“Thanks to your support, Michelle P has changed so much as a person. She’s really found the confidence to overcome her PTSD.”
In 2017, two RAF veterans, both called Michelle formed a life-long friendship. As well as their names, they shared other similarities; both from Wigan, the pair were training for the Invictus Games, each one facing their own daily challenges on the road to recovery.
Here, Michelle T, reflects on the strength and resilience her friend, Michelle P, has developed since the day they first met.
“I first met Michelle at a rowing camp for the Invictus Games. At first, she was very withdrawn, but as we started chatting, we realised how much we had in common. Both called Michelle, we had both served in the RAF, both grown up in Wigan and she even lived on my Dad’s road! It really helped us build a bond.
“By getting to know Michelle early on, I grew to recognise the triggers of her Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). So, when she was having a tough time, I could lead her away from situations. Michelle also looked out for me; I suffer from Postural Orthostatic Tachycardia Syndrome (POTS), which causes abnormal increases in my heart rate, dizziness, and fainting. Because she’s a trained paramedic, I felt safe around her.
“Getting involved with Help for Heroes and Invictus really helped Michelle learn to manage her PTSD. She’d spent so long on her own, but the training camps and Games helped her learn how to be with people again and how to cope with anger and anxiety. The difference in Michelle by the end of Invictus was incredible. And that’s a credit to her strength and all the effort she put in, because change like that doesn’t just happen.
“Since Invictus Michelle has used her personal experiences to help others. In 2018 she took a two-year counselling course and then set up a business delivering mental health training to businesses and individuals. She also launched a foundation for veterans suffering with mental illness. All of this proves just why Michelle is so inspirational.
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