good and have a solid relationship. He is a much nicer person than when I first met him as he no longer suffers at the mercy of stressful situations which aggravate his condition (as much as we can control those). He has recently lost a lot of weight and it has improved his PTSD – other than him being at home there are days where PTSD is not a part of our lives. I am proud of him for his self management and personal growth while suffering a terrible illness.
Founder Anthony vs. Just Anthony
It’s very easy to read some things I might say as someone who doesn’t care about your trauma, or you become easily offended as I flick some comment onto your thread about rules, or such, including even staff. It is easy to build an opinion that I don’t care, only see one way, etc.
The actual truth is far from this. I am a quite an easy going person, very assertive, yes, and I do border arrogant at times with subjects I am extremely knowledgable upon, PTSD being one of them. I think most people do become a little arrogant when they are very subject knowledge heavy. I am also extremely confident about my own abilities, though also recognise when I don’t have an ability or knowledge, and instead listen and learn from others. I don’t know everything about PTSD, nor claim such, but I do know more than most. I do change when empirical research proves something has changed. I don’t change because of reading one isolated study, journal or website, which is far from empirical data.
If I didn’t care about trauma, then I would simply close this site down and wipe my hands with it, its really that simple. It costs me money and usually stress to keep it open.
Change is inevitable, and most things change. Our brains are constantly changing, as are our bodies, our health, belief systems, our behaviours. I change as facts change. I change as the PTSD industry changes. That is how I am as an founder here.
What I do as an administrative capacity does not define who I am when helping people with actual trauma. I’m not a cold, insensitive prick, as some could conclude, but I am direct and to the point as my time is limited. I don’t have the time to get extensive with every member who contacts me, nor wants my attention or help. I also have PTSD and must manage my own exposure to stressors. I must draw a line for my own time, and do so. A single response could take me the best part of an hour. Do the math… I am not your saviour, the community as a whole can achieve that role.
My point… members should separate me into administrative duties vs. traumatic discussion. As I tend to literally put on my administrative hat to administer, then remove it to be myself when working with trauma itself. They also mix together at times. Bluntness though… that is me. I am very direct, I try to be honest at all times, though sometimes saying nothing is also the best policy, as constant honesty is an indirect method of abuse, passive / aggressive behaviour, which is not who I am and certainly who I don’t try to be.
Is this our entire life? No.
Current as at: Jul 2016.