Thursday 3 August 2023

When is Enough Enough?

I am going to preface this with a trigger warning. What I have written may trigger those who have been diagnosed with CPTSD, PTSD or depression. It may trigger others who aren't yet aware that they have one of the above. If you feel that talking or reading about PTSD will trigger you, please stop reading now. If you are triggered by reading this, please reach out.

Please know that I see you, I hear you, I am you.


Several weeks ago, the Queensland Police Service lost a sister in Blue. Yet another live lost. The Queensland Police as a whole are hurting.

They say that no job is worth losing your life for. And they, whoever they are, is absolutely right. No job is worth losing your life over.

However, when the Black Dog of Depression takes a grip, it is incredibly difficult to claw your way out. The grip of panic that the Black Dog has on one's brain, interferes a great deal with whatever the mind is doing. The grip that the Black Dog has, causes the old brain (the primal, fight flight freeze response) to take over and prevents the logical new brain from working in the way that it should. 

That grip of panic, causes a chronic hyper-vigilance for and hyper-sensitivity to threats - either real or perceived. And unfortunately the trauma whatever it may be doesn't stay in the past. That trauma imprints on one's mind and body and that imprint has ongoing consequences.

Unfortunately all Emergency Services Australia wide, the world wide in fact, as well as Defence Forces, medical professions have lost far too many brothers and sisters to the Black Dog.

How many is too many? When will action be taken? When will the powers to be realise that more needs to be done in supporting their staff?

I was diagnosed with PTSD towards the end of 2020. My PTSD, recently it has been advanced up to CPTSD, is a direct result of my policing days aswell as a few other factors thrown in for good measure. I'm not going to go into the details, it is hard enough that I relive nightmares over and over on a daily basis, so I am not going to subject you to these.

But thinking back on it, back to 2009, my diagnosis of Post Natal Depression probably should have been a sign of my PTSD coming to the fore front.

As little as eight weeks ago, my CPTSD was triggered and I found myself slipping. So I reached out in the hope to gain control over the residue of my past trauma.

Admitting and acknowledging how consuming my CPTSD and anxiety is, was and still is, an extremely difficult thing for me to do. Coming to the realisation and acknowledging that I was also masking all of these things, was an even more difficult thing to do.

I hid my CPTSD, I hid my Post Natal Depression diagnosis, away for many years simply because I didn't want people to think of me as vulnerable. I was worried that I'd be judged by those around me. Judged by people who had been in same job and were fine. Judged by people who thought they knew better.

I hid that I needed, and still need, happy pills to think logically. I have over the years attempted to wean myself (with my doctors guidance and support) off of these meds. I now know that these meds are part of my recovery journey.

Had I known the prevalence of Post Natal Depression, general depressive disorders, PTSD, I would have been more open in talking with people.

I recently realised just how much I had been masking, and the huge impact that masking has on my own mental health. I would attempt to pretend that my struggles didn't exist, even when it felt like I was paddling madly to stay afloat. I would tell myself that by helping or pleasing others, that I was putting some good into the world. But by neglecting my own mental health, I was not helping anyone. I was keeping that mental health stigma alive.

I am now acutely aware of what my triggers are (this in itself took a very long time to determine,) and I try as hard as I can to avoid these triggers, or remove myself from them. There are instances where this is not possible and that's where my self care tool kit comes into play.

Living with CPTSD, that grip of panic doesn't go away, it becomes easier when equipped with the correct tools and the right support.

The CPTSD diagnosis reaffirms that I'm not unwell, I'm not weak. It's not that I'm unable to cope with daily life. My diagnosis confirms that there are external factors that are completely out of my control that have, and continue to impact me long-term.

My mantra that I constantly remind myself is that I can't control or change how others treat me, or the things that they may say about me. I can change how I react. By reacting emotionally I am fuelling that behaviour. 

By reacting emotionally, I am fuelling my own CPTSD.

By taking the control back over my own mental well-being, I am providing my children with a healthy mental health role model to end the stigma.

It takes great courage to recognise and acknowledge, both internally to one's own mind and externally to family, friends and work colleagues. Please recognise this as a huge step in an individuals recovery.

Please talk with family, friends and work colleagues. Support one another. Talking with others, that human connection, the understanding of others, can go a long way in supporting those who are slipping into that rabbit hole of the Black Dog.

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I would love to hear your thoughts on my blog. I do read all the comments that are posted. Thanks so much for stopping by. Jen xx