Jay, 52, lives in Gosport, Hants. He was a Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Navy for 23 years.
In 2014, Jay was sent at short notice to Sierra Leone to help deal with the Ebola epidemic. When he came home after nearly 3 months he didn’t realise how much the experiences had changed him. Eventually, a civilian medical officer referred him for support and he was diagnosed with Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
Jay feels that veterans are always stereotypical in TV dramas and in films – especially those with PTSD.
He says, “Veterans are always stereotypical in TV dramas and in films – especially those with PTSD. They are automatically a danger to society, a loner who can’t socially interact. They’ll wear drab olive clothes, hit the bottle, and turns to violence.
“This may be true for a minority of people with PTSD, but it’s not how I experience it. If I’m triggered, I shut down into a zombie-like state and end up curling up in a foetal position. Indeed, everyone with PTSD will experience it in different ways, but on screen it is always the same stereotype – so production companies and writers need to show a much bigger picture of what PTSD can look like.
“It’s always very different from the way they write about any other member of society who has PTSD, such as a medical health worker. That's the perception that's out there, that veterans with PTSD, when they get triggered or get agitated, they will automatically turn to violence.”
“When I was using an online dating app I told someone I had PTSD and they said that they would report me as they believed people with PTSD are a risk to women."
“For me, this shows the importance of myth-busting the clichés to change this kind of misconception and unfairness. I believe it can be done, while still being exciting for TV/film audiences. It happened in an episode of Star Trek Discovery when a crew member had PTSD from being abused as a prisoner of war. The way he disassociates and shuts down is dramatic, but very different to the angry reaction we normally see portrayed.”