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Life after law enforcement

Discussion in 'Military & Emergency Services' started by JamesW, Nov 27, 2017.

  1. JamesW

    JamesW New Member

    I have been off of the job for over 6 years now after an injury ended my 12 year career. Since then, a cumulative injury to my spine in my neck reared its ugly head and now I may never work again.

    One of the worst things I cope with almost every day is this obsession or burning desire to go back to Law Enforcement (LE). When I see a patrol vehicle, hear a siren or see something on the news related to LE, my heart rate jumps up, my blood pressure boils and I feel invincible from the sudden surge of adrenaline and cortisol. Then the disappointment follows as I tell myself that part of my life is over and I will never be able to return to it again.

    Because of this, I do not watch cop shows, cop movies and I try to avoid the local news. If I were to watch any of these, the disappointment would just increase exponentially. It's overwhelming to try and make my emotional mind believe the rational mind that my career is over.

    Anyone out there dealing with the same thing? Any luck with coping techniques?
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  3. Xena

    Xena Well-Known Member

    Hi James w... I understand. This is how you are feeling just now... It's temporary....

    You have all the knowledge, skills, training... How about using that somehow to help others?.... Rookies..... Bounty hunters.... Classes to help people get into law enforcement.. Something that uses all of ur experience...

    Maybe not just now.... Due to your injury.. But possibly in the future. I'm an ex police officer myself..... I know how you feel...

    You won't always feel this way......
  4. LuckiLee

    LuckiLee I'm a VIP

    Hi JamesW. So sorry to hear about your injuries! My boyfriend is a combat veteran with his share of injuries too. He absolutely loved serving his country with his brothers. And he was great at it. But it took its toll. Mentally and physically. So now we're picking up the pieces like everyone else on this forum. You came to a great place. The people here a full of knowledge and wonderful enough to share it with us!

    @Xena shared some great ideas with you. I'm not sure of the extent of your injuries but maybe you could volunteer your services. My bf and nephew (LEO) volunteer with a few inner city charities. They teach young girls self defense. It is so awesome to watch these girls become empowered! I can't even explain it.

    My guy also teaches (once in a blue moon) at the gun range. He's....well trained.

    I've found through the years when you're feeling like crap try to help someone else. It will life your spirit too.

    Anyways, glad you found us. Good luck on your journey!

    ✌ & ❤
    hodge, ladee, blackemerald1 and 3 others like this.
  5. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

    Glad you found it! see, even when I'm not at work I'm still telling cops where to go :laugh:
    I agree with @Xena - using your skills can keep you in the groove without doing all the running and fighting yourself. I've done some consulting and taught at a local college. Oh! there's an idea. You need a degree to teach at most 4 year colleges but a lot of community colleges and high schools have programs and they will take experience in lieu of degree.
    hodge, ladee, blackemerald1 and 3 others like this.
  6. Justmehere

    Justmehere Help support myPTSD - more info in Social forum Moderator Premium Member

    I'm not former law enforcement, but I really regret having to switch careers too...
    This is a sign of being counterphobic, or basically an adrenaline junkie. (I am one myself. No judgement. It can be a tool on the job. It can be someone's undoing too.) The obession about it might be part of the underlying counterphobic or other anxiety. It is also a little bit of classical conditioning. You have been conditioned to respond with that response, to do the job well.

    Doing the opposite can begin to re-train your body to have a different response. An example. I used to have that response to something I saw. So every time I saw that thing.... I'd not run towards it, not run away from it, but take deep breaths and tell myself, "that's my cue to slow down and breathe."

    Now, when I see it, I automatically downgrade my sympathetic response. It doesn't get hyped up, it goes down.

    Intellectually, I also reframe it. Instead of "that's a carear I will never have again" I change it to "I loved that job for the season of life I did it. Now I can use those skills to...." For me, what I really loved about the job I had to leave was helping people. So now I turn it into helping others in another way.

