It’s naive to think that a person can repeatedly be exposed to the worst day of other people’s lives and go home unscathed.
(Photo credit 📸: Innocence Lost by @dansunphotoart)
No one should witness the aftermath of a child’s accidental death at the hands of her parent. Give narcan to the same addict as last week only to have them come back to life - swinging and furious - just like last week. Comfort a new widow, courtesy of suicide. Realize the young woman who wrapped her car around a tree is a nursing student, while your own girlfriend is in her third year. Perform CPR on a deceased, frail senior citizen, because the family begged you to do something. Be surrounded by confrontation, aggression, and entitled stupidity each day.
I didn’t make these calls up, nor do they reflect the worst he has seen.
Rarely has his trauma shown up as reliving the call or flashbacks, like in the movies, but it’s fair to say that K is haunted by these calls just the same. Inexplicable bouts of anxiety. Difficulty being present. Poor distress tolerance. He recently told me that the fear of creating a new horrifying memory makes him dread going to work. He doesn’t want another call to take more from him. To challenge his humanity. To threaten the little peace that he’s worked so hard to find.
So give yourself grace, dear officer. Accept that you have been affected. Know that you are far from alone in feeling this way. Connect with others to decrease stigma within the service and normalize mental health concerns.
Lastly and maybe most importantly, tell your loved ones that you don’t feel like you. I promise that they’ve been waiting to hear that for longer than you know.
Written anonymously by a member of Beyond The Blue.