No one knows, no one is aware... No one should suffer.
"Just like Mental Health - this page is hidden.."
We all have scars, some physical and some that will never be seen. Those of us that chose to serve our community and dedicate ourselves to a career, helping those that cannot help themselves are unique.
Whatever colour uniform a professional chooses to wear, whilst working with a blue light above our head, we were never told about the injuries that we will carry. For some being involved, the physical aspects of our work, we know there can be long term health problems (backs, knees, scars). We do everything we can to manage our injuries and change our working practices. Some injuries are obvious, some are covered but they are accepted by most.
The scariest of all injuries are the ones that cannot be seen. The ones that cannot be managed , the slow burning ones that can finish a professional career over a period of years. We all know about them, pay lip service to them but as Government run agencies they are not truly understood or properly managed.
Joining the blue light family in October 2000, I have seen my fair share of injuries, being hospitalised on 3 occasions but probably should have been more. Now with a ruined neck, back and left knee, which are all be managed to a degree, it was not these injuries that are seeing me out the door.
In 2011, I was shot at whilst protecting a vulnerable person and her very young baby, from a violent and controlling partner. I was not hit, I was not injured and I walked away from the scene believing I was unscathed.
Roll on 3 years to 2014 and the first signs of things not being right were starting to show. Weight problems, sleeping disorders, dark thoughts, destruction of relationships but a determination to carry on with my job. Only by some luck and finding the right person, I able to pull myself through these difficult times. I thought I could move on, working hard and getting my 'D' then 2016 came and then it seemed it was all over.
Being diagnosed with PTSD cannot be that bad..? Being spurned by colleagues and managers as being incapable of doing my job, is soul destroying. Bringing things right up to date, April 2017 - I am running out of energy, motivation and I just want to run away from a career, I have always wanted to do. Then watching the London Marathon I feel things might be changing.
This year, 2017 has opened the door to Mental Health, with the support of the Royals, giving people a chance to take a peek inside of this underground condition. There are some truly great support and helpful agencies out there, that could have helped me in 2014 but I did not know about them. The chance to go back and do it all again is not an option. I feel I am too far along with this condition to ever be allowed back to being a capable uniform wearing individual. The stigma and risk is just too great for an organisation to ever trust me again to wear the uniform. They are increasingly put under the scrutiny of the press, the public and HMIC. Having a diagnosed PTSD sufferer is obviously a big concern.
If this page can do anything, I am pleading with you to get help as soon as you can. Stop the slow burn of Mental Health destroying your future and career. Let me help you, I have been there, going through it and I am determined to try and help. Check out these great organisations.