West Sussex man pens PTSD book after witnessing aftermath of suicide

A Lindfield man is hoping to help others to combat the horrors of PTSD with his new book.

Darren Oliver
Darren Oliver

The book grew out of Darren Oliver’s experiences at a time when he used to work as frontline police staff.

PTSD: My Secret Silence has been self-published and is available as an ebook from Kindle, Amazon, Apple Books, Itunes, Kobo, Barnes & Noble, Scribd, Baker & Taylor, Vivlio and Overdrive.

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Darren, aged 35, was triggered by a particularly distressing suicide he came across.

“After the event, I avoided processing the memories of that night. I wouldn’t allow myself to think about it. The keyword avoidance is one of the main causes of PTSD.

“By not allowing myself to think about it and process what happened, I, in turn, made myself ill, and that’s how my PTSD came about. Then vivid flashbacks, anxiety attacks, triggers started…

“I wanted to find a way to share my story and help others.

“My book isn’t very long. It’s a self-help book. It took around four months of planning what I would write and how, what artwork for the cover and what it would look like to the reader.

“I also had to do further research into PTSD and the various types of PTSD as I wanted to give helpful information to the reader. This was so they are able to understand or recognise the symptoms of PTSD.

“I’m hoping people will read my story and despite it being quite sad what happened to me, it will show them what it’s like living with PTSD and how I overcame my battle.

“I am hoping they will see that PTSD doesn’t have to be a life sentence of suffering. You can overcome it and find peace. If my book can help inspire one person to seek help, then it’s worth every effort I’ve put into it.

“I used to suffer with PTSD for around ten years, but I didn’t seek help due to the culture, upbringing and male-led opinions I had on mental health. I eventually overcame it by attending CBT (cognitive behaviour therapy).

“I wanted to raise awareness of PTSD and help break the stigma on mental health and especially men’s mental health.

“I had the idea after watching a documentary and thought maybe if I share my story; perhaps it will help others and perhaps if I offer some information about PTSD at the same time it will help people understand it and how to recognise it and seek help if they or someone they know is suffering.

“I feel it will appeal to people because my story is unique. It’s my story of what and how PTSD came about for me. I feel it will hopefully inspire others to get help and help them realise there is light at the end of tunnel.”

It is Darren’s first book: “It seems funny referring to myself as an author, but it makes me proud at the same time.”

“I started writing September/October. At first it was just an idea and then I thought how do I make this a reality. I did lots of research, and good old-fashioned hard work went into my book.

“I’m trying to promote the book on my social media as much as possible. I also work full time and have kids so I am trying to use all my spare time to get this book off the ground.”