Some decisions in life are easier than others, but what happens when all of your decisions become hard to make?
Prior to allowing myself to believe that I had PTSD and Depression I could make a decision in a heart beat. Irrespective of if the decision was right or wrong I could make it and live with the consequences.
I am not talking about decisions like what should I have for lunch today or what should I do this weekend? I am talking about serious decisions. Decisions that if wrong could cost somebody their life.
An example of one such decision was when as a Detective I was working on the Daniel Morcombe murder investigation, and another officer and I decided to go out and get some lunch. However on this day I decided not to wear my firearm, which was actually very unusual for me as I normally wore it everyday.
As fate would have it whilst driving back to the office we heard a call come over the Police radio. ‘Urgent any unit, any unit, urgent, armed robbery in progress’.
As the operator advised the location of the bank I realised that at that very moment we were driving right past it. My first question to my partner was ‘Do you have your gun?’ With ‘No’ as the answer it was decision time.
Being the senior officer it was my decision, do we keep driving or do we go in knowing the offender robbing the bank was armed with a knife and the strongest thing we had to throw at him was bad language.
The decision was made in a split second, we are going in!
Advising my partner we were going to run into a bank in the middle of an armed robbery with no gun or other equipment was a decision I made in a heart beat, without hesitation.
The bad language did come in handy actually, and the offender with the knife was arrested without anyone getting hurt. That was the last day I ever stepped outside the office without my gun.
Fast forward 5 years and it was another day in my life where I had to make a decision. Would this decision possibly get anyone killed? No. Was it urgent or important? To most people, No.
But to me at that time in my life it was serious, it was urgent and it was a decision that I simply couldn’t make on my own. So whilst approaching a roundabout I asked my wife who was sitting beside me, ‘which way should I go to the dump?’
Yes the dump!
After living on the Sunshine Coast for most of my life and having been to the dump dozens of times, I couldn’t make the decision which was the best way to get there. The sad thing is I was serious, I really couldn’t make that simple decision without asking my wife for assistance.
So what was so different? Having PTSD had affected my nerves, they were fried, my confidence was shot, and I found myself asking my wife for help with something that I would normally do subconsciously without having to ask anybody.
So the trend continued, I found myself not being able to manage the family finances. This was always my thing, as I worked in a bank for 6 years before becoming a Police Officer. I couldn’t make a firm decision on what to have for dinner, and so on.
As the ‘man’ of the family this was both debilitating and soul destroying to say the least. From decisions around armed robberies to what was going to be on the dinner menu. What had become of me?
Luckily for me I finally took the step and got treatment from a number of medical professionals for my mental health conditions. They thankfully advised me that this was not uncommon for people suffering from PTSD, and that I would get back to a position where I could make decision again.
The journey back to being able to make decisions on my own didn’t happen overnight. It involved a lot of little steps, setbacks and frustration along the way. But it eventually happened!
So if you find yourself in the position I was please remember it can be fixed, you just need to take the first step. Ask for help!
Want to know how I did it? E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org if you want to find out what I did to get my decision making mojo back!
Stuart Rawlins | Healthy Mind Healthy Future
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