I’ve no great affinity for the Travelodge chain, or any great disdain. They’re affordable, clean and convenient – but if someone asked me to choose a chain hotel I’d pick a Premier Inn – those beds you see.
Yet I got to a point four years ago, where I couldn’t get beyond the Travelodge, about a mile from where I worked at the time. Physically and mentally, that Travelodge was the line in the sand I couldn’t cross.
I was suffering from PTSD you see.
No, I’d not been in an actual war with guns and tanks but I’d been assaulted daily by events at work.
Now what I refuse to do is regurgitate what happened to me in that school, but talk instead about how I recovered.
This 6 foot 2, 16 stone male admitted he was broken, was supported with counselling and advised to talk with a trauma counsellor, who helped save me and my fractured mind.
When I got up for work, I was already tense for the day ahead.
As I drove to work, tension increased and as I approached the Travelodge I had to stop and turn and head home. It was like a road block – but in my body and mind.
I’d sit there shaking and crying, amazed that a man who’d taught for 24 years was in such a pitiful state.
Counselling helped me clear that bad moment in my life.
I was encouraged by Sonya to drive further and get out of the car at different points closer to the place of work – the Co-op was any first step. 300 metres from the Travelodge. Force myself to drive on and stand outside the car for 2 minutes.
I had to repeat this for a week and after a month, I was physically and mentally able to get close to the place of work, without tears and overwhelming anxiety.
Ridiculous you might say.
But it wasn’t at that time to me.
My subconscious would not let me get past that Travelodge.
When I look back to childhood, I can envisage key events that led me to this rational or irrational fear and with Sonya’s help, her expert guidance, I knew I could neutralise this script.
In the past couple of years, I’ve actually entered that place of work. And from being unable to physically and mentally get within a mile – that Travelodge – I’ve rewired my brain.
If you get severe anxiety like I did; don’t be embarrassed or ashamed; seek professional help and you can, trust me, mend your mind. with support from others.