Finding Strength Again

A couple years ago, I was diagnosed with Chronic PTSD and Severe Depression.  It really stunned me and set me back to think about my life.  I was in a very depressed and dark state for years before being diagnosed and the light came on in my head when I hit my low point and scared myself about the potential of what I was considering doing to myself…  I too was detached from everyone around me, I’d go to calls and do my job and then back to the office and stare at a computer monitor for hours without typing a key.  I had no friends, inside or outside the force.  I found every excuse I could find to avoid people and social interaction.  I closed off and then my wife, who didn’t understand or support me, stepped out with another man and my relationship ended too.  It was not a good place in my life and I had to ask myself why?  Why was this happening to me and what am I going to do to stop it from getting worse.  My best friend stepped up and gave me advise that saved his life, and he helped me move forward…

I’m happy, relieved and cautious in saying things are getting better.  I’m currently on a graduated return to work after nearly 2 years off with PTSD. I’m getting help from the OSI clinic and honestly, I feel so connected with them, I wish I could work there as opposed to going back to the RCMP. I’ve read so much on this site from other members and I could go into great detail about myself but it is all so similar in nature, I think you’ll all understand.

Recently, I was tasked with a project in my therapy to write a letter to take back some hope, faith and my tears from an awful scene of a murdered 5 year old child who was shot senselessly. I’m wanting to share the letter I wrote and presented to my therapist, it comes from my heart and is how I feel. It’s raw and direct and I just wanted to share it.

I’d love to have faith that this will be seen and heard by the people it’s directed to but without the OSI clinic, I wouldn’t even know this website existed. I am not a Facebook member and the RCMP certainly would not want to share this site openly with the entire membership as they still, to me anyway, seem to want to just make us sufferers fade away.  I have doubts they even care enough to have anyone reading on this site…

Here’s my letter…

October 6, 2014

Good Morning

Here I sit again, trying to take back a piece of what you took from me. I’ve thought all week about what I wanted to write and how I wanted to write it. I’m not even certain who I’m writing too? The boys who pulled the triggers, maybe, my inner demons, maybe, the RCMP, maybe, God, maybe??? I’m not really sure…

I thought about being nice and polite about this but I just can’t. I’ve been polite, reserved and caring my whole life. I’ve tried to be understanding and caring and it just gets me hurt, I won’t ever change and will remain the person I am but you’ve taken so much from me it’s weakened me and it’s time now for me to take some back.

I’ve been through a lot and I’ve seen things no person should have to see. You’ve given me a constant stream of insecurity and heartache and all I’ve done is care, do the best I can, and be present in the moments I’ve been given. In doing that, I’ve lost faith, hope, self respect, self confidence, love, smiles and tears to name a few. Today, I’m taking something back. I’ve been on a long and painful journey to this point and thankfully I have survived the junk you demons have spit at me. I’ve found my strength again and I’ve begun to stand up and you are going to pay the price. I’ve lost faith and hope and I’ve cried thousands of tears alone along the way but you aren’t going to hurt me anymore…

To you three pathetic boys who think gangs are the way life is, I’ve got news. You three are just part of the scum of the earth that keeps people like me employed. I wish I could care and give a damn about you three as you are young, but I saw you in court. All smiles and loving the attention. Getting your minimal sentences because you played a little game about not knowing who was holding the gun that fired the fatal shot. I’ll tell you now, Jesus may forgive you but my heart will NEVER forget. YOU KILLED A 5 YEAR OLD BOY!!!  And then you cared so little that you smiled about it in court. That little boy never did anything to you, and he’ll NEVER get to smile again, or breathe, or live… The bullet hit him beside his left eye and exploded his head and brains all over a room. His dad’s girlfriend had a piece of his skull embedded in her face!! His life was not even started yet and you took it away from him. What gave you that right? You disgust me, you three. I wish I’d been able to take you in that crime scene, get blood and brains and skull fragments all over you and see how it affected you? Smiley little fuckers!! I hate you for what you did to him and to me… You not only took a life that day, you took a lot of my faith in humanity and a river of my tears. You have scarred me for life as I’ll never be able to forget that horror and all you did was smile in court?? You have no souls… I’m fighting hard to get my faith and strength back but I’ll never forget what you’ve done to me and I’ll certainly NEVER forgive you!! I hope Karma is gentle on you one day for your sake, but then again, I hope it’s not…

