I was employed for about 25 years in the Railway industr...

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I was employed for about 25 years in the Railway industry amd for the last 15 of those years in a front line supervisory management post in Operations. One of my duties was to deal with what were euphemistically called "incidents" on the lineside. Most of the time these incidents were suicides or tragic accidents. During my career I had to deal personally with at least 9 such incidents.

These horrific deaths sometimes occurred at night and I would be called out, often after already having completed a late shift, after I had gone to bed for the night. The dreadful sight of a person's body after they had been struck by a train weighing 200 tonnes travelling at speed is something I just cannot describe. I still remember the details and I still see and hear the events in my mind.

The incidents were made worse by the pressure I was under to clear the line so that trains could begin to run again. The work was a complex mixture of liaison with the Police and ambulance authorities, advice to staff and passengers, ensuring the safety of the personnel on the track dealing with the incident and communicating with the Rail Control office and signalling centres.

I was never offered any counselling after dealing with these events.

I have only just realised, after coming accross your site, that I might be suffering from PTSD. I do often have flashbacks and have to relive the horror of these events.

Even though I am married and have a fairly good social circle I have a lonely life. I have been becoming more and more detached from my family and friends, often to the extent that I do not want to see them. I often withdraw to my study and work, as a defence against having to engage with my wife, and my marriage has been dead for 10 years. I have lost confidence in my ability to do my job and suffer great anxiety before meeting new people, espacially if I will be the centre of attention, i.e. in a meeting where I have to do a presentation.

Is there something I can do to change this situation? These events happened more than 10 years ago and I doubt if any GP will accept or recognise that i am suffering from this syndrome.

[i:8e8dd46b26]This message was automatically imported from the original Patient Experience[/i:8e8dd46b26]

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  • Posted

    Dear Sir

    Just like you I was a Railway man for 27 years and just like you I to had to go out to the horror of the fatalities, the children deaths I will never forget and this all happen twenty years ago. And we to had the complex and pressure communicating with what we call maintrol and the traffic control. Get the train moving

    Oh yes like you I have your symptoms But I have been diagnosed as have PTSD

    And this is the reason why I am writing to you, you must go to your GP and ask him for a full psychiatric referral, there is help but it will be kike road in hell? But it be out of hell.

    It has taken me 14 months to get help and now I going to a meeting to hospitalized

    And you are not alone my heart is with you.

    Please take care Pat

    [i:7300052631]This message was automatically imported from the original Patient Experience[/i:7300052631]

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  • Posted

    Dear Sir

    Just like you I was a Railway man for 27 years and just like you I to had to go out to the horror of the fatalities, the children deaths I will never forget and this all happen twenty years ago. And we to had the complex and pressure communicating with what we call maintrol and the traffic control. Get the train moving

    Oh yes like you I have your symptoms But I have been diagnosed as have PTSD

    And this is the reason why I am writing to you, you must go to your GP and ask him for a full psychiatric referral, there is help but it will be kike a road in to hell? But it will be out of hell.

    It has taken me 14 months to get help and now I going to a meeting to be hospitalized

    And you are not alone

    Please take care Pat

    Sorry my writing has gone to hell

    [i:8ca98e2f7a]This message was automatically imported from the original Patient Experience[/i:8ca98e2f7a]

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  • Posted

    I read your post, and commiserate with your symptoms. Please go to your doctor, and ask for a referral to a ptsd specialist. Don't let the doctor fob you off. It is not unusual for Ptsd to occur many years after the incidents. It is probably due to your family and friend connections that you have mangage to cope so well.

    Unfortunately you need more than close networks to get you thru.

    If the genie is out of the bottle then you must face it, or spend the rest of your life not really living. From reading your letter, I believe that you exhibit all the signs of ptsd. You can read my post and see what happened to me.

    For almost 4 years I went without a diagnosis, and thought I was mad, and despite working with social workers, psychologists, psychiatrists, and actually seeking out my own therapy, it took four years until I found a therapist skilled at ptsd. So in general, even the theraputic community are not aware of the symptoms, which is why I suggest a referral to a specialist.

    I am a social worker, and I didn't see it, and my daughter is a psychologist!

    I think it is important to stress too, that this is an injury, NOT a mental illness. Mental illness occurs (ie depression, substance abuse, etc) because the core injury is not treated.

