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Forums / PTSD & Trauma / PTSD for Medical and First Responders

Topic: PTSD for Medical and First Responders

  1. Croix
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    9 January 2019 in reply to Recuperandi

    Dear Recuperandi~

    I read your other post I which you talked abut the wisdom of declaring your illness. All I can say is I did not, ended up not able to continue (froze in witness box, went to wrong places, drove terribly, mood swings etc) and gradually closed down. I was caught in the trap of not having treatment when needed. As a result many years later my illness and I have reached a stalemate, though my life is pretty OK.

    Yes it would have been very brave of you to announce your illness, and I'm sorry VicPol is not as understanding as it might be. Hopefully you have caught matters in time to make a decent recovery. I'm sure as PamelR says the more publicity it gets the better the institutional attitudes and outcomes. Other members will reap the benefits of your bravery.

    Sing out anytime, you'll be welcome

    Croix

    I found out there is life after the police, though that took a long time too.

  2. The dude
    The dude avatar
    2 posts
    19 January 2019

    Hi all

    just looking for advice from others.

    i was a firefighter for 17 years finishing up in 2016 with no ill effects.

    while road crashes were part of what I did they were outnumbered by fires by a large amount. Over the last few months I started having dreams about crashes.

    I also somewhat irrationally fear the worst straight away in the event my wife is late coming home.

    News reports of crashes and roadside memorials rattle me a little but no too badly.

    on the plus side I’m a careful driver copping 1 speeding fine in 20 years!

    if this is as bad as it gets I reckon I would have gotten off lightly based on others experiences but I would be grateful for advice on whether things deteriorate from here or whether help is a good idea given it is not so bad and further direct exposure to this type of trauma is unlikely

    cheers

    1 person found this helpful
  3. Shelll
    Shelll avatar
    6520 posts
    20 January 2019 in reply to The dude

    Hi The dude

    Welcome. I cannot offer any advice or anything. Hopefully someone else can. But wanted to write to you and personally thankyou for the work that you would have done.

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  4. Croix
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    20 January 2019 in reply to The dude

    Dear The Dude~

    I'd like to join Shelley Anne in welcoming you here. I think it was a good move to come to see how others have got on, better than my performance anyway:) I'll mention at the start I'm no doctor, just an ex-policeman who was not a first responded as such so all I can say is my own experience.

    My reactions started whilst still in the job and went untreated, this is rather different from yourself. When I did get round to being properly treated, which was after I became unable to function I had left matters far too long and not only had my condition badly deteriorated but was also a lot harder to treat. Although you have left the job it looks like you are now having a reaction to at least part of it though at this time the symptoms are bearable.

    It may well be that with fire there is some avenue for you to help control the situation, but with crashes you do not and are attempting recoveries. Frankly here I'm guessing.

    Even many years after I was retired new instances of remembering or reacting to old matters started. My psychiatrist said this was because I'd reached the stage where I was more able to cope with them; which with assistance I've done/am doing. As far as I know symptoms do not necessarily occur at once.

    Nightmares and catastrophising are two of the symptoms I have too. So knowing what I know now if I was in your position I'd seek medical advice and go from there. It may well be there is something in your current lifestyle that is increasing your stress levels - I've no idea.

    I am not saying you can expect things to get either better or worse, just suggesting having proper information is good.

    If you had a physical symptom, maybe unexplained pain as an example, you would go and get it checked out. This situation is realy no different. Apart from that your symptoms are not pleasant and life would be better if they were addressed.

    Please feel you can talk here as much as you'd like, others may have different experiences

    Croix

  5. The dude
    The dude avatar
    2 posts
    20 January 2019 in reply to Croix

    Thanks for the help.

    I’ll make myself an aappointment.

  6. bear53
    bear53 avatar
    16 posts
    4 February 2019

    So heres my story, in a nutshell: I work out in the community as a nurse, 2 years ago I was a first responder to a near fatal accident, which I saw my GP and got some psychology sessions for,( also more sessions last year.) Only took a few days off work initially, when it happened.

