"As a result of my struggle with loneliness, I began to self-isolate. I felt hopeless and felt like interactions were a chore. Everything was an endless loop of routine and I could not wait for each day to end."
"Because I wasn’t using solid evidence to understand my situation; I was just using my own thoughts and feelings, which were terribly limited. I mean, one person cannot possibly know all there is to know in order to make sense of themselves or the world. Life is simply too complex for that."
"I started to experience an anxiety disorder, an eating disorder (I lost around 10 kg), depression, trust issues, and other mental problems as well. I was becoming this person that I didn’t recognize anymore, all while drifting away from being the person I wanted to be."
"I remember collapsing in the stairwell and I thought I was having a heart attack. The staff that was in the building at the time recognized this as a panic attack and thankfully did not make the situation worse. Nobody there referred me to a counselor or therapist though."
"I was embarrassed by my feelings and didn't want anyone to know how much pain I was in, so I often put on a brave face. Even on my worst days, I tried to make it look like everything was okay when I felt anything but deep down."
"I was on a very high antipsychotic dose and the side effects made me miserable. I made a plan to end my life but before anything happened my mom noticed my deepening depression. She helped me get treatment for depression and, just as important, both she and my brother spent time with me, offering constant reassurance that there was light at the end of the tunnel."
"I felt broken. I had suicidal ideation because I sometimes could not see a way out of it. A wise person told me my children would be much worse off if their mother killed herself. That stopped me in my tracks."
"The next morning, my father woke me up at the crack of dawn and drove me to a kickboxing gym two hours away. As I stepped inside the gym, the sight of tattooed, muscular men punching each other to the sound of Eminem music made me feel intimidated."
"After I hung up, I couldn't help but cry like an 8-year-old. I'm talking about real sobbing, you know, the ugly kind. That's when my partner realized the full impact that this job was having on me."
"I responded to dangerous incidents with no fear. That’s not to say I was courageous, rather, I didn’t care if anything happened to me. I didn’t think anyone would miss me if I was killed on duty. I didn’t wish for it, but it was a possibility in my line of work and it didn’t scare me."