My Story 2016

Highly Sensitive

Previous Post: Head over Heart

I started working in Wellington Central Police Station in November 2014.  It was a move that was good for me….and bad for me.  I could sit here and blame everything that happened to me on that move but that wouldn’t be true because it is what I had mapped out for myself over the previous 54 years that was to blame and as a result I was my own worst enemy.  It was funny really because I really enjoyed the job and I was as fit as I had ever been but for some reason that wasn’t enough as I self destructed on citalopram and sleeping tablets in May 2016.

What happened while I was there is very hard to explain and to go there would be delving into the dark hole of my past and grabbing the thoughts by the scruff of the neck and giving them a second chance to squeeze that tourniquet strapped around my brain.  I’m still way too fragile to do that and it achieves nothing except to send me into a spin.

What I will say is that it was a very satisfying job but I struggled to really get my head around the requirements and as a result I began to slowly put pressure on myself.  I took on too much and in effect tried to run before I could walk.   I found myself taking responsibility for what happened in the office and did something that people like me shouldn’t do.

What am I?  I have been described by a clinical psychologists as a “highly sensitive” person.  That doesn’t mean I can’t last as long as the average man it just means I think way too much.  I’m one of those people who thinks that if someone looks like they have got out of bed on the wrong side then it must be something that I have done.  I try to keep people happy and in a roundabout way I make it a priority to arrange my life  so that I avoid upsetting or overwhelming situations.  Not a good place to be if you are a policeman.  Not a good place to be if you are anyone really but it happens and I found myself doing it more and more.


After a couple of months of working in Asset Recovery I started to worry about where I was heading and went to see Police Welfare who sent me off to see a psychologist.  She steered me back to where I knew I should have been and told me that I was normal and that I was over thinking things and blaming myself for situations that were well beyond my control.  I had about 6 sessions with her before I had some control of my head.

I spent the next few months losing 10 kilograms and plodding along but I was restless.  I didn’t really know what it was but I started to question my ability to do the job and started to doubt myself.  That led me to start looking for jobs outside the police and maybe a new life outside my comfort zone.  I tinkered with the idea but never really committed because I spent way too much time thinking about the pitfalls.   I couldn’t close the door on a reasonable wage, good leave balances and a secure career that had been good to me.

Later in 2015 things changed and I began to wobble.  I thought I was doing ok and was keeping my head above water when Katrina and I decided to return to Auckland.  I was happy to return but it threw me out of my routine and brought to the surface all the things I had avoided doing.  Things at work, things at home were now no longer confined to the “will do” category but were hurtled into the “must dos”.   I got rattled because this wasn’t part of my routine and highly sensitive people don’t cope with doing stuff in short spaces  of time.

overthinkingWe had to fix the house up for rental, find new jobs and look for somewhere to live in Auckland.  Katrina handled it ok and in early 2016 got a job in Auckland.  I didn’t want to pull strings and get a welfare transfer so I plugged away looking for jobs in and outside the police.  I dipped out in a couple and interviewed poorly and found myself sliding into a murky world of self-destruction.  I was riddled with self-doubt about my worth and that self-doubt quickly engulfed most other aspects of my life.  I couldn’t see a positive in anything.  I didn’t know what I wanted or what to do about the things I had to do.  I returned to the world or “paralysis by analysis” and spent way too much time thinking about negatives.

In March 2016 Katrina moved north to Auckland to take up her new role.  I was now alone and in masquerade mode.  I did my best to hide what was going on in my head but I was sliding down a slippery slope.  I couldn’t cope with anything as I felt swamped with everything I had to do.  I was thinking constantly and doing nothing and my head began to feel so heavy.  I couldn’t get any respite from the turmoil and even my exercise ceased and was quickly replaced by the solace of a wine bottle.

Being on my own meant I had no timeframes and I could comfort myself with some form of protection, drink.  I started to finish work at 3pm and then wander down to the pub and find a quiet corner and sup on a few ales.  I remember sitting there for hours trying to get control of my thoughts and hoping I could find a few seconds when my mind would stop pounding my skull.  After a while the alcohol would dull my senses and I would make the sad journey home to an empty house where I would eat crap and continue my journey to inebriation.  I spent many nights crying myself to sleep but would religiously wake at 2am only to return to the journey towards depression.

In April I got a job interview at Immigration.  It was an Investigators job and I thought I had a good chance.  I travelled to Auckland and went to a leaving function for one of my ex-bosses on the Friday before the interview.  While there I was surrounded by guys I had worked with over the years.  Two mates dragged me outside and I proceeded to tell them that I was possibly leaving, especially if I got the job.    They couldn’t work out why I was leaving, taking a $20,000 pay cut to go and do the same work I’m doing now.  They said I should use my contacts and get a welfare transfer.  They were right and when I went for the interview on Monday I performed like a virgin and walked out thinking I had blown it.   I returned to Wellington and sent that email.  Two days later I had a job and I should have been pleased that people had confidence in me.  Not me I began to question myself and started to have doubts about letting them down.  I should have been elated but I found the negatives and continued on my slippery road.

Three weeks later I self destructed……A Compressed Mind

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