    Fast forward to later last year,where I had a separate unrelated incident at work. Made a workcover claim (to ease myself back to work, ) which was accepted. relatively short time off work. I am now gradually increasing my hours, with the support of my GP and psychologist. But there is always the pressure at my workcover meetings to increase my hours more, I always feel stressed because of this at these meetings. At my most recent one the other day, again I was feeling the pressure to increase, said I would speak to my GP before increasing. Out driving on my shift after this I got a trigger out of the blue, which had not happened in that manner for a long time ( flashing ambulance lights caused it) I get why its happened, and I know what to do, but it just left me feeling flat. ( I didnt tell anyone at work afterwards). I have a psych.appt coming up, will talk about it then.

    Part of me wants to up my hours, and get back to ' normal',( and get off workcover, which can be a stress in itself) part of me wants to stay at my hours, increase slowly, as planned. Part of me wants to resign, just to be free from this, but I still like my job. So many mixed emotions atm, has anyone felt this way in this situation? Just thought I'd ' be over' triggers like this, hate them when it feels they come on out of the blue, when most times I am fine.As I said, I can understand why I triggered, but doesnt help much.

  7. Chick in a guernsey
    Chick in a guernsey avatar
    40 posts
    6 February 2019 in reply to The dude

    Hi The Dude,

    I spent 9 years in policing, most of that time in general duties (lots of first responses). I was about four years out of the job when incidents from about ten years ago started coming at me in a way they never had before. Sure, a job may come to mind every once in a while but things changed, intensified and anxiety also crept in. I totally get where you're coming from with assuming the worst. If I'm not in the car with my husband and kids, I feel anxious that something will happen and visualise the possibilities.

    May I ask, what is the worst that can happen if you do go and seek support from a professional, even if you are unsure as to whether you need it or not? I was reluctant at first but knew I had to do something.

  8. geoff
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    6 February 2019 in reply to bear53

    Hi Bear, thanks for posting your comment and to be in a situation you had to encounter must have been devastating to experience and realise what it would do to do, I'm really sorry.

    You can't increase your hours or workload unless you, your doctor and psych all agree on when is the right time, and not to be forced by Workcover, because you have to remember the long term effect it may have on you, especially if you influenced by an article on the news, you have to take your time.

    Emotional triggers can be almost anything and can be based on something you don’t want to happen again and to know what actually set you off would be helpful.

    Instead of fighting them you can recognize what effect they have on you then try to minimize its hold on you and if it's possible let any physical symptoms like heavy breathing, sweating and shaking slowly be controlled and your psych can help you with this.

    Please take your time and it would be great to hear back from you.

    Geoff.

    1 person found this helpful
  9. Croix
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    7 February 2019 in reply to bear53

    Dear Bear53~

    I've read of your struggle in other threads and can see you are torn several ways, attempting to return to normal duties - as encouraged by your work and workcover, taking your time,and returning as and when you truly feel capable, and simply walking away.

    If I look at the last option first, I had no choice and was invalided out, and very many years later miss the job, often things seem second best even though I've mapped out a different life. I'd point out it is not the job or your condition that is prompting this desire to leave - but the pressure and conflicting interests of your employer, who may not really have your individual best interests at heart. Plus they may be seeing just the latest incident and not taking the previous one into account.

    Looking at returning to work now. True your employer wants this and may even promise a degree of consideration due to you circumstances, however it is not realy your desire, you do have reservations. Not the work which you like, but the results of returning too early. It could have the unfortunate consequence of making your recovery slower, or reverse progress made so far. I don't know. In my case it certainly would.

    Taking your time, with the backup of GP and a psych would perhaps be the optimum course of action, though judging by my own experience it may come down to a balance of reduced but still present symptoms against what is workable. Not an easy judgment to make.

    In an ideal world world one could move to a different sphere of employment and be where triggers are at a minimum and the pressures that induced the illness are rarely present, unfortunately one has be practical and both eat and maintain self-respect.

    I'm not really trying to push you in any one direction, I know what was necessary for me, but by setting things out maybe this will help you arrive at the best decision you can under your circumstances.

    Do you have family or freinds to support you and talk things over with? Often this can lead to surprising insights and even opportunities.

