Police PTSD: Undiagnosed

I know we’re finally starting to see more articles, discussions and education about Post Traumatic Stress Disorder involving many types of employment including the military, firefighters, paramedics/EMS and police but one must ask why has it taken so long for PTSD to be recognized even though still with some resistance.

From my perspective as a 30 year police veteran a lot has to be attributed to a few reasons; those being personal denial (“I’m okay…”), embarrassment, ignorance by all of us and the lack of concern by senior police administrators which I’m glad to say is changing with the times.

>As a result of a culmination of personal and family struggles over the past several years including a battle with colon cancer, two failed marriages and another recent relationship that I ruined, I decided to take this particular opportunity, not to get on a soap box, but as an officer who has struggled with PTSD for many years but chose to ignore it because I didn’t understand it, it was part of the job, I didn’t want to appear weak to my colleagues and I couldn’t let my family down because they were so proud of me.

In mid May of this year my policing and personal lives came to a screeching halt which I am unable to discuss but once this occurred the occasional flashbacks of police incidents I was a part of in the past came flooding back to me like continuous tidal waves. I have seen many horrific things over my policing career as most police officers will attest to about themselves. I am unable to control the visions that take me back to scenes as if they had just occurred. Luckily, with the help of my family doctor I’m now getting the help I need with medication and a Psychologist that has helped others before me with PTSD.

There’s a lot more I could discuss about PTSD and my personal experiences but this is not the forum for that. I felt compelled to write this short article because I wanted anyone who is willing to read it that I don’t believe we are doing enough to help anyone suffering from PTSD. We have all failed at addressing PTSD including our employers, administrators and all levels government.

We are to blame for some of the problem because we just don’t want to talk about an incident that has affected us; we really need to get over this. I also strongly believe that senior police administrators need to be more aggressive with ensuring that officers are properly counselled after any sort of traumatic incident, that being a mandatory appointment with a psychologist nothing less.

Lastly, we the keepers of the Thin Blue Line, need to look after ourselves and each other. Always be safe brothers and sisters.
I hope I have not offended anyone and if I have please accept my apologies; this is solely my opinion.
Please support all PTSD groups and organizations.

About the Author:  Michael Allard – is a police Sergeant at Waterloo Regional Police Service.  He has been over 30 years of policing experience and is quite active in his community involvement.  Michael is a strong advocate for those struggling with  PTSD and cancer, being a survivor of both himself.

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