Sunday 1st August 2021 (1220pm)
Sometimes I see something and I immediately think how real or how true this is and how it resonates with me in such a powerful way. Nineteen simple words ‘so many people from your past know a version of you that know longer exits anymore. Growth is beautiful’. This can also be flipped in that people who know me now never knew me as I was five years ago.
It’s amazing how things change, we only have to look back over the last eighteen months to see that. Every one of us affected in some way. Some lives have changed more than others, some reshape a life without a loved one, or worry about the prospect of employment. Others watch their new lockdown puppy grow into a bigger bundle of fluff, whilst others have somewhat changed their habits and routines. We talk of pre COVID and the new normal as rules are slowly phased out.
For me I talk about pre help and post help, or my old life and my new one. There are only a handful of people who I associate with now who I did pre help (April 2016). It’s like that life existed in some weird universe and I have since been re-made, recreated and perhaps moulded into someone new. Of course this is not the case as I remind myself of my sense of reality.
Let me take you back to pre help as I chuck some descriptors out there: focused, busy, stressed, non stop, worried, anxious, perfectionist, motivated, successful, hardworking.
I was someone who was supposedly happy, I had everything I could ever want. In a materialistic world, I had the car, the nice apartment, the holidays, the good job. I had relationships and all the love I ever wanted, but the words I threw out in the above paragraph chipped away in the background, they kept eating away at me, unnoticed, like a silent assassin ninja bunny.
Going back to those nineteen words and I think of the people who knew me and who I saw on a regular basis. Those were the people I worked with. Those were the people who I stood by, who stood by me as we dealt with deceased people, bereaved relatives, children who had been abused, vulnerable, elderly people, homelessness, addicts, shop lifters, victims of domestic abuse. The list goes on and this could all be in one day. The closeness and the bond you have with colleagues in the police is like no other I have experienced. It is a special understanding, It is a feeling and a job that is difficult to explain to those who have never walked it.
Apart from two or three good friends I no longer see those who I worked with. When I first went off sick, the contact was there but over the years this has dwindled away. People move on and life moves on. I had to distance myself from that world in order to heal, I still do. There are too many reminders and even writing this brings a great deal of sadness. I am still friends with many people pre help on social media but even then I apply a filter to my brain.
Fast forward to where I am now, some 5 years later. I have a completely different way of life, outlook and perspective. Whilst I am still worried, stressed and anxious about certain things, the way I manage and handle my life is better. Everyone who I associate with now are all post help so they would not have known what I was like as that police officer in uniform, or that detective sergeant. People know me now as George or George & Olly, the runner, the writer, the one who goes to a coffee shop everyday, the one who does mad challenges. These friends would not have known me as the one who made life changing decisions on a daily basis, or who influenced strategic policy decisions. They would have not seen me pale, gaunt, stressed, moody and constantly tired (unless they saw the photo on my warrant card).
I have changed over the last 5 years and more so in the last 18 months. I am happier in myself, I am freer, I have regained some confidence and I am definitely more sociable (within reason). I belong to two amazing run clubs and I am loving my outdoor gym. I have an awesome group of friends who are kind of ok 😂
This is not a comparison of friends pre or post help as I love you all. It is just different. I am different. Whilst my core values and beliefs are still there, my attitude to life and in general is different. Many things which I used to care about I don’t, and many things that I never had time for have become the central part of my life.
We all move on, we all change and friendship groups naturally evolve. For me, it took a major turning point in my life to point me in a different direction. A direction of hope and a direction with future.
Pre help, I never even liked dogs. Now look at me. Growth is beautiful xx