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Found It, Now What? Ex Australian Police

Discussion in 'Introductions' started by Charley, Jul 7, 2006.

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  1. Charley

    Charley New Member

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    Hello from a recent ex Police officer - medically retired after 12+ years plus of service.

    I just wonder how much longer I will keep hearing the sound of that door slamming as my arse hit the ground..

    Dozens of high intensity incidents have finally taken their toll.

    I think one of the worst things trying to deal with is the reality of the absolute zero assistance from the gov/dept.
     
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  3. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Hi Charley,

    Welcome to the forum. So... I assume then that you got diagnosed with PTSD, then dumped like a hot rock from the Government, basically with the impression, the sooner they get rid of you, the sooner they have less problems to deal with? If so, sounds exactly like the military!

    I think people forget far too often, about the type of work Police, Fire and Ambulance provide, and that trauma is near present each and every day of your job. The strange thing that always got me about this, is after talking in-depth with some ambulance officers, whenever they go to a crash scene of high intensity, ie. fatalities, they get counselling for it, though each time I deployed on operations, I got a five minute counselling session to see if I was ok from up to a six month period. Funny how things work ha?

    One of my mates wives is a phycologist for Qld Rail, and the employee's of Qld Rail get more counselling working for the railway, than I got with deployments in war zones, and peace keeping operations. I doubt it was similar for yourself with the police force. Faced with constant fear, violence and all the crap police have to take, with next to little support or care from the employer!

    Life just never ceases to baffle me.
     
  4. Charley

    Charley New Member

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    Hello Anthony & thanks for your response. You are running an extremely important service here & you are doing a great job at it.

    At least you had some form of counselling after incidents - I never have had even one.

    Yes forcibly medically retired PTSD. I never really had heard of it until about 2 years ago, but I knew I was having serious troubles.

    Similar to soldiers in many ways (those on active duty in war zones) - Police are in constant danger throughout their service (and it doesn't magically go away prior to and after the work either).

    The gov/dept have a lot to answer for, if ever.

    Make me a member of the forever baffled club too please.
     
  5. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Yep, it is one job I certainly would not be lining up for. Your one brave person to take on the role of a police officer, for that sheer fact, constant issues, dealing with all the bad and nasty aspects of everyones lives, getting little to no relief from it, even after hours... bugger that. A mate of mine joined after we where both promoted to SGT a few years ago, and when I last spoke with him, he actually said he preferred being overseas on ops with the Army than what he is going through now. We had short bursts of high exposure situations, police have constant low exposure with peaks... ambulance I believe is even worse again from all accounts I have been issued thus far.

    People forget about these type of jobs where people are exposed to constant trauma, whether their own or others, it has significant impact upon some people's lives, your obviously being one.

    What I really hated about the discharge process from the military, is that I was frowned upon, even though people wouldn't say it too my face, friends still told me about what people where saying, in that the rumour out of control begun, and I was apparently "mental" and "gone nuts", etc etc, but then when I stopped in, everyone was nice as pie and said things like, "so what is wrong with you? Doesn't look like anything is wrong with you. Your bludging!" and general crap like that. I guess people just don't understand, and will never really understand unless it hits home with them, or very close to their lives with a spouse or family member. Then people suddenly standup and take notice.

    You are absolutely correct though, the government do have a lot to answer for. They release all this nonsenes publicly about spending millions more on mental health issues, and trying to keep their workers within the relevant departments, blah blah, all of which is total crap, and funnily enough, I still have never seen any new highlights of mental illness within compulsory lectures and the usual government OH&S type annual enlightening sessions.

    The sheer money the government waste on absolute nonsense garbage, and promoting PTSD awareness in all the wrong places, for a couple of million dollars of their budget, which is nothing for which they state are spending on mental health awareness, I could cover the entire of Australia, primetime TV and radio, and bring PTSD to the attention of 90% of Australians. That certainly hasn't occured, nor do I know or understand where exactly they continue to spend all this money on mental health awareness, because it certainly isn't hitting the public sector and society as a whole.

    It sucks...
     
  6. carpediem2006

    carpediem2006 Active Member

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    Hi Charley,

    I have recently joined here also. For anyone Post Traumatic Stress is a complex thing to face up to, or even want to admit exists. I think for some of us it is not the last 'trauma' but rather the one that puts the cherry on the cake or the one that overfills the glass.

    I have got through many experiences in life (as we all do), but I suppose the last couple of years have been one thing after another.

    I just started my usual routine answering this which may sound familiar, which was to start to write about things that have happened. This is now deleted. It is not so relevant. I think part of the reason that we do that is to vent and also becuase to a degree we can feel guilty/worthless/useless becuase it got 'us'. But doing that is an important stage to get through. I sometimes read about others and find their story hard to understand and think 'is that it? is that all' but am learning too that it may only be a small part of a much bigger picture, that even they themselves are not yet able to recognise.

    The one thing that I am trying to do is stop rehashing the same things over and over, but rather to look at what the symptoms are. Yesterday as I walked home from popping out for some cigarettes, I had to stop becuase two people were coming down the street (I was assaulted about 50m from home). I don't consider that so negative, it is an automatic response, I check that I am in a position to run somewhere with people, let them pass and move on. I can have a similar response if someone is physically attacked in a movie, or when I see someone being threatened by a gun (other stories).

