How could I have assumed that they would take care of me no matter what. How could I assume that the phrase “suck it up buttercup” was more than a phrase. Did I realize that this was a statement that told me that I was on my own and that help was not just around the corner. I couldn’t reach out like they were saying as my cry for help seemed to go unanswered.
The trauma that I experienced never seemed to go away. It only took something small to trigger unpleasant memories and then I seemed to be starting all over. It seemed that the steps forward I had taken were negated by the triggers and being re-exposed to the pain and hurt that I had been experiencing.
I didn’t understand why everyone seemed to want to ignore what I was going through – everyone except for the bottle of scotch whiskey that had become my closest confident and the solver of all my problems. Or so I thought. I wondered what did the end result of all of this look like. I had to be honest the end that I was seeing was one that had finality to it. There would be no more pain and suffering at least not for me.
It would impact so many people and people that I loved and wanted to spend the rest of my life with. What did I need to do to change what appeared to be an unpleasant outcome. I realised that alcohol was not the answer. I realized that keeping all of this bottled up inside was not the answer.
Then something happened. My story changed when my wife shared her story at an event that I was speaking at. When asked she had indicated that a few years ago we had to make some changes as she and my two children were not stickling around unless I made some significant changes to my behaviour and to how I communicated primarily with her. She would support me but I needed to move forward and be committed to doing so. I had no idea that we had reached that stage and I did not want to lose what we had worked hard to develop. We had become the model couple for so many based on our gift of communication. I couldn’t take us back there again. Was this the support structure that they talked about?
This is a story that is retold time after time. Sometimes it has a more positive outcome and sometimes it does not. I can honestly say that if you want it to change you can make it happen but it takes perseverance and commitment and you do need a support structure no matter the course of action.
What I have found is that my mental health is like a fragile glass. A little slip and the glass will fall to the floor and shatter. All around me are the broken pieces of my life, my mental health that I need to somehow pick up and put back together. I keep asking what I need to do next. I reach out for help and instead I am flooded by those who think they have my best interests in mind. They aren’t sure what to say, when to say anything, and think that they need to say something. There are those that obviously think that what they are suffering is far more serious than what you are going through and perhaps nothing could be further from the truth. They are fixated on their situation and as a result miss some of the triggers and trigger words they need to be paying attention to that would give them insight into what you are dealing with and how they might be able to help. Strangely enough if they are able to help you, they may well be helping themselves as a result.
I was very fortunate that I had a wife that understood and who was willing to be that support structure. I don’t have that support structure anymore. My wife, Debra lost her battle with cancer in 2021. She was courageous as she always was and even more so during that time frame. If I could be half the person she was I would be happy. Her battle was not a long one and perhaps that is a good thing as no one needs to suffer like that. Now in addition to dealing with the trauma I had experienced as a result of my law enforcement experiences; I was forced to deal with grief. Grief that seems to be all around us and with more to come. It doesn’t matter where you are, the grocery story, shopping for Christmas, you name it, someone is always talking about someone passing as a result of cancer. It is a pandemic at its worst.
I have committed my life to helping others deal with their trauma and their grief. Yes, I am still dealing with my own grief and past trauma but knowing that there are so many that do not have access to a support structure I find myself not being able to say NO. Even if there is one person that I can make a difference for that is a good thing. It will also be therapeutic for me as well. I find it very healing and very therapeutic to be able to tell my story.
Remember “You Are Not Alone”.
About the Author
Doug Lawrence is the founder of TalentC® and Co-founder of the International Mentor Community. Doug is an International Certified Mentor, and has obtained his Certificate of Achievement – Mentoring, his Certificate of Competence – Mentor and his Certificate of Competence – Journey Mentor from the International Mentoring Community (IMC). Doug’s Practice of Mentoring has resulted in his accumulation of 2,000 hours of mentoring (in person and virtual), 197 hours of speaking opportunities and 672 hours teaching others how to effectively mentor. Doug is a volunteer mentor with the Sir Richard Branson Entrepreneur Program in the Caribbean and with the American Corporate Partners in the United States working with military personnel in their transition from military life to civilian life. Doug is currently working with researchers to examine the role of mentoring as a support for those struggling with Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD). His experience in law enforcement coupled with working with people suffering from PTSD has afforded him a unique view of mentoring and PTSD. Doug is an international speaker and author about all facets of Mentoring. He published “The Gift of Mentoring” in 2014 with his second book set to publish in 2021. Doug works with organizations to establish mentoring programs, influence mentoring as a culture, and provides one-on-one direct mentoring for individuals of all backgrounds and levels globally. Contact Doug directly to discover how mentoring can improve your organization: https://calendly.com/doug-lawrence.