Anonymous testimonial about the benefits of practicing transcendental meditation for PTSD.
I have been in the police force for more than twenty years. I am married and am the father of two children.
I have worked in different departments at several police stations.
Like most of my colleagues, whichever the department I was assigned to, I was confronted with death, violence, squalid and extremely shocking situations on a daily basis.
Nobody ever provided the training to help manage these horrifying situations which end up taking their toll psychologically.
There was no debriefing after these events to assess the psychological impact they had on our minds.
My difficult early life may have left an imprint on some psychological level, but are we not all humans after all?
My first experiences of seeing corpses left me feeling very disturbed, as did the sordid stories we had to handle on a regular basis.
Like many other policemen, I evolved quickly in my career, becoming an investigations officer, and soon after, a detective investigator for an investigations unit.
As an investigator, I witnessed many dead bodies after violent deaths whether in public places or people’s homes, and I also had to attend dozens of autopsies where my task was to place the organs extracted from dissected bodies in front of my very eyes into sealed plastic bags.
My problems started quite early on in my career, but I didn’t pay much attention to them at first.
It started with nightmares that recurred over several days, screaming in my sleep, waking up with a start, and then I started seeing images and visions of the deceased people I’d seen, and my mind couldn’t control it.
For example, if I saw the structure of a child’s swing, I would also see someone hanging from a rope.
Cloudy water brought back visions of drowned people, the sight of a bridge brought back an image of a suicide, and a mere word overheard during an investigation could trigger a flashback. The symptoms got worse over time until I would lose the thread of a conversation or find myself driving the wrong way down a street, lost in my dark thoughts.
Later on, I became hostile when dealing with people, until one day, my body and mind wanted to put an end to the suffering over which I had no hold.
Hovering on the brink, I almost ended my days using my service weapon which I always carried with me, but the images of my wife and daughters stopped me just in time.
In that instant, I came to my senses. I was one of the lucky ones.
My health was going downhill (exhaustion, weight loss of 6 kilos in a month and a half), and, seeing my distress, my wife who was very on the ball, helped me to face up to things I hadn’t wanted to face.
I won’t go into detail about the total meltdown I had at work or my mood swings which were really hard for the people around me.
My wonderful wife started looking for solutions straight away and got in touch with the association of wives of civilian police and soldiers in France, Femmes de Forces de l’Ordre en Colère*).
As she got to know the members of this group, my amazing wife met another amazing woman called “Nenette”, who is an ambassador for servicemen suffering from post traumatic stress disorder.
Nenette recommended transcendental meditation, mentioning that her husband had been suffering from PTSD and how TM sessions had helped him enormously.
She explained that you first have to take a short four-day course with a TM instructor.
Mr Philippe CHAUVANCY, President of the David Lynch Foundation France which funds and develops the project for people suffering from post traumatic stress disorder, put us in touch with Mr Thierry JAMART, a TM instructor for our sector.
So I took a four day course (2 hours a day) during which I learned TM.
To be effective, you have to do it for 20 minutes in the morning and 20 minutes in the evening.
I mastered the technique straight away; you really don’t have to be a whizz-kid, because it’s very simple.
I already began to feel a sense of serenity as from the initial sessions. I felt revived, more organised in my thoughts, less confused and much less stressed.
My wife and children felt that I was more available, and had a little more vitality.
When I meditated, I felt a sensation of energy flowing from my feet to my head, a sensation that got stronger towards the end of the meditation, until I couldn’t feel my body any longer, as if I was in a bubble.
I’ve been meditating now for 2 months every day and I must say that, objectively, transcendental meditation helps me a lot every day.
I still get that same energy flowing through me during the sessions and it is far from unpleasant.
The flashbacks have mostly disappeared, but if they do come back, which is rare, I can cope with the shocking visions which don’t last as long as they used to.
As a final word, I would say that transcendental meditation has had a very positive effect on alleviating my PTSD.
I would like to thank the different people mentioned in this testimonial.
Police Investigations Officer