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  10. Recuperandi
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    9 February 2019 in reply to bear53

    Dear Bear53,

    Thanks you for sharing your story. One of the benefits of these online forums is the huge amount of friendly, non judgmental advice you can get from other members who have lived experiences. I was medically retired from the police after 29 years. I battled with the Workcover system for a long time. Although my Workcover experience was ok, many people tell stories of constant pressure to return to work or increase hours. It is important to appreciate all the various roles and motivations in the Workcover system. Your employer and the Workcover insurer want to get you back to work or increase your hours for financial, productivity and for Workcover premium reasons. Your GP and psychiatrist/physiologist (your team) are there to make decisions, in consultation with you, for your best interest. From my experience you and your treating team are the best gauge on any decisions on a return to work or an increase or decrease of working hours. You and your treating team know all of the information and issues you are dealing with. I understand the pressure to increase your hours however do not cave in to the pressure and let your treating team absorb that pressure. Your priority is you, your health and your recovery. Good luck!

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  11. bear53
    bear53 avatar
    16 posts
    25 February 2019 in reply to Recuperandi

    Thankyou all for your kind words and support, which is all helpful. I agree Croix that they (workcover) may not be taking the previous incident into account. Interestng thou, workcover said they would speak to my GP, this didnt occur ( were they trying to intimidate me at the time???)

    Have increased my hours slightly, see how it goes( as my gp said, i can always drop back if not managing). Doing ok at work, thou someone did ask was I ok, as I was quiet. I do still feel a bit disconnected with people at work sometimes.Luckily I can trust this person and they know whats going on. Have also found a great meditation app, has lots of teachers , but one teacher in particular is excellent on it. ( Happy to share the app and teacher, just wasnt sure if this is permitted on this forum) . Also using a CD meditation my psychologist recommended, is now on my phone.

  12. Croix
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    25 February 2019 in reply to bear53

    Dear Bear53

    I'm not surprised you feel a disconnect between your fellow workers and yourself. Until they have had your experiences they may well seem a little shallow and less able. The sort of experience you had will separate anyone to some degree.

    Hopefully over time you will accommodate this and it will not be so obvious and possibly even isolating.

    Personally I would like to know of the meditation app you discovered. While you cannot post links here you can give enough details for anyone to Google it, so please do.

    For example if I was to say I'd watched Brené Brown talking about the anatomy of trust you would find it even though I'd not given the exact address.

    Croix

  13. bear53
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    16 posts
    26 February 2019 in reply to Croix

    Hi Croix,

    the speaker is Sarah Blondin, if you google her name it also mentions the app where I found her, also literally hundreds of other teachers on this app.Hope you find it as useful as I have.

  14. Croix
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    27 February 2019 in reply to bear53

    Dear Bear53~

    Thank you, may offer in return mention of the free smartphone app, Smiling Mind, which I've found very useful. It takes a quite different approach, but has helped me stop the mind going around and around in anxiety-ridden circles many times

    Croix

  15. Recuperandi
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    28 February 2019 in reply to bear53
    Hi Bear 53. The app you are talking about is a great app and I use it regularly. From my experience meditation, mindfulness and regular exercise are fantastic at grounding you and bringing you into the present moment. The challenge for everyone is to build a daily routine where meditation, mindfulness and exercise are a part of your daily activities, easier said than done but it will pay off if you can make it a regular part of your day. Good luck and keep up the good work.
  16. Sandy2577
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    5 posts
    18 June 2019 in reply to MarkJT

    Hi Mark, I can so relate. It was 7 years ago for me and I can still visualise everything. Meditation and mindfulness has saved my life from the grips of my PTSD, I deal with some other planet type situations, but have not been triggered (touch wood). You still doubt whether your fixed or not. These days the only people who can trigger me easily is family or close friends. But using the meditation I can get myself back under control. PTSD was a horrific ******* to best. Proud of you.

  17. Johnnya
    Johnnya avatar
    1 posts
    2 August 2019

    Hi everyone.

    I suppose I'm writing this for a few reasons. One is to see how others have coped with similar situations and the other to see if pursuing some justice around my situation is worthwhile.

    About 11 years ago I was working in an ICU in NSW. I became the go to nurse for a particular client who was ventilator dependent. The client decided after a lot of pursuing various avenues that they wished to have their ventilator disconnected and be allowed to die. They also wanted to donate their organs as a non-heart beating donor. Over several months of care and working with the client we had become strong friends, They asked me to not only be their when the vent was disconnected but to also not leave them alone in the OR whilst the organ harvesting went ahead. I went ahead and saw this day through.

    For the whole week I felt numb. I was told by my manager that it had been just a normal day in ICU. Pretty quickly I'd started using anything and everything I could to make me feel different, to try and help me sleep and to just kill the memory of what I had seen. Of course I had access to opiates and other drugs at work and soon started stealing from the s4/s8 stock.

