AN USK woman has spoken of how taking up photography has helped her cope with her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).

Ceri Leigh has been in therapy for the past 10 years since an accident on her way home from work left her with PTSD and unable to walk for a year and a half.

The former exhibitions manager at the Natural History Museum in London now suffers with insomnia, severe flashbacks and dissociative paralysing seizures which prevent her from leaving the house unaccompanied and unable to drive or cook.

However, she has found photographing the beautiful floodplains of the Brecon Beacons the best medicine.


As the coronavirus pandemic spread across the world, Ms Leigh took pictures of the wildlife she watched from her window every day in 2020 – recording a few hundred species – and she has just published a book called Life on the Floodplain.

Writing the book for Ms Leigh was a step towards her old life and the job that she loved managing exhibitions at one of the UK’s most popular museums.

For a long time, Ms Leigh has felt as if “there is no one in charge of her head” and even the sound of a child crying, or an ambulance siren, can trigger a seizure.

“With PTSD nothing makes sense," she said.

"Piecing your mind back together takes baby steps, over and over, every day. It’s a never-ending battle.

"I fall frequently with the seizures, but I feel nothing as I get a dose of natural anaesthetic with the dissociation. If I fall backwards, there is no feeling and no thoughts – it’s like a computer malfunction, my brain just shuts down.

“Watching wildlife calms me as I find it has a meditative quality. Taking photographs on my mobile phone distracts me from the anxiety of PTSD and it grounds me.

"I encourage everyone to observe their own environment.

"It’s surprising how much wildlife can be seen if you take the time to tune in and look around.”

Life on the Floodplain is priced at £24.99 and available to buy on Amazon now.