I was Forced to Watch Her Die | John’s Story | PTSD and Depression Story

I was at a point where I was continually putting my gun in my mouth
or thinking about wanting to do myself in. You get to a point where you want it to end, but you don’t know how to end it. I was a police officer for 15 years. Some of the best things about being a police officer,
I enjoyed the people I worked with, your mateship. Genuinely coming across victims that you could help. When you first join the job, you’re sort of switched off
because you’re excited about what you saw, and it’s an exciting lifestyle.
But then it starts to build up, and it takes its toll. The time that really affected me was a motor vehicle accident. A lady was trapped in a car and the car was on its roof
and she couldn’t get out, and her legs were trapped by the sunroof. The car burst into flames and she was on fire, and I got the extinguisher and put her out, but she was deceased by that time. What I smelt and heard and saw had a huge impact on me. Sorry. I was at a point where I was going back to the scene for two years after, I would go out by myself and walk around,
and I actually found her wristwatch once. It was burnt and destroyed, and I kept it. It’s something that I can’t let go of, I actually go past the site and I blow it a kiss. Silly ways of dealing with it. I didn’t know a lot about PTSD, until I saw a close colleague start to struggle. It was really impacting him, and you could see he was getting quieter. And it just went downhill from there. The next few months, he was done. Depression kicks in, and you’re very upset all the time, or you’re extremely angry. That’s how I found it and then suicidal thoughts. There’s one instance in particular where I did — My wife had gone to work and my youngest daughter was inside. I went and opened the gate and my wife drove off. And I just thought, I’m going to hang myself today.
I went over to the shed and I picked the point. I had a rope on the ute, and I was going to go back to the car,
and then my daughter came out and asked me what I was doing, and it snapped me out of it. When I left, there was a lot of uncertainty, what I was going to do and what the future held. The things that have helped me.
There’s been some colleagues that have been supportive. I had a really good psychologist. Just being able to talk to genuine, honest, nice people that genuinely cared. Process of reaching out to a solicitor, it was a big decision. You worry about the future because everyone’s got mortgages
and the kids and everyone to look after as well. Definitely needed advice. I first found out about Law Partners through a colleague that had dealt with Law Partners. They highly recommend them, and that was the way I went. The impact of Chantille — From the first day, it was just genuinely nice support. She has empathy and tries to understand where you’re coming from
and she cares. I felt like everything was in good hands,
and it was just something I didn’t have to worry about. As I say, meeting a genuine, honest, supportive person was what I needed. I thought there was some sort of light at the end of the tunnel. Well, life now is a lot better than it was in the previous few years. I think keeping busy and finding something else to do has helped me but — There’s still triggers there, and still depression and loneliness. I own a large sheep farm just out of Bathurst. Getting fences fixed and all that sort of stuff.
Just keeping busy does me, and spending time with my dogs, getting the farm up and running. Looking forward to grandkids, I don’t know when that’ll happen,
but that’d be nice, yeah.

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