    Within 5 years I had lost everything including my house, family, money and I gave my rego up before they took it away from me. I was homeless, suffering from AoD addictions and with severe depression and anxiety. Trauma after trauma after trauma.

    I've come out the other side now, I work with the Homeless using my experiences to inspire hope and provide support to those experiencing similar situations. I've been through rehab and cope well with my story. I've been clean over 2 years and live an amazing life

    Still though I don't feel like theres been any justice served. I still feel like I was just thrown away and that no one at the time recognised what was going on for me. I still feel like I haven't been heard! Do other people have experience of coping with this?

    I also feel that what wqith the understanding of trauma and PTSD that there is today compared to 10 years ago, should I consider trying to get my case reviewed? I'm hesitant to say the least.

    Thanks for taking the time to read this and look forward to your replies.

  18. Croix
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    3 August 2019 in reply to Johnnya

    Dear Johnnya~

    I'd like to welcome you here and congratulate you, you have survived where many have not

    you say:

    I've come out the other side now, I work with the Homeless using my
    experiences to inspire hope and provide support to those experiencing
    similar situations. I've been through rehab and cope well with my story.
    I've been clean over 2 years and live an amazing life

    That is pretty awesome, and something to be really prized. Considering the cause was so devastating to get to where you are now should also be protected.

    It may well be you help more people now than ever you did in ICU.

    May I ask why you are considering legal action?

    Have you considered firstly the complexity and expense of any legal action, for an incident 10 years ago, with witnesses now hard to find and having hazy recollections.. You would be disputing against an insurance company. You already know the manager would be a stumbling block.

    Secondly and more importantly have you considered the re-traumatizing of such proceedings might put all your gains at risk . Being asked to relive events is sometimes very terrible.

    Please remember it is a legal system, not a justice system.

    I too was thrown away and would dearly like to have matters fairly dealt with and opportunities to return to my former life. I did not, and for me that has been the best decision.

    It is ironic that another in my situation did take matters to court, we met up again in the psych ward, so who's to say the better way.

    I'm not saying either way what you should do, just suggesting down sides and for you to be able to balance them against wahtever you wish to gain.

    Do you have anyone you can talk these thngs over with?

    Croix

  19. Croix
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    3 August 2019 in reply to Croix

    Dear Johnnya~

    I've thought about your post overnight and realize I should have said this earlier. You made a promise to someone in great need and kept it. True it came at huge cost to yourself, however keeping your word may be one of the most important things a person can ever do.

    Croix

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  20. LouiseM23
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    2 posts
    13 September 2019

    Hi, I just wanted to say that it is heart warming reading the responses to this thread.

    I was a CSO (left a few months ago) and I am currently in the throws of dealing with sleep disturbance, anxiety and horrible thoughts and memories based on the things I have seen, wrote and read. One case for me in particular I believe was my undoing, as it was based on the horrific abuse of a 3 year old child, which for me triggered a number of flashbacks to my own childhood, and abuse which occurred then.

    I find it so hard at the moment receiving help (but am reaching out for it and working with my Dr and soon a psychologist), as I am usually cast in the helping role. I have gone from a fairly confident well functioning adult to someone I don't recognise and feel like my mind has failed me. I am on a variety of medications at the moment, which I would never dream I would have to take, and they appear to be helping somewhat.

    I remember on my last day of work as a CSO prior to leaving for another job (as I just couldn't cope anymore) asking if they were interested to know what went wrong, and was told that I could come back at another time and have that discussion. I had disclosed about my abuse to my then team leader and still had to work that case until my last day. I harbour some anger about this. I moved on to the next job, but my anxiety and processing what had happened as a CSO left me without sleep and I was a mess, so consequently I didn't end up staying in that role either, which leads me to now. Some days I feel OK, others are terrible. That is the worst feeling - the ups and downs.

  21. Croix
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    13 September 2019 in reply to LouiseM23

    Dear LouiseM23~

    Welcome here to the Forum, as you have seen many people are here and their combined experience can be a real help.

    Please forgive me for an assumption, I'm assuming CSO is Child Safety Officer or some similar role. If I'm wrong I apologize, however it does seem to fit your account.

