My Recovery

Back to Pragmatism

Previous Post:  Jigsaw

As I have said in Jigsaw I wasn’t really prepared to go back to police work.  I hadn’t recovered and as I headed towards it at a rate of knots that was way too fast for me I began to realise that I was massively under prepared.  I was now in the process of facing reality as my little world was about to be slashed open to reveal all my weaknesses in their sad glory.  It was an unusual feeling because, sure I had been seeing a psychiatrist and plundering myself with a plethora of drugs, but in reality I had packed on the pounds, done nothing to sort myself out mentally and still had my head up my arse when it came to doing anything other than what I thought was important.

So what did that mean for me?……it meant that I was lured into a false sense of security that in turn had me thinking I was dealing with all my problems.  I had shut myself out of everything that was happening around me and that meant that I had this warped sense of satisfaction that I was coping with everything when in reality I was dealing with diddly squat.  Mental Health Services and drugs had me on that level plain but that level plain was well below sea level which mean’t that I had no way of keeping back the stresses that work and “real life” were about to throw at me.   I had built no wall around me that would help buffer me from the pragmatism that engulfs the police and in turn had no chance of keeping my head above water so that I could see what the hell was floating towards me.

So why was I going back early,  well it was for a number of reasons, none of them “because I was ready”.  I went back because I was in a falsified comfort zone, and I was starting to feel guilty about the length of time that I had off.  I had been four months away and I knew that some people had put their trust in me and I felt I had let them down.  I was very conscious of the two people who had helped me and who had made my transfer back to the Auckland Police stress free. They got me that transfer three weeks before I took my overdose and now they were holding my position open for me while I was wallowing around in my own self pity, like some pig in muck.  I felt I owed them and I wanted to go back because I needed to repay their faith in me. That faith was tested later as the realities of returning too soon smashed into my glass house and the ups and downs of this recovering “nutter” played out in a concrete building that was ill-equipped to deal with him.

Highlight ReelI was also looking forward to going back to work but in another way I wasn’t….deep down I was ashamed about what I had done.  Deep down I was embarrassed about not being able to cope with life and the stresses that I had self-inflicted on myself.  Whatever I thought, I knew that the police as an organisation don’t tolerate weakness because weaknesses infringe on its pragmatic approach to dealing with everything.  On an individual basis people are great but the massive wheels of the police machine don’t have time to deal with the mental impact its work can have on its staff.   I knew that and I was going to have to man-up or ship out…or so I thought.

I was also bloody terrified about returning to work.  You would think me,  someone who has 30 years in the police would be afraid of nothing….wrong.  My confidence had been left on a beach in Wainuiomata along with all the other things that put some perspective on life and I was now a blithering wreck.   I had no confidence in my ability to cope with work….I ran through all the scenarios that I thought I would face and felt so inadequate.  I didn’t think I was good enough and rolled over in my head just how everyone else was going to be better than me, they were more confident, more knowledgeable and I was no better than some fresh-faced cop straight out of college.  I couldn’t bring my mind around to focus on my experience, my knowledge and my people skills….all the things that drove that confidence in my own ability.  You don’t think positively when you are depressed, you smack yourself back down with all that negativity till you do it so often that eventually you believe it.  I believed it alright…it was all festering in the back of my head like a boil on my arse and I couldn’t lance it because I didn’t have the tools to open my mind and deal with the issues that had planted me in the spot I was now standing…..I was about to stand in the middle of a police station and there……no one was stressed and everyone was better than me ?


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