Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder

Once upon a time, on a rainy December morning...

On 18th December 1995, just a week before Christmas, I was cycling to work at around 7.45am. I had kissed my heavily pregnant (twins) wife goodbye, taking the same route as usual, with the same Monday morning traffic, the same rotten weather. I had just crossed the first part of a dual carriageway and the lights had just turned amber, then red, and I began to cross the second half. Then my life changed. 

For the barest fraction of a second I realised that the car approaching me rapidly in the lane I was crossing wasn’t slowing down. I had one single thought; “I’m not going to survive this.”  My head then broke the car windscreen with an ear-splitting crash as both myself and the bike were launched into the air, coming down some distance from the lights. (I didn’t own a cycle helmet back then!). The police told me the driver tested twice over the limit for alcohol.

After I was stitched up and well enough to go home I started to notice some odd things happening. Just out of nowhere I would hear that crash, and feel as if my head were approaching a windscreen, with that same thought right back in my mind, complete with the accompanying emotion. Fleetingly, I could even see it.

It is obvious to me now that I was experiencing a mild form of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD).  PTSD was associated with people exposed to wartime traumas. It was known as “shell shock” over a century ago, but its effects were even recorded thousands of years ago. 

Over the twentieth century our understanding of what can be considered traumatic grew significantly to include childhood and adult sexual abuse, domestic violence, bullying or simply witnessing a traumatic event. Issues caused by the trauma of lockdown and quarantine during the COVID-19 pandemic are expected to show up as time goes by, just as they did following the SARS outbreak in the Far East a few years ago. (

The bright light at the end of the tunnel

As the causes and effects of PTSD have become better known, so have the methods for treating it. Knowing how, and why, our brains hang onto trauma has given doctors, psychiatrists and other therapists a road-map for treating PTSD. 

As hypnotherapists we are trained to help people deal with issues that have their origins in trauma. This can mean helping people to release phobias or to undo the effects of issues leading to PTSD. The improvement to a person’s quality of life can be outstanding.

What can be done immediately?

If you are experiencing PTSD symptoms there are a number of things that can be done to alleviate the symptoms on our ANXIETY page.

If you believe you have PTSD or are suffering as the result of any traumatic experience we recommend you speak to your GP or family doctor first, or you could contact the PTSD helpline on 03444 775 774 ...then get in touch with us. Most of all, don't suffer in silence or be a prisoner to trauma or PTSD.

Chris Hoare

PlymHypnos Hypnotherapy