    I'd imagine you are a very good one, with empathy and experience, but have been working in an environment that has not supported you - quite the reverse. As the person dealing with the clients and situations it is not just a matter of personal strenght, or judgment.

    An awful lot of people in this type of work dig too deep into their reserves driven by compassion, by being the only resource, by .. well you know the rest.

    To work effectively long term there has to be a support structure there - a competent one to support you, one that has been there too, knows what it is about, the traps and how one can be affected -I believe cumulatively.

    Your team leader was terrible, and not only made you remain in a situation that has been highly dangerous for you -regardless of the consequence, but did not seem interested in improvement for the future either. "Another one bites the dust" -next please.

    Inside you are still the competent person you were, but expecting to be able to bring that out in your next similar role was probably hasty. It took me a long while to get my past under control, and I did not have an abusive childhood to contend with.

    A change of job after a long time off, medication and therapy via a couple of long term psychiatrists and several short term psychologists have changed me out of sight. I was invalided out of my occupation suicidal and incapable of anything. Now I lead a productive and happy life wiht love and accomplishment.

    I am very glad you are seeking help. My big mistake was to just keep on going until I was incapable. Your mind has not failed, it is still you. Your team leader, administration and the cumulative effect of your experiences have given it to much to cope with - for now. I did not even know if I could love, why I was angry/crying, why it was all happening - I was divorced from myself. Now all is back.

    Yes there are bad days -and nights, no hiding it, over time they reduce in frequency and in severity too. I can now look at thngs I'd put completely out of my mind for years, and can do so safely. You will unmask the real you again, never fear.

    I've said quite enough for now, I really hope you come and talk some more

    Croix

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  22. Tillie
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    4 posts
    30 September 2019 in reply to Recuperandi

    Hi Recuperandi.

    My adult son is 3 yrs in the police force. He has been 'investigated' twice. The last one over statistics around what constitutes a search brought against him by a team member who had held the record prior. That one was 18 months ago without any closure despite numerous requests from him to the union and the Integrity Unit. He hates the job so much, more so because of the way he is unsupported. Both investigations he has been left hanging for longer than policy stated. Both times he was transferred apparently temporarily; the first time he had to work in the cells for 4 months, 12 hours a shift...it was like punishment before anything was proven. He says due to this investigation he can't go on courses, one cancelled off him when the investigation started and any applications to transfer go on deaf ears. He has no mental energy to look outside the force because anything costs money to up skill to. He has a mortgage. He is angry, depressed, lacks motivation. I am a trained counselor and I can't counsel my own son. He doesn't believe in all that stuff. He said last night that each suicide he attends he files that method away for someday....and on the other hand he says suicide is for cowards. He said if he did go to a psyche, management would use it against him and make it even harder to apply up the ladder. He said he knows of many cops who are grappling in the same way; they won't get help because they will be labelled unbalanced and dangerous. I make a point to hear him out when he does talk about work and don't shrink from the details if he shares...even images. To my knowledge he doesn't have any negative coping mechanisms like alcohol or drugs, he has started smoking again since joining. He sees nothing bright and is stuck in every way. Even if he finally does get a response to this latest thing he is so beaten down by the politics and angst he no longer has the desire to be exemplary because that entails not being invisible which he believes is the only way to survive. Do you have any words for me (and him) please?

     

  23. Croix
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    1 October 2019 in reply to Tillie

    Dear Tillie~

    I'm sorry for your son and you, you are both in impossible situations.

    I can't give you specific advice on his future, and if I did you would then have to convince your son, which at the moment does not sound doable. As the job effected me more and more over time the things I believed in became less and less (and that included hope).

    The easy bit first: You, as a trained counselor know that you are vulnerable in this situation, so you need support yourself. It will help neither yourself or your son if you start to become ill due to the worry and stress. And yes I'd imagine that worry, apart from powerlessness and frustration with the force, includes wondering if your son might contemplate suicide.

    You as de-facto counselor to your son is probably not a good idea anyway - yes I realise he has no faith in the psychology system however help is needed.

    I too before I experienced it for myself would have said much as your son on suicide, and I too, from various sources, noted methods, which I later tried to use.

    I left matters far too long, believing firstly that the most everything was due my shortcomings and secondly I had no choice. Yes I'm familiar with the decision over seeking help vs career. When faced with 2 impossible choices suicide can become an option -at least it was for me.

