> Skip to content

Article  •  7 May 2017


PTSD survival tips

Ten coping strategies from Simon Gillard’s Life Sentence.

In his powerful memoir, former police officer Simon Gillard details his life in the force with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, and how easily one man’s life can spiral so out of control. He is now working to create awareness about mental illness, and wrote Life Sentence to help other sufferers. Here are just a handful of Gillard’s suggestions to help navigate the darkest of times.

1. Early intervention
The earlier you get help the more chance you have of recovery. Putting your hand up and reaching out to seek help as early as possible is far braver than hiding your feelings.

2. Survivor
I love the word ‘survivor’. My daily mantra is: ‘I am strong, I am alive, I am a warrior. Most importantly, I’m a survivor! Nothing can defeat a survivor, not even my own mind.’

3. Naysayers

The disbelievers will always be there. Don’t let anyone stop you achieving your dreams or being yourself.

4. Accept
I have PTSD. I have depression. I have anxiety. I accept that. And so what? I’m human.

5. Small steps = big change
The big picture makes normal chores like housework, exercise and everything else seem insurmountable. Break it down into achievable bite sizes.

6. Mindfulness / Breathe

Mindfulness is about being in the present, and the power of controlled breathing is the best drug, and grounding technique, you will ever have. Your mind feels clearer, your body feels relaxed and your tense muscles loosen.

7. Be nicer to yourself
Don’t beat yourself up; take one day at a time.

8. Get fit

Healthy body, healthy mind. Get moving! Eat healthily.

9. Educate yourself – knowledge is power

I researched PTSD, depression and anxiety extensively. The more you educate yourself, the more you listen to your therapists and put their advice into practice, the more you can acknowledge and learn what is going on with you.

10. New beginnings come from the end of another beginning

I am on my way – I won’t stop! I am not cured and don’t profess to be, but I’ll give it my all.



If you ever need to talk, beyondblue offer a Support Service by phone (1300 22 4636) or online at www.beyondblue.org.au/get-support

Life Sentence Simon Gillard

How a dream job became a nightmare

Buy now
Buy now

More features

See all
The 2021 Booker Prize shortlist revealed

The shortlist for the 2021 Booker Prize has been announced, with four Penguin Random House novels named.

'Utterly broken': The Resilience Project co-founder’s powerful admission

Hugh van Cuylenburg was being interviewed on a national radio station when he surprised himself with an admission.

The song behind The What On Earth Institute of Wonder, by Lisa Nicol

Light-emitting Mushrooms and the High Priestess of Soul; The song behind The What On Earth Institute of Wonder.

Simple reading hacks for time-poor dads

Two authors — who are also dads — share their tips on how fathers can get a moment to themselves.

The four hidden health benefits of reading

Reading offers us entertainment and a quick escape from reality, but did you know about these other hidden health benefits?

The top books for dad this Father's Day

Show them you know them by picking a book that perfectly matches your dad.

QUIZ: What book best suits your dad for Father's Day

Take our quiz to discover which books match your dad's personality so you can buy the perfect Father's Day gift.

Five easy hacks to declutter your bookshelf

The top tips for sprucing your bookshelf during the annual spring clean.

The habit that can lift your mood in just six minutes

There is one act that will help lift your mood in just minutes as we prepare to enter the new spring season.

QUIZ: How well do you know the classics?

Celebrate the 75th anniversary of Penguin Classics with a quiz to test your knowledge!

Fart and Burp are Superstinkers for Book Week

Get Book Week ready with Zoë Foster Blake

Trending on BookTok: Fantasy Edition

The most popular fantasy books on TikTok right now.

Looking for more articles?

See all articles