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"I want others with PTSD to know it's okay to open up..."

John smiling. John is a bald man wearing a black and yellow top

John Hancock (He/him)

After experiencing a traumatic event John is encouraging other people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to open up about their experiences.

I'm mixed race, my grandad was the son of a slave in Barbados and I experienced racial abuse in primary school in Plymouth. My dad was in the Navy which had a big drinking culture at the time and I had my first beer at aged nine.

I joined the Air Force in 1962 and alcohol was a persistent problem, I was drinking between 10 and 20 pints a day.

I served active duty in the Middle East where I experienced a traumatic incident. Back in the 60's people didn't know what Post Traumatic Stress Disorder was and I was misdiagnosed with depression. I was drinking more to cope, I was short-tempered, hyper-vigilant and couldn't cope with loud noises. I was later posted in Germany where beer was cheap.

John smiling. John is a bald man wearing a black and yellow top

Now, I am a born-again Christian after an experience which I describe as God hanging me up like trousers, by the legs and shaking me out. I stopped drinking, smoking and swearing and needed to change my life dramatically. Which God did overnight in 1982 and I haven't drunk alcohol since. My belief is what holds me up and keeps me going. I met my wife in 1969 and we have two daughters. I lost 11 years of their lives due to alcohol but I am so proud of the relationships I have with them now I no longer drink. My wife and I will soon be celebrating our 50th anniversary!

I want other people with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder to know that it's okay to open up and talk about their experiences and to trust that even though it's hard, especially as a man, it gets easier over time and it will help you live a happier life in the long run. 

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