    I actually had no choice, thing got so bad I was invalided out, which I think, apart from the illness involved, is worse than simply walking away.

    When I joined like your son I excelled, I was young, enthusiastic and idealistic. The force became my life, identity, purpose and standing, as well as a financial base.

    I was declared to be permanently unfit to work, and that with leaving the force was a huge blow, both psychologically and practically

    It took me a long time and permanent treatment, however I did find another life - something I'd not have believed possible whilst still in the job.

    I have no idea what will happen concerning the current complaints, and even if they are found to be groundless I'd imagine your son would be ever on guard against repetition. Can your son find an ally in the job, someone more senior who is sympathetic and practical? Legal action might seal off any prospects of advancement.

    Would he consider walking away? The force in question sounds less than professional

    Does your son have support at home -a partner perhaps? Mine was an absolute strong angel.

    I guess the trick is to try to reduce pressure on your son

    Croix

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  24. Tillie
    Tillie avatar
    4 posts
    11 October 2019 in reply to Croix

    Thank you Croix,

    Everything you wrote makes absolute sense. I am glad I found you. To answer your questions. Yes he has a great partner, although having not the same world view, can't know exactly how his mind ticks, so she gets frustrated with him. I have suggested he see a 'police informed' lawyer even just so he knows concrete options, rather than his perception of things. Of course there is always the real chance of no advancement if he goes ahead, but really there appears to be no chance at the moment anyway.

    I have a gut feeling he is being singled out either by someone who has it in for him...someone with past connections somehow maybe. An old girlfriend has an aunt who used to work in the admin of the LAC his troubles started in. He can apply for courses and transfers...but while he is investigated he is in limbo because other applicants are accepted ahead of him. Remember the days when employees were given the 'window seat' when they hadn't done anything sackable but it was a way of forcing them to resign?

    In my work place my supervisor is an ex cop from another state. She has extended an offer of help for him to articulate a request for finalizing, without it going legal. She said she feels there is a cover up and acknowledges that it is not acceptable.

    Meanwhile his partner said he can't even order new uniforms (which are developing holes) because he doesn't want to be seen, and while the investigation is on he can't even turn up at his old station to collect a new one. He thinks uniforms come out of each LAC budget, so he doesn't belong in one, where he is working and he isn't allowed to belong in the other one.

    Me? This is but one of my two biggest worries as my stepson has stage 4 bowel cancer. I am seeing a psyche now which has been great and my migraines have all but gone :)

    Thanks again

  25. Croix
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    11 October 2019 in reply to Tillie

    Dear Tillie~

    I'm sorry about your step-son, in some ways that problem is closer to life than your son's troubles. I'm not belittling them, just looking at them from the point of view of someone who found there was another life after police (which I doubt he will believe).

    Gong to a lawyer will in all probability give him correct but combative advice, he does not need an adversarial situation unless the charges are criminal.

    For all you know it could be resentment because he works too hard or efficiently. Your supervisor sounds well worth his getting in touch with, failing that a 'rabbi'.( Old term for a patron/mentor) maybe in the association.

    Things can blow over wiht a little help, or one finds a niche in the force that suits. There is too little known to make any predictions.

    You would not expect his partner to have the same world-view (unless she was other cop too). Different worlds, or at least that is how it has been in my case.

    I'm very pleased you are seeing a psych and the headaches are gone (you will have to tell me your secret:)

    Please let me know how things get on

    Croix

    .

    1 person found this helpful
  26. Tillie
    Tillie avatar
    4 posts
    16 October 2019 in reply to Croix
    :}
  27. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    9526 posts
    16 October 2019 in reply to Tillie

    Dear Tillie~

    I don't think I've ever had so short a reply:)

    You appear to be sort of smiling, would you like to say more? I would be very interested in finding out how your and your son have got on.

    Croix

  28. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    18 December 2019

    Hello, I'm completely new here.

    In short I'm an ex police member. Ill-health retired with permanent disability - ptsd.

    It's been a long time since I was retired out but I still miss the job every day... more... I grieve for the loss of my job & my career.

    So much of my life was dependent on my career. My life collapsed like dominoes once my income was reduced to a pension day and not much else.

    I lost friends or, maybe they weren't really friends after I left?

    Family were 'disappointed' that I couldn't pull my socks up and keep going. I live under this stigma of mental health, disability cloud still? I'm doing my best to stay well.

