Monday, 15 May 2017

My story to date....

I am a police officer with 28 years service although I had a five year career break so effectively I actually have 23 years served.  I find myself on long term sick leave for the second time in three years. I've been diagnosed with Depression, Anxiety and Fibromyalgia and I am medicated for these things. I had a short period of sick leave with stress in 2002.

After I returned to work two years ago after a six month absence with depression nothing in my workplace really changed barring one risk assessment that was done, albeit half heartedly and with tongue in cheek. The same supervisor annoyingly expressed surprise that I still had depression and was taking tablets a few weeks before this my second breakdown at Christmas 2016.

After reporting sick this Christmas just gone I was immediately referred by the force to the Occupational Health Nurse, interestingly this does not happen with physical illnesses, yet within a week there I was crying uncontrollably. Forty Five minutes passed with questions about when I would be fit for work and what was I doing to help myself get back into the work place etc.. The nurse did tell me as I was wearing make-up which apparently was a good sign that I wasn't that depressed, she also said that everything I said would be reported back to my supervisors.  I didn't say a lot after that.

A month later they sent me back to her again, this time the force had stated in their referral paperwork that I was being uncooperative and distrustful of force policies and sick procedures. She was bemused by this, as was I at the time, but it did upset me greatly.

In March 2017 I self referred to Safe Horizons UK who in turn passed me along to Save Our Soldier and Debbie Banks was thankfully sent my way.

At the beginning of April 2017, I was contacted for the first time by my welfare department,  oddly enough this came two days before I was due to attend a case conference about my sickness absence at a police building! Call me cynical but....?!!

I went to the conference with my federation representative, there was a panel of my boss, a Human Resources representative and the welfare department guy. A further question and answer session went on for 45 minutes throughout which I again cried hysterically! I managed to answer some questions,   I was quizzed about my use of social media and questioned as to why I had been spreading about that I was not getting any help from the force when it was me that had told them not to contact me?
I told them that I had approached a charity for help which seemed to unsettle them, they said they'd need to check how credible they were?!
I then asked them to explain their comments on the latest referral to the OH dept.  I'll summarise their replies... apparently my use of social media had been picked up by them when monitoring my blog and twitter feed. The fact that I had asked that a certain 'bully boy' supervisor not to contact me for my statutory 'weekly' calls, was being taken as me asking them not to contact me, plus they said that I had not been wholly open in my first OH session, so taking all these things together equalled me being uncooperative and distrustful.

"We've read your blog and it's obvious from that how mistrustful you are!! "

I managed through wracking sobs and hyper ventilation to explain my current phone phobia and dislike of answering or making calls as it tends to cause panic attacks. They agreed to email me in the future. The conference rounded up by deciding I should see a psychologist or a psychiatrist but they were not sure which.

The following day I had an email from the welfare department with the name of a psychologist and a telephone number to call to make myself an appointment! Oh how ironic I thought!

I have now had three whole days help from Debbie Banks via Save Our Soldier and the force have changed their minds about the psychologist referral, asking that I now see a psychiatrist instead but I've yet to get an appointment through the post.

I visited the FMO/OH again last week supposedly to top and tail the psych. referral but she apparently should have gotten my written consent and didn't. I have since done that.

I have now been off sick for 6 months. Luckily my half pay date of 20th June 2017 has been extended by the Chief by three months until 20th September 2017.

I have also had a letter through telling me my job has been abolished through restructuring and when I return I'll need to find a new role.

In 2002 I was in a DS post investigating Operation Ore and child abuse images, a CID post when my CI started sexually harassing me. As a result of 'Ore' we were having to spend a lot of time together and his harassment together with the material we were dealing with pushed me over the edge. I put in a complaint about the CI and the force settled outside of an IT accepting it had all happened. I received a financial pay out.
I would love to see the files on this and my statement etc as my memory of it all is pretty poor. I seemed to have erased a lot of it. Speaking up sabotaged my CID career and I never worked on the dept. again. I was side-lined into uniform briefly and then CID training.

In 2005 upon the birth of my daughter I took a five year career break returning in 2010 to a uniform post before being posted to HQ to work on Complaints & Misconduct from where I am now 'technically' sick.

In 2011 I attended my personal safety training whereby a 'new' technique was being trialled unofficially. The backwards fall manoeuvre led to me smashing my head on the floor and getting a whiplash injury that perpetuated in awful headaches for two years. The federation pursued the force for this incident as several officers were injured at the same time and we all received a pay-out for that too.

I want to leave on ill health but my fed rep thinks it too difficult to achieve before my possible 25 year retirement marker in May 2019. My 30 year marker would be May 2024.

Debbie and I concur that returning to the police would be utterly toxic to my mental health and the knock on to my Fibromyalgia cannot be underestimated.

So here I am as of 19/6/17 awaiting a psychiatrist appointment. be continued...

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