    Understanding what this is and the triggers behind it helps me understand myself better. If I can't walk into somewhere busy because it is full of football fans, it is because I percieve rowdy people as a threat; it is also logical (60% of violence is commited under the influence). I do not know what your triggers are, but you will probably find that there are a combination of factors over a short period, which brought you here (otherwise you would not have managed 12 years in the police force). It is such a shame that employers dismiss and push out staff who have done their utmost of duty. But the world is not a fair place, and I would not include the corporate/business world in that generally. It most often comes down to the person who is your line report, and their own life experience. Some of my old staff had their own problems, they often commented that they couldn't understand my 'compassionate' side, but you learn from what you see and you experience. You simply recognise stress symptoms and make sure you get your staff through them before they get worse. You certainly don't add to them by pushing them away. And you reassure them of their worth while they are away. Unfortunately, many do not hold that view, and simply make things worse by taking away employment and self esteem that goes along with independence.

    However, there is one thing that I also begin to recognise that is very important, people take out their stresses either on themselves or others around them. It is important to recognise this and how it can affect us/those we care about. I will do everything I can to not be beaten by this last period. At the same time I do not know if I have a minor brain injury as I can organise next to nothing anymore. That part is bollocks, as it is dismissed with the answer to pop pills. I think that is an individual issue because of the variety of responses that can occur with medication. Besides, I do not want to spend the rest of my life living in a 'fluffy cloud' with no real emotion, either positive or negative.

    The frustrating thing is being percieved as weak, or genetically predisposed. That is infuriating. If I was predisposed I would not have got as far as I have. But sometimes you have to listen to other people's SH12, and their pious opinions, take some time and make your own judgement call. Mine says if that was the case someone wouldn't cut it in the police for 2 years, leave alone 12.

    Sometimes you may need to listen to stuff you don't want to hear or agree with, but sometimes it is better to let it go over your head. I can end up cursing the person, but perhaps they were saying it deliberately so that I explained other stuff I had not opened up about. Everyone has their own can of worms. Sometimes the best thing to do (and possibly the hardest) is to have a good look at them, so you can eventually chuck them away. They will always be around, but you don't have to live with them on a day to day basis. I have to get through that, then believe things will be better.

    Before I go, I would recommend you read a lot, try to understand where and what is happening and why. That is most important. I didn't have a clue about what post traumatic stress was until recently, and now believe anyone can get it in the wrong circumstances.

    This very long answer is becuase arriving here in the first place made me feel strange, and I had a lack of acceptance that it could do any good. It can, and it will.


    All the best to you.
     
  7. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    A very well written, concise reply Carp. Thankyou for that, as it was a pleasure to read.

    I have no doubt at all Charley that your most likely feeling a little astranged at present, leaving your employment, dealing with life as life dishes out, and also this whole PTSD aspect on top of things. I have walked some very strange paths during my worst of PTSD, and some have been pretty out of the ordinary, but here I am today, 1000% better than what I was only a couple of years ago.

    You definately made the right decision to actively look for help, support, and just someone to give you a little support and nudge if needed to help you along this very tough road to recovery.

    I really look forward to learning about others experience with their PTSD, and how they are coping, learning new skills that each and every person develops to fit themselves, and so forth.
     
  8. Charley

    Charley New Member

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    Thanks.

    Now fighting the red tape machine of the super board, Centerlink etc. Funny that I was told by so many Dr's, Dept. "health & Welfare" officers etc that once I was medically retired I would have to apply - then would receive, the DSP. Nope...

    Jumping though dozens of hoops & even more interviews, paper shuffling at C'link etc etc - dealing with soul less people who treat you like garbage..all this after over a dozen years of putting it all on the line for their safety while they sleep safely tucked up in their beds.

    No-one assists, from the Police Association to Dept, to C'link - once out you're on your own & thats it.

    The "system" needs a rapid and immense overhaul.
     
  9. Socks

    Socks New Member

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    Hi Charley
    Welcome to the forum. You will find that the comments and experiences expressed by PTSD suffers will be very helpful and show that you are not alone and you’re defiantly not going mad.

    We are all experiencing PTSD and we are all at different stages of treatment and we all have different experiences and are willing to share and offer help.

    I find that some days are good and some days bad and sometime I wonder if I will ever be able to cope but as time goes bye, I realized that I can. I also found that it won’t happen overnight and I had to reassess my expectations.

    It appears that you are having the same trouble with the government as I am with the Department of Veterans Affairs.

    Nothing is every easy and they will fight you tooth and nail every step of the way.

    It appears to me that ex defence forces and emergency services personnel are an administrational liabilities to any government especially if they have some kind of medical problem and it cost them money.

    I agree that the "system" needs a rapid and immense overhaul but unfortunately, I don’t think it will never happen.

    Socks
     
  10. Nam

    Nam I'm a VIP

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    A Big Thank You!

    Thanks Charley for all the service you have put into your job to keep the rest of us safe. You deserve it. You also deserve the help you need. Keep going, keep fighting, we are here to cheer you on.
     
  11. anthony

    anthony Renovation Aficionado Founder

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    Charley, I know what you are saying, and I know the frustration from first hand experience myself, though if you continue at them, and don't allow the red tape to tangle you, you will win. I am positive that their aim is to do just that, tie each person up as much as possible, and if they lose some by doing so, it means they don't have to pay out to them or administer them any longer.

    The Australian Government boasts so much about how much funding they continually pump into all these things to make life better for veterans, police, SES, etc etc, but non of those politicians ever get down and dirty and have to apply through the system and find out for themselves.

    The system sucks at the best of times when you get someone who gives a shit, let alone all those pricks whose purpose is nothing more than a 9-5 job and only care enough to ensure their job stability. I personally think the Government needs to employ all us ex-service persons to do all the roles actually, even if 10 people do the one job on a rotational basis in-line with keeping stress down, etc etc... but atleast we would give a shit about each applicant, and appraise them without bias as currently occurs. If they are ripping the system, then tell them and let it travel its course, if they are legitimately sick, then help them and don't stuff them about making things worse. The system sucks... but I believe most Government systems do...
     
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