About Me

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Melbourne, Victoria, Australia
I tell my story. I'm not here to sell a product, but to challenge people's thoughts to take better care of themselves. To validate those that are already doing this. To educate, to eradicate the mental health stigma, to influence those that need influencing and doing all of this with respect as each person has their own journey and we need to recognise that. I am vulnerable and raw. I have to be authentic. I am me. I have faults, I have made and continue to make mistakes, but I learn from those mistakes, I am me.

Thursday, August 10, 2023

Diagnosed, but no longer diagnosable

10 June 1996, enter Victoria Police Academy;

25 October 1996, graduated from the Victoria Police Academy;

8 April 2003, attend my triggering incident;

10 February 2013, hospitalised and diagnosed with PTSD, depression and anxiety;

Early January 2015, started medication;

23 July 2021, cease medication.

These are some of the major milestones of my policing and mental health journey.

On 10 February 2013, I fit the criteria in DSM 4 for PTSD, depression and anxiety was accordingly diagnosed.

As I sit here now and reflect, I am no longer diagnosable for those mental health conditions. I guess this has been the case for a while, however after a week of coming off the medication, it dawned on me that I would not fit the criteria and that is pretty f**king cool.

Have I beaten it, shit no. I do not believe you "beat" a mental health condition. You recover sufficiently to allow you to function to the best of your abilities. To say that you beat it, I think is wrong.

I am well aware that I am on a life long journey, like so many other members of the community who live with depression, PTSD, anxiety, OCD, eating disorders etc, continual maintenance is required.

So completely humbling when I reflect on the support I have had throughout this journey, and continue to have. Grateful, you betcha.

I was meant to be in Tassie this week trekking with a bunch of mates and being led by Nick and Dave from The Resilience Builders. A week in the bushland, creating reference points, building resilience and to show ourselves that we are not on the scrap heap. Thanks to COVID, that got canned.

After Tassie was canned, I thought, hmmmm lets jump off the meds and see what happens. So essentially this is the conversation I had with DSSgt Mick BENNETT my boss, and bearing in mind that we have a ton of work on and are short staffed...

MT: "G'day mate, Tassie got canned so I'm thinking I might still take the week off and drop the meds"
MB: "No probs bud, do what you gotta do"
MT: "I reckon a week will be enough but will see what happens"
MB: "Yep sweet. Let me know if you need anything"

Leadership personified.

I will be forever grateful for Mick's leadership and handling of my recovery. From the moment I messaged him telling him that I was in hospital, to this day, nothing but support and a major major reason why I remained at and continue to work. This is only enhanced by the knowledge that so many others are no where near as lucky as me with their managers.

An interesting week coming off the meds. The item of most concern was my mood and was expecting a decent internal kicking but like last year when I reduced meds, it never eventuated. Thank for this, massively so!

Experience brain zaps for the first time, not painful, just incredibly weird, which of course opened the door for some mates to take advantage of that and tell me that I am a weird cat so that should fit in well....cheers gents!!!!

Had what can only be described as a small bird stuck in my head tweeting away. Said birdy has now flown off into the sunset.

Significant brain fog early on but the fog has lifted.

Sleep patterns destroyed but welcomely (is that even a word??) enough, was tired the next day but not feeling extremely vulnerable which was the way I lived the last few years when tired.

Feeling emotions that I haven't felt for ages. Watching the Olympics and being nervous when our Australian athletes were competing for gold....gee what is that feeling? Dude, your nervous, huh, aint that felt that for a while...a welcome return to the butterflies!!

Am I forever free of medication, no chance I am saying that. If I need to jump back on them later on in life, so be it.

Question: Aside from the compounds, what is the difference between psych medication and heart medication?
Answer: Nothing.

A gazillion punters around the globe need medication of various types, absolutely nothing wrong with using them when we need it.

To wrap this hardly free flowing story up, pretty proud that I am no longer diagnosable and my recovery life enters a new and really exciting chapter.

That's way cool.

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