This is a personal blog and as I type this I’m not yet sure if I’ll end up hitting the publish button.
Mental health is becoming a big part of modern Policing. It’s being recognised that the job we do and the stresses, strains and trauma that come from the job need some attention. I’m delighted to say that my force are pushing mental health wellbeing in a massive way.
Unfortunately this blog isn’t about my work life as such. It’s a lot more personal. I think it’s time to share.
Over the past 3-4 months my life has been turned upside down. I’ve been battered by a series of events that have knocked and bruised me. It all started when my marriage ended. Since then things seem to have gone down hill. I’m aware that when you’re down, some things that normally would just bounce off of you actually smash into you and take you down.
I won’t go into much detail about everything that’s happened but I want to share the major things that I have been going through.
Since the end of my relationship I have had to start afresh in a new house. At the very beginning I was sitting on a bean bag in an empty house. No TV. No furniture, nothing in the kitchen cupboards. No fridge, no anything! I took a picture one day while I was sat on the bean bag.
I posted this picture onto Instagram and also onto Facebook. It’s not a bad photo is it? No one knows about this photo. Just after it was taken I cried. I cried for the first time in many years. The enormity of starting again aged 39 was just too much for me. This turned out to be the start of many tears. Too many tears.
The time that followed saw the perfect storm surrounding me. A car I had taken out a £6’000 loan for had self destructed just a few days after the warranty ran out. I injured my back and so lost my independence and had to crawl around on the floor to get around. Family members who lived 300 miles away in London were being admitted into hospital with heart conditions and strokes. More and more was happening. Each and every incident was like a hammer blow on my already fragile state of mind.
I cried. Now that I had cried once it seemed that the tears came all too easily. 3 weeks into living in an empty shell I decided to write down my thoughts. I have redacted some of what I wrote as some of it is not for anyone else to see.
As you can see I was in a pretty dark place. Depression had hit me and it had hit me hard. Despite people close to me knowing my situation, I was feeling all alone. I was surrounded by a black fog that seemed to be impenetrable by anything or anyone.
Bad things continued to happen. Due to my back injury I couldn’t go to work. My Sergeant was absolutely amazing. I really couldn’t have asked for a better response. He knew that work was also a big part of my social life. Having moved to the area just a year before, I didnt have the support structure in place that I needed. My Sergeant did everything he could and managed to get me back into work under special conditions. I was able to be around friends and make a small contribution at work. It felt great. for that I was so grateful. My team rallied around me and started to become aware of just how bad I was mentally. They all pulled through for me. I’m so lucky to have colleagues who I consider some of my best friends.
Speaking of best friends, my best mate really came into his own. Being blokes we don’t often show signs of weakness to each other. We’ve had our times of course but they are rare. We live 200 miles apart so we can’t just ‘pop round’ when we like. He was the samaritans for me. He listened to how low I was and said the most perfect things. Not only did he do this but he gifted me a large sum of money so that I was able to turn my house into a home. I’ll forever be there for him. You may have seen me mention him from time to time. Hollywood, thank you. (Of course we have nicknames)
It’s been a long few months now but things are getting better. I still occasionally break into tears for no apparent reason and I’ve had strangers ask me if I’m OK as I look as though I’m going to break down. Apparently on some days I look fragile. Truth is, on the inside I feel fragile every day. My house is now cosy and I’m proud of it. I still have a daily battle to try and be me each day but the fog is lifting. My Sergeant still pulls me aside at work from time to time to carry out a welfare check. I often end up in tears during these but I’m getting better. My colleagues take the time to speak to me alone and ask how things are. It really is fantastic.
Why have I shared this with you?
I’ve shared this for one reason. I want it to be OK for people to talk about this. It’s OK to be sad. It’s OK to have a blip in your life. Many people are always willing to help or lend an ear if you need one. Things do get better. The note book entry I shared with you, I’m glad to say that I look back at where I was when I wrote that and now realise just how far I’ve come since. With the help of good friends and taking time to accept and deal with my issues, I’m getting there.
So what now?
Right now I’m working on getting my back sorted. I’m taking the pills and trying to rest where I can. I’m enjoying my home now and look forward to welcoming many of my friends as guests so that I can cook for them. I’m considering visiting the Doctor for some help for my mental Heath issues. As of yet I’ve not done this. If I can I would rather stay away from being too heavily medicated. Although sometimes necessary I feel that I’m through the worst. Things are looking up. I talk to people regularly and hope soon to be back out on full duties at work.
I absolutely love helping people but recently I’ve loved people helping me. I’m very fortunate to have such great support.
If you’re In a bit of a rut and you’re feeling down, let people know. You will be surprised how many people actually care and will go the extra mile to help you back on your feet. Let people in and they won’t let you down.
Please be assured, I know many of you will want to reach out to me. I appreciate it but please try not to. I want to just be me to you guys. I have many people who have to deal with me when I’m down and my Twitter life is a welcome break from the sadness that sometimes engulfs me. Please just continue to be you.
To finish up… when Richard Ashcroft of The Verve sang that ‘the drugs don’t work…’ he had obviously not seen this picture of me on my meds. Take care everyone.