I think I've hit the wall. There's always a certain amount of stress involved in my job. But for the last few weeks, it's been overwhelming. I feel like I can't breathe, like there's a huge weight sitting right on my chest. As I'm getting ready for work in the mornings, the headache starts and it stays with me all day. Your job shouldn't do that to you.
I used to love it. The job. But I'm beginning to question that commitment.
We're down over 100 police officers in a city that is becoming increasingly more violent by the day. I understand this is a bad economic time right now but I'm tired of hearing "do more with less". No matter how hard I work... I don't feel like it makes a difference. That's one of the reasons I became a police officer. To make a difference. Sure I liked the thrill of high speed car chases and the lure of free donuts. But when I was 22 yrs old and full of hope and opportunity, I truly felt like maybe I could contribute something positive and maybe make a little difference in this world with the career I'd chosen. Now 14 yrs later, I'm feeling totally defeated.
I see the same people over and over again. Do we really ever take a criminal off the streets? Temporarily maybe. But he'll be back.
And we're always fighting. Fighting to do the right thing, to stay on top of the work that needs to be done. Fighting the criminals who hate us, and increasingly more and more of the citizens that feel that way, too. Even that fight I can handle. It's always been there since my very first day out of the police academy.
But I feel so beat down right now by all the fighting that's going on within our organization. We don't feel supported by the command or the government in this city. Not at all. There are changes being proposed by the people in power that could completely change the course of my career. Derail it, in fact.
(Caution... major venting ahead.)
And why would I be removed from my position? Not because I don't do the work. Not because I don't bust my ass for this job. Not because I get bad evaluations. Not because I don't have the knowledge, skill and experience to effectively perform the tasks of my current assignment. I'd be removed why? Because I'm a woman? Not on the SWAT team? Not kiss ass enough? Not one of the "favorites"? Or is it just because I'm me and this person in power has preconceived notions of who that is? Cuz lord knows he doesn't really know me and never has. Well, I can't change being me.
So how difficult do you think it is to come in every day and feel motivated to do this work? When no matter what I do it's already been decided that if these changes take place, I'm out? Unfairly and unjustly, of course. But still... I'd be pushed backwards in my career just because you have the power and I don't. That really fucking sucks. Why should I bust my ass for you when you've already decided and publicly announced that you want to pick your own detective? Well, since I'm already your assigned detective, I think your message is very clear.
On top of that uncertainty, this has been an especially bad week with the shit we've had to deal with, too. I try so hard to keep my emotions out of it. To stay strong, put on that brave face and just deal with it. But seeing the tragedy day in and day out just wears you down.
This week alone we've seen a 66 yr old pizza delivery guy robbed and beaten so severely that he may never recover, a 21 mth and 8 mth old left by their father in the bottom of a trash can.... alone, scared, hungry and thirsty.... for 13 hrs, an 85 yr old veteran of 3 wars robbed and beaten to death in his own home and today a 6 mth old was murdered. I sat at my desk this afternoon and had to listen to that baby's mother wail in despair over the loss of her child. The sounds of that pain coming from the depths of her very being made the hair on the back of my neck stand up. I haven't been able to shake it off even 8 hrs later.
Today I feel broken. My heart hurts. Tears have been shed. I don't have the strength to deal with any of it right now. Today I wish I had gone to college, chosen a different career and settled out in the suburbs where I could live in a bubble like a normal person and not have to see this shit.
My broken spirit needed some mental health days so I'm off work until Monday. Hopefully by then I'll be refreshed, recharged and ready to face the world again. But for right now.... I'm just gonna pull the covers over my head and try to make it all go away.