Professor Neil Greenberg, a member of the Royal College of Psychiatrists and the Health Protection Research Unit at King’s College London, said some people who survive a brush with death can come back even stronger – while others may find the trauma more difficult to recover from.
The Prime Minister was discharged from St Thomas’ Hospital in London on Sunday.
After returning home, The Prime Minister took to Twitter to thank the NHS staff that provided him with care and support.
Mr Johnson tweeted: “It is hard to find the words to express my debt to the NHS for saving my life.
“The efforts of millions of people across this country to stay home are worth it. Together we will overcome this challenge, as we have overcome so many challenges in the past.”
The Prime Minister has now gone to Chequers, his county home retreat, to recuperate following his shock illness.
However, a top psychiatrist has revealed what the Prime Minister may really be experiencing underneath a brave face.
“Many people experience post traumatic growth – anything that doesn’t kill us makes us stronger,” Prof Greenberg said.
“Most of us in life find we go through a challenging experience; it gives us resilience and might make you more motivated and help a person go on to do a better job.
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“The most common long-term impact of traumatic events is no impact. People remain resilient.”
Prof Greenberg revealed that people often suffer distress, poor sleep, poor concentration and nightmares in the days after a life-threatening event.
However, the next few weeks these symptoms usually begin to get better by themselves.
Although, for a small minority, the symptoms become even more persistent.
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“A key point is how a person is supported after they come out,” he said.
“Good support, good colleagues, it makes it much more likely you will recover and have it as a positive resilience building intervention.
“Whether your decisions involve running the country or running a household, if you are unwell, your mental health will clearly make a difference.
“But it needn’t impact your ability – it might focus your mind.
“If you look back to World War Two and Churchill, he suffered from depression, he called it his black dog but he led our country to success.
“It would be wrong to say you can’t lead the country to success.”
Professor Greenberg said people who suffer a traumatic event should spend time with others who can provide support.
He said it was better to speak to people you trust about how frightening or distressing the experience was, rather than to avoid the subject.
“Try and surround yourself with people who are going to be supportive and take time to speak about it,” he said.
“Trauma can have a more positive outcome – an experience might make a person say I’m going to be a better father or brother.
“As a nation, assuming we come through this, I think the evidence is some people won’t remember it as well as we do now.
“It will take a while for things to adapt – but people will adjust to the new normal.”
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