We are pleased to introduce Sophie Brigden as the latest MQ ambassador. Sophie is an accredited trainer, freelance consultant and Senior Instructor in the British Army.
“After encountering a series of traumatic events while serving on tour as an officer in the Army in Afghanistan in 2007, I subsequently developed PTSD.
In 2007 little value in the Army was placed on mental health. There was no training to prepare us psychologically for the potential toll of the war on us. I also lacked the awareness or psychological tools to help myself. My processing of what had happened didn’t really start until I got back, and I didn’t speak to anyone about what had happened for all sorts of reasons.
I invalidated my own feelings and tried to stuff the hurt I felt down – I hadn’t been involved in an explosion, so I didn’t think I had anything to complain about. But what happened did have an impact, and slowly my mental health started to spiral downwards. I was waking up at night having flashbacks. I was constantly ruminating on the memories of what had happened and was far from present in my life as I tried to process emotionally what had happened. Very slowly, because of this, I started to withdraw from life. I felt so much shame and fear. I was angry and lonely and very, very scared. This had huge ramifications on my health.
It took me six years to fully recover. There was no one to my side or in front of me saying it would be ok and you’ll get through this. I just had to get up every morning and trust I would find a way through, and I did! I found interventions which helped, religiously practised mindfulness and yoga, and slowly I recovered.
I fundamentally believe that if I hadn’t found research on trauma, PTSD and interventions that helped others recover, I would still be struggling now.
Mental health research is paramount to progressing our understanding further, and being part of the MQ community as an ambassador enables me to use my experience in a positive way and be part of a community committed to supporting this cause.
We live at an age where mental health issues have become prevalent, but it is also such an exciting time in neuroscience and mental health research. Whilst there is still so much to understand and discover, mental health research is helping improve the quality of so many lives, alongside raising its’ profile so mental health can be dealt with at a systemic societal level.
Developments in technology will continue to enhance the neuroscience field, leading to increased understanding of trauma and mental health issues alongside the continued development of interventions. This hopefully leads to a greater choice of treatment beyond taking drugs. People can be treated on an individual basis and will be empowered with the knowledge to make the right choices for them.”