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Coping with Trauma and Self-Worth: A Personal Journey

Today, I’d like to share a bit of my own story and how some of my mental health struggles stemmed from my sexuality and law enforcement career. Writing this wasn’t easy but that’s kind of the point. If just one person can relate or find comfort from reading my words, that’s enough for me to keep sharing.

My story has two major parts. One is experiencing sexual assaults at a young age by a classmate, friend, family members and being taken advantage of by people I trusted the most. I buried these situations in my mind and tried to live with shame, anxiety and negative self image without anyone's help. After experiencing losing my partner to covid 19 and when my family found out they were furious at how I broke my promise to my mother of only dating women, once family outed my sexuality. I was hurt by the hateful, degrading and threatening messages and I didn't know how to respond at first, I was shocked, depressed, scared, and anxious. All I ever wanted to do was make my mother and family happy but I knew I had to make a decision. I slowly started to share pieces of my struggle to those closest to me. Even though I didn't truly want to admit or felt ready to come out that I was bisexual or attracted to same-sex, I knew I struggled on accepting it and panicked when others knew, I always felt the need to try and hide my true self.  

The other portion of my struggles comes from my relationship with security, law enforcement and how it really affects my self-worth. I equated “failures” as a security guard to “failures” as a human being. My worth as a person felt linked directly to my worth as a security guard. Even with things completely out of my control, like COVID-19 and physical attraction, it felt like no matter how hard I was trying to make my dream come true becoming a police officer it was never going to happen.

I still feel like I failed as a person. It’s hard to explain the level of guilt and shame I’ve felt, disappointing my family because of who I am. It overwhelmed me so much that I began engaging in self-harm and did not want to live anymore. I hated myself as a person. When I first became a security guard, my goal was policing, my feelings grew stronger for my partner and I felt that I was letting my family and friends down, these feelings and self-harm continued even though I thought they would go away by themselves. Eventually, after struggling so much taking pills to hurt myself I felt so much guilt that I opened up to a colleague, which was my cry for help. Afterwards, I regretted it cause I felt like I disappointed them and they were ashamed of me by that decision and that led me to push them away, when my family outed me online to everyone. After a while, I decided that I didn’t want to feel this way anymore and needed to get professional help. I started going to therapy, was put on medication and began to engage in helpful practices like breathing exercises and mindfulness meditation.  

Today, I feel like I have the tools to manage anxiety, panic attacks, and depressive episodes. I’ve gained more confidence in being myself and relaxing in social settings. Meditation, mindfulness, introspection, and journaling have been catalysts for my current happiness. I’m not going to say I am stress free, or that I don’t have bad days. I am just better at managing my emotions through the rough times. I am proud to say I have not thought about suicide in 18 months. I may not have been able to say that without getting professional help.  

As I write this, I feel uncomfortable, vulnerable, and scared. I have never told anyone, including my family, some of the things I have shared in this brief story. But I know that this is important to do in order to show others that they are not alone. I felt like no one would understand which is why I kept things to myself and let them grow to the point they got to. It’s extremely important to go see a professional, so you can get the help you may need. That is not a sign of weakness but rather a sign of strength. You are taking control of your mind and your life.

I'm so excited to say that I'm working towards being a special constable but also working towards being a social worker and working within the mental health system to help others who struggle like I did.  

You are not alone.

You are loved.  

People are here for you.

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