BY PAUL & NATASHA FJELRAD
At 10am on the 3rd of May, 2013, Paul walked into John’s therapy room. The sense of fear was immediate and palpable. He was shaking, hadn’t slept meaningfully for weeks, was barely able to function and in unbearable psychological and physical pain. However, this story of everything that had led up to this moment and what happened next, is being told from the other end of the therapist’s couch. A first-person account of Complex Post Traumatic Stress Disorder, the life that led to it and the challenges faced together by Paul and his daughter Natasha during the fight back.
This isn’t a story of recovery or cure. This is learning to adapt and overcome from severe psychological injury and to accept that the struggle continues.
“He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you.”
Friedrich Nietzsche, Beyond Good & Evil.
IN THE PRESS
It seems quite strange to write about how much I enjoyed this book because obviously it’s a true story about two real people’s lives, but I did very much enjoy reading this book!
It’s a compelling read and from very early on I felt committed to reading it and wanted to know how it ended. A lot of this is down to the style of writing. The way the book is written from two perspectives (Paul and his daughter Natasha) is quite different to anything else I’ve read before and really adds something different to the experience.
I found it to be a tough read at times, which of course I expected given the subject matter, but the way it’s written and the way the story ebbs and flows through the timeline does give welcome breaks to the more challenging aspects of the story.
It’s a very honest book and a very brave one too and I’m really glad I read it. I had very little knowledge of PTSD and C-PTSD beforehand and now that I've read the book, I can really see how this aspect of mental health is stigmatised and misunderstood.
Ultimately, it’s a really good read, it’s sad in places and uplifting in others, there’s some humour in there too and that, combined with the style of writing, make reading it a very rewarding experience. It’s a true story that reads like fiction and deals with really tough subject matter in a very honest and compassionate way. It’s definitely a book I’ll revisit again in the future.
Paul is a successful technology consultant and professional sailor, with a lifelong passion for the sea, living on his wooden gaff-rigged sailing yacht, Maid of Wyven. As an outspoken advocate for mental health issues, Paul hopes to use his writing, speaking engagements and workshops, to break the veil of silence surrounding survivors of abuse and those otherwise
battling the daily challenges and stigma associated with mental health. Together with his daughter Natasha, his hope is their example can champion the cause of getting more available and consistent mental healthcare, and break the preconceptions that these issues should hold anyone back from leading productive and successful lives.
Natasha is an aspiring writer and apprentice chef,
having published several short stories in Denmark, where she was raised, prior to co-authoring The Struggle Continues.
She was diagnosed with autism at a young age, and has since fought against the expectations and limitations set by society of what she can achieve.