This month is Men’s Health Awareness Month also known as Movember.
Douglas Martin joined McKay Drilling this year, working as a Mechanic in our Wangara Workshop. To all that know Doug, he is a happy go lucky, friendly and all round nice bloke so to learn that Doug has struggled after a trauma might come as a shock to many. Doug agreed to share his struggles with his peers in the hope it would help others to do the same and to seek help as he did.
Thank you Doug for answering the following questions, knowing how difficult it would have been to;
I understand you experienced a trauma as a first responder to a single vehicle road accident. The accident being fatal for the driver whose severed face and body was unfortunately what you encountered being first on the scene. Can you describe the effect experiencing such a traumatic event has had on you and your life?
On the day my focus was just help him, help him! I was covered in his blood, I just watched him twitch and uncontrollably shaking as he passed away. My life didn’t change until around 4 months later, I broke down and realised my life has changed forever as I was unable to cope wanting to forget and I considered harming myself just to stop seeing it all in my mind, I wanted peace. It was then I knew I had to seek help.
What aftercare support was offered to you by those services that attended the scene on the day? Did you feel you needed aftercare?
On the day, I was offered support like counselling but at the time I said ‘I’m 6 foot 2 and bullet proof. I can cope on my own and I don’t need any help, I’m a true man’ though inside I was dying but didn’t want to say it out loud.
At what point did you accept support for your trauma experience? How did that acceptance of what happened and how it affected you come about? What did the support entail?
I remembered something about the accident that my mind had suddenly made me concentrate on. After I tried to save the deceased, trying to hold their head together, their feet were missing, their arm on the road and I searched for their eye which is what I could suddenly not get out of my mind. It was 4 months later I remembered this and it was too much that I passed out from the anxiety. I sought help in the way of counselling and it did help which came as a surprise as I never thought at the time it would help.
I am aware since your trauma event you are an advocate for the importance of seeking help, what would life be like for you without the support you have received?
I am so glad I got help. Did I feel weak at the first appointment? Yes but to share with friends or professional people your darkest feelings is like finally someone is listening to how I feel. Someone does care! You are never alone! I felt I was but as soon as I got help my life felt worthy and I grew stronger but knowing I will never be the same man I was. I know I can help others now and I try to look for the signs I felt in people and ask ‘Are you ok?’
What would you say to another person who has experienced a trauma or struggling to deal with something in their life today?
Don’t feel alone, don’t feel that it’s all too hard to carry on and to speak to someone. My doctor was a good man, he got me the help I needed so I encourage others to do the same and don’t be ashamed to ask for the help you need. No matter how big or small you think you’re effected or feel.
I have found some amazing friends through my life changing experience. I was diagnosed with PTSD and with treatment I’m happy and I wish everyone could feel this way after a trauma.
A peculiar event has happened recently after Doug shared his story;
Doug has had difficulty travelling on the stretch of road the accident occurred on but he had a family day out over the weekend, with his wife driving, they hesitantly took the route and as they approached the crash site they noticed people were at the cross. Doug soon recognised the deceased partner and asked his wife to pull the car over. The deceased partner also recognised Doug as he gets out of his car and they gave each other a big hug. To be the first time that Doug has travelled on that stretch of road since the accident and for the deceased partner to be there, it was fate. It also turned out that the day marked the deceased birthday.