NEW BOOK: Therese Sullivan found a safe haven in prose and will launch her first published novel Stalker, Stalker - Know How It Feels in March.
NEW BOOK: Therese Sullivan found a safe haven in prose and will launch her first published novel Stalker, Stalker - Know How It Feels in March. Boni Holmes

Launch to bring PTSD awareness

THERESE Sullivan has always had a love of telling stories.

She would make up stories for her children, but she had never been able to write like this before.

In 2010, Therese found that she was suffering from post-traumatic stress disorder.

"In 2010, I returned to work before I was ready even though Brian told me I wasn't and then I spent the next five years battling," she said.

"The last couple of years I was just angry all the time."

Her husband Brian is her rock.

"Without Brian I wouldn't have been able to do it," she said.

"Brian does everything - I can't go out without him, stay home without him, I can't speak on the phone - and he does the housework."

Brian and Therese have known each other for 34 years, and married 21 years.

The trauma occurred many years ago, but it took a while for Therese to realise the connection and then to accept the connection.

Therese said it was her psychologist's fault the book got written.

"It started off as homework," Therese and psychologist Jo Coulch chimed together.

"In therapy, Therese has a magnificent way of expressing herself and I said to her one day homework is you are going to write and I want it to be a book one day," Jo said.

"I was only joking, but someone followed through with their homework.

"The thing with PTSD is that people don't realise that they have it.

"What they deal with is the primary stuff like depression, avoidance, anger, addictions - they deal with that for long time and it is only when they get into therapy do they realise that they are linked to a specific trauma.

"To accept it you have to go to those deeper feelings.

"It has been three years of therapy - working with PTSD is not short term - it is long term, something that goes on for life because the brain needs to relearn how to be safe.

"One thing Therese has learnt through her writing is that she can escape into her world and it is perfectly safe. She can express herself in ways that she can't in everyday life."

Therese said the novel is about an agency that turns the table on stalkers.

"The book starts from the point of a woman being stalked by a guy she went out with a couple of times," she said.

"It focuses on her - things that happened to her, what he has does, how he acts. When she eventually gets help they turn the tables on them.

"I have always been interested in this subject - I have always gone for the psychological thrill of the mind."

Jo said Therese had great knowledge on behaviour.

"The characters in the book are so true to life; the psychological aspect is spot on," she said.

"This is what brings the characters to life, keep you intrigued. Her trauma has nothing to do with stalking - we can be really clear on that one."

Therese will launch her first book at the Hervey Bay Library on March 10. She plans to address the crowd.

"Therese wants to move on - so to do that she's got to get back into life," Jo said.

"This exposure to new people, exposure to new events - testing the unsafe is all part of it. We all do it everyday. That fear is huge for everyone.

"So we are re-stepping those for Therese and working an itinerary like different places, rooms, escape routes, number of people, so it's been a pretty big task

"It's all about getting out there and being comfortable at the time."

Therese has already done five more books in the series after only starting her novel journey in January last year.

As part of the launch, Therese wants to bring awareness on PTSD.

She still suffers from panic attacks, life is very restricted. But Therese said she had come a long way since then.

The book launch will be held on Saturday, March 10 at 10.30am at the Hervey Bay Library. The book is $15.