HomeMENTAL HEALTHTommy Lowther Interview | MQ Open Mind Podcast

Tommy Lowther Interview | MQ Open Mind Podcast

Tommy Lowther and living with PTSD – MQ Open Mind

Content warning: This episode of Open Mind contains stories about trauma and sexual assault. Listener discretion is advised.

In the experience of mental illness, sometimes the question is ‘What happened to you?’ ‘What conditions do you have?’ Proves to be more useful than

Born in Dundee, Scotland, Tommy Lowther’s childhood dream was to become a soldier. In the 1990s, aged 18, he stood between protestors and Catholics in what he calls a “warzone” in Northern Ireland. He talks about the “invincible” mentality he felt in the military in the episode and how that attitude quickly turned to fear.

“I was a boy in a man’s world … The animosity was unbelievable.”

After Northern Ireland, Tommy was posted to Gibraltar. One night out at a bar, she experienced an assault and sexual assault.

“What happened to me in Northern Ireland was a walk in the park compared to Lia… [this experience], In mental health, we talk about our fight, flight or freeze which is our natural response [threatening] landscape. I always thought I would have a fight. It has always been. Except for that one evening. That was when I froze.

As a mental health research charity, MQ is deliberately focusing on research into the effects of trauma on the brain and nervous system. Please click here for more information about our recent studies in PTSD.

The misunderstanding and lack of support at the time cost Tommy his job. His behavior changed during this period, including increased abuse of alcohol and aggression, which is a common way for people with PTSD to control the nervous system.

“People were wary of me. I had this strange feeling that it was respect… but it wasn’t respect. It was fear… I had a completely wrong idea of ​​what respect was.”

Tommy talks about the stigma he faced before his diagnosis and the anxiety and isolation involved in PTSD symptoms, including suicidal thoughts.

“To be honest, {when it comes to mental health}, I had quite a Neanderthal attitude before … I thought ‘this isn’t even real, this doesn’t matter’.”

The turning point for Tommy was the support he received from Help for Heroes.

,[A psychiatrist] I was diagnosed with PTSD. I felt very relieved. I realized that I wasn’t a terrible, bad person who wanted to go out and get drunk and fight, there was a reason.

PTSD is an important area in MQ’s research. For more information on our recent research into preventing PTSD and depression in emergency workers, please click this link.

Tommy’s passion for helping ex-servicemen and women use sport as a catalyst to make a positive difference in their lives was the cornerstone for his new charity Sporting Force. Working with veterans and their families to help people move toward mental health has helped Tommy and his family rebuild toward their recovery, contribution, and brighter future.

Tommy may be diagnosed with PTSD, what happened to him may be multiple traumas but what happens next sets where his sights are now.

Tommy’s story will be covered in a book being published by MQ in May 2023.



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