    I hope you take the step of seeking treatment, while not 'cured' I'm in a space where I can now look back and objectively judge my behaviour, which (if I'm honest, was totally weird), and can see how I have improved. The nightmates, hallucinations, numbness, depression (severe) have all settled down, and if they do occur I have learned how to mangage them. It does get better. I am not the same person as I was before, but believe I have developed a deeper and more fulfilling life. I am open to communicating with anyone out there to just chat, as I know how horrific it can be. Hang in there.

    [i:6f1e9122b4]This message was automatically imported from the original Patient Experience[/i:6f1e9122b4]

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  • Posted

    I would also say to you to get a referral and get some treatment. I have ptsd and it was undiagnosed for 27 years. During that time I was in psychiatric hospital, had 2 suicide attempts, had countless drugs injected into me that I didn't want, and had 4 different diagnoses (personality disorder, depression and schizophrenia).

    I had a treatment called emdr (eye movement desensitisation and reprocessing) and, although I have read that it may be a little controversial, since the treatment I have only had one episode of psychosis (used to get it all the time). I still have echoes, and have to take a few weeks off work, but at least I am healing and I don't need to go through all that torment in the same way as before. It is because I understand why. We need to educate ourselves about the condition and it really helps.

    My trauma was very similar to yours.I saw someone commit suicide in front of a train when I was 7 years old and I utterly understand how horrific it is. I still can't get it out of my mind and it is 33 years later. I am at the moment having an echo and, although it is frustrating and painful, I know that this is a part of who I am and as well as being a burden it has also been a gift. I am now very aware of my own courage, of the gifts of patience and resilience I have been given. I work for a mental health charity now and use my experiences in a positive way to support others who are having a difficult time.

    Please stick with it. There is always hope. I was told that I would end my life in an institution, that I would never get a job and never be in a relationship by psychiatrists. I am now living with my partner of 7 years in a great relationship and have a very influential job in local mental health services. My thoughts are with you and you are not alone.

    I know it feels as if you ar alone and I still get that now. After all I don't think many people have seen the terrible things that we have. You have also given me hope to know that I am not alone and I thank you for that.

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  • Posted

    Hi,

    You asked if there was anything you could do. This is what is helping me.

    Understanding that you are [b:8367697627]not [/b:8367697627]going mad.What you are experiencing is the way in which prolonged stress can affect the body in a 101 ways causing both emotional,behavioural & physical problems..often all at the same time.

    I think the jury is still out on exactly what is happening but chemical imbalances seem to be high on the list.

    Medication can help by alleviating the symptoms but does not always tackle the cause.

    Since the stress is usually rooted in an event or events & one cannot go back & wipe out the event one has to retrain the mind to be able to deal with it.

    There are two aspects to be considered.

    1. The physical body & in particular the muscles which can be tensed up & one doesn't even realise it. In my case they were the primary cause of permanent headaches.

    2.The mental aspect ie the retraining

    So here is a suggestion:

    1.Make sure you get a good night's sleep every night.[b:8367697627]Very important[/b:8367697627]. Ask Doctor for help in this respect if necessary.

    2.Find a good [b:8367697627]cognative[/b:8367697627] therapist who will really listen to you & explore ways & strategies for dealing with problems. The cognative therapist should be able to recommend a teacher who can show you how to relax all your muscles

    4.Whenever you are relaxed try to visualise hunting through your body to find a bit that is undamaged.ie the old you.Hopefully you will find a bit! :D

    Then in odd moments,visualise that area expanding a little at a time. If you find you are having problems go find that that bit & say to yourself \"I'm still here.\" :D Its actually quite calming.

    5.I've been told its important to get the brain rested too.Besides getting a good night's sleep, try to find something to do where you switch off mentally. Not TV apparently.

    Very difficult for me,I must admit. I've taken to spending half an hour or so looking at cloud formations or staring at flowers or watching waves on a local lake.

    Hope this helps.

    PS.Like many train passengers I never really thought about the realities behind the headlines.You guys are just incredible. Thank you.

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  • Posted

    hello,i'm not a railway man,but have pals who are.they've told me about their experiences & how they seem affected.i have ptsd from divorce.the symptoms for all ptsd sufferers are the same:regardless of their cause.what you're experiencing is a personality change: that's the withdrawal part.the marriage issue might not be linked:because most marriages go off the boil after about seven years or more.i think you are self-helping yourself at the moment,because you're occupying your mind with work in your study.so that helps.some group therapy is helpful,because you draw comfort from others in same situation.the flashbacks etc,depression is what you have to go thru' in your mind,to eventually let go.the avoidance part of meeting new people is the phobia part of the ptsd that has developed.some mild medication is what's needed to start building yourself back up again & ask for some group counselling from through your gp.sincerely
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