Thursday, 5 January 2017

My mental health in the police service...

So lots to catch up on...

I guess the biggest news is that I fell off my perch again. I have been trying to think about new analogies' for my depression and I conjured up these two...

Number one - A game of Snakes and ladders is after all just a kids version of life. There are plenty of snakes out there who want to see you 'go down' and there are plenty of ladders too if you're healthy enough to attempt the climbs. Throwing the dice, pure chance, again like a lot of life. Being in the right place at the right time and not what you know but who you know are mantras I am all too familiar with and are positive experiences if you are on the right side of them. A lot of my life I am content climbing those ladders and throwing those die, however once and a while my anxiety and depression kick me down a snake. Sometimes one of those small ones where you only lose a few squares but sometimes it gets me from the top of the board to bottom in just one throw. Floored, having to start afresh again...

Number Two - also equates to a game I recall from childhood that used to be on television as part of a UK kids television show called crackerjack. The game I think was called 'Double or Drop' although I could be wrong on that but essentially a child was handed one toy, boxed or otherwise after another until they could hold no more. Then they were told they could double their winnings beyond what they were already holding  by taking just one more parcel without dropping all the others.

That's my life, me stood on a raised platform being given parcels to hold, daughters bullying, work anxiety, family politics, cleaning, shopping, bills, car servicing and so on until I get to that place where I know if I take one more parcel I am likely to drop the lot. I always do though, take the next parcel that is, as the lure of wining is just too great.

Then inevitably it happens, in trying to take that one extra parcel, in pushing myself just that bit further I drop every single one of my parcels that I'm holding on to for dear life.

Or I slip from top to bottom of that snakes and ladders board and bam the world spins and I end up a blithering wreck back in the doctors waiting room.

It was coming for weeks, I think I even blogged about feeling the wobble of my Jenga blocks... (I do so like a good analogy!) but they've toppled and I've fallen by the wayside. I also think the more often you fall that maybe it gets harder to get back up again? This is my third major episode in adulthood, one was fourteen years ago, one was almost three years and now another. I was already wobbling but then over Christmas 2016 my beloved Penny Dog, a loyal friend of fourteen years, who actually saved me the first time around, died and taking her to the vet to be put to sleep was brutal.

So brutal in fact that it was the final parcel so to speak, so not only did I fall but I crashed and burned into the dirt big time taking all my parcels with me.

I kidded myself for a few days that I would bounce right back after I'd had a good few days of crying but I didn't and here I am again having to break the news to work bosses. Going to the doctors and admitting another defeat.

At the moment I'm feeling completely ruined but I keep trying to bolster myself up with the previous successes I've had at pulling myself out of the dirt. Watch this space and I'll try and keep a progress log of how things go third time around.

I have also helped write a piece on #MentalIllness for #Police magazine which is utterly frank and truthful about my personal experiences of mental health within the police service.

There is a lot of talk about what 'we' do to support people in the service who are suffering from mental health problems but personally to date I've not seen any practical evidence of that, I've just heard and read the words. The smoke screen as you like.  However let me clarify this is a personal blog, about me and what I feel and think. My experiences...

I'll let you in to a little Police secret... those strong, competent, astute, brave, police officers who go out  into our societies day in and day out, night in and night out, festive season or not, are human beings!
Shock horror, I know its a lot to take in!!
Another secret...they have feelings, they have families and they are made of the same stuff you are! Who would have guessed!

We break like anybody else but our police culture is such that coping and being the problem solvers is what we do and what we're expected to do come rain or shine. When we break we think we can and should just fix our own problems, after all that's what we do.
So generally we tell nobody of our woes as we think it'll spoil the illusions we've created of us being some kind of superheroes who don't bleed or feel.
When we realise that we can't actually fix ourselves or reboot there often comes another phase, a period of time where we 'womble' around!! Now when 'we' the afflicted womble about we look just the same as your normal common or garden problem solver, yet this wombling soul will be much like a robot whose programming has corrupted. We may talk slightly oddly or slowly. We may sit staring off in to space. We may snap with fury at the smallest provocation yet eventually someone will notice the womble and offer help. TAKE IT!!
Eventually the mask or underpants will slip off the womble otherwise and reveal the human being beneath in all their crumpled glory which can have catastrophic repercussions if it happens at the wrong 'job' or with the wrong 'client'

Have you been, or are you being a womble? Do you know a womble you could help?

Mr or Mrs, even Miss or Master Womble ... Don't wait until you drop your parcels or slip down that snake... go and get yourself some help you deserve it x

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