The Shield, The Armor, The Badge!
They wear a shield, a coat of armor, but they are human. They have feelings and those feelings are held in, by that same shield and that same coat of armor! The badge they wear, they wear with pride. They truly walk the walk, tall and proud, rightfully so! They are the good guys, the tough guys, but even the good tough guys get sick.
PTSD is real, and very common among-st our Police Officers all over the world. PTSD kills more police officers than all the guns fired! These Police Officers do not know they are suffering from PTSD, they know they are losing the most important things in their lives: family,(less communication) friends,(they don’t hang out any longer) they know their health is deteriorating, (they experience panic attacks, uncontrollable anger, even suicidal thoughts) but most think that is due to the long hours they work.
Twenty five years of witnessing shootings, robberies, rapes, deadly car accidents, will affect your whole body, mind, heart, your whole being, your very soul! In my husbands case this is when he started to self sooth, alcohol, prescription drugs, shopping on the internet for anything that would make him feel better. It didn’t work, he became more withdrawn, needing more alcohol, more drugs. There was no more communicating between us. I was losing my knight in shining armor and I was scared. And if I was scared I knew he had to be petrified. So the viscous cycle has begun!
Doctors, Psychiatrist, and a wonderful place in Massachusetts could not help my husband. The man I knew was not with me any longer. I would tell him, ‘I am here for you, whatever I can do please tell me, let me help you.’ He would get angry and tell me he was dealing with it. The problem was, he was not dealing with it, on the contrary he was sinking deeper and I could see this on a daily basis. His nightmares would wake me up, his anxiety attacks would scare me. I didn’t know how to deal with all of his symptoms and it was wearing on me, and honestly at times I wanted out. I did not want to be with him! I had to tell myself on many occasions that he can not help how he is feeling, how he is treating me, how he is abusing himself. It is the disease that has control of my husband! I prayed daily for my husband to come back to me. It has been 6 years and he is still not well.
As his wife, his best friend I decided I needed to read and figure out this disease. What can I do to help him. I was scared, and to this day I am still scared. He told me one time,”I feel like eating my gun.” That same day he disappeared for some time, we had a favorite spot we always went to when we wanted some alone time so I got in my car and off I went. My heart was racing, my mind was going crazy with thoughts. ‘What am I going to see if I find him,’ What am I going to find or am I even going to find him.’ He was there, our spot, he was at our spot. He was in his car, I got out of my car and went to his, I opened the passenger side door and immediately saw his gun lying there in his lap, his hand over the barrel.I asked his permission to sit with him awhile. He nodded his head not saying a word. I got in, closed the door and put my hand over his hand, the hand that was holding the gun. We just sat there for some time, neither saying a word. Tears rolling down our faces, he spoke first. He said, “You knew, you knew what I was doing.” I said ‘Yes, and I don’t want to lose you, so please lets fight, lets fight this fight together!’ He put his gun away and said, “I don’t know how much more I can take.” I just said, ‘I know, but I am here for you always!’
We are still going through the motions daily, it is a daily struggle and PTSD does not just go away. It will probably never go away but there are helpful tools out there, so if someone you love has been diagnosed with PTSD, or even depression find all the material you can and learn from it. Learn how to help those you love, be there for them every step of the way. It is a hard road, probably the hardest road you will ever have to travel but you and your loved one are not alone.
Some Gave All!
Before they know what has happened, Their Shield, Their Armor and Their Badge is packed away, unable to perform their duties as police officers due to the very real disease known as PTSD! My Knight and Shining Armor was no longer shining, he was sinking deeper and deeper into depression, he lost his identity, his weapons were no longer in his holster on his belt, his badge was turned in. What a feeling it must have been for him to walk in there and place a part of his life on a desk, feeling like no one understood or no one even cared. I cared, still care and will always care. He is still my Knight in Shining Armor and I tell him that daily, he just looks at me with that gazed over look, that lost look! We are not giving up, we are fighters and this is one battle we will win. Don’t ever give up on that loved one who suffers, they need you, you need them!