This is a journal entry I made when I was in day #6 of my Post Traumatic Stress Recovery Program at Home Health in Guelph, Ontario.
Today I learned about “mindfulness”, and how to be mindful when I’m in a situation that is stressing me out or “triggering” me. I have spent so much time for 16 years feeling like a hamster on a wheel that I forgot to take the time to be mindful and to stop and think about how lucky I was to have so many gifts in my life. Instead I let being a police officer and the related trauma define who I was as a person. I was a broken, uncaring, cold, and sometimes rotten person living every day with a tortured soul. The little boy who rode on his little BMX Bike around the small community I grew up in, who’s whole world revolved around Wayne Gretzky, wanting to someday own a motorcycle, and believing at one time in my life that the entire Globe was actually just a map of Canada, was replaced with a tortured soul. I became a police officer to serve and protect those who couldn’t protect themselves, I never believed one day I would be the one who needed to be helped and protected. I went from being a nice person to mean, I went from being sensitive to uncaring, I went from being hopeful to feeling nothing but despair, I went from being dedicated to unproductive, I went from always feeling calm and happy to feelings of being wired and sad, I went from being helpful to indifference, and worst of all I went from feeling strong/confident/safe/and indestructible to weak/beaten down/scared and destroyed. I spent so much of my time trying to help others and putting their peace of mind and safety ahead of my own that my own home life, the relationships that mattered the most to me, and even my own self care suffered to the point I felt like I lost everything. Yes, I choose the job, yes I signed up to be a police officer and yes I knew the job would be dangerous, but the danger I anticipated was external danger, that I could be physically hurt or killed. I did not realize at the time, until years later, that the injury I would sustain, the injury that took a career from me and my life from me, was an invisible suspect that I never saw coming until it hit me from behind like a freight train. I’ve never been beaten by anything because I could always just will myself to win. This disease has busted me up like Clubber Lang from Rocky Fame!