Today I had the wind knocked out of my sails. Today in the flickering of a moment I felt, suddenly, very alone and very misunderstood.

Today I sat in the car with my dad, passing away ten or fifteen minutes until it was time to collect my older girls from school. I was playing my game on my phone. My dad startled me and told me to look ahead, there was a helicopter, flying really low, look, just by the house in front, you’ll see it in a minute...

There. That was the moment. A helicopter.  I felt my heart race immediately and a panic fill my body I managed to splutter ‘no, I hate them.’ and held back an urge to scream and cry and lash out. It lasted just seconds. It was ok. I saw it. It was an army helicopter flying very low. I saw it. It was ok, but my heart thumped on. My dad wanted me to look at a helicopter.

Before Christmas I saw the GP who diagnosed me with PTSD, it made sense. The recurring nightmares, the sleepless nights, the way I react to stressful or upsetting times and of course my anxiety and panic when I see or hear a helicopter. How I feel the noise of them and how I can break out in a cold sweat. Sometimes I can ignore them, sometimes I can just concentrate on my breathing until they pass. But there’s a reaction. There is always a reminder of the day Martin’s body was recovered from the river.

My dad pointed out a helicopter to me, whilst I sat oblivious, engrossed in my word game. He didn’t do it to be cruel. He did it because he doesn’t know me. This man, my father, who I’ve seen almost every day since Martin died, but who has probably never really listened to anything I’ve said. I would have told him what the doctor said in December, but he wouldn’t have heard it.

I walked away from his car feeling incredibly alone. And I haven’t been able to shake off that feeling ever since.

Alone and frightened, alone and misunderstood. Alone with the wind knocked out of my sails, alone and sad. Alone and unheard.


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