Sufferer My PTSD Story - To Fight For My Life Twice

Where do I possibly start? I am 61 years of age. As I have got older I have reassessed my life, in so many different ways. The fact that I have had to fight for my life TWICE does say something about me. Those fights for life were many years apart. One in 1989, the other in 2019, both very different. I shall take you back.

HILLSBOROUGH 15TH OF APRIL 1989

To survive and witness a major disaster is something that is so difficult to comprehend or understand. To be involved in something so horrific, so infamous, that puts you in the public eye, is particularly mind blowing. The carnage, the undescribable scenes of sickening death, as you struggle yourself for your own life, is unreal, but very real. Added to that, there is the shocking condemnation by those in authority, such as the police, government, the judiciary and the gutter press, whose shocking lies, rampant cover ups, diabolical corruption & shocking smears and slurs, that was finally laid bare and brutally exposed many years later, should be deemed as a blessing, a comfort, a closure. Sadly, it is clearly not. Imagine for a moment if you were a survivor of Hillsborough, Britain's worst ever sporting disaster, that cost almost 100 lives - 97 to be precise, or one of the bereaved families who lost loved ones so horrifically, many of them young kids or teenagers, as well as older generations, how would you feel? How would you cope?
That tragedy was a double disaster of immense proportions. As I struggled to breathe, or stay on my feet, in the horrific caged Pen 4 (those that died did so in the two central pens 3 & 4) it was a vicious fight for a survival. When I finally hit the floor, legs buckling, feeling like two huge tubs of jelly, life flashing by me, thinking that I was done for, and finally succumbing to the hell of that warm April afternoon. To be perfectly honest, I cannot remember those few brief moments that followed. I felt faint, that is all I could remember, until I was pulled up onto my feet by a stranger, a fellow fan, who said those few words, words that still haunt me, even today:
"YOU ARE NOT GOING TO DIE. NOT TODAY."
The fact is, I did not know the guy. I never saw him again. Thinking of that WHAT IF...moment. Well I think you know what I mean. All I could smell was a sickening stench of death, blood & vomit. It was like a war zone. Yet, it was not a war, it was a football match for goodness sakes. SO WHERE WAS THE HELP? Actually, the help was given by the fans themselves, injured, traumatized, distraught, but rescuing the injured and the dying, using advertising hoardings as makeshift stretchers. Another shocking element of the day was the FACT that more than 30 ambulances lay idle outside the stadium. What was a senior police officers response?

"YOU CANNOT GO IN THERE. THEY ARE STILL FIGHTING."

Yes, we were still fighting. Fighting to save our own lives and the lives of others. For me, well I felt totally helpless, maybe useless, as I just shook like a leaf, walking around that pitch, highly traumatized, uncontrollable fear, tearful, just walking around like a zombie, not knowing where I was or what I was doing. Now I know. It was the start of a more than 30 year battle with PTSD. I think back, even now, of the pained, disfigured faces of blue and purple, the classic signs of TRAUMATIC ASPHYXIATION which leads to heart failure, blockage of the thoracic cavity and eventually brain death. Shocking beyond anything. I have heard from others who were in the club gymnasium that night in identifying the dead. A long, never ending list of body bags, relatives having to look at Polaroid photos pinned to wall in obvious death, and even more galling, even more sadistic, the same cold, callous insistence
"THE BODY BELONGS TO THE CORONER OF SOUTH YORKSHIRE, NOT YOU."

Then came the now infamous false allegations of drink, ticketlessness and late arrivals.
This was the day that changed my life forever, and that part of me died that day. My PTSD hell.

Yet, five years later, I was rocked and shaken to the core, once again. The death of my younger brother, Anthony, at just 30 years old. We have truly never got any closure regarding his death. The inquest could not readily decide whether it was suicide. All I know is that my brother had suffered a severe pyschotic episode, and escaped from a supposedly secure mental health unit before falling to his death. This was probably the worst time for me between 1989 - 1994 fuelled by alcohol, despair, deep anger and PTSD and eventually C-PTSD.

As the years rolled by I tried desperately to coexist. You could say there were a few peaks and quite a few troughs. I did seek psychological treatment through a wonderful psychiatrist and some therapy. It has been somewhat of a learning curve. As my late parents grew older, and much more frail, I had to take on the role of caring for them through terminal illness. I lost my Dad through Cancer in 2013, just around three weeks before the birth of my Granddaughter, Monica Rose. A very bittersweet time it must be said. I then had to take care of my Mum, and several years of Dementia. Anyone will tell you how stressful and traumatic it is to care for a loved one with this terrible condition. This care eventually caused me to have my second fight for life. In 2019, I spent more than four months in hospital. In fact, I was extremely seriously ill. To be told that you might not make it really does shake you. I suffered from Cellulitis, Lymphedema, Sepsis, Kidney Injury, Heart Failure & a Stroke. I guess this is the time when you question your own mortality and develop a kind of steel resolve, never give up and have this supreme iron will. Some say I am indestructible!!! Not too sure about that one.

All in all, despite all of these shocking and chaotic times in my life, I have still managed to study towards a degree, got married (16 plus years now) raise a family, become a mildly successful writer and helped to raise my Granddaughter. Now, my health is better than it has ever been for many a year. I have no need to attend clinics or consultant visits anymore. I am very health conscious, through good diet and strong exercise. I drink far less alcohol as I did in my darkest days.

I suppose you could say that I am a fitting testament to life itself. I have had that ROAD TO DAMASCUS moment and feel contented.

❤️🌹🙏For the 97
 

AngelKeeperJ

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Welcome to the site! I am sorry for the events that have occurred in your life that bring you here!

This is a special place, with special people, and a wealth of information in the articles.

Blessings to you on your journey forward from here!
AKJ
 
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