Today’s SameHere Hero Story: Gregory Reddington
In 2013 I became a soldier in the US Army Reserve. In 2014, I became a police officer. This came about right after I ended my short professional career in mixed martial arts. I had a burning desire to help my Country and Community. I felt a need to give back to a place that has given me so much. I felt I was physically fit enough and mentally/emotionally strong enough to handle what it is that I would be doing.
Over the years, I have progressed my career from basic patrol to now a Gang detective and SWAT operator. This came through years of hard work and a desire to better myself. Notwithstanding, this came with a price. See, every day we walked into work, nobody knew what would happen during the day. We worked in real-time to fix issues that were happening faster than you could realize. Most of the time, they were basic disputes, arguments in homes, or simple traffic crashes. But often enough, you would be thrust into a critical incident. We see things. We have to do things. Anything you can think of, either myself or my brothers and sisters who are in my profession or a first responder profession, have most likely personally seen and had to work with. Crimes involving small children, murders, suicides, people who are having a mental health crisis and talking them down from a ledge, assaults, shootings, traffic crashes where serious injury or death occurs. Horrible things in this world, we deal with nothing more than a desire to do it, knowing people count on you to be there.
Since I was a young police officer, a rookie, I was conditioned to be cold and calculated when performing my duties during critical incidents. We didn’t have time to feel or process ourselves, as we had other tasks at hand. It worked, for the most part, to provide the service needed as we could focus on what it was that we were doing.
Over time, it takes a toll. As you go, you start to change without knowing. I became jaded. Angry. Depressed. A lot of feelings that I had suppressed down below me. I lost a long-lasting relationship because I routinely shut down. I lost friends who noticed I was off because I refused to admit there was an issue.
My best friend and partner went through a sudden divorce that nobody saw coming. He sunk into depression and took time off work. I continually reached out and tried to help, until he began the path of professional help. He and I worked together in helping his mental state, which then passively caused me to realize all the trauma I had been holding in. I realized I needed help.
It started with the recognition that I actually needed help. And that it was OK to ask for help. I reached out to those closest to me and began to talk. I started focusing on my workouts in a different way, began to seek individual methods which would help me. Traveled, found a woman that I absolutely love and can confide within. Began seeking professional help. I looked to every corner for help.
I feel a lot of people can relate, especially in the first responder field. Finding a way to make it OK for individuals to seek assistance and that there is nothing wrong with it.