We are pleased to introduce Sophie Brigden as our newest MQ Ambassador. Sophie is a certified trainer, independent consultant, and Senior Instructor in the British Army.
After experiencing a series of traumatic events while serving on tour as an army officer in Afghanistan in 2007, I later developed Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
In 2007, little importance was given to mental health by the military. There was no training to prepare us psychologically for the possible losses of the war on us. I also lack the awareness or psychological tools to help myself. I didn’t start processing what really happened until I got back, and I didn’t talk to anyone about what happened for all sorts of reasons.
I nullified my feelings and tried to get rid of the hurt I felt – I wasn’t involved in a blowout, so I didn’t think I had anything to complain about. But what happened had an effect, and slowly my mental health began to decline. I would wake up in the night with flashbacks. I was constantly thinking about memories of what happened and wasn’t present in my life because I tried to emotionally process what happened. And very slowly, because of this, I began to withdraw from life. I felt very ashamed and afraid. I was angry, lonely, and very, very scared. This had huge repercussions on my health.
It took me six years to fully recover. There was no one next to me or in front of me saying it would be okay and you’d get through this. I just had to get up every morning and trust that I would find a path to success, and I did! I found interventions that helped, I practiced mindfulness and yoga religiously, and I recovered slowly.
I basically think that if I didn’t find research on trauma and PTSD and interventions that helped others recover, I would still struggle now.
Mental health research is critical to advancing our understanding, and being part of the MQ community as an ambassador allows me to use my experience in a positive way and be part of a community committed to supporting this cause.
We live in an age when mental health issues are becoming prevalent, but it is also an exciting time in neuroscience and mental health research. While there is still much to understand and discover, mental health research helps improve the quality of life for many people, along with raising their profile so that mental health can be approached on a systemic societal level.
Advances in technology will continue to advance the field of neuroscience, leading to an increased understanding of trauma and mental health issues along with the continued development of interventions. Hopefully, this will lead to a larger treatment choice that goes beyond taking medications. People can be treated on an individual basis and will be empowered with the knowledge to make the right choices for them.”