Archive | September, 2012

Into your darkest hour

22 Sep

This week in policing has certainly been a dark hour for the policing community or family. The murders of PC Fiona Bone and PC Nicola Hughes shocked those of us who aren’t involved in policing as much as it wounded those who are part of the thin blue line.  There is a sense of community (as demonstrated by #coverforGMP) in policing which is positive, protective, brave, unselfish and necessary as they deal with people and situations in which you or I would leg it fast the other way: The people that spit on them, the wee, the puke, the grief. Mostly, 99% of time they deal fairly and humanely with people that we might avoid as mad, bad or too dangerous.

This vocation is not about pay or pensions but a sense of care for the public and to keep us safe. The death of PC Dibell last year demonstrates that an officer is never off-duty, never puts the job down with the uniform.

The extra mile is walked often by staff and officers. I have watched in Sussex as officers have passed a hat around for an old man who was a victim of a cruel fraud. I have heard about a SOCO who took the time to clean and tidy a child’s room which a burglar had trashed so that the child wouldn’t be distressed. The officer who was on leave and spent her rest days tweeting updates to try to locate a missing elderly lady. The traffic Special who took time to make a cup of tea for an elderly couple she had driven home after an RTA. We don’t measure this. We should.

The sense of spirit and team which is often termed ‘police family’ is admirable. But in their darkest hour, the alleged comments by the Government Chief Whip risk pushing the police into siege mentality – this would be a disaster. We, the public take the time to thank officers, to pay back their dedication. We are the public and so are the police. Don’t retreat, we need you. You stood by us last Summer. You stand by us every day.

I want to tell you that in this, your darkest hour, I stand by you.

Please donate to Care of Police Survivors

I’ll stand by you

Em x

Crossing the Threshold into health

15 Sep

I wanted to explain why I am so motivated to support women’s mental health services and support the Threshold services (mental health services for women) hosted by BHT (Brighton Housing Trust) in my shield run challenge. You can support me and Threshold by donating here.

I have an anxiety disorder and have experienced this since I was about 15 – that’s 21 years of my life. At times it has been crippling in its effects rendering me housebound through the fear of having an anxiety attack and feeling humiliated in the street. In my teens and early twenties, before accessing a GP who was able to support me properly, I was misusing substances to escape the symptoms.This of course only made me feel much worse but to be fair I was a teenager! Thanks to that great GP I was able to access medication and make plans to manage the symptoms and get on with my life to its full possibilities: Becoming a charity CEO at 26 and a national charity CEO at 29 years old. I also chaired a service user organisation which I found amazing and really empowering. Alongside medication, I don’t drink at all and go to bed pretty early which helps prevent the horrid anxiety pummelling me.

It was all good until I had a premature baby – pregnancy/ breast feeding and medication not an ideal combination and whilst I had another FANTASTIC gp here in Brighton I did suffer from Post-Natal Depression and terribly high anxiety. I couldn’t sleep as I was worried my baby would stop breathing if I wasn’t watching her…sleep deprivation made me confused, clumsy and that made me anxious too. I was lucky in that I did bond perfectly with my little baby but my health prevented me from getting any ‘enjoyment’ from motherhood…just the worries! 😦 I went to a women’s support group and this had a creche for my baby to be in so that I could think and plan a better way forward with peers all going through similar problems. This alongside a brilliant GP was essential to me finally having fun with my baby and not just worrying all the time. It also helped me build a network. I made a very close friend who went though PND who remains close to me today even though she isn’t in Brighton now. In fact, she is considering having another baby now…which is the BEST news.

Threshold provides this safe space, creche and peer support to women in Brighton and Hove who really need support to start living to potential again and I am doing my part in paying back the women who got me on my feet! Running the shield run and facing firebomb alley will be hard…but I will survive and be stronger for it. Let women in distress be the mothers they can be by donating if you can.

Thanks for reading. Em x