In a war zone, stress comes all at once over a relatively short period. I cannot imagine the stress our soldiers, sailors, airmen, and Marines experience. Many come home with PTSD.
Policing is different. Stress in policing is often short-term bursts of immense stress followed by countless hours of the drip, drip, drip of a slow leaky faucet. The accumulation of stress happens over an extended period of time- even decades. Without recognizing the impact on one’s life and family, a tub full of dripping police stress soon overflows, into the home, damaging lives, families, and relationships.
Who most often gets overlooked are our wives, husbands, and life partners. Our mates stand in the shadow of our honor – invisible to the world. Yet, while we run off to save the world, they are the ones who hold the family together. While people crowd around us at parties to hear thrilling stories, our mates stand in the truth of silence and despair.
Our mates serve with us. Silently, patiently and resolutely, they stand without training or support. Many of us go home and live in silence, holding them at arm’s length, staring out the window, leaving landmines of eggshells on the floor. This song says it better than I ever could. Please take a few and listen to Mary sing truth.
The War After The War Song by Mary Gauthier
The book Emotional Survival For Law Enforcement is a must-read for all cops, old or new.
To our wives, my wife, thank you! I have healthy and well-adjusted kids because of you, Cathy. “I was staring out the window, leaving landmines of eggshells on the living room floor.” (Lyrics from the song.) You held our family in your and caring and capable hands.