    Find what you loved the best about that job, and find another way to pursue it. The reality is that as amazing as any one job or carear can be, it's not the only job out there. You are so much more than the job or the disability that is keeping you from working now.

    The last thing I'll suggest to work through this is to allow yourself to grieve. I hate to say that, but it's part of moving forward.

    And if none of this helps, feel free to disregard. I hope you do find what helps.
    IceQueencop, hodge, Anarchy and 7 others like this.
  7. Muted

    Muted I'm a VIP

    I’m sorry to hear about your injury, that sounds extremely difficult and like it’s been life altering.

    I can relate with this. I also think that would be an awesome job that would be hard to leave. I think much of our identity and fulfillment comes from our job, when we don’t have that filling up our time we are left wondering ‘what now’.

    I don’t have any easy solutions and without knowing more details about your situation and limitations... like is something different such as online with investigations a possibility? It might require some training, but it would be the same line of work.
    blackemerald1, Freida and Recovery4Me like this.
  8. BigLeuch

    BigLeuch Guest

    Hello James, if you are the same James We... I worked with in the central valley, how are you brother? I have been off on disability for over four months trying to get my overall health better after the Nicaraguan and I got in that shoot out in Sept/16.
    I went back at it and am suffering from no energy, stamina and my shoulder never healed 80% or better. When I went off for medical not one of the sorry supervisor's ever called to check on me. After the incident I was driving Alex to follow up appointments with surgeons and none of the brass ever came by. I am struggling with getting better and the idea of having to punch my ticket and leave.
    I love the work but have lost the joy of the job.
    IceQueencop and Freida like this.
  9. Freida

    Freida Been There, Done That, Lived to Tell the Story Premium Member

    I ran into the same thing when I went out on medical leave from 911. Worked there 20+ years and no one noticed I was gone. Told me a lot about how toxic the work environment was.
    IceQueencop likes this.
  10. JamesW

    JamesW New Member

    Yeah its me. Find me on Facebook. My 21 is on my profile or dm me.
  11. BigLeuch

    BigLeuch Guest

    It's aggravating: I helped with recruitment, telling young hard chargers that the profession is a family. Unfortunately IT isn't, you can build family ties with a select few that build that bond. All the others that tell you how wonderful things are, usually are hard to find when you need a team.
    It's killing me having to process the fact that my career may change and not in a way I want.
    All the old timers tell me to clear out and find something else to do with my life. My wife is scared that I survived two shoot outs and may not be as good next time.
    In the meantime I am struggling with physical ailments that have me worried about how long of a service life I have left. Mentally I still want to be a chest pounder, taking care of bad guys, then I look at the decline in my health from all the stress and injury.
    Knowing your ship is sinking and trying to figure out if it's better to get off or bail water sucks.
    I know how it is to hear sirens and want to be out front, I've been told it will pass though?
  12. anonymous

    anonymous Forum Anonymity Premium Member

    It doesn't pass...well not for me. I hear those sirens and every fibre and instinct in me goes on hyper alert. Sorry, didn't mean to bust anybody's (it will get better story). @Justmehere has some good points.

    I reckon it's a bit like training a racehorse of something like that. Once they are retired...even for years, take them near a race track and they will want to gallop. I think LE and probably a lot of other emergency services are the same. They train, indoctrinate etc., to within an inch of your life...to help you save yourself and other's from chaos etc.

    But nobody knows what to do with the LE personnel who get injured physically or even mentally.

    I tried to channel it into hyper exercise. Can you do any physical activity? It helps to be able to 'burn' it off...for a while.

    I don't know how to help, I am still struggling after being injured many, many years ago and no there isn't a 'family' out there who ease you into your new non LE life.

    It's all BS
    IceQueencop, JamesW and Freida like this.
  13. Warrior Chicken

    Warrior Chicken Active Member

    With you James. Also trying to find that something....purpose, function. After the storm. But I’m still in the storm.
    blackemerald1 and Freida like this.
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