To my inner demon, I’m thankful you are here, however, you are no longer winning the battle. It’s not my fault that I care about people and have emotion, it’s not my fault that I’ve developed PTSD, It’s not my fault that I was off work for a while and have to possibly change my career path, I’m human. I’ve learned that you are here to challenge me to be a better person, not to hurt me anymore. I’m taking myself back from you and I love the man that I have become and I am. Because you are a part of me and I’ll never be without you, that means I love you too. Now try to hurt me? See if you can…

To the RCMP… Where do I start? I take ownership of my actions and working up to the job position I hold/held. I’m proud of what I’ve accomplished and was proud of working for the organization, until I started having struggles, now I feel pretty alone. I love my job and I know it hurt me and it did so because I’m a human being, not a Government of Canada Robot. Yes, you have directed me to the help I needed and provided me with a paycheck to keep me living in my rental house and off the streets but it would sure be nice if you actually cared too… You don’t care about me, to you, I’m just #47620 to you and if I can’t stand up and do my job “like a man”, then someone else will, right?? I can see all that very clearly now that you have filled my job position with a new apprentice while I’m on a graduated return to work. I had intended fully to return to my job and continue working but you seem to have taken that away from me without even talking to me about it? I guess I don’t mean anything to you, I’m a liability to your “big machine” now and you’d rather just push me away. You won’t even talk to me or seek my feelings or opinion on what my options are and in doing so, you are humiliating me deeply and making me feel like I don’t matter anymore and you’ve just pushed me away as “damaged goods”… You don’t care, you are just pushing me into whatever hole I can fit into at this point and let me rot, I guess I’ll have to get used to being unhappy and unfulfilled for the next 10 years of working for you, unless I quit early, which I’m certain is what you want. Get rid of the problem without making you look bad, right?? After all, the national police force is all about their image to the public, not their loyalty to their membership. It’s so interesting how the organization speaks to the public that they stand behind their members and provide them with help and support but behind the “big red wall” it’s a different story. It’s a story of how you referred me to the help and are shutting me out and pushing me wherever you feel YOU need me to be, you don’t give a shit about how it makes me feel or what I’d like to do? I’ve given you 15 years of honest, helpful, genuine service with never even a complaint against me and this is what you do to me, piss on me when I’m down…

You are saying that you think it’s a bad idea that I continue working in ident as you are concerned about my ability to deal with a body file, but on the other hand, you think it’s ok to push me in to a general duties role where I’m supervising younger members, making life/death decisions and dealing with sudden death files, suicides, suspicious deaths, sexual assaults, car accidents, child exploitation, domestic violence and situations that are equally as psychologically damaging? It makes no sense to me? If I’m not good enough to do my forensic job anymore then how is it that you think it’s ok that I move into another important role where I’m making major decisions for younger members, possibly on their lives, and helping to shape them into good members of the future? Does that make sense??

My 7 year old son loves seeing me go to work and dreams one day of being a policeman like his dad, I can assure you that I’ll do EVERYTHING I can to steer him away from the RCMP, you guys just don’t care about your people, you only care about your image and the “Red Serge”… Well, that is unless something happens to a member of the “old boys” club, then you step up.