    I was in the job for almost twenty years and loved it. I haven't been able to find the same passion for anything else and I'm told I would not be able to sustain it anyway. I did try.. really hard to work at other things but ptsd jumped up and bit me.

    I'm just reaching out to others here who might understand?

  29. Croix
    Community Champion
    • Outstanding members who have volunteered their time to support others here on the forums
    • Life membership is awarded by beyondblue for providing outstanding peer support to the online community over a period of 3+ years.
    Croix avatar
    9526 posts
    19 December 2019 in reply to littleboots

    Dear Littleboots~

    Greetings from another ex-member and welcome to the Support Forum. To post here is a mark of your deep unhappiness as well as your MH conditions, and I'd like to show you a little of my own experiences, as a means of reassuring you there is hope of a happy and fulfilling life - no matter what you have been told. I do this as I'd like to start an ongoing conversation by with that in mind.

    I was struck by your sensible attitude and example of personal strength in your advice to Bee1998 - all of that is still a part of you.

    Like you I was a career officer, and was invalided out a very long time ago with the usual suspects: suicidal, PTSD, bouts of depression and an ongoing anxiety condition, together with the various physical problems that they generated.

    I was kindly told I was TPI (could never work again) and left with a reduced income (but full medical for treatments). So there I sat in a silent house, something that had just been a base for a busy life.

    Ceasing to be a member under those circumstances is completely devastating, the loss of identity, purpose, occupation, satisfaction, friends, prestige and authority is total, and there seems nothing left.

    I cannot pretend the start was easy, I have been hospitalized and even now, very many years later, am on medication and see a psychiatrist regularly, experiencing symptoms, although at a reduced and manageable level. I build my life to take into account and minimize these

    My life turned around over time and now I give and receive love and support, am occupied in demanding ongoing occupations that provide structure, require effort and imagination and yield satisfaction.

    I have not managed all this by myself, support, medical and personal, plus a pinch of luck have been there.

    My partner after a long and very hard time with me eventually suggested study. I was indifferent, however did turn up. I took longer than usual due to concentration and memory problems, but ended up doing well and was invited to teach. I did that for a lot of years, then moved over to another similar role.

    Now I've turned my my unhappy experience to advantage and use it here and elsewhere. Yes I still miss the police on occasion, however it is in there with other things, like the passing of my first wife. A chapter in a long life.

    I'm not suggesting your rout to a better life needs to be like mine, just it is achievable.

    I'd really like it if you came back and talked some more, said what you think.

    Croix

    1 person found this helpful
  30. littleboots
    littleboots avatar
    31 posts
    21 December 2019 in reply to Croix

    Hello again,

    Thanks for responding Croix. I'm so pleased you found life after 'the job' and a new career?

    I'm on my own now. I've got much to feel blessed with. But the shroud of depression and other symptoms taints everything.

    Like you, I was TPI with medical benefits. But the insurer has denied more than they have ever approved. I have a psydoc who has been the most stable and consistent person in my life for almost two decades.

    I'm on some very mild meds at night only. I was trialled on so many meds it makes my brain spin. Eventually due to substantial & intolerable side effects I was advised that I needed to face life without meds. I have taken some pretty big stuff that made my eyes roll back in their sockets & at times I've been hospitalised where they eventually get those into me. But that's when I've broken from being relatively stable.

    I've self-isolated for many years. Generally I find 'life' way too confusing. I don't see anyone regularly or often. I have a family of high achievers but I crashed and burned and they don't know how to deal with that. They are not comfortable discussing MH so not discussed - actually actively avoided by them.

    It would be nice to have some friends who can look past MH to personality. I don't wear MH on my sleeve.

    I've tried to reconnect within the community... joined clubs etc., Mostly I've found that people are just so incredibly busy and though friendly - don't have the time to invest in new friendships.

    At times when I'm well I want the world to slow down so I can jump back on but then when I start to deteriorate I need to get away from all of it. It's madness really and so difficult to find the right balance.

    I did go back to study when I was MOPF. I've completed some tertiary studies and returned after I was retired. Unfortunately a host of personal circumstances including finances, all conspired against me.

    I feel like I've run out of time now even if I could study.

    I've also got a disability that complicates my ability to communicate. It's attributable to firearms training and a few other incidents during my career.

    Thanks for your kindness Croix.

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