So Let’s Talk….
“Loneliness & anxiety are two of the biggest issues in today’s world. Every day there are more & more people who feel alone.” 1.
In our lifetime there are many times we are alone, but not lonely. However I’m sure if you were to sit a moment and think, you could recall a time when you felt truly lonely.
Others will find this an easy exercise to do. Myself being one of them. Being lonely is quite common for someone struggling with a psychological injury.
I would describe loneliness as a cloak of isolation, depression and longing for healthy connections that envelopes me, like a soaked rain coat that I can’t get off easily.
Perhaps you would describe it in a similar fashion? Perhaps a time of sadness, a time of isolation from loved ones or a longing, an emptiness that eats away at your spirit.
Hi, my name is Lynne and I have been diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
(Please see Badge of Life Canada/ptsd-symptoms for more information on PTSD).
I was diagnosed after a combative event while on duty as a police officer. My career ended as a result in 2010.
I left for work one night in 2005 and came home to my two toddlers and spouse as a very different person. I was stuck in fight or flight, in shock with high blood pressure, an inability to sleep, eat or think and not even trusting of my family.
Like others diagnosed, my symptoms of PTSD disrupted my life and made it hard to continue with my daily activities. I was eventually pensioned off as disabled. I felt like a used piece of discarded equipment rather than a human being with emotions, feelings, a University degree, specialized skills and ability.
I struggled to find meaning in my life, some purpose moving forward after my diagnosis. I went into public service to make the world a better place and came out fifty-two percent disabled.
I engaged in years of specialized training and now I found myself alone, isolated from my fellow officers and not having much hope for the future. I still longed to help people, to make society a better place for all.
In 2015 I volunteered with Badge of Life Canada / Insigne de vie Canada as Administration Director and found my purpose through my traumatic experiences. I began to use my lived experience to help others going through a similar journey.
“The loneliness is still with me, my ironic companion. I know it is built upon a lack of ability to trust and an unconscious need to protect myself. When I read stories from others who have a similar background to mine, I feel that same sense of isolation in their lives.” 3.
Unfortunately, the number of suicides in first responders has continued to rise and there doesn’t seem to be enough interest in bringing the change required into the culture and politics of public service. Amongst other factors, isolation and loneliness are identified as factors contributing to suicide.4.
Through my own healing journey I felt that connections with others in a safe and secure environment truly helped me. Something I refer to as healing connections.
In 2017 I developed a weekend program to help other female first responders like me, funded largely by my own disability income.
Given the success of those programs last year we are continuing to host women’s only and men’s only first responder workshops for those dealing with operational stress injuries, including, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD), anxiety, depression and/or suicidal ideation as a result of their employment.
Each Badge of Life Canada / Insigne de vie Canada workshop we host attracts a cross-section of attendees from the public sector, not only including police and corrections but paramedics, firefighters and dispatchers.
The focus of each weekend workshop is on group peer support under the guidance of a licensed professional. We don’t discuss our traumas but focus on positive post-traumatic growth by means of group activities practiced within a safe environment.
We work hard to connect with people so they don’t feel alone and we want them to know they are supported by the community they have dedicated serving throughout their careers.
Please check out our 2018 Programs via our Badge of Life Canada / Insigne de vie Canada website:
How can you make a difference?
Our charitable organization’s ability to continue to operate is due in large part to the generous support of individual donors who believe in our mission.
Our charitable organization depends upon the added support of our friends in the business community who generously sponsor our events.
If you can consider donating to assist us in delivering these workshops – you will definitely be aiding many members who would be otherwise unable to attend for various personal financial reasons.
Sponsor a participant for $500.00 (food, lodging and activities included) and receive a charitable tax receipt.
Together, we can make a difference. But they also re-learn how to become a productive member of their community with the ability to love their own families again versus continuing with their current isolation tendencies.
Thank you for considering my request.
Lynne Rusk, Administration Director and SDIT Raven
Badge of Life Canada box 168 Lions Head, ON N0H 1W0
Email: email@example.com Cell: 519-534-1234
…”STRENGTH IN NUMBERS”…”L’Union fait la force”…