Case in example was a supervisor I worked with in Kitimat BC that actually shot me with a taser while inside our office building. I was working at my desk, with a witness in the office as well, and this particular supervisor was fooling around with a taser and pointed it at me and shot me out of my chair. He was overwhelmed and sorry about what he had done at the time of the incident but go figure, the next day, after carefully consulting with the detachment commander, he completely fabricated a story about what had taken place. Internal investigations interviewed me, a lowly constable, and him, a corporal who was just about to promote to sergeant and it became a case of my word against his and made me look like I was trying to make him look bad. What about the witness? He was an upstanding member and was NEVER spoken to… Well, turned out that the good Cpl. had a dad who retired at a higher rank and he was tied in with the “old boys” club, as was his son, and I guess that’s how business gets done within the RCMP. It was so interesting how just after that incident I was transferred out to Prince George ident and the Corporal became a Sargent? It was even more interesting how I never had received any negative feedback or assessments from any of my supervisors in my past 7 years but yet AFTER I had transferred, my detachment commander from Kitimat had submitted a very negative assessment based on my “performance”, but it’s my belief that it was based on being tasered in the office… He NEVER presented it to me in person, it was mailed to me. He recanted all of it when he found out I filed a grievance against it and he needed that to be resolved before he could complete his next transfer to the training center in Chilliwack BC. Good “old boys club” guy to have at the center, training people… Take the core values of the RCMP and evaluate these two and there’s not a lot of honesty or integrity happening here with respect to this event. Good thing these guys are promoted and over my head, I can’t be heard that way.

It’s not about being a good member and doing your best job, it’s about who’s protected by the “old boys” umbrella and that’s it. And don’t think for a second it doesn’t exist because it’s glaringly obvious to most members that work in the force, it’s just overlooked from the top down… I was actually told, many months after the incident, that the matter was dealt with and would NEVER be re-opened for discussion again, I was directed that I was not allowed to have any further input and that sounds to me like a cover up??

I know this seems a bit off track to what I am writing too but if you look at the content of the incident and the way it was made to go away, it’s hard to keep faith and hope even within the organization that claims to be protecting me and helping me. I’ve lost a lot of faith right within the organization itself, and I guess that explains to me why they don’t care about me as a person, because I see the RCMP for what they are.

Last but not least, God… I’m sorry I’m not religious, but I do have faith and I’m spiritual. I feel a presence of something in my life, surrounding me and giving me hope. I’d never blame you for the things that have happened in my path as I believe that everything happens for a reason and this is my journey. However, I’d rather just ask why some of these events had to take place in my path and try to understand why I needed to be subjected to them?

For example, why could my wife not support me or understand me when I was trying to reach to her for help? I was treated by the person closest to me like I was faking it and was told to “suck it up, that’s my job, poor you Jeff always the victim”. Why did she add to the problem instead of supporting the solution? I know now that I’m better off without her, alone and raising my two kids to the best of my abilities but from someone who wanted nothing more in life than to be a family man and have children, why did I have to go through that in my journey? Was it just because she was the only person with whom I was able to have my children with? For that, I am very thankful. Those two have completely saved my life and they don’t even know it. All they see is a dad who is sometimes stressed out, angry, frustrated and irritated with them for being “kids”… And do they deserve that after all the help they’ve unknowingly given me? Absolutely not. I can see it in their little faces at times when I’m frustrated and angry with things, they are afraid of me. They gingerly talk to me and ask me for things that they shouldn’t even have to ask for. They are afraid of upsetting me further, and yet I feel the rage within me at times. Then after the steam clears, I’m left feeling horrible that I was in a bad mood with the kids and wish I could take it all back and just let them be the great little kids they are… I lost faith and hope in my safe place, my partner, and that was a difficult challenge to overcome.

Through it all though, I still care about people and I rely on the belief that there is a greater purpose for all of this. I’ll always have some kind of faith and hope, even when I’m at my lowest. I guess deep down, that’s why I never pulled the trigger that fateful day, way back when. I’m needed on this earth and in this life…

Today, I’m taking back my hope, trying to hold my tears and rebuilding some of my self respect.

Name withheld

 

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One thought on “Finding Strength Again

  1. I know it might not feel like it but your strength and ability to survive what life has thrown at you is a blessing for all of us who hear it. I’m sorry the Force hasn’t truly supported you. I was lucky that a few members around me did but it certainly wasn’t the organizational “powers that be.” As another member (retired with 24 years of service) I’d like to extend my arms out to you as a hug from your force family. Maybe it’s too little, too late but it is heartfelt. All my best wishes on your healing journey. Sincerely, Grace Warkentine (retired RCMP)

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