Former soldier hopes to ‘slay the stigma’ of post traumatic stress disorder
ensen spent five years at Linton Military Camp, worked as a police officer in Levin and Palmerston North for seven years and worked in Iraq for three years.
Though he was not officially diagnosed with PTSD, it manifested after his time in Iraq when he noticed symptoms of aggression, paranoia, reliving traumatic events and depression.
“When you go to Iraq, everyone is trying to kill you,” Jensen said.
“Going through that and constantly being conditioned to be at threat level, coming home you can’t switch that off.”
Upon returning to civilian life, Jensen suffered hyperarousal.
“Any time there is a perceived attack on you, you respond with speed and aggression because that is how you were trained.
“And that was how I was reacting at work and relationships.”
He also experienced hypervigilance – a heightened awareness he could not shut off; remembering the trauma with flashbacks and nightmares; and feeling depressed.
“For me personally it was the devaluing; you’ve been at the top of the world and now you just mean nothing.”
“The devaluing was the hardest because that is pride.”