News, Culture & Society

Woman who was burnt after boat explosion speaks about PTSD

Burns victim Taylah Hemming is living proof of the human capacity to bounce back from trauma.

The 22-year-old physiotherapist was almost burned beyond recognition on Boxing Day 2014 when the boat she was in exploded on the water and scorched 25 per cent of her body.

Now, three years later, Taylah has embarked on a mission to recover from her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with exercise and clean eating, and hopes to one day help other burns patients in rural areas.

Taylah Hemming (pictured) suffered burns to 25 per cent of her body after the boat she was in exploded 

The 22-year-old was airlifted to Royal North Shore Hospital where she spent a month recovering 

The 22-year-old was airlifted to Royal North Shore Hospital where she spent a month recovering 

Now, three years later, Taylah has embarked on a mission to recover from her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with exercise and clean eating, and hopes to one day help other burns patients in rural areas

Now, three years later, Taylah has embarked on a mission to recover from her post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) with exercise and clean eating, and hopes to one day help other burns patients in rural areas

‘I’ve always been fit and active but after the accident I said to myself “I am going to do whatever I can to recover.” I do suffer from PTSD and flashbacks, but with exercise I can control these reactions,’ Taylah told Daily Mail Australia. 

‘I pump out exercise to release endorphins and that also means I am less energised to lay awake at night and think about what happened.’

During the horrific explosion, flames licked at Taylah’s legs and arms, creeping up to her face until she jumped into the water – and was luckily airlifted from her small town to the Royal North Shore Hospital in Sydney before it got any worse.

Taylah says she has since recovered ‘almost 100 per cent’ apart from some physical scars, but admits it wasn’t easy to accept her painful burns.

Taylah now works as a physiotherapist and says she has been able to combat her PTSD with exercise and clean eating

Taylah now works as a physiotherapist and says she has been able to combat her PTSD with exercise and clean eating

While she says she has since recovered 'almost 100 per cent' apart from some physical scars, but admits it wasn't easy to accept her painful burns.

While she says she has since recovered ‘almost 100 per cent’ apart from some physical scars, but admits it wasn’t easy to accept her painful burns.

'I pump out exercise to release endorphins and that also means I am less energised to lay awake at night and think about what happened.'

‘I pump out exercise to release endorphins and that also means I am less energised to lay awake at night and think about what happened.’

As a 19-year-old, Taylah’s emotional maturity meant she was quick to worry about how she looked and spent months hiding her injuries from those around her.

‘When the burns unit said I could take the compression off forever, it was bittersweet because I was emotionally attached to them and my skin underneath was so raw, like baby skin,’ she said. 

‘The first year of the accident I kept to myself and felt ashamed of my scars… but then something happened – I realised being open was good for my mental health.’

After suffering the debilitating effects of PTSD, Taylah decided rigorous exercise and a paleo diet would help her to return to her best self.

‘It’s almost as if I’ve been given a second chance at life, so I’m going to look after my self as much as I can,’ Taylah said. 

'When the burns unit said I could take the compression off forever, it was bittersweet because I was emotionally attached to them and my skin underneath was so raw, like baby skin,' she said

‘When the burns unit said I could take the compression off forever, it was bittersweet because I was emotionally attached to them and my skin underneath was so raw, like baby skin,’ she said

Three years after the accident Taylah says she feels stronger and healthier every day

Three years after the accident Taylah says she feels stronger and healthier every day

She transformed her life post-accident by using exercise to beat her PTSD (pictured after)

She transformed her life post-accident by using exercise to beat her PTSD (pictured after)

‘While in the hospital I knew my insides were so unhealthy. To physically heal yourself your insides need to be healthy too.’

As the third anniversary of her life-changing accident approaches, Taylah proudly says her scars are almost completely healed and shares her fitness journey on Instagram.

And while working as a physiotherapist Taylah’s experience has helped her to empathise both emotionally and physically with her patients.

While working as a physiotherapist Taylah's experience has helped her to empathise both emotionally and physically with her patients

While working as a physiotherapist Taylah’s experience has helped her to empathise both emotionally and physically with her patients

Taylah was only 19 at the time of the accident and says she felt she had to 'grow up quickly'

Taylah was only 19 at the time of the accident and says she felt she had to ‘grow up quickly’

‘I enjoy connecting with my patients on a deep, emotional level,’ she said.

‘Right now I work in remote health in Forbes but one day I would like to work with other burns patients in a rural setting. 

Currently, burns physio only work in city areas and I don’t plan to move to a city area so bringing burns to the county would be something I would love to achieve,’ Taylah added. 

'Right now I work in remote health in Forbes but one day I would like to work with other burns patients in a rural setting,' she told Daily Mail Australia

‘Right now I work in remote health in Forbes but one day I would like to work with other burns patients in a rural setting,’ she told Daily Mail Australia

Read more at DailyMail.co.uk


Comments are closed.