Veteran war correspondent Fergal Keane reveals the toll the conflict has taken

BBC war correspondent Fergal Keane has revealed in a deeply personal documentary how the death and threat of violence during the riots initially affected his mental well-being

In this emotional film, Fergal Keane: Living with PTSD, he reveals the impact PTSD is having on himself and others like him.

Fergal examines how PTSD led him to consider retiring from conflict reporting.

He also examines the latest science behind PTSD and its treatment.

As a BBC special correspondent, Mr Keane has covered conflict and brutality for more than 30 years.

From Kigali and Baghdad to Belfast, he has always been at the center of history, becoming a trusted BBC face known for his human reporting and exceptional empathy.

But off-screen, Fergal struggled to keep another story from overwhelming him. He was suffering from an acute form of PTSD.

In January 2020, Fergal went public with his diagnosis of PTSD.

Intimate details of Mr Keane’s life will be shared throughout the program.

Fergal examines his childhood and speaks of “the trauma of loving an alcoholic father” in which there was a constant atmosphere of “menace and fear”.

The award-winning journalist addresses his own experiences with alcoholism as a form of “self-medication” at the height of his career and his journey to sobriety.

He recalls receiving his PTSD diagnosis 13 years ago and feeling “too tired to be ashamed” after being admitted to a psychiatric hospital.

The program begins with Fergal contemplating the addictive part of his personality that wants to witness history.

He really wanted to document the Ukraine war, but promised himself and the people he loves: “No more wars.”

The viewer is taken back nine months where Keane explains that he is the type of person who is given literature after a therapy session but doesn’t read it because he wants to escape PTSD.

“I wanted to keep it at a distance. Why? Because I wanted to keep doing what I was doing. I wanted to keep going to wars,” he says.

Over the years he has seen the best of humanity and the worst, but “too often the worst”.

He sees PTSD as convulsions, nightmares, and flashbacks—”it’s a place of extreme anxiety.”

“Fear of having nightmares in which I wake up and lie under a pile of corpses or see animals devouring human corpses in my dreams.

“In everyday life, it’s as mundane as sitting in a room with someone trying to do the dishes, wincing and saying, ‘Can’t you hear how loud that is?’ and they look at you, ‘no’ because no one hears it as loud as I do in my head,” he says.

People love him and want to take care of him, but when he gets absorbed by PTSD, he shuts them out, viewers are told.

First he became addicted to the adrenaline of war reporting in Northern Ireland.

The documentary takes him to Milltown Cemetery, where many Nationalists and Republicans killed during the riots are buried.

It’s a place he associates with the “most chaotic and tense” week of the conflict.

Re-enacting scenes of an ambush by UDA member Michael Stone when he killed three people in a grenade and gun attack at an IRA funeral.

It made Keane realize “how close you could live to the brink” and that in Belfast he couldn’t help but process that trauma.

He says: “But nothing anyone could have said to me at the time would have stopped me.

“If they came and said, ‘You know, in 30 years, mate, you’re going to go to the hospital with a nervous breakdown from trauma,’ I wouldn’t have believed them.

“You have to get inside my head in my 20s, and that was someone who suddenly felt this sense of what they were doing.

“Because I think we all want to know that we are worthwhile, that what we do is worthwhile.

“But I wanted it more than most. And that, of course, is the trauma of not having it as a kid.”

Upon returning to Belfast, Fergal visits the WAVE Trauma Center where he hears from trauma specialists and Troubles victims including Cathy McCann who suffers from PTSD.

In 1990, a 1,000 pound IRA bomb was placed under a road and detonated.

Three police officers and a nun were killed, Mrs McCann was a passenger of the nun.

Fergal Keane: Living with PTSD is co-commissioned for BBC Two and BBC Northern Ireland and produced by State Of Grace Films Veteran war correspondent Fergal Keane reveals the toll the conflict has taken

Fry Electronics Team

Fry is an automatic aggregator of the all world’s media. In each content, the hyperlink to the primary source is specified. All trademarks belong to their rightful owners, all materials to their authors. If you are the owner of the content and do not want us to publish your materials, please contact us by email – The content will be deleted within 24 hours.

Related Articles

Back to top button