modern policing* is a full contact sport for the brain

– Tactical Ghandi (a veteran LEO) – and no not his name and not my choice of nickname either, I’d have gone for something way ruder.

* [insert soldier/ems/first responder]


Question asked:

“What is the number one aspect of PTSD that you would want to get rid of?  Change?”

You know what I’d change?  The *&^% attitude of management in policing, military and EMS – so many cops, soldiers, EMS messaged me privately (!) because they’re still too worried about being ‘found out’.  The story was the same over and over and over again.  This is PTSD not an STD.  Dear lord!  It is an honourable war wound (@bear100_rob gave me that phrase), earned by years spent helping others, rescuing others, protecting others, defending others.  It is earned by being on the receiving end of constant abuse, holding the line no matter what, not backing down but maintaining control, maintaining a quiet demeanour.

What happens when they lose it?  When they can’t hold it together any more and simply lose it?  We pound them to dust.  We lambast them on television.  @911_IITLOD is a veteran cop, dedicated her life to her vocation of holding the thin blue line, was forced to retire from policing because of a broken back (and complex PTSD), she feels utterly devastated by the attitude of the public, press and government towards her, her colleagues, her profession.  Where is the light at the end of the tunnel?

You say you want an intelligent, empathic and caring community police force who take their knocks on the chin, are there to protect when needed, disappear when not needed and, at all times, follow procedure.  That procedure?  Have you a clue what a modern cop has to do? What EMS have to do?  How the battlefield for these professions keeps changing?  And our soldiers?  Have you seen how they are crucified if god forbid in the heat of the battle they get it wrong.

And yet, we think that if we can tweak our recruiting a tad, get the right sort of people in to begin with?  More robust individuals then this PTSD thing?  It will go away.  Oh hell.  Let’s just discipline it away.  Put a 30 year veteran Sergeant on desk duty (empty desk duty where all the youngsters can walk by and say “Crap what did a Sarg have to do to get treated like that?”) because he admitted he has Complex PTSD – dammit!  Let’s punish the hell out of him – Toronto Police you should be ashamed of yourselves!  Honestly.  Where is the brother/sisterhood?  Is it that policing, EMS and Military are entirely managed by those who have never bitten a bullet?  Have never actually worked the streets?  Been hit by an ambush?  Tried to land in a hot zone and seen comrades shot to pieces?

Join the #PTSDChat.  Be part of the solution.

If we want intelligent policing, EMS and military we need to be equally intelligent in how we support those individuals.  Putting your fingers in your ears and saying “lalalalalalalala….” doesn’t get us very far now does it?

I cannot provide the answers, I can only stand on my easel and paint your story.  Hope that somebody out there.  Some people who can change things stand up and start listening, talking and …

Some of the voices said – direct quotes from our #PTSDChat:

@KateGillieART @ABC_WWI @RadioNational @abcnews PTSD needs to be addressed as it can lead to suicide in the force and other areas

@KateGillieART Not to be underestimated x

@KateGillieART for them to take it in their stride when I have a wobble

@KateGillieART I can understand how difficult it is to live with the emotional rollercoaster but I certainly didn’t ask for this in my life

@KateGillieART I’d like people to realise and understand that the way I acted and treated them was due to the PTSD. #PTSDChat

@KateGillieART #ptsdchat I wish away the stigma. Reactions of fear, pity, ignorance, judgement-big part of hiding+more misunderstanding

To be a great friend you have to understand it’s not about you but about your loved one’s pain with their #ptsdchat @KateGillieART

@KateGillieART I would wish for knowledge of what we were encountering and more understanding of those we supervised.

@KateGillieART for people stop asking me about it. If I wanted you to know what I suffer with then I’d tell you. Not you, I c what ur doing

#ptsdchat what is the number one aspect of PTSD that you would want to get rid of? Mine is my inability to handle confrontation

@KateGillieART Used to have very real physical symptoms, shaking, crying, shallow breathing. Can manage those now but it pops up differently

Never gave it a thought until today that I could be suffering with ptsd. Explains a lot "</p


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