Close this search box.

    How Simon survived the storm in his head

    Black and white image of simon smiling

    How Simon survived the storm in his head

    “I’m awake again, shaking, sweating. My heart is racing, an I stare into the dark. I can’t close my eyes. I fear the images. They swim behind my eyelids … suicides, heart attacks, murders, car crashes” Simon Gillard.

    Post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) is a debilitating mental health condition triggered by experiencing or witnessing a terrifying event. Its symptoms can include frightening flashbacks, nightmares and severe anxiety that can affect every aspect of day to day living. PTSD affects around three million Australians at some time in their life².

    For Simon, it was a 16-year career as a Police Officer tending to multiple horrific events as part of his profession – that triggered his PTSD. His symptoms became so severe, Simon made four attempts on his life. Had they been fatal, Simon would’ve left behind his family who he loved so dearly, including three beautiful children.

    On one attempt, contemplating the happy faces in his family photo was enough to stop Simon from continuing with his plan to end his life. On another, though, the unbearable pain overwhelmed him until, at the very brink of suicide, he called Lifeline Sydney & Sutherland. Guided by the Volunteer Crisis Supporter who answered his call for help, Simon was able to calm the thunderstorm raging in his mind and bring himself back into the reality of the present moment. His life was saved that day.

    Simon was then able to seek the professional help he needed to understand what was happening to him and how to manage his PTSD. Feeling empowered, he set about to raise awareness – and ultimately, save lives – bravely sharing his story through the media and through motivational and inspirational speaking engagements.

    In 2017, he even wrote a book, Life Sentence: A Police Officer’s Battle with PTSD*.

    “At times we can be in despair and lonely, but weʼre never ALONE. Lifeline is always there to listen and help us through any difficult situation. Making that call to Lifeline was the best decision I made, it saved my life,” Simon says.

    Simon remains a supporter of Lifeline Sydney & Sutherland. He recognises the critical need for the crisis support services that saved his life is ongoing and continues to evolve with changing times.

    *Life Sentence: A Police Officer’s Battle with PTSD is written with Libby Harkness and published by Penguin Random House.


    Stay up to date with all things Wesley Mission

    I would like to receive communications from Wesley Mission?