There is an army veteran who is currently on an extraordinary journey and North Norfolk is currently hosting him. Andy Swainston finally paddled into the beach at Cromer on June 22, having kayaked all the way from Wells-next-the-Sea. It had been a three-hour journey. Andy Swainston is a former paramedic who is currently on a mission to create more awareness for Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) while also raising money for MIND and Heroes on the Water, a PTSD charity.
As the father of three explains, he started to suffer from flashbacks and nightmares when he was still working as a paramedic. While trying to suppress the memories, he drank heavily and engaged in reckless behaviour and could barely sleep and the issues soon ruined his family’s life. At the end of it all, he became suicidal and only survived because he was found in time. He states that he would like to help raise money for the charities while also raising awareness for PTSD by taking on this challenge.
According to the 49-year-old, he started the journey at Whitby on 5th of June and he’s had days when he’s wondered what he’s been doing and also days where he had to spend a few days on land because it was too dangerous to continue. In his opinion, this is the best way of seeing the British coast and during his journey, he’s come across a lot of wildlife. At some point, there were about a hundred seals following behind him and he says that he’s had at least one seal following him at some point through every leg of the journey. He concluded by saying that he’ll now be heading to Mundesley before going to Happisburgh and he wouldn’t mind a few recommendations on places to stay since the kayak was quite heavy.
PTSD is an anxiety disorder that has been known to affect people who’ve witnessed or been through frightening or stressful events. A person with PTSD will usually relive the event that caused the trauma in flashbacks and nightmares and they may feel isolated and guilty and may also be easily irritated. Insomnia is also common among such people. The symptoms are often severe and persistent to the point where the sufferer may find it hard to live a normal life. PTSD is commonly witnessed in people who’ve witnessed or been through serious road accidents, prolonged violence, violent deaths, military combat and natural disasters among others.