Brian Brown’s Story

Brian Brown is a member of the People Powered Health and Wellbeing Reference Group.

Brian Brown sits in a kayak on a river

“Three years ago, I didn’t think I’d be here to tell my story. I’d just received medical results which showed that my liver was damaged from years of drinking which I used to escape from the day to day trauma of living with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PSTD) from my service days in the army.

I now have hope that I’ll be here for a wee while yet because I’ve stopped drinking, my liver has largely healed, much to the amazement of the medical profession and I’m pleased to say that I’m coping the best I have done with the PTSD.

It took a while for me to accept that I needed help and when I did finally accept this, it took a while to find the right help for me. I was just getting so confused and I couldn’t work out where to go. It was the room with no doors.

The thing that matters most to me is my family.  I sat down and I thought I need to crack this.  But every time the PTSD kicked in.

I was referred to the Royal Edinburgh.  That’s some place.  But there were people there who did care and they were listening.  The realisation that there was somebody listening was quite significant because then I went looking for people who were wanting to listen to me and looking out for what I was actually saying amongst all the confusion that was going on in my head and that was the start of the real journey.

I went to the Thistle Foundation and the place was friendly, there’s no critics and they’re there for you. They helped me get to the things I wanted.  I used their technique of asking myself: ‘What’s been better? How did you feel? Has anybody noticed?’. I’m not saying it’s been easy, it’s been extremely hard, but I’ve found a way through it. I can manage my PTSD so I can have an ordinary day.  I can’t change anything back to the way it was, so how can I make a difference to go forward? I’ve learned that what I needed was to be listened to, to be treated as a person (not as a diagnosis of PTSD) and to be supported to find my own way forward and deal with my own demons.”

Brian Brown and Ross Grieve of the Thistle Foundation stand together next to an ALLIANCE banner

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