How A Young Police Officer Handled Post-Traumatic Stress
Hi, I’m Sarah Bosch. I am a police officer in Tasmania by day (and night) and a Project Founder by night (and day).
I am the CEO of Lion Heart, a project created to help those in need while championing those with PTS (post-traumatic stress) and other mental health challenges.
About two and a half years ago, I was involved in the apprehension of an armed and dangerous criminal who was on the run in a local community. He shot at my partner and me and I heard a bullet whistle past me. Thankfully, no one was hurt and the offender was apprehended, but the incident affected me significantly. A few months later I attended another critical incident where one of my colleagues, only a few meters away from me, was forced to shoot an armed offender attempting to stab police. Again, after this my brain reeled in attempts to stay calm and move forward in my life.
Loud bangs and tense situations would trigger traumatic memories and I felt powerless to stop them, no matter how hard I tried. Memories, feelings and involuntary reactions followed me everywhere. I was just 21 years old. I underwent counselling and intense psychological treatment, which helped, but the effects of suffering from PTS remained with me.
Then, in May 2017 I travelled to Nepal with a group of friends to climb to Mount Everest Base Camp.
What an incredible experience! Although the beauty of the Himalayas was breathtaking, what touched me most were the people. Everywhere I trekked and travelled, I saw people with so little, yet who were happy. Their resilience, spirit and courage inspired me.
I realised that no matter what hardships you encounter in your life and no matter how tough life can be, there is always a reason to smile. For the first time in a long time I was happy again. But more than this, in discovering my love for the people of Nepal and wanting to help them, I also found I wanted to help my colleagues and others experiencing stress in their own lives.
I wanted to help them to look beyond their own challenges and find something that they are passionate about too, to find a new focus in life to help them in their recovery.
When something happens to us or in our lives that causes change beyond our control, our responses come from one place – our reaction. If it was a traumatic experience, not only are we suddenly forced to respond or react, we must also do so while feeling vulnerable, victimized and hurt. To survive an experience like this takes strength, resilience, patience and a whole lot of support from external sources.
Another type of change is one we instigate. A change that is a conscious decision, a commitment, a mindset. When we decide we want to change something, be it in ourselves or our circumstances, we have to work for it. It is us making it happen. It is us acting, not reacting. And it's hard work.
Change takes courage!
In finding a passion in life, a new focus, people often have to change, and this takes courage. Why? Because where there is change, there is the unknown, there are variables, there are risks, and there is instability.
It takes courage to make the decision that you are not going to accept the way things are, that you are going to make change happen. It takes courage because you are voluntarily putting yourself in a position of volatility and vulnerability which goes against our self-preserving nature.
It's not going to be easy – you’ll jump one hurdle and there will be another one. There will be things you don't expect - emotions, feelings, exhaustion. But amongst all that is the change you are seeking.
So, accept the unknown and go for it!
If you can have courage enough to stick it out and do the hard yards, you experience a reward and achievement that money cannot buy. You will come out stronger, more resilient, calmer, insightful - and more courageous. Not everyone dares to change. But those who do will live a life grateful, full and rich.
"I want to encourage and urge others to have the courage to thrive!" - Sarah
Sarah Bosch returning to Nepal this week to help the people, taking with her the beautiful knitted items from the Cazinc and Lionheart communities. If you wish to keep donating knitted items for the children of Nepal, the details are here. They are collecting until November, 2018.
If you would like to contact Sarah or would like more information on Lion Heart and how you can be involved, visit Lionheart here.
Carolyn Rowland is a qualified NLP Master Therapist, Advanced Practitioner of Matrix Therapies, Time Line Therapist, Practitioner of Hypnotherapy, has a Diploma for Business and Life Coaching and A Professional Image Stylist. Carolyn is happily married to her husband Simon, and raised four beautiful children, who are now young adults and a teenager.
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