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.

Tuesday, August 8, 2023

Mourning a partially lost career...but retrieving my identity

I was always going to be a Detective Senior Sergeant at the Homicide Squad. That was the end goal of my career. That was me and where I was going to retire.

Life said otherwise.

Due to a single incident on 8 April 2003, I cannot see/smell/hear trauma anymore so the end goal of my career was all of a sudden wiped, although much later in life, I was to realise that "all of sudden" was an extremely long burn.

I learnt that I had let my personal identity be overtaken by my police identity and the trauma lessons and subsequent recover taught me many things but most of all I needed to get my own identity back.

A psych hospital stay, lots of self reflection, a metric shit tonne (which of course is an official unit of measurement) of clinical work, medication, meditation, exercise, diet and recognising and understanding that one part of my recovery was that I was grieving my partially lost career. I say partially because I am still working, but it was a big part. Grief that what I wanted to be, will never be.

I had chats with mates who are and were in the same position and worked through the negative thoughts and using a decent load of black humor, "stiff shit it happened, you aint got a time machine, move on" kind of thought. It was about rediscovering myself and not put my worth into a singular spot to finish my career.

I know that I can be re-triggered at any given moment but by putting controls around what I can do, it gives me the best chances of staying mentally healthy, or as mentally healthy as I can be living with PTSD, depression and anxiety, but that is okay, I am at peace with the conditions and I work in a work unit that allows me to do what I enjoy doing. I love my job.

I am now at peace with the fact that I will probably remain at this same rank I am at for the remainder of my career. I see members who I knew as Constables and help train up that now out rank me and that is okay, I am happy for them but the constant thoughts of what could have been emerge.

These thoughts though are pretty quickly handled though as I have much gratitude that I am still working when I have so many mates and know heaps of others in various first responder services that are not working due to their mental injuries.

Clearly my processing of a partially lost career didnt change overnight, actually took years and has really come in strong the last few months, but one thing I can categorically say is that I have got me back.

I am more present at home which has been the best gift.

I am many things but I am not my work. That is just something I do to pay the bills.

Be Well.

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