Devastating flashbacks and severe trauma have dominated Jordan Mothersole’s life since he was the victim of two separate vicious attacks.
Diagnosed with ‘complex post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD)’ as a result, the 16-year-old’s life has been ripped apart.
Now the student has made a film with Fixers to raise awareness of the condition, which affects people who have repeatedly experienced traumatic events, such as violence, neglect or abuse with little or no chance of escape.
‘It’s like having a tornado inside your head, it wrecks everything it possibly can,’ explains Jordan, from Sittingbourne.
‘I get severe flashbacks and nightmares six or seven times a week. They never really go away.’
For Jordan, his nightmare started one afternoon when he was attacked from behind when he was walking to meet a friend.
‘I was walking along a quiet residential street with two friends, when, out of nowhere, I was stopped by a very aggressive male.
‘He got very verbal and slapped me across my face. It was a total shock.’
Kicked and punched to the floor, Jordan fell unconscious and was taken to hospital.
Fortunately he did not sustain any lasting physical injuries but it heralded the start of his decline.
Just a year later, he was attacked at random once again.
‘At first doctors thought I had broken my neck and fractured my back, but thankfully I had just sustained muscular injuries,’ says Jordan.
‘I ended up staying in hospital overnight for supervision because I also hurt my head.’
But while his physical injuries healed, the impact on Jordan’s mental health has been devastating.
Symptoms of complex PTSD may include feelings of shame or guilt, difficulty controlling emotions, a lack of concentration, relationship difficulties, risky behaviour and suicidal thought.
People with the condition can also experience physical symptoms, such as headaches, dizziness, chest pains and stomach aches, and in extreme cases, suicidal thoughts.
‘It is very unsettling because it interrupts my sleep, things I enjoy doing and affects my mood,’ he says. ‘The episodes leave me feeling lonely, scared, confused.’
For Jordan, his condition can be triggered by a variety of things including loud bangs, slapping noises, items being dropped or smashed, people making him jump and car horns.
It can cause him to become extremely distressed, and even lash out violently.
On one occasion, Jordan’s condition was triggered by a child screaming in a shop and he fell to floor crying.
‘It suddenly brought a memory back from being attacked and I just couldn’t deal with it,’ he says.
‘People were staring, sniggering, laughing and very dismissive. It made me feel embarrassed and stupid.’
Jordan hopes his film will be seen by as many people as possible.
‘Suffering with complex PTSD has made me feel lonely and isolated. I just want to help and support people who are in the same situation as me.’
This project has been supported by the Colyer-Fergusson Charitable Trust.
To find other resources on this topic, and watch Fixers films, click on the image below: