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SimonT

 

I'm in a new role at the moment. It's stressful, but not overly so and certainly not more than I have dealt with for years. It is a new challenge so in I have dived. 

For the last couple of weeks I have been irritable, angry, short tempered and generally unpleasant to be around. But I didn't notice. 

It wasn't until my other half called me on it that I realised that something was up. Some significant introspection later and I feel pretty good. Its like my irritation has been washed away. 

The reason I mention it is that I genuinely didn't realise. I like to think I'm pretty solid mentally and mental health and welfare is an interest of mine. So it was a surprise to find something awry without any obvious reason. 

So take care of yourself and listen to people concerned about you. 

Also, 

The charity Mind have support specifically for emergency services.

Your local federation will have support available and the backup buddy app can signpost you to all sorts of immediate and long term help. 

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sierragolf95

I must admit it's hard to notice it in yourself. After an unsuccessful resus a few years back I was the exact same, grumpy, short tempered, not caring about myself in terms of diet, smoking excessively. It was my first time doing CPR and I wasn't mentally prepared for it even though i considered myself a fairly mature 18 year old. Wasnt until the family and friends brought it up that i realised myself. Within a few days i think I was back to my normal self. Strange how like you say even those clued up on mental health and are acutely aware of how things can affect people end up not realising it in themselves

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Chaos

This sounds like me on a daily basis... I'm stressed out at the moment and seem to take it out on the family... I know I'm doing it but it's hard to stop.

I actually go to work to feel normal because everyone around me seems just as stressed out due to the demands the job places on us so I kinda fit in... It's only when I get home it's noticeable so I get totally were your coming from.

I've even stopped saying I'm ok when people pass be in the corridor or at the start of my shift, I usual say "feel like rubbish mate" or "stressed"... And all I get back is... "Yeh another day another doller" or some other meaningless quote...

It seems like it's becoming the norm around the station. Officers having to much work load, no breaks, single crewed, going to sometimes physically or emotionally demanding jobs.

No wonder we bring that #### home with us. I'm still waiting for that stress questionair to be given to me by Supervision.

The funny thing is... Wouldn't want to give it up... [emoji39]

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Mazza

I really don’t think I accounted for how much this job would change my brain and my personality. I’ve noticed myself feeling almost as if I am outside of my friendship circles of non-job pals because I feel like they don’t really understand me and what goes on at work sometimes.

I went on holiday recently and I felt myself wanting to just go home and be alone. It really made me wonder if I just can’t derive pleasure from anything nowadays which I totally recognise as not normal. I’ve now got some kind of flu and feeling pretty sorry for myself so maybe it was just a precursor to being ill but I’m definitely more aware of myself at the moment. It’s not a good feeling but I can’t put my finger on why.

I recently changed teams and feel as if I am having a hard time fitting in, which I always have done since I joined in general, and I’m not used to the level of supervision I’m getting (went from less to more) so I feel like everything I’m doing is wrong.

This has actually been quite helpful as I read this thread earlier and no one had replied yet. Now others have I’m kind of glad to see I’m not the only one.

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Hyphen

I’m glad this has been posted, very good points to be aware of. Particularly your post @Chaos I could literally post the same thing. 

Its a struggle day to day but the main issue is the taking stuff out on family, being snappy and restless and always shattered and drained. 

The problem is we are all human. We can all only take so much. It does worry me about the mental and physical health of officers in the next few years, myself included. Many will break if things continue the way they are or get worse, which unfortunately is the likely outcome 

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mike88

I can relate to all of the above. I recently had some AL just to myself because I recognised I wasnt acting normally. I was fine at work and would keep my cool but then id lose it over some menial task at home or some stupid road related mishap. I’d also started drinking a lot on rest days and have managed to replace that somewhat with going to the gym in evenings instead. The job really does affect you. I always thought I was quite mentally strong and it wouldn’t but it does without you even realising it. I guess what we deal with day to day coupled with being on alert all the time due to not having any backup, not eating, having duties changed, being late off on top off all the usual stuff with affect anyone.

Edited by mike88

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Tempo

I remember reading this thread when it was first posted and though to myself, yeah I see some of this in myself at times.

However the last few weeks have been strange, I am only feeling 'normal' at work when I am in the thick of it dealing with other peoples problems and issues. However when rest days come along I find myself being irritable, lazy and deriving no pleasure from the things I have previously liked spending my time doing away from work, all I want to do is laze around. Even my partner has recognised that I am sluggish and something might not be there...

 

I dont get what it is, but tomorrow is a new day, a new set... time to feel 'normal' again.

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junior_7178
21 hours ago, Tempo said:

I remember reading this thread when it was first posted and though to myself, yeah I see some of this in myself at times.

However the last few weeks have been strange, I am only feeling 'normal' at work when I am in the thick of it dealing with other peoples problems and issues. However when rest days come along I find myself being irritable, lazy and deriving no pleasure from the things I have previously liked spending my time doing away from work, all I want to do is laze around. Even my partner has recognised that I am sluggish and something might not be there...

 

I dont get what it is, but tomorrow is a new day, a new set... time to feel 'normal' again.

I also feel exactly like you say above, and can relate to a lot of the other things posted by others.

I've come to the conclusion that it's normal and part of life for a cop.

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Remmy
On 28/01/2019 at 19:15, Tempo said:

I remember reading this thread when it was first posted and though to myself, yeah I see some of this in myself at times.

However the last few weeks have been strange, I am only feeling 'normal' at work when I am in the thick of it dealing with other peoples problems and issues. However when rest days come along I find myself being irritable, lazy and deriving no pleasure from the things I have previously liked spending my time doing away from work, all I want to do is laze around. Even my partner has recognised that I am sluggish and something might not be there...

 

I dont get what it is, but tomorrow is a new day, a new set... time to feel 'normal' again.

 

2 hours ago, junior_7178 said:

I've come to the conclusion that it's normal and part of life for a cop.

I don't think this is normal, perhaps common amongst officers but it shouldn't be classed as normal.

I can relate to it, I certainly know there have been periods throughout my career when it's happened to me. I was lucky I had a very understanding wife and family, one of whom was job. But family should not have to suffer and neither should you. 

I would suggest you to reach out and try to speak to someone about it perhaps the fed or Mind. There is no shame in doing so and it may just hrlp you start enjoying what you once did.

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obsidian_eclipse

I had an episode at the end of the shift the other week. Due to some issue with the computer I was unable to log in and it took so long to sort out, I pretty much had to go the whole shift sans technology which put an extra burden on my colleagues who had to do all the typing up and reports. I remember at the end of the shift ringing the control room to update an incident and the person at the other end was flustered and asked in a annoyed tone "why can't you do it yourself??" and explained the IT problems I'd been having..

Anyway all of a sudden as I was leaving another officer asked if I was ok and suddenly I choked and tears came to my eyes. I blurted out how useless I felt, a complete burden to everyone there and wanting to just pack it in.

It wasn't just because of a bad day. I know that now, there has been such a lot happening and this was a small thing, the straw which broke the camels back so to speak. You put on a brave face all the time, see and hear unspeakable things which no one else can relate to, be abused by those you are trying to help and comfort victims you have absolute empathy for. Then you take off the uniform and wander if you did the right thing or tried your best.

I have some other health issues and one day it might mean having to leave altogether. I dread that day because when the quiet comes what happens? On one hand I get so much from the job as it's like none other. On the other hand, you see so much which leaves you so desensitized and numb. But it's just a fallacy.. underneath it's there.

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AlphaFoxtrotBravo
On 29/01/2019 at 20:02, Remmy said:

 

I don't think this is normal, perhaps common amongst officers but it shouldn't be classed as normal.

I can relate to it, I certainly know there have been periods throughout my career when it's happened to me. I was lucky I had a very understanding wife and family, one of whom was job. But family should not have to suffer and neither should you. 

I would suggest you to reach out and try to speak to someone about it perhaps the fed or Mind. There is no shame in doing so and it may just hrlp you start enjoying what you once did.

When I was in the Specials we got recommended  to read a book called "Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement" on one of our mental health training sessions. I got curious and gave it a read (it's not long and there's free pdf versions of it online I think) and while it's got a fair bit of stuff that's geared towards Americans in there, so much of the basic human stuff, the laziness, irritability, lack of enjoyment etc mentioned in this thread is covered in there and is probably applicable no matter what country you're policing in.

 

Anyway point is the book makes it clear that it's a common occurrence within the police to feel this way, but if you or someone else makes you conscious of it you can push back against it so it doesn't turn your home life upside down. Can't exactly remember all the methods in the book and tbh it wasn't exactly hugely relevant to me as a Special but I'm planning on giving it a re-read during my probation as a regular, forewarned being forearmed and all that...

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Cathedral Bobby

I don't think there is normal once you join the police. Certainly the job isn't normal. A shift going from the mundane to sheer terror or madness in minutes. Going to serious RTAs and seeing dead and mangled bodies, or giving a relative a death message and that's before you think about the violence and cruelty man can can force on another person. For me there are many normals dependent upon what you have seen or dealt with. In reality what we might consider different in ourselves is merely a transition to a new normal. I have always had a strong sense of humour and in my younger days I was a funster, never serious and eternally optimistic, but now I am pessimistic, hard faced, relatively unshockable, and far too serious for my own good. Yes some of this is maturity and age catching up with, but most has been the jobs I have done. For me what's not normal is the job we do. The things I once considered normal seem alien to me now.

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Hyphen
3 hours ago, AlphaFoxtrotBravo said:

When I was in the Specials we got recommended  to read a book called "Emotional Survival for Law Enforcement" on one of our mental health training sessions. I got curious and gave it a read (it's not long and there's free pdf versions of it online I think) and while it's got a fair bit of stuff that's geared towards Americans in there, so much of the basic human stuff, the laziness, irritability, lack of enjoyment etc mentioned in this thread is covered in there and is probably applicable no matter what country you're policing in.

 

Anyway point is the book makes it clear that it's a common occurrence within the police to feel this way, but if you or someone else makes you conscious of it you can push back against it so it doesn't turn your home life upside down. Can't exactly remember all the methods in the book and tbh it wasn't exactly hugely relevant to me as a Special but I'm planning on giving it a re-read during my probation as a regular, forewarned being forearmed and all that...

Excellent post.

I have done a bit of googling and reading on the book you have mentioned, I’ve struggled to find the full PDF book.

Its actually made me a little upset but at the same time a bit of a eureka moment. I really relate to what is says particularly the feelings when not at work. It’s interesting reading about the effects of hyper vigilance. 

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AlphaFoxtrotBravo
9 minutes ago, Hyphen said:

Excellent post.

I have done a bit of googling and reading on the book you have mentioned, I’ve struggled to find the full PDF book.

Its actually made me a little upset but at the same time a bit of a eureka moment. I really relate to what is says particularly the feelings when not at work. It’s interesting reading about the effects of hyper vigilance. 

My mistake, I could've sworn someone told me there were free copies at some point! I'm glad if it's helped though, I remember at the time finding it a good read that maybe just came along too soon for me at the time, but now that I'm going in as a regular I want to try and prevent myself falling into any bad habits with myself or my family or friends outside of work, so will definitely re-read, I'd recommend finding a copy even if it sets you back a few quid.

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miffy
14 hours ago, Cathedral Bobby said:

I don't think there is normal once you join the police. Certainly the job isn't normal. A shift going from the mundane to sheer terror or madness in minutes. Going to serious RTAs and seeing dead and mangled bodies, or giving a relative a death message and that's before you think about the violence and cruelty man can can force on another person. For me there are many normals dependent upon what you have seen or dealt with. In reality what we might consider different in ourselves is merely a transition to a new normal. I have always had a strong sense of humour and in my younger days I was a funster, never serious and eternally optimistic, but now I am pessimistic, hard faced, relatively unshockable, and far too serious for my own good. Yes some of this is maturity and age catching up with, but most has been the jobs I have done. For me what's not normal is the job we do. The things I once considered normal seem alien to me now.

This was me after 6 months in the job, and having transitioned back to normal 40 hour months as a SC, I am still this, or maybe worse.

What we do is not normal. We deal with people who are at their lowest point in their life, and we are never called for anything good. We see horrors and we are never really open enough to admit when it is not okay.

Currently I am torn from joining the join and riding the wave of good and bad or civilian life which is oh so mundane but without the horrors we face.

That being said, being surrounded by a strong team is vital, and having friends who will look after you is so important.

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