Michelle Partington’s Unique story is an Inspiration
I caught the train to Birmingham New Street with only minutes to spare. Out of breath I looked down to see a woman smiling up at me. Smiling back I asked her where she was coming from. She told me that she had just given a TED (Technology, Entertainment, Design) talk in London. This grabbed my attention. Sitting down, I asked Michelle to tell me her story.
Michelle overcame a difficult upbringing to sign up as a teenager and progressed to flight lieutenant in the Air Force while qualifying as a medic and then a paramedic. She had postings across the UK, and served in the Falklands and Bahrain before doing three tours to Afghanistan.
Michelle Partington’s life was forever changed by her experience in conflict. She was the first female medic to work on the frontline with the RAF regiment. She was left traumatised by her experience of battle in Afghanistan. In 2015 she was medically discharged from the RAF. Michelle struggled to make sense of civilian life. Post traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) left her terrified of leaving the House. She was haunted by memories of Afghanistan and struggled to get up in the morning. At one point she wanted to take her life.
Having someone to talk to was a relief. A bond with Eva Graves, a SSAFA social work team manager who took on simple tasks to relieve the pressure on Michelle, helped her venture outside and start therapy. Michelle got back the independent person she is. Her life is transformed from the person who two years ago went through mental anguish. In September she participated in indoor rowing the Invictus games in Toronto. The Invitus training goals got her out of the house and led to renewed camaraderie with her ex-military men and women. Michelle is now a campaigner, inspirational speaker, trainer and founder of Behind the Mask Foundation for those struggling with a mental illness
TED is a media organisation which posts talks online under the slogan ‘ideas worth spreading.’