ANONYMOUS, FORMER QPS OFFICER

I was married at 18, a father at 19 and a widower at 20. My wife (and mother of my daughter) was killed in a car accident. At the time I was a probationary at the academy. This was my first dealing with an incident that affected me in a major way, it was also the first time that it was dealt with in the wrong way. I recall a week after the funeral I returned to the academy and was met by senior staff who told me that they were sorry for my loss, but that I had to deal with it, and that I would be given no special favors and would have to complete my training the same as everyone else. So, on reflection, I guess I just sucked it up and did my best to move on.

I was a good cop, did well at my job. I was the party boy, first to arrive last to leave. I attended many critical incidents, like homicides, fatal traffic accidents, deaths of children, and like many others I masked the effect of this by drinking and doing what most cops did, using black humor or just portraying a tough exterior. My career continued in Police, and I rose through ranks as an investigator. I endured a failed marriage that I dealt with by drinking and carrying on like it didn’t affect me.

Perhaps inevitably, I medically retired from QPS. I thought this would fix everything. I owned my own home outright, and even though I was advised not to work, I took up another government job.

I then started gambling big time, and I have learnt that this was my addiction. Even though I thought I would win everything back, I now realise I was just running from the black dog by gambling. I then started lying to everyone, my family, my work mates and my friends and I fell deeper into depression every time I gambled. I had lost my home, but I continued to gamble. I continued to lie to everyone, but the biggest lie I told was to myself. Rather than get help in the early stages of my addiction and depression I continued to gamble, continued to lie, continued to deceive.

I tried calling Lifeline as the suicidal thoughts that I had had for months were becoming more frequent, planning on so many occasions how I would kill myself.

I called one help line but because I couldn’t relate to that person, I became angrier. I basically was at the point of no return, I didn’t think anyone could help and I felt I had bought everything on myself. I hated myself and thought my family would hate me. I thought there were no solutions. I went to a counselor and even deceived her by telling her I was going to sort everything out. I made an appointment to see her the next day but had already decided I would be dead before then. I went home and surrounded myself with photos of family. I had the phone in my hand and so many times I just wanted to call someone to stop me but I was too disgusted in myself.

I had four boxes of medication that I had accumulated and I checked on the internet if this medication would lead to death and learnt that it most definitely would. I sat in my room and started to swallow as many pills as possible and death could not come soon enough.

I crawled into my bed to die. Luckily for me, the counselor who I had made an appointment with was calling my phone, and kept ringing it. When she got no response she contacted police. Luckily again for me, these police did not just knock on my door and leave. They gained entry, saw the empty medication boxes and called an ambulance. I was in and out of consciousness at this time, but I do recall a female officer saying it will be okay. The last thing I remember before blacking out completely was looking at pictures of my family.

I later found out I was taken to Redcliffe hospital, and placed in a medical coma. I found out my daughter was advised by police that I was in a serious condition. She had no idea I was that depressed, I had left no note, no explanation. I had tried to kill myself, leaving my family to deal with the devastation with no explanation or reason.

When I came out of coma, my daughter was there. I will never forget the look in her eyes, and I initially thought it was pain caused by me, but later learnt it was fear of not understanding what had led me to take such extreme action.

Thankfully some old police contacts put me in contact with Blue Hope. I was contacted and immediately offered support, not only for me but also importantly for my daughter. In fact, a range of things were put in place to assist with my recovery.

Blue Hope arranged financial counselors, gambling counselors and mental health assistance, all whilst I was in hospital. I was astounded by the support I received.

Finding the right support needn’t be hard. If you want help from people who understand policing, people who will really care about you, I strongly recommend Blue Hope. Just reach out and let them help you. I did, and it saved my life.

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