Anyone who reads my posts on a daily basis may have noticed that I’be been a bit grumpy in my writings in the past couple of days over the weekend. There are a number of reasons for this, including my foolish disillusioned belief that people will do the right thing, when given the opportunity. Despite the fact that I keep being proven wrong in this aspect, I continue to believe. And I suppose that isn’t a BAD thing, per se. But it’s consistently setting oneself up for failure. I thought I had left the pains of seeing the negative side of people when I left the policing world but once again, I was wrong.
I don’t often talk about my PTSD… This isn’t out of some inflated sense of manhood where I don’t feel as though I can share. Quite the opposite. I simply have coping mechanisms that are outside the norm, including meditation, martial arts, physical fitness and my family. But in most instances, it’s difficult for someone who hasn’t really experienced the same things as I have, to understand. I could go into depth on some of the things that brought my mental state to where it’s at but I wouldn’t want to risk painting a word picture of those horrors for fear of not getting any sleep tonight. And I wouldn’t want to subject any of you to those images, either.
One of the big problems with PTSD, besides it being inherently a problem in and of itself, is that one never knows exactly what might trigger it. I remember the story of a colleague who was involved in a search and rescue effort for a small child. The child was located and was unfortunately deceased. This would be a lot for any human soul to bear, and police are no different. He was fine for years, continuing his career and carrying on his duties to the best of his abilities. Then one day during a traffic stop on the highway, he spotted a small, white object on the edge of the roadway between his cruiser and the stopped vehicle.
When he leaned forward to see what it was, it turned out to be a tiny children’s sneaker. The colleague immediately threw up on the roadway and collapsed. The sneaker had brought it all crashing down and triggered that person’s PTSD. And that’s often the way of it… You never know when someone or something will be JUST enough to bring something to the surface and cause a debilitating situation. I believe that some of the scenarios I had to deal with last week may have done just that. Considering I’m quite happy with my life as it currently plays out, my work, my home and my family are all blessings and I’ve finally returned to karate after years of being without a dojo, a resurgence of the life I left behind upsets me to no end; a fact readers would have gleaned from my last two posts.
There are a lot of things that tend to help me when something like this hits me. For example, I had the pleasure of my wife’s company last Saturday evening. We got a babysitter for he boys, went out to dinner and spent some time wandering the city and making a few stops, which is a favoured activity for both of us. This made for a smoother weekend and allowed me to let go of some of the tension in my body as a result of the things I had dealt with the previous week.
It isn’t always that easy. I remember a few years ago, when I was still with the Force, my wife and I went to a restaurant for breakfast. It was a pretty typical outing; we chose a location together, got seated and ordered some food. By the time we had started eating and got halfway through our meal, my body flushed and it suddenly felt like I was surrounded by the other people in the restaurant. Oddly enough, it felt like I could hear every conversation and noise in the restaurant simultaneously. If this were a cheesy action movie, I might have almost been inclined to think I was developing superpowers. No such luck.
I started to tremble, I paled and started sweating profusely. I felt an irresistible urge to get out of the restaurant. My wife was able to recognize something was wrong. Considering my blood sugars were fine, the only thing I could attribute the current situation to is that I had been triggered by something. We paid the cheque and quickly left the location. It took a while for my pulse to slow and for me to calm. To this day, I have no idea exactly what in that restaurant caused the issue. But this is how it often happens.
If I’m being honest, writing when I’m that state of mind likely isn’t the best thing. After all, complaining about myself is not what I started this blog for. But it does serve a purpose as it raises the topic, which is significantly important. Considering it’s the beginning of the week and I’m facing several days of the same, here’s to hoping it will better. And that’s the key; ensuring that every step one takes brings you that one step forward. And that step will be positive. ☯️