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Senior Contributor



Unfortunately, after a couple of years, I started to change but I could not put my finger on the cause.

I was addicted to the job. I attended every accident I could, went to as many domestic situations as possible and made my aim to attend any occurrence which involved serious injury and death.

In December 1989 when I had returned to my station, whilst walking down the hall towards the lunch room, I just stopped as if I had walked into an invisible wall and just stood there. In the station at the time was our resident doctor, having a smoke and a coffee. 

He later told me that when he saw me I was just standing erect with a blank look in my eyes. He informed me that he had turned me around and taken me home.  I lived in the station residence at the time some 10 metres away.  He undressed me, put me into bed and gave me a sedative.

He returned the next morning and told me that I was unfit to return to work because of PTSD and gave me a certificate to cover me. The doctor arranged an appointment with a Consultant Psychiatrist whom I still see now.

During the years from 1990 'til now, spent not months but years in psychiatric hospitals and used numerous antidepressants to control my feelings. I was given the nickname "Loopy" by a group of Vietnam Vets. 

And I use this name with pride.

I have been asked what is my illness like and can I describe it? I just say what I can about it but I do not understand how or why I am the way I am. It is all too hard. I just try to accept it and I don't care what others think or say so long as it is to my face.

As the result of my illness, I lost the job I loved, a spouse of nearly thirty years and any love for myself. In fact, I no longer know what it is to love or hate... which may or may not be a good thing.


Re: P.T.S.D

Hello Loopy.

A couple of months ago I went to a workshop on Mental Health presented by Derrick McManus.

All very pracitcal advice and no BS, just like the man.

He was a Police Officer too.

Here is a link to his web-site:

I hope you can find something within to help you:


Re: P.T.S.D

Hi Loopy

If I was given a name by Vietnam Vets I would also wear it and use it with pride.  Personally I also like it for its playfulyness & it's speaks ( perhaps even yells) in the face of conformity.

I  think it is interesting that those who are considered "normal" by society never seem to be invited explain what and why they are "normal" - I think most would also find that "too hard" - to assume that all normal people are the same to me is just as rediculous as to assume all of us living with mental health issues are the same.  I also try & take pride in being different (although I do forget sometimes).  I use the name crystal as a reminder of the different facets of who I am, with a number of pointy edges, my breakability but that also with the right light can be brillient and create wonderful colours.

I am told that PTSD is very common in all emergancy services and unfortuantly your story is not uncommon - our communities seem to have little understanding of the impact and consequenses of the work that you and others do/ have done on our behalf.  Let me personally "thank you" for wanting the world to be a better place - if you didn't care it would not have had an impact - the fact that id did have such an impact on you seems to say something about Loopy.

What are some of the other facets of "Loopy" that you take pride in?



Re: P.T.S.D


Firstly thank you. When I first met my super men in a psychiatric clinic the first thing they did was ask a lot of questions, but me being me, told them that I was the "copper" and I ask the questions and they supply the answers. That 20 second conversation earned me respect that I had never had before. From that day on they had adopted me and I was as one with them, that was 20 years ago and nothing has changed. They all still greet me as an equal and the warmth of their greeting is something to behold. They and their spouses are wonerful, which is more than I can say about those I worked with for 17 years.

Senior Contributor

Re: P.T.S.D

Hey Loopy,

My husband is a retired NSW Police Officer.  He also suffers from PTSD (although he refers to it as "Mad Cops Disease") from a life in the job which sounds pretty similar to yours - with the addition of water police duties.  He served 29 years.

I'm glad you're here.  I hope you can find some help and some peace after all your years of searching.  You sound like a good man, a good cop.

Senior Contributor

Re: P.T.S.D

A when I was nursing, a significant number of the security squad seemed to comprise ex cops, who had had one confronting moment too many. They tended to open up to me, though God knows why; and the stories were horrific. To my mind these guys just don't get paid enough to have to do the job, sound familiar?

Re: P.T.S.D

More training required on vicarious trauma as well as PTSD. These front line positions are hard yakka emotionally, even if we can't see it...and sometimes the workplace culture sustains poor mental health as in the past it was all Stiff Upper Lip rah rah rah..Armed Forces, Nurses, Ambos, Fireys of any kind..RESPECT!!!
Senior Contributor

Re: P.T.S.D

Been following the thread, someone said nurses face potential PTSD.....I had never thought of that. Hell, I worked in ICU, mostly cardio thoracic, heart bypass and stuff, but yeah there was trauma. Working on someone for ages and then them dying, coping with the family, straightening up everything before they saw their loved one, then get the body sorted, writing up the notes and them being reallocated to a now patient. Saw too many youngsters when working with young adult Cystic Fibrosis...memory of a particularly distressing death and all the other things. I nursed lepers, folk with gas gangrene, and something's that were hideous but no real diagnosis. Just everyday nursing I guess!

Re: P.T.S.D

Neb, How to you quantify enough pay for any emergency worker. Sometimes life is good in the job other times unbearable. I suppose when you attended a serious situation just some words of comfort and re-assurance may help. Difficult situation to be in. Good de-briefing may have been the answer but I doubt it would errase the memory.

Re: P.T.S.D

Some of the incidents that Nursing staff are put through, at the time and still, I believe were as bad if not worse because you had to deal with the after math also the family members grief and anger. I really admire those in the Hospital situation.

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