Book Review: Shell Shock: the Diary of Tommy Atkins by Neil Blower

Shell Shock: the Diary of Tommy Atkins
By Neil Blower

Tommy Atkins, is a young man recently discharged from the British Army after 5 years of service including deployment toIraq. The story follows Tommy, his thoughts. experiences and his relationships starting from his discharge from the Army. It allows the reader to really get inside a returned serviceman’s head as he explores life in the civilian world post combat.

Shell Shock is not a biography; it is a wonderful work of fiction by Neil Blower based on his own experiences. Blower states that his purpose for the book was to raise awareness of the often overlooked plight of PTSD in our returned servicemen and women, and I feel that he has definitely written something that will open a lot of eyes and minds. If you’re looking for a diagnostic book or PTSD treatment ideas then this is not the book for you. If your interested in learning about the PTSD experience from a first hand point of view then go get this book!

This book does a brilliant job of aiding the reader to develop insight into the quality-of-life decline of someone with untreated PTSD. It does a brilliant job of providing insight into the experience and miss-perceptions of a person with PTSD and how everyday events and activities can become large misconstrued stressors.

From an occupational therapy perspective Shell Shock is invaluable in showing an account of the progression of PTSD symptoms and their effect on Tommy’s occupational roles, relationships, volition and mental state which in the end leads to his almost complete role deprivation and ensuing feelings of hopelessness.

The book is written in a diary format which I think lends itself perfectly to tracking the progression for Tommy’s illness. Please note (and its stated on the cover) that the book does contain some strong language as it is written from the perspective of a British Army Vet.

It kept me engaged from cover to cover and I literally couldn’t put it down. I feel I now have a better understanding of the ‘coalface’ effects of PTSD and a greater holistic appreciation of what sufferers may experience.

Highly recommended to people who have interests in Mental Health (PTSD in particular), Occupational Therapy, Military Psychology or life experiences in general.

After 6 six years of struggling with his own psychological injuries, Blower contacted Combat Stress and was visited by his local Community Outreach team. This experience, along with studying for a degree in English and Creative Writing, inspired him to write Shell Shock and to donate £1 from every copy sold to Combat Stress, an organisation that delivers dedicated treatment and support to ex-Service men and women with conditions such as Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), depression and anxiety disorders.  Their services are free of charge to the Veteran.

I encourage you to get onto Amazon and grab a copy of this book. If nothing else you’ll get a great read and the knowledge that you have helped out an amazing organisation.

Click here for Amazon link.

and if your interested…

Neil Blower can be found here:

FireStep Publishing can be found here:

Combat